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The Best Places to See Holiday Lights

Posted On: December 11th, 2018

Christmas light displays are my favorite part of Christmas. When I was a kid, my parents used to drive my brother and I around the local neighborhoods to see all the light displays. Now I get to do the same thing with my little one, and she loves it! We usually visit three or four different places each year. If you want to spend an evening seeing the light sights, check out some of the following displays in the Dayton area.


1.       Clifton Mill: This is arguably the most famous light display in our area. There are over 4 million lights with a 100-foot waterfall of twinkling lights. The lights are on display each night until December 31 from 5-9 p.m. Admission is $10 for ages 7 and up; ages 6 and under are free.

2.       PNC Festival of Lights: Located at the Cincinnati Zoo, this dazzling display contains 3 million LED lights and larger-than-life animal lanterns. The theme this year is Wild Wonderland! The event is open until January 1 from 5-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5-10 p.m. on Saturdays. Ticket prices vary based on the date and can be found here

3.       Woodland Lights: This is my family’s favorite display; in fact, we just went last weekend. It is so much fun. They have a half mile lighted path to walk as well as a variety of rides and attractions for the kids. Last year, my daughter got to meet Minnie Mouse and Olaf! The park is open until December 23 from 6-9 p.m. each night. Tickets are $8 for ages 3 and up; ages 2 and under are free.

4.       Light up Middletown: What makes this light display special is you don’t have to get out of the car! They are open until December 31 from 6-10 p.m. each night. The cost to enter the display is a donation in the amount of your choice. It is recommended to go on a week night, otherwise you may be sitting in traffic for a while to get into the park.

5.       North Pole Express: OK, this isn’t exactly Christmas lights, but I couldn’t resist adding it to the list. The LM&M Railroad in Lebanon decorates the station with lights and has hot chocolate and cookies for the passengers while they await their train. Once on the train each family gets to visit with Santa and his elves! Tickets range in price from $20-24; children ages 1 and younger are free. 

6.       A Carillon Christmas: Head to historic Carillon park this Christmas to see their magical display of lights. They are open through December 30 from 5-9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10 for ages 18 and up, $7 for kids age 3-17, and kids under 3 are free.

    Hey, and if you like to win free stuff, stay tuned to my Facebook page (follow it here). I may be giving away tickets to some of these displays! I would love to see pictures or hear about your favorite light display. You can send it to Val@rivervalleycu.org. For more fun things to do in the Dayton area make sure to check out my blog here.