Nestled in between Dayton and Cincinnati, the town of Lebanon is about as charming and idyllic as it gets. From the antique shopping to the top-notch restaurants and small-town culture, Lebanon has become a favorite weekend destination for those in the Miami Valley.
And, as it turns out, the city cranks up its curb appeal around the holiday season, offering visitors so many reasons to revel in the good tidings of the season. Whether you’re looking forward to the Lebanon Horse-Drawn Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival (Ohio’s largest horse-drawn carriage parade, might I add) or taking a ride on LM&M Railroad’s North Pole Express, the town of Lebanon has much to offer locals and visitors alike throughout the holiday season. Here are just a few reasons why you should visit Lebanon during the holiday season.
🎄Experience the Horse-Drawn Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival
It doesn’t take more than walking along South Broadway’s sidewalks with snow lining the pavement, Christmas wreaths wrapping the light poles, and the scent of Douglas fir candles wafting through stores as you shop for gifts to put you in the mood. The annual Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage and Parade Festival, this year on Dec. 7, always draws a cheerful crowd to shop, eat, and of course, watch the many decadent horse-drawn carriages parade downtown. You’ll feel like you just walked off of the set for Little Women.
Where: Downtown Lebanon
Cost: Free admission and parking. Family-friendly event.
🎄Take a ride on LM&M Railroad’s North Pole Express
From now until Dec. 28, Lebanon’s North Pole Express will be transporting visitors to holidays of years past with a ride aboard early 20th century restored train cars. While on board the North Pole Express, guests can look forward to a visit with Santa and his elves, on-board entertainment, holiday music and hot chocolate and cookies.
WANT TO GO?
What: LM&M Railroad’s North Pole Express
When: Dec. 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, 28. Weekday rides: 6 and 8 p.m., Saturday rides: noon, 2, 4, 6 and 8 p.m., Sunday rides: noon, 2, 4, and 6 p.m. Dec. 24 rides: 4 and 6 p.m. No rides at noon on Dec. 28.
Where: LM&M Railway Ticket Office is located at 16 E. South St. in Lebanon
Cost: Purchase tickets at lebanonrr.com/northpole. Tickets are selling fast, so be sure to purchase as soon as possible.
Children (2-16) & Seniors (62+): $22
Children (2-16) & Seniors (62+): $35
All departures: Infants (1 yr. & under): $5
🎄Wander through downtown Lebanon and feel the history in the air
Downtown Lebanon has not let go of its heritage. A natural halfway point on trade and travel routes between Cincinnati and Dayton, Lebanon was built up to host, feed, and restore travelers. Markers throughout downtown indicate historic buildings and landmarks since the first plats were laid in 1802, and those details help to keep the city’s past ever-present.
Take the time to walk up and down South Broadway and Main Streets, and read the Lebanon Rotary Club markers, or take a look at the old-school Shell gas station on South and Mechanic Streets. If you have more than a few hours in town, consider booking a night or two at the Golden Lamb, and stay in the same room as some very important, historic figures, including Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, John Quincy Adams, or Ronald Reagan.
🎄Savor some delicious food
If you have a few hours to kill around lunch or dinnertime in Lebanon, it’s highly encouraged that you stop by the Golden Lamb for a hearty, healthy and a sometimes historic meal.
Only feeling a small snack? Grab a burger, some mozzarella sticks, or some beloved salted caramel chocolate dipped pretzel ice cream from the Village Ice Cream Parlor, 22 S. Broadway St. Grab a seat by the old-fashioned soda fountain where two films, Harper Valley PTA (1977) and Milk Money (1993) were filmed.
🎄Snag a unique gift in one of several antique stores and holiday markets
Historic downtown Lebanon is well-known for its quality antique shopping: From Ambassador’s Antiques, 23 S. Broadway, to the Broadway Antique Mall, 15-17 S. Broadway St., you can spend hours winding through the rows of vintage dishware, blowing dust off of turntables and Victrola record players and leafing through old copies of the Bobbsey Twins books.
Outside of the historic downtown, there are plenty of holiday shopping opportunities. On Saturday, Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., the Holly Jolly Vendor Fair, featuring over 40 local vendors and artisans, will be taking place at the Warren County Fairgrounds, 665 N. Broadway St. Over a thousand people are expected to browse the endless stalls of holiday-inspired goods. For more information about the event, visit their Facebook page.
If you’re not one for antique shopping, shops like Green Country Market, 21 E. Main St., Rose and Remington, 35 E. Main St., and Kay’s Shoppe, 24 S. Broadway, are great spots to find novelty gifts, warm cozy sweaters, jams and jellies, and handmade jewelry.