HOLIDAY LIGHTS GUIDE: These are the best places to see dazzling holiday lights displays in the Miami Valley

The Legendary Lights at the Historic Clifton Mill drapes their scenic features cliffs, gorges, a covered bridge and more in four million brilliant lights.
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The Legendary Lights at the Historic Clifton Mill drapes their scenic features cliffs, gorges, a covered bridge and more in four million brilliant lights.

Without a doubt, one of the best ways to experience the magic of the holiday season is under a blanket of lights.

From Troy to Cincinnati, here are some of our favorite places to go to see Christmas light displays throughout the holiday season.

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DRIVE-THROUGH LIGHTS DISPLAYS

🎄WHISPERING CHRISTMAS IN EATON

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Fort St. Clair Whispering Christmas drive-thru holiday light display is open 6-9:30 p.m. nightly through December 31. Fort St. Clair Park is located at 135 Camden Road in Eaton in Preble County. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Fort St. Clair Whispering Christmas drive-thru holiday light display is open 6-9:30 p.m. nightly through December 31. Fort St. Clair Park is located at 135 Camden Road in Eaton in Preble County. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
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Fort St. Clair Whispering Christmas drive-thru holiday light display is open 6-9:30 p.m. nightly through December 31. Fort St. Clair Park is located at 135 Camden Road in Eaton in Preble County. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Since 1987, the Whispering Christmas lights display has been a holiday favorite in the city of Eaton. The display features over 2 million lights, casting a jolly glow over Fort St. Clair State Park. Through the end of December, the lights display will be open every night from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. This year, Whispering Christmas will be drive-through-only.

The cost is $5 per vehicle. Visitors can enter at the main entrance, off Camden Road, then turn left upon entering and follow that path until the end of the lights display. Along the way, there will be signage to direct visitors and encourage them to remain in their cars at all times.

When: Open every night from Nov. 26 through Dec. 31.

Hours: 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Location: Fort St. Clair State Park, 135 Camden Road, Eaton

Cost: $5 per car

More info: Facebook

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Holiday Lights at Lost Creek Reserve

Holiday Lights at Lost Creek Reserve
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Holiday Lights at Lost Creek Reserve

🎄HOLIDAY LIGHTS AT LOST CREEK RESERVE

Another season of the Holiday Lights at Lost Creek Reserve in Troy will run through Dec. 27. Located on a scenic 456-acre reserve, the mile-long drive-through tour features 60 light displays that enhance the natural beauty of the surroundings. The tour will end with a special glimpse of the historic homestead and barns decorated for the season.

The destination has over 60 light displays, many of which are animated. The 1.25-mile driving tour winds through the woods, down charming farm lanes and past the historic Knoop Homestead, aglow with lights.

When: Open on weekends (with the exception of four bonus weekdays) from Nov. 26 through Dec. 26

Hours: Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., Sundays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bonus days are Dec. 20-23 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Location: Lost Creek Reserve, 2385 E. St. Rt. 41, Troy

Cost: $10 per car and $30 for groups of 15+.

More info: (937) 335-6273 | www.miamicountyparks.com/holiday-lights

🎄KETTERING’S HOLIDAY TOUR OF LIGHTS

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Polen Farm, located at 5099 Bigger Rd. in Kettering, is an event venue owned and operated by the City of Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department. It was built in 1865 as White Oak Farm. Here the venue is pictured decorated for the 2019 holiday season. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Polen Farm, located at 5099 Bigger Rd. in Kettering, is an event venue owned and operated by the City of Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department. It was built in 1865 as White Oak Farm. Here the venue is pictured decorated for the 2019 holiday season. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
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Polen Farm, located at 5099 Bigger Rd. in Kettering, is an event venue owned and operated by the City of Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department. It was built in 1865 as White Oak Farm. Here the venue is pictured decorated for the 2019 holiday season. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Beginning on Nov. 22, the city of Kettering is accepting submissions for participants in the tour of lights. To add your business or home into the running, take a picture of the complete holiday lights display and complete the submission form on the city of Kettering’s website at www.ketteringoh.org/2021-holiday-lights-tour. From there, your address will be placed on a map that will be available to anyone who would like to indulge in an evening drive to view holiday lights this season from Nov. 22 through Dec. 17. Access the map on the same website to plan your drive around Kettering to see the best displays.

