Drive through Christmas lights have long been a tradition for many families.
Did you ever pile into the station wagon, calling dibs on riding backward in the cargo area, while you drove through a local family’s light display? Growing up in the 70’s, I have many fond memories of viewing the Christmas lights this way, only in my case, we were in the back of a pick-up truck, not a station wagon.
Drive-thru Christmas lights haven’t changed much over the years, as I still look forward to seeing each holiday season.
You may have seen our post on the best Christmas Light displays in Ohio and now, just in time for the holidays, we’ve compiled a list of the best drive thru Christmas lights in Ohio!
We’ve checked to ensure the information we provide here is accurate at the time this was published but just to be on the safe side, we recommend that you confirm the details. We’ve made it easy for you by providing the websites for you.
So grab a thermos of hot chocolate, download your Christmas music and hit the road for some festive family fun!
Best Drive Through Christmas Lights in Northwest Ohio
Upper’s Winter Fantasy of Lights – 525 East Wyandot Ave., Upper Sandusky 43351
Join a 23-year tradition at Harrison Smith Park, with millions of lights and light displays. Each year, several local non-profits are chosen as recipients of the suggested donation/entry fee. Suggested donations are $5/carload during the week, and $10/carload on the weekends. This festive fundraising event takes place every night in December, with carriage rides available on select evenings by reservation only.
Mercy Health Bright Lights at Allen County Fairgrounds – 2750 Harding Hwy, Lima 45804
Enjoy over 45 LED Christmas light displays, in addition to a lighted tunnel and trees throughout the Allen County Fairgrounds Christmas lights as you listen to the sounds of the Lima Symphony Orchestra performing the Nutcracker. This weekend-only event runs through December 24, 2021 and is just $10 per car. You can purchase tickets online in advance, or in person with cash only.
4-H Exchange Club Holiday Light Show at Van Wert County Fairgrounds – 1055 S. Washington St., Van Wert 45891
Support the local 4-H Club by attending the Van Wert Fairgrounds Christmas lights. The light show includes over 100 individual displays, with Santa visits throughout the month and horse-drawn carriage rides on select dates by reservation only. Please view their Facebook page for more information. Van Wert Christmas Lights are just $5 per car. The light show runs Thursday through Sunday from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for 2021 and all of Christmas week.
Note: Enter the fairgrounds via Gate 4 on Fox Road.
Christmas Cruise Thru – 530 South Main St., Hicksville, OH. 43526
See the Tri-State area’s largest light show in this display of more than 100,000 lights. Running every night from November 19 through December 23, 2021, with a special evening on December 12th with fireworks. Special weekend events may include carriage rides, crafts, and s’mores. Please visit their website for event information. There is no admission charge, but they ask for a donation to Goodwill.
Best Drive Through Christmas Lights in Northeast Ohio
Lights on the Lake – 1800 West Erie Ave., Lorain 44052
Enjoy a lively display along the lakefront in Lorain at Lakeview Park. The 26-acre park is lit from dusk until 10 pm every night through December 27. Santa makes an appearance on select days. And best of all, this drive-through event is free though food donations are encouraged and welcomed. View their Facebook page for more information.
Holiday Lights Cruise Thru – Carlisle Reservation: Equestrian Center 13630 Diagonal Rd., LaGrange
Another magical display in Lorain County is the cruise-through show at Carlisle Reservation that runs until December 21st. This event will feature family-friendly favorites such as Santa’s Castle and the Carousel as well as new features for 2021 that include more lights, a lighted train and twinkling Christmas Tree.
Admission is free, but a donation of non-perishable food for the Second Harvest food bank is requested.
View their website for more information.
Magic of Lights at Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds – 19201 E. Bagley Road Northeast, Middleburg Heights 44130
This location is one of just 11 North American locations chosen by HBOMax for the Magic of Lights display. Running every night through January 2, this is your chance to see your favorite holiday scenes recreated in the latest LED technology. View website for pricing information. Proceeds benefit Coats for Kids and the Ohio Farm Bureau.
Bethlehem Hills Christmas Light Park – 9760 Mayfield Rd., Chesterland 44026
Over two million LED lights deliver the spirit of Christmas, at the Christmas lights in Chesterland Ohio. You’ll be dazzled with 40 animated scenes that include a Candy Cane Village, a Nativity, Christmas Carnival, Santa’s Workshop, and more! For just $25 per car up to 8 passengers, $39 for vehicles over 8 passengers. You can cruise through the 1.25-mile display throughout the Berkshire Hills Golf Course. You can visit from 5 pm to 10 pm through January 2, with the exception of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Joy of Christmas Light Display at Firestone Park – 338 E. Park Ave., Columbiana
Enjoy this drive-through holiday display sponsored by Columbiana Tourism Bureau on select evenings through December 26. Donations of $10/vehicle are requested to support the restoration of Firestone Park.
