Holiday and winter activities in Downtown Akron

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Window Displays

Beginning in the 1950s, Akron area families would flock to the animated holiday window displays in the O’Neil’s and Polsky’s building windows downtown. By the end of the 1980s both O'Neil's and Polsky's stores were gone, leaving a void in local holiday family traditions. Downtown Akron Partnership brought the vintage displays back to the Akron community in 1999.  These holiday displays can be found in the University of Akron Polsky's Building, the O'Neils Building and NEW for 2016 at the Landmark Building  (corner of Main & Bowery) from Thanksgiving to New Year's.

Ohio's Largest Outdoor, Seasonal, FREE Ice Skating Rink

Lock 3’s most popular winter feature is their 10,000-square-foot outdoor ice skating rink, the largest seasonal skating venue in Ohio!  The Lock 3 ice rink opens on Saturday, November 18 for skating through February 20. Admission to the rink is free (must sign waiver); skate rental is $3. Unisex skate sizes 9Y - 15. Skate rental closes one-half hour before rink closes. Concessions available during rink hours. Visit for list of dates and times for ice skating.

Zippy's Little Roo Rink

The University of Akron, Ohio's Polytechnic University, is proud to present the Zippy's Little Roo Rink. The 28' x 48' rink is designed for beginner skaters, age 14 and under, is an all weather, indoor/outdoor synthetic skating surface and is made its debut last year. Zippy's Little Roo Rink will operate during the same hours as the Ice Rink. Visit for dates and times.

Polar Putt-Putt

Visit Lock 3's for 9 holes of indoor putt-putt golf. Fun for all ages. Cost is $3 for 9-holes. Ages 3 and under free. Cookie decorating available for $1. Visit for list of dates and times for putt putt.

Holiday Tree Festival at the John S. Knight Center (November 19-27, 2016)

More than 100 carefully decorated trees are on display each year attracting more than 200,000 visitors. Admission to the tree festival is FREE and donations of trees from local sponsors as well as the purchase of the trees on display raised $300,000 in 2014 for Akron Children's Hospital.

Festival hours are Nov. 19 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Nov. 20 and 27 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Nov. 21-23 and 25 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Nov. 24, Thanksgiving Day, from 2 to 6 p.m.

Countdown to First Night (November 25-December 31, 2016)

The largest community visual arts display in Northeast Ohio in the "Countdown to First Night" calendar in the city of Akron. It is the largest advent-type calendar in the United States. The banners unveiled each night are hand-painted by local schools, churches, artists, community centers, ethnic and civic groups and represent the diversity of the winter holiday season. For more details, visit 

Holiday Lighting Ceremony, Friday, November 25, 2016, 7 p.m. at Lock 3

The city of Akron and Downtown Akron Partnership will light up the night sky over Lock 3. The half hour program hosted by WONE will feature The Ohio City Singers, lighting of the city of Akron Christmas Tree and a must see pyrotechnics show. It is also tradition for guests to stay after the show and ice skate into the night.

Welcome Santa Parade, Saturday, November 28, 2015, 11 a.m. on Main Street

Meet on Main Street the morning of November 26 at 11 a.m. for the Welcome Santa Parade. This annual family tradition features over 75 units including marching bands, floats, costumed characters, dance groups and area organizations. The parade will end with Santa coming to town! Santa will stop at the main stage for the end of the parade entertainment and then come to Lock 3 to meet everyone. After the parade Lock 3 will host the awards presentation. All Lock 3 attractions will be open.

Reindeer Run Sledding Hill

The 150-foot “Reindeer Run,” a sledding hill constructed inside Lock 3. It’s an all-season slide designed to provide a fun ride for children 14 and under. Adults may accompany children on the slide. Only sleds provided by Lock 3 may be used and are rented for $3 for 30 minutes The number of sleds available each half-hour will be limited to ensure maximum fun. For a list of dates and time for sledding or visit Reindeer Run will be open November 20 through February 20.

Akron Children's Museum pop-up site

After years of planning and a very successful pop-up museum at Lock 3 last year, the Akron Children's Museum officially opens on Nov. 25. Come check out fun, interactive exhibits and activities focused on STEM, health and wellness, arts and culture and community readiness. Admission is $5 per person. Regular hours are Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

We triple dog dare you

The Nightlight is proud to invite Joanna Wilson, author of the recently published "Triple Dog Dare," to lead a session of A Christmas Story-themed trivia in front of the former O'Neills department store windows on Sunday, November 27. The windows will be all dressed up, incorporating lots of holiday themes and ideas from the Higbee's storefront as featured in A Christmas Story. We'll even have hot chocolate (ovaltine is optional) on hand to keep you warm while you join in the fun.

Two movie and trivia events will be held that Sunday afternoon: The trivia session for the first screening of the day will be held at 3 p.m., after the 1 p.m. film. Time has been alloted to get from the theater to the storefront. The second trivia session starts at 3:30 p.m., before group travels over to The Nightlight for a 4:30 p.m. screening of the film. A number of prizes will be given to the trivia winners, including a signed copy of "Triple Dog Dare," tickets to the Lock 3 Ice Rink in downtown Akron, tickets to the A Christmas Story house in Tremont and more.

Magical Train

Ride the trackless train through Lock 3 park. Fare is $3. For adults and children. Visit for dates and hours. 

Crafty Mart Presents Cottage Mart 

For a second year, Crafty Mart is proud to bring local artists and makers to the charming wooden cottages located at Lock 3 in downtown Akron for holiday shopping. Cottage Mart will feature all-new curated collection of handmade wares--each weekend is a different assortment of artists and makers, so come down all three weekends.

  • Saturday, Dec 3, 2016 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec 4, 2016 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec 10, 2016 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec 11, 2016 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec 17, 2016 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec 18, 2016 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Breakfast with Santa

Enjoy Breakfast with Santa on December 10, 11, 17, and 18. Breakfast is $10 and includes pancakes with lots of yummy toppings, sausage, hot chocolate, and orange juice. A ticket to ride the Magical Train and your choice of a skate rental, Reindeer Run wristband, or a game of Polar Putt-Putt. Bring your camera for plenty of photos