A video will be made featuring all locations and will appear on the city of Kettering’s social media channels.

When: Nov. 22 through Dec. 17

Location: Throughout the city of Kettering

Cost: Free

More info: www.ketteringoh.org/2021-holiday-lights-tour

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Light Up Middletown drive-thru holiday light display is open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Light Up Middletown drive-thru holiday light display is open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
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Light Up Middletown drive-thru holiday light display is open 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly at Smith Park in Middletown. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

🎄LIGHT UP MIDDLETOWN

With over a million sparkling lights, themed displays and more, Light Up Middletown has been a part of the holiday tradition for two decades. Light Up Middletown will also change a few key aspects of its holiday lights display due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, there will be no visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus this year. The balloon glow will be back this year, but a date has yet to be determined.

When: Every night from Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25 through Dec. 31

Hours: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Location: Smith Park, 500 Tytus Ave. in Middletown

Cost: Cash donations accepted.

More info: www.lightupmiddletown.org

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Pyramid Hill’s Holiday Lights on the Hill in Hamilton.

Pyramid Hill’s Holiday Lights on the Hill in Hamilton.
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Pyramid Hill’s Holiday Lights on the Hill in Hamilton.

🎄HOLIDAY LIGHTS ON THE HILL IN HAMILTON

For the third year in a row, the creators of Lumenocity and BLINK Cincinnati will have an art installation in the pavilion as part of Holiday Lights on the Hill at Pyramid Hill. This popular drive-through display will offer guests a holiday light experience that brings art and nature together in the 300-acre sculpture park. This year, the theme is Journey Borealis, which promises to provide an artful take on holiday lights. A few of the traditional features will include decorated ponds with swans and a skating pond with a sequence of skaters that light up with doves overhead.

When: Nov. 19 through Jan. 2

Hours: Monday through Thursday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Location: Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, 1763 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton

Cost: Monday through Thursday, $20 per carload; Friday through Sunday $25 per carload. Admission for Pyramid Hill members presenting a current membership card is $15 every day.

More info: (513) 863-8336 | journeyborealis.com

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Credit: Nick Graham

🎄LAND OF ILLUSION CHRISTMAS GLOW

Celebrate the season at the Christmas Glow, a mile of 3 million lights at the Christmas Around the World drive-through experience. A petting zoo, gift shop, Santa’s Workshop and Christmas Village will also be available for visits.

When: Nov. 24 through Dec. 30. Closed from Nov. 29 through Dec. 1 and on Christmas Day.

Hours: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Where: Land of Illusion, 8762 Thomas Rd., Middletown

Cost: $7 per person, children 3 years and under get in for free.

More info: www.landofillusion.com/glow/attractions/christmas-drive-thru

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Holiday in Lights at Sharon Woods has been a Cincinnati tradition for 30 years. (Source: Holiday in Lights at Sharon Woods Facebook)

Holiday in Lights at Sharon Woods has been a Cincinnati tradition for 30 years. (Source: Holiday in Lights at Sharon Woods Facebook)
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Holiday in Lights at Sharon Woods has been a Cincinnati tradition for 30 years. (Source: Holiday in Lights at Sharon Woods Facebook)

🎄HOLIDAY IN LIGHTS AT SHARON WOODS

This drive-through lights display is built over a mile of wooded roadway and has been a Cincinnati family tradition for nearly three decades. Holiday-themed displays depict everything from Santa Claus and his elves to animals on the ark. On Dec. 1 and 29, a special Walk the Lights event will be held, offering guests a chance to walk among the displays (no cars will be permitted). Organizers encourage visitors to purchase tickets to the event prior to arrival. Tickets to the holiday lights display can be purchased in advance by visiting holidayinlights.com.

