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!
Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park
November 25, 2022 – December 31, 2022.
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 3, 10 & 17 | 5:00 – 8:00 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, programs and tours.
Donations – Donations of new gloves, hats, scarves and non-perishable food for the Shaker Village Giving Tree are encouraged in place of regular $5 admission and will be 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.
The Elf Shop – Create a unique holiday craft and write your own letter to Santa.
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.
Candlelight Tours – Explore the charm of Shaker Village by candlelight while learning about the holiday traditions of the Shakers. Tour reservations coming soon!
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.
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 11, 2022 – January 2, 2023
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 Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville
There is no better way to celebrate the holidays than gathering your family for Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville.
ICE! returns this holiday season. Step into a wonderland carved by expert artisans out of two million pounds of colorful ice. You’ll see the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in larger-than-life sculptures and even plunge down slides made entirely of ice in this Gaylord Hotels original experience.
Also enjoy The Oak Ridge Boys “Christmas In Tennessee” Dinner Show
GRAMMY® Award-winning and Country Music Hall of Fame members, The Oak Ridge Boys, will celebrate the holiday season at home this year with a 5-week residency as part of Gaylord Opryland’s 39th annual A Country Christmas event. The Oaks Christmas in Tennessee Dinner Show will feature a delicious holiday meal prepared by the resort’s culinary team followed by The Oak Ridge Boys and their band performing Christmas classics, new favorites, and many of the timeless hits that have shaped their legendary career.
Cincinnati Zoo Festival of Lights
November 18, 2022 – January 8, 2023
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 11, 2022 through January 2, 2023
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 75th 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.
Returning once again is Brickopolis, a blizzard of LEGO bricks crafted into fantastical scenes from the magical worlds of Disney, Marvel, DC Comics and Harry Potter. 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 on Friday, November 25. You can visit the jolly elf by his fireplace in the Public Landing adjacent to Holiday Junction. Santa will be busy preparing for the big day but will happily pause to speak with you from a safe distance.
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
Opening Night November 26th, 2022
Christmas Lights Nightly until January 1st, 2023 (Mon – Wed free access *Lights only)
Lights on 5 pm – 9 pm
Artisans Market and Gingerbread House Display
Until December 23rd 5 pm – 9 pm
Tickets – $15 per person (Children 7yrs and younger enter for free)
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. Stroll the breath-taking lights, enjoy music, gather with friends, shop for the perfect gift and don’t miss the most stunning gingerbread house displays in Kentucky. Visitors throughout the Bluegrass come to experience the magnificent 3-acre Christmas light display, highlighted by a magnificent 30’ ribbon tree, 32’ glowing ribbon arch, dazzling 20’ starburst, Christmas sleigh and more. The incredible 14’ illuminated walk-through ornament is the perfect family-photo spot and a beloved location for engagement proposals!
The Christmas Café and Holiday Tent offer warm, lovely places to enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, grab a bite to eat and partake in a variety of programming activities. Eat a sandwich around one of the fire-pits or enjoy a tasty treat while the children are sipping on a delicious hot chocolate.
This year the newly renovated McIntyre Hall will host the 5th Annual Gingerbread House Competition with more than 60 outstanding culinary creations vying for $10,000 in prize money. Champions of each category will be displayed in the historic Allen House, a warm, welcoming mansion that has been expertly decorated for the holidays. Another great location for that family photo! All houses will be on display in the historic Allen House and McIntyre Hall throughout the Holiday Season. November 26th – December 23rd, Thurs – Sun 5-9 PM
Tickets – $15 per person (Children 7yrs and younger enter for free)