Wachtel Christmas Lights – 13079 Township Road 503, Big Prairie
While we can’t list every neighborhood light display in Ohio, the Wachtel family tradition bears mention. The family has been wowing their friends and neighbors with an expansive light display for nearly 70 years! The lights encompass both homes on Spring Walk Farms and guests are invited to drive by any evening from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. Donations are accepted.
Best Drive Through Christmas Lights in Central Ohio
Light Up Camp at Flying Horse Farms – 5260 State Route 95, Mt. Gilead
Enjoy Flying Horse Farms Christmas lights and support a good cause at the same time! Flying Horse Farm is a non-profit medical specialty camp for children with serious illnesses. You can drive through the decorated camp buildings every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in until December 26th. Donations to the camp are encouraged, and you can also sign up for a quilt raffle.
Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights – 3311 South Old State Rd., Delaware 43015
Visit the Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds for this magical holiday display, named in honor of a prominent former resident of Delaware County. Now in its 22nd year, the Fantasy of Lights is a local favorite, with dozens of LED light displays. Scenes go beyond Christmas to include the Olympics and Ohio-themes displays. You can drive through any night until January 2nd, 2022. Learn more about Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights in our post.
Wonderlight’s Christmas in Ohio at the Hartford Fairground – 14028 Fairgrounds Road Croton, OH 43013
Drive nearly 2-miles through the Hartford Fairground and view more than one million lights. The show is synchronized to music, making it the largest fully synchronized to music show in Central Ohio. The show runs every night through January 9th, 2022, and admission is $7 per person or $30 for a carload.
Read about our experience of Wonderlight’s Christmas in Ohio and learn why we think it is a MUST see!
Best Drive Through Christmas Lights in Southwest Ohio
Holiday Lights at Lost Creek Reserve – 2645 E. St. Rt. 41, Troy
See over 60 lighted and animated displays at this drive-through attraction. The drive is 1.25 miles through the woods and farmland nearby, including the Knoop Homestead. The drive-thru Christmas lights Troy Ohio decorations are done by volunteer groups in exchange for a donation from the park district, so your $10 entry fee (per car) helps support local non-profits. Open until December 26th.
Park Lights at Ceasar Ford Park – 520 South Stringtown Rd., Xenia 45385
Check out several displays including Winter Wonderland, Festive Festival, and the North Pole Car Show as you drive through this free family event at Ceasar Ford Park. Open every night from 6-9 through December 31.
The Christmas Ranch – 3205 S. Waynesville Rd., Morrow 45152
This holiday experience has been featured on shows like HGTV and Good Morning America, as well as the New York Times. For just $20 per carload or $30 for an oversized vehicle, you can enjoy a drive-through light show until December 23rd before exploring the other activities like several Christmas shops, Santa’s Bakery, and train rides through the property.
Holiday in Lights at Sharon Woods – 11450 Lebanon Rd., Route 42, Sharonville 45241
Over one million lights combine to make over 250 individual light displays at Sharon Woods. For over 30 years, Cincinnati families have been experiencing the joy of a drive through the lighted woods. Besides Santa, you’ll even see every animal that was on Noah’s Ark! For extra fun, you can buy special effects glasses to wear through the display. The lights are up through January 2nd, with special “walk the lights” nights on December 2 and December 30.
Christmas Nights of Lights at Coney Island – 6201 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati 45230
This is a chance to experience Coney Island like never before! Experience over one million lights along the 2.5-mile drive, while listening to traditional and modern holiday music on the car radio. Light tunnels and dancing candy canes are just part of the fun to be had every night through January 2nd, 2022. Your ticket price of $7 per person or $30 per car load (up to 8 passengers) will help support local causes including Toys for Tots and the Salvation Army.
Journey Borealis at Pyramid Hill – 1763 Hamilton Cleves Rd. Hamilton 45013
The Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum is a treat any time of year, but Christmas is extra special. The Holiday Lights on the Hill has been a local tradition for more than 20 years, with a faithful following of locals and travelers. Open every night through January 3rd, prices are lower during the week. Hamilton residents get free entry (with ID) every Tuesday until January 2nd. Costs vary depending on day and car size selected, check the website for updated ticket costs.
Light Up Middletown – 500 Tytus Ave., Middletown 45042
This non-profit event supports great local causes while offering a fun evening for your family. The drive-through display is open every night through New Year’s Eve, and admission is whatever you choose to donate (cash only.) Open nightly from Thanksgiving through New Year’s.
Christmas Glow at Land of Illusion – 8762 Thomas Rd., Middletown 45042
In its fourth year of Christmas lights, Land of Illusion is quickly becoming a local favorite. They have nearly four million lights and a 45-foot Christmas tree. Aside from the 2.5-mile drive-through light display, they also have covered fire pits, Santa’s Workshop, a petting zoo, and a Christmas Village. Tickets are just $7 per person, and they are open nearly every night through December 30, with a few exceptions.
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So, tell us, where are your favorite Ohio drive-thru Christmas lights?