When: Nov. 19 through Dec. 30

Hours: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday

Location: 11450 Lebanon Road, Route 42, Sharonville

Cost: $17 per vehicle ($55 for buses/large passenger vans). $7 to walk the lights. No cash will be accepted this year. Special effects glasses for $2 a piece or three for $5.

More info: holidayinlights.com

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🎄CHRISTMAS NIGHTS OF LIGHTS AT CONEY ISLAND

This two-and-a-half-mile, drive-through light display features more than one million LED lights synchronized to festive holiday music. Features include larger-than-life trees, glowing snowflakes, dancing candy canes and tunnels of lights.

When: Now through Jan. 2

Hours: Dusk through 10 p.m.

Location: Coney Island Park, 6201 Kellogg Ave. in Cincinnati

Cost: $7 per person and $30 per carload. $50 for 9-15 passengers and $75 for 16 passengers or more. Free for those 3 years of age and younger.

More info: coneyislandpark.com/event/christmas-light-show

WALK-THROUGH LIGHTS DISPLAYS

🎄CLIFTON MILL

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Clifton Mill's holiday lights.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Clifton Mill's holiday lights.
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Clifton Mill's holiday lights.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

The Clifton Mill lights have had an amazing few years of star-studded publicity. Gaze upon 4 million lights covering the bridge, the mill’s windows, roof, sides and bottom while every hour the lights shut off completely, leaving guests in total and complete darkness. As quietness sweeps the atmosphere, orchestral music begins a medley of Christmas songs and lights over the bridge will twinkle on and off again. Don’t miss the Santa Claus Museum on site. Refreshments for sale.

When: Nov. 26 through Dec. 30

Hours: Open seven nights a week from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Location: 75 Water St., Clifton

Cost: $10 per person. Children ages three and younger get in for free.

More info: cliftonmill.com/christmas

🎄WOODLAND LIGHTS

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Woodland Lights began in the early 1990s and annually attracts thousands of visitors a year. Jim Noelker/Dayton Daily News

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Woodland Lights began in the early 1990s and annually attracts thousands of visitors a year. Jim Noelker/Dayton Daily News
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Woodland Lights began in the early 1990s and annually attracts thousands of visitors a year. Jim Noelker/Dayton Daily News

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Woodland Lights is a beloved holiday lights display offering a half-mile-long paved path of lights and holiday displays. This year’s event will include train rides, but not amusement park rides that have been featured annually through 2019. Carriage rides and Santa Claus will be a part of this year’s event, but white-tailed deer will not. Special nights include Pet Night on Dec. 3 and 21, offering visitors a chance to bring their friendly pups on a leash to stroll through the park and get their picture with Santa.

When: Fridays through Sundays from Nov. 19 through Dec. 19 and nightly from Dec. 20-30, except for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Hours: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Gates close at 8:30 p.m.

Location: Countryside Park on the campus of the Washington Twp. RecPlex, 895 Miamisburg-Centerville Rd.

Cost: Tickets may be purchased for $9 at www.woodlandlights.org or at the gate. Children 2 and under are admitted free. The admission price covers all expenses except for concessions.

More info: www.washingtontwp.org/recreation/woodland_lights

🎄A CARILLON CHRISTMAS

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Dayton's Carillon Historical Park, a 65-acre open-air history museum, is decked out in holiday lights for its annual A Carillon Christmas event. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Dayton's Carillon Historical Park, a 65-acre open-air history museum, is decked out in holiday lights for its annual A Carillon Christmas event. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
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Dayton's Carillon Historical Park, a 65-acre open-air history museum, is decked out in holiday lights for its annual A Carillon Christmas event. TOM GILLIAM / CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

During the holiday season, Carillon Historical Park is transformed into a winter wonderland with the dazzling 200-feet-tall Carillon Tree of Light lighting up the sky each night and the remaining acres of land lit up with holiday lights. Visitors will also be able to visit with Santa Claus through Dec. 23, tour acres of magical lights displays, go holiday shopping and indulge in holiday-inspired treats.

