Ice Skating at RiverScape MetroPark

What’s more quintessential than ice skating during the holidays? Lace up your skates and glide your way through RiverScape MetroPark’s outdoor ice rink along the Great Miami River. The rink is open late to give you plenty of time to enjoy an evening skating under the stars. Don’t have your own skates? No problem – skate rentals are available on site. After working up an appetite on the ice, refuel with a cup of hot cocoa, coffee or tea and a snack from RiverScape’s cafe. Relax fireside in the cafe patio area while you warm up. RiverScape MetroPark offers skating seven days a week through the holiday season. Special holiday hours and skating sessions run Thanksgiving weekend through early January.

RiverScape MetroPark 111 E Monument Ave, Dayton, OH 45402 (937) 228-2088

Dayton Art Institute’s Holiday Tree Festival

For more than 30 years, the halls of the Dayton Art Institute have dazzled visitors during the holidays thanks to their annual Holiday Tree Festival. Taking place from late November through early January each year, the family-friendly event sees the art museum transformed by dozens of elaborately decorated trees. From trees adorned with handmade crafts, edible treats and sparkling lights to those inspired by famous artists and art styles, you’re sure to be amazed by the creativity. Kids love visiting the art studio to make their own ornament to take home. Don’t miss the popular Gingerbread House Competition to see the incredible edible creations local architects, engineers and designers dream up. After browsing the decorative trees, warm up with some hot apple cider or cocoa in the museum cafe.

Dayton Art Institute 456 Belmonte Park North, Dayton, OH 45405 (937) 223-5277

Holiday Nights at Carillon Historical Park

For a truly old-fashioned holiday experience, head to Carillon Historical Park for their annual Holiday Nights event. Taking place on select evenings throughout December, Holiday Nights transforms the park’s historic buildings into a magical holiday wonderland. Carolers, Model T rides, ice carvers and visits with Santa add to the merriment. Kids will love writing letters to Santa at the Post Office, decorating cookies in the Wright Brothers Aviation Center, and listening to storytellers at the Wright Brothers Print Shop. Grown-ups will appreciate strolling the candlelit paths with a mug of hot wassail, taking in music performances and watching ice sculpting demonstrations. Don’t forget to ride the heated Model T bus for a tour through the park’s lights! Tickets are available in advance online or at the door. Parking is free on site. Break up your visit with dinner or a sweet treat at the onsite Carillon Brewing Co restaurant.

Carillon Historical Park 1000 Carillon Blvd, Dayton, OH 45409 (937) 293-2841

Hike Aullwood Audubon Center’s Holiday Lights Trail

For a peaceful walk surrounded by holiday magic, the Aullwood Audubon Center’s annual Holiday Lights Trail is just the ticket. Taking place on Friday and Saturday evenings in December, the trail features hundreds of holiday lights illuminating the way as you walk through the woods and meadows. The 1-mile loop trail is suitable for all ages and ability levels. After your hike, step inside the center’s Nature Store for holiday shopping featuring nature and bird-themed gifts made by local Dayton artists. Warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee near the cozy fireplace as well. The Holiday Lights Trail does require timed tickets purchased in advance online to limit capacity on the trail. Make it a full evening by grabbing dinner at the nearby Aullwood Inn restaurant before your walk.

Aullwood Audubon Center 965 Aullwood Rd, Dayton, OH 45414 (937) 890-7360

Historic Christmas at Zimmerman Heritage Farm

Step back in time for an old-fashioned Christmas celebration at Zimmerman Heritage Farm this December. Historic Christmas brings the 1800s holiday traditions of the original Zimmerman family back to life across the farm’s buildings. Wander through the decorated farmhouse, schoolhouse and log homes, chat with costumed interpreters, and learn how Christmas was celebrated on an Ohio farm in the 19th century. Kids can make a cornhusk doll, wooden toy or holiday craft to take home. Savor the smells drifting from the brick bake ovens as volunteers bake ginger cookies and apple pies the old-fashioned way. Before you leave, stop for a photograph with the farm’s team of Percheron draft horses all dressed up for the season. Historic Christmas takes place on December weekends and select weekdays in December.

Zimmerman Heritage Farm 1156 Gratis-Jacksonburg Rd, Middletown, OH 45042 (513) 424-1786

Holidays at Cox Arboretum MetroPark

Though the outdoor gardens go dormant for the winter, Cox Arboretum MetroPark still shines for the holidays. Colorful poinsettia displays in the Arboretum’s indoor conservatory add festive cheer, as do the model trains winding their way through mini landscapes in the Railroad Display Garden. The Whipp Holiday Tree Show highlights Christmas trees decorated by local organizations. On December weekends, families can make eco-friendly paper, lavender sachets, recycled ornaments and other holiday crafts together in the Arboretum’s Activity Center. Warm up afterward with some hot spiced tea or coffee from the Arboretum Cafe. Don’t miss the annual Gingerbread Workshop to see elaborate edible creations. The Arboretum grounds also host holiday lights displays along the walking paths in December.

