7 Drive-Thru Holiday Light Displays in 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.
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 2021, proceeds will benefit All Species Adoption Program, Angeline Industries, No One Fights Alone, and Village of Wharton. 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, 2021.
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. 27 to Dec. 25, 2021. 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 27 years of tradition, the Holiday in Lights display has become a Cincinnati classic. Open nightly from Nov. 19 to Dec. 30, 2021, 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 $17 per car, with varying prices for larger vans and buses.
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 $7, and you can purchase them online. The Christmas Glow drive-thru is open every evening from Nov. 24 to Dec. 30, 2021. It’s closed on Nov. 29, Nov. 30, Dec. 1, and 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. 19, 2021 and Jan. 2, 2022 (with the exception of Nov. 29). On Mondays through Thursdays, admission is $20 per car. That jumps to $25 on Fridays through Sundays.
Kimiko Kidd is a native Daytonian. She graduated from Wright State University with degrees in environmental science and sociology. She loves her trusty old Honda Civic, but dreams of owning a 1974 Ford Falcon XB with a custom paint job and a vintage Kawasaki Z1000. In her free time, Kimiko can be found watercolor-painting, baking muffins, collecting rocks, playing old-school Nintendo games, writing her novel, sewing stuffed animals, and cosplaying as her favorite Mad Max characters. See more articles by Kimiko.