When: Nov. 23 through Dec. 30. Closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Hours: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Location: Carillon Historical Park, 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton

Cost: $12 per adult (ages 18-59); $10 per senior (ages 60+); $8 per child (ages 3-17) and free to children under 3 and Dayton History members.

More info: www.daytonhistory.org/events/special-events/a-carillon-christmas

🎄THE CHRISTMAS RANCH

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The Christmas Ranch, located in Morrow, is an indoor and outdoor experience with seven heated buildings in the village area. The ranch has an expansive light display, animals, train and wagon rides, Christmas shops, Santa’s bakery and cafe, and a bonfire.

The Christmas Ranch, located in Morrow, is an indoor and outdoor experience with seven heated buildings in the village area. The ranch has an expansive light display, animals, train and wagon rides, Christmas shops, Santa’s bakery and cafe, and a bonfire.
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The Christmas Ranch, located in Morrow, is an indoor and outdoor experience with seven heated buildings in the village area. The ranch has an expansive light display, animals, train and wagon rides, Christmas shops, Santa’s bakery and cafe, and a bonfire.

The Christmas Ranch, located in Morrow, is an indoor and outdoor experience with seven heated buildings in the village area. The ranch has an expansive light display, animals, train and wagon rides, Christmas shops, Santa’s bakery and cafe, and bonfire.

When: Friday, Nov. 19 through Thursday, Dec. 23

Hours: Fridays and Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Location: 3205 S. Waynesville Rd., Morrow

Cost: $20 per carload, $30 per oversized van (10+ visitors) and free parking

More info: www.thechristmasranch.com

🎄PNC FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS AT THE CINCINNATI ZOO

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Credit: Angela Hatke

Are you prepared to be dazzled? The 39th Annual PNC Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo is going on now! Four million colorful, twinkling lights, a black-light puppet show and the Wild Lights show on Swan Lake are just part of the fun at the 39th annual PNC Festival of Lights. Zoo visitors can also search for five hidden Fiona fairies in Fairyland and warm up with hot cocoa.

When: Nov. 19 through Jan. 9

Hours: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Location: 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati

Cost: Included in zoo admission, which varies for dates and times.

More info: cincinnatizoo.org/events/festival-of-lights

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🎄WINTERFEST AT KINGS ISLAND

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Kings Island will turn into a winter wonderland during the holiday season with gorgeous lights, including an illuminated Eiffel Tower, and an outdoor ice rink. WinterFest returns bigger and better in 2018 with rides, shops, shows, treats, carriage rides, skating and more. The special event opens on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. CONTRIBUTED

Kings Island will turn into a winter wonderland during the holiday season with gorgeous lights, including an illuminated Eiffel Tower, and an outdoor ice rink. WinterFest returns bigger and better in 2018 with rides, shops, shows, treats, carriage rides, skating and more. The special event opens on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. CONTRIBUTED
Caption
Kings Island will turn into a winter wonderland during the holiday season with gorgeous lights, including an illuminated Eiffel Tower, and an outdoor ice rink. WinterFest returns bigger and better in 2018 with rides, shops, shows, treats, carriage rides, skating and more. The special event opens on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. CONTRIBUTED

Kings Island’s holiday celebration will feature a series of enchanting winter wonderlands, ice skating on the Royal Fountain, the Eiffel Tower turned into a magical Christmas tree and more than five million lights. Carriage rides, holiday games, cookie decorating and more will bring even more magic to the popular amusement park.

A few popular rides, like Mystic Timbers, Flight of Cheer, Kings Mills Antique Autos, Grand Carousel and Zephyr, will also be open to the public during WinterFest.

When: Select nights from Nov. 26 through Dec. 31.

Hours: Hours vary, so be sure to check Kings Island’s calendar prior to planning your trip.

Location: 6300 Kings Island Dr., Mason

Cost: Prices vary.

More info: www.visitkingsisland.com/events/winterfest

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