Drive Through Christmas Light Shows in Cincinnati, perfect for 2023

Cincinnati has some pretty spectacular options when it comes to drive through Christmas light shows this year! Most of our traditional drive thru Christmas light displays are returning AND a few have been added for 2023.

And don’t miss a few holiday light shows that offer the opportunity to wander around outdoor spaces like the Cincinnati Zoo and the Cincinnati Nature Center for their outdoor light displays (you’ll find those listed towards the end).

Christmas lights at Festival of Lights

Enjoy our list of the best local Christmas Light Shows… and don’t miss the map at the end that will help with your request to “find a Christmas Light Show Near Me”!

PLEASE NOTE: Some of the light shows are requiring online ticket purchases / timed tickets / reservations for 2023. Check the light show of your choice for their 2023 admission policies. In addition, some are not accepting cash at the gate.

🎄 Coney Island’s Nights of Lights

Get our Nights of Lights tips here

If you’re looking for the perfect Christmas event, this is it! Experience this amazing light show synchronized to both traditional and rocking holiday music through your car radio. Visitors of all ages will be awed by the larger-than-life trees, glowing snowflakes, dancing candy canes and fantastic tunnels of lights!  In the warmth of your own car, you can sing along to the sounds of the season synchronized to each holiday display. Coney Island’s Nights of Lights welcomes carloads of families and friends to enjoy this Christmas tradition. With two and a half miles to drive through, your family can see displays and light shows made of over two million lights. The show will begin nightly at dusk and run through 10 p.m. Coney Island’s Nights of Lights will be open every night including holidays.

Dates/Times: Coney Island’s Nights of Lights will be at Coney Island from Nov. 10, 2023 thru December 31, 2023, dusk to 10pm. Open rain, shine, or snow! They are open on holidays too!

Coney Island is located at 6201 Kellogg Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45230

Lighted trees and flag at the Christmas Nights of Lights light show at Coney Island
photo credit: Christmas Nights of Lights

🎄 Holiday in Lights (formerly at Sharon Woods and then Armco Park) will not return for 2023

🎄 Pyramid Hill Lights:

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park will light up the night with Pyramid Hill Lights. This 2.5 mile drive through is a one-of-a-kind holiday light spectacular features more than 1,000,000 lights and holiday art installations. This drivable tour of the park provides a safe, contactless experience for the whole family to enjoy.

Dates/Times: Open from November 17 through December 31, 2023 (closed on Mondays). Hours: Tues.-Thurs: 6-9pm, Fridays and Saturdays: 6-10pm

Pyramid Hill Lights is at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, 1763 Hamilton Cleves Rd., Hamilton, Ohio 45013

Light Up Middletown's drive through light show
photo courtesy of Light Up Middletown

🎄 Light up Middletown

Light Up Middletown is a fantasy drive-thru light display in Middletown, Ohio’s downtown 100 acre Smith Park.

Admission is by CASH donation – just drop something in the box at the entrance gate.

Dates/Times: Light Up Middletown is open every night from Thanksgiving thru Dec. 31, 2023, 6-10 pm, regardless of weather, and including holidays.

Light up Middletown is at Smith Park, 500 Tytus Ave., Middletown, Ohio 45042

photo courtesy of Light Up the Fair

🎄 Light Up the Fair

Light up the Fair is a drive thru light show held at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Northern Kentucky. With more than 1 million lights and a two mile drive, this family friendly event promises to be a memory maker! Gates open at 5:30pm and the show starts at dusk. Hours of operation are: Sunday through Thursday 5:30-9pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30-10pm. Admission charged. All active police and fire personal are free everyday. Tickets can be purchased online or at the gate.

Dates/Times: November 10 – December 30, 2023

Light Up the Fair is at the Boone County Fairgrounds, 5819 Idlewild Rd., Burlington, KY 41005

The Christmas Ranch walk through light show

🎄 The Christmas Ranch (a walk through experience with some displays visible from your car)

Make this Christmas season special with The Christmas Ranch. Enjoy train and wagon rides, Christmas shops, bonfires, pictures with Santa, and more.  

The Christmas Ranch is both an OUTDOOR and INDOOR walking experience. There are seven heated buildings in the Village area, connected, for the most part, by gravel walkways. Strollers are welcome.

Many of the displays are viewable from your vehicle as you enter and exit the center village area, or while exploring the outer reaches of The Christmas Ranch by Train and Wagon rides.

Purchase one ticket per car or large van (see their site). No buses, RVs, or oversized trucks allowed.

Dates/Times: Open from November 17 through December 23, 2023 (closed on Thanksgiving Day). November hours: Sun-Wed, 5-9pm and Fri/ Sat 5-10pm. December hours: Sun-Thurs, 5-9pm and Fri/Sat 5-10pm.

The Christmas Ranch is located at 3205 S. Waynesville Rd., Morrow, Ohio 45152

Creation Museum in lights
photo credit: Creation Museum’s Facebook page

ChristmasTown at the Creation Museum

ChristmasTown returns for 2023. Stroll through the museum’s botanical gardens amid the breathtaking display of thousands of multi-colored lights. Enjoy an indoor nativity, petting zoo, festive treats, and more.

Head inside the museum for a free showing of Encounter the Wonder Christmas video in their 4D SFX Theater. See their Christmas Star program in the 4K planetarium (timed ticket required). Or shop inside at the museum store.

Dates/Times: ChristmasTown is 5pm-8:30pm, Tuesday through Saturday from November 24 through December 30, 2023. See their site for details. They are closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

ChristmasTown is at The Creation Museum, 2800 Bullittsburg Church Rd., Petersburg, KY 41080

Tiger Lantern at Cincinnati Zoo's Festival of Light

Festival of Lights at The Cincinnati Zoo

The Cincinnati Zoo will once again be transformed into a “Wild Wonderland” for the 41st annual PNC Festival of Lights! In addition to admiring the beauty of 4 million LED lights, visitors can find the 5 Fiona fairies in Fairyland, take in a blacklight puppet show,  marvel at the spectacular Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, or snack at one of two S’mores-n-More stands.

The North Polar Express Train will be equipped with a longer-than-ever light tunnel to make your ride extra bright! North Polar Express train ride begins at 2:30pm. Santa will be available for visits starting at 4 p.m. through December 23. Madcap Winter Wonders performances happen nightly at the Ampitheater.

Don’t miss their Photo Opp and Elfie Selfie Spots! Test your knowledge during the new scavenger hunt. Make your way through the Zoo to solve these festive riddles and heat things up with a little friendly competition! 

Dates/Times: Festival of Lights will be at the Cincinnati Zoo from Nov. 17, 2023 thru Jan. 7, 20243. The zoo will be open Sunday through Thursday: 10am-9pm and Friday – Saturday: 10am-10pm; Festival of Lights activities begin at 4pm. Closed all day on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

The Cincinnati Zoo is located at 3400 Vine Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45220

Cincinnati Nature Center in lights
photo credit to CNC

Light in the Forest at Cincinnati Nature Center:

Nature Center trails will sparkle with gentle lights reflecting a theme of peace, tranquility, and inspiration featuring the forest as a canvas for an artistic display of light. The softly illuminated trees and paths will feature new installations by five regional light artists, added children’s activities, live music, festive shopping, a decorated historic home, and more!.

Light in the Forest  is a winter tradition offered at Cincinnati Nature Center’s Rowe Woods location. To promote safety, preregistration is required and ticket sales are limited. The event runs from 5:30-9 pm.

Pre-registration is required.

Dates/Times: Light in the Forest is open Thursdays through Sundays, Dec. 1, 2023 – Dec. 30, 2023 (closed Dec. 24 and 25).

Light in the Forest is at Cincinnati Nature Center, 4949 Tealtown Rd., Milford, Ohio 45150

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About the Author
Bridgett Raffenberg
My name is Bridgett Raffenberg and I am the creator of 365Cincinnati. I've been uncovering and sharing all of the best things to do in Cincinnati since 2010. I enjoy exploring new spots, discovering local events, and meeting the people who call Cincinnati home!

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