What are some great Central Kentucky holiday trips that are very close or just a few hours away?  Here’s a list of some wonderful Christmas and seasonal fun in Central KY.

Start near home and work your way all around the region! 

For more information about an event or destination just click it!

Holiday Road Trips

Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park

November 24, 2023 – December 31, 2023

Enjoy this Central KY tradition with a car full of family or friends.  Load up and drive through the thousands of lights then stop by the indoor displays to see Santa, train displays, the petting zoo and more! 

Illuminated Evenings at Shaker Village

Saturday, December 2, 9, 16, 2023
4 pm – 8 pm

During the holiday season, Shaker Village will bustle with light-hearted moments that remind us of long-ago winter days filled with wonder and laughter. Make time to delight in life’s simple gifts with family and friends, as lively music, merriment and candlelight illuminate the Village.

Illuminated Evenings will feature holiday music, roaring fires and twinkling lights! Each Saturday evening will feature different performers, as well as programs and tours.

A portion of your admission will be donated to local charity:
Ages 3+: 
Annual Passholders & Ages Under 2: Free

Meet Santa & Mrs. Claus – Take a picture with Santa in the cozy Farm Deacon’s building. He’ll be available and ready to pose at no additional charge from 4-8:00 p.m. You can also catch his No. 1 helper, Mrs. Claus, strolling around the Village.

The Elf Shop – Stop by this special space to create holiday crafts and join in on activities for Santa’s youngest helpers.

Bonfires & Hot Drink Stations – Warm up around our fire pits while you roast marshmallows and enjoy delicious, complimentary hot chocolate and spiced cider.

Special Holiday Music – Enjoy special performances from regional musicians in the 1820 Meeting House.
December 2nd: The Bluegrass Dulcimer Club and Cellist Laurel Hambrick
December 9th: The Danville Children’s Choir and Danville Sings
December 16th: The Central Kentucky Saxophone Quartet and Les Jongleurs

Candlelight Tours – Explore the charm of Shaker Village by candlelight while learning about the holiday traditions of the Shakers. Tickets available for purchase here.

Jingle Bell Shuttle – Tour the historic Village on a “decked out” hay wagon as you learn about Kentucky’s largest National Historic Landmark.

Tree Lighting – Gather with your family and friends around the outdoor Christmas Tree at Shaker Village for caroling and the lighting of the tree.

Donations – Donations of new gloves, hats, scarves and non-perishable food for the Shaker Village Giving Tree will be collected and given to local families in need.

The Shops Extended Hours – The Shops have been filled to the brim with new merchandise brought in to celebrate the holiday season.

Holiday Performances  

Enjoy The Nutcracker, holiday music, movies and more!

Holiday Train Rides

Enjoy Santa Trains at the Bluegrass Railway Museum
Enjoy the North Pole Express and the Santa Express

Lights Under Louisville

November 10, 2023 – January 1, 2024
1841 Taylor Ave Louisville, KY 40213

Louisville Mega Cavern’s Lights Under Louisville returns with more than 40 themed displays, multiple projection areas, approximately 900 lit characters, new exciting themes, two laser locations, multiple light tunnels, holiday music and over 6,000,000 points of light that will immerse visitors in a megadose of holiday cheer. It’s the only underground light show of its kind on the planet!

LIGHTS UNDER LOUISVILLE at the Louisville Mega Cavern allows the public to drive their own vehicle through the cavern during the Christmas season. Experience this one of a kind holiday attraction and begin a new family tradition! Load up the kids and enjoy the sights and sounds of LIGHTS UNDER LOUISVILLE.

ICE! featuring The Polar Express at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville

November 10, 2023 – January 1, 2024

Discover an incredible holiday getaway with ICE! featuring The Polar Express™, fan-favorite activities, and live shows for all ages. Click HERE to learn more about our activities. 