Cox Arboretum MetroPark 6733 Springboro Pike, Dayton, OH 45439 (937) 434-9005

Holiday Performances of The Nutcracker

What’s the holiday season without taking in a performance of the beloved Christmas ballet The Nutcracker? Treat the family to the magic and wonder of this classic production brought to life on stage by Dayton’s talented local dance companies. Both the Dayton Ballet and the Miami Valley Ballet Company present annual productions of The Nutcracker each holiday season at downtown’s historic Schuster Performing Arts Center. With dazzling costumes, beautiful dancing and Tchaikovsky’s enchanting score performed live by the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, these professional productions immerse you in holiday cheer. Reserved seat tickets often sell out in advance, so book early if you plan to attend. Make reservations for dinner nearby at a downtown Dayton restaurant to make it a special holiday night out.

Schuster Performing Arts Center 1 W 2nd St, Dayton, OH 45402 (937) 228-3630

German Village Christmas Lights

For an unforgettable holiday lights display, make the quick drive south of downtown Dayton to German Village during the Christmas season. The historic neighborhood dazzles with over two million twinkling holiday lights adorning the village’s shops, homes and trees. Bundle up for a horse-drawn carriage ride or bring some spare change for the heated trolley rides through the light displays. Kids can drop off their letters to Santa at the village’s special mailbox. Stop for a photo op in front of the village’s 35-foot lit tree or beside the larger-than-life Nutcracker statues. After working up an appetite, grab bratwursts, hot pretzels and gluehwein from vendors lining the lit streets. The Christmas lights displays run nightly from late November through December.

German Village Columbus, OH 43206

Catch a Classic Holiday Movie at The Neon

What better way to get in the holiday spirit than watching a beloved Christmas classic on the big screen? Downtown Dayton’s historic Neon movie theater shows holiday film favorites throughout December. Classics like Elf, The Polar Express, and A Christmas Story are always crowd-pleasers. For an extra magical experience, catch one of the theater’s Holiday Classics events when the theater partners with local performing groups. Enjoy The Grinch presented by the Dayton Ballet Company or Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas with a live soundtrack performed by the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. The Neon’s holiday movies and performances sell out quickly, so purchase your tickets early. Make a night of it by grabbing dinner at Amber Rose cocktail lounge right inside the theater. Don’t forget to pose for a selfie beneath the theater’s iconic neon marquee!

The Neon 130 E 5th St, Dayton, OH 45402 (937) 222-8452

Annual Oakwood Candlelight Walk

Get in the holiday spirit during the quaint Oakwood Candlelight Walk each December. On the designated evening, historically-dressed carolers and lamp lighters travel the neighborhood’s streets by lamplight. Families bundle up and stroll with luminaries glowing along the sidewalks and in front yards. The evening culminates in a singalong around a giant bonfire and Christmas tree at Smith Gardens. Kids can drop off their letters to Santa and enjoy free s’mores and hot chocolate. After working up an appetite walking the neighborhood, pick one of Oakwood’s cozy restaurants for dinner nearby. The Candlelight Walk takes place the first Sunday evening each December. Activities run from 5pm to 8pm and are centered around Oakwood’s Smith Gardens park. This heartwarming community event is free to attend.

Smith Gardens 2055 Far Hills Ave, Dayton, OH 45419

Rent With Dayton Party Bus Company To Hit Every Attraction

As you can see, Dayton really sparkles during the holiday season with so many festive events and activities to enjoy. Trying to hit up several holiday happenings in a single day can be hectic though. Why wrestle with traffic and parking yourself when you could leave the driving to Dayton Party Bus Company? Our holiday party buses let you celebrate the season in comfort and style. Our fleet of party buses, limo buses, and coach buses can accommodate any size group for your holiday adventures. Our professional team will whisk your crew all around Dayton so you can fully immerse yourselves in the magic of the season without hassles. Dayton Party Bus Company takes the stress out of holiday transportation so you can simply relax and make merry memories together. Whether it’s a holiday light tour, Christmas market visit, or Santa pub crawl on your Dayton itinerary, our holiday buses have you covered. Contact Dayton Party Bus Company at (937) 396-7255 to request a quote and get your holiday transportation booked. The holidays are about being together, and our buses keep your group together for the celebrations!