Kimiko Kidd
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7 Drive-Thru Holiday Light Displays in Ohio

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christmas light drive thru ohio

The holiday season often brings with it cold weather, which makes the safety and warmth of our cars difficult to leave. Luckily, there are several places across the state of Ohio where you can experience the holiday season and extravagant light displays without leaving the comfort of your heated car seats.

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Upper’s Winter Fantasy of Lights

Upper Sandusky receives a lot of snow in the wintertime, making it the perfect place for a winter wonderland light display. Open daily for the entire month of December, Upper’s Winter Fantasy of Lights is free to the public, but donations are accepted. The event’s website suggests $5 for passenger cars on Mondays through Thursdays or $10 on Fridays and weekends, $15 for vans, and $50 for tour buses on any day of the week.

The display is operated by a non-profit, benefitting different organizations each year. For 2022, proceeds will benefit Hannah’s House Supervised Visitation & Exchange Home, Wyandot County Agricultural Society, and the Upper Sandusky Community Library. You can visit between 6-10 p.m. on Fridays and weekends, or 6-9:30 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, from Dec. 1-30, 2022.

Christmas by Candlelight

A dozen Christmas-themed scenes are strung together to create the Christmas by Candlelight display in Marion, Ohio. There are thousands of lights throughout the drive-thru display, with Nativity scenes, gingerbread men, and reindeer.

The display is open for visitors from 6-10 p.m. from Nov. 26 to Dec. 25, 2022. Admission varies by vehicle, but most standard vehicles can get through the gates for $6. However, if you’re looking to bring a crowd, admission is $20 for a small bus and $35 for a large bus.

Light Up Middletown

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, the city of Middletown in southwest Ohio puts on a light display rivaling the neighboring towns. Admission is free, but donations are accepted at the gate to benefit the local parks and communities. The display attracts approximately 20,000 cars full of visitors each year and has been open for nearly 20 years.

Holiday in Lights

After 28 years of tradition, the Holiday in Lights display has become a Cincinnati classic. Open nightly from Nov. 18 to Dec. 30, 2022, the display stretches over a mile long with a drive through Sharon Woods. The display is even synced up with a local radio station, so you can tune your car to the right channel and listen to the holiday music without rolling your windows down. Admission begins at $20 per car, varying prices for larger vans and buses. You can also purchase a pair of special-effects glasses for $2, which enhance the twinkling lights for the viewer.

Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights

Located at the Alum Creek Campgrounds in Delaware, Ohio, this spectacular light display has been a local tradition since 1999. Admission on Monday through Thursday runs $20 per passenger vehicle, and $30 on Fridays and weekends. Expect to pay $60 for vehicles of up to 30 passengers, while tour buses can expect to shell out $100 at the gate. This drive-thru delight is open from Nov. 19, 2021, to Jan. 2, 2022. It opens nightly at 5:30 p.m. and closes at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday nights, and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights.

Land of Illusion Christmas Glow

Although Middletown’s Land of Illusion is best known for its Halloween events, it also offers a spectacular drive-thru holiday light show. In addition to the Christmas Glow drive-thru tour, you can enjoy visiting Christmas Village, Santa’s Workshop, a gift shop, and a petting zoo. Tickets start at just $9, and you can purchase them online. The Christmas Glow drive-thru is open every evening from Nov. 23 to Dec. 30, 2022. It’s closed on Christmas Day.

Journey Borealis at Pyramid Hill

Head to the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park in Hamilton for a one-of-a-kind drive-thru light display. This artistic holiday light show puts a sophisticated spin on this family-friendly activity. If you’d like to see the park’s sculptures illuminated with dazzling lights, you can visit any day between Nov. 18, 2022 and Jan. 1, 2023 (with the exception of Nov. 29). Admission is $25 for non-members and $15 for members. Vehicles with 10 seats or more will pay a $55 admission fee. City of Hamilton residents get in free on Tuesdays — just be sure to bring a license, current utility bill, or government issued ID to prove your residence.