Make unforgettable memories and enjoy exclusive privileges as an overnight resort guest. Or spend a delightful day experiencing dazzling displays, delicious treats, and festive activities.

Cincinnati Zoo Festival of Lights

November 17, 2023 – January 7, 2024

The Cincinnati Zoo will still be shining bright as we’re once again transformed into a “Wild Wonderland” for the 40th annual PNC Festival of Lights!  Come early for more animals and stay for the 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.

Sunday – Thursday 10 am – 9 pm
Friday – Saturday 10 am – 10 pm

PNC Festival of Lights Activities begin at 4pm
PNC Festival of Lights is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas
PNC Festival of Lights is included in Zoo admission. Visit the Zoo early and stay for the lights!
North Polar Express train ride begins at 2:30pm
Dec. 23rd is the last night to visit with Santa
Full costumed characters may not be allowed in the Zoo.

Holiday Junction at the Cincinnati Museum Center

November 10, 2023 through January 8, 2024
Daily hours vary

From the child with their eyes peeled for visitors from the North Pole to the teen counting every LEGO brick to the grandparent watching model trains zip through a mini metropolis, our signature holiday experience brings families together in ageless joy. And this year our beloved Duke Energy Holiday Trains are celebrating their 77th season.

The Duke Energy Holiday Trains have been a Cincinnati holiday staple since 1946, delighting generations since they first debuted downtown in 1946. Track-level views reveal intricate details of the display, where over 300 rail cars and 60 locomotives steam past anxious passengers waiting to board while cars sit with snow to their hubcaps and the perfect trees strapped to their roofs.

Holiday Junction features bursts of winter whimsy that greet you as soon as you enter the door. The Northern Lights display serves as the perfect backdrop for family photos as wispy green lights dance behind you and snow-rimmed trees surround you. The history of the Duke Energy Holiday Trains is also told through an interactive storybook filled with photos of the iconic trains over the decades.

The Holiday Scavenger Hunt features hidden objects in the garden railway layout begging you to walk around, peel your eyes and scour every detail tucked away in the snowy hills.

Returning once again is Brickopolis, a blizzard of LEGO bricks crafted into fantastical scenes from the magical worlds of Star Wars, a winter holiday wonderland, amusement park, medieval village and local landmarks. The whimsical display is another seek and find treat surrounding a stunning LEGO metropolis complete with running trains, active seashores and hijinks by the local residents.

Of course, no holiday is complete without a visit to Santa. Santa makes his grand arrival by helicopter courtesy of UC Health on Friday, November 24. You can visit the jolly elf by his fireplace on the Mezzanine in the Ruthven Gallery.

Also returning this year is the OMNIMAX® film Rocky Mountain Express, where you can immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of the Canadian Rockies aboard a historic steam locomotive.

Holiday Junction is free for Members and $10 for non-Members or just $5 with any other Museum admission.

Click HERE for the Lex Fun 4 Kids Review of the Museum Center. 

Christmas at Mustard Seed Hill

1122 Main Street, Millersburg, KY 40348
December 1 – 23, 2023
Thursdays – Sundays
Christmas lights will be open for viewing after December 23rd but all other activities will be closed.
Lights on 5 pm – 9 pm

Christmas at Mustard Seed Hill is a spectacular holiday tradition in Millersburg, Kentucky; just 30 minutes north of Lexington in the heart of Bourbon County. This year’s programming includes our breathtaking Light Display, Gingerbread House Exhibit, Artisan’s Market, Holiday Tent and Cafe, Christmas Campfire Reservations, Live Music, and more!

Stroll through the breath-taking lights, enjoy live music, gather with friends, shop for the perfect handmade gift and don’t miss the most stunning gingerbread house displays in Kentucky.

Tickets – $15 per person (Children 7yrs and younger enter for free) Purchase tickets online. Limited number of walk-up tickets available.

The Holiday Events Guide is HERE!
Find Santa, Music, Train Rides, Trees and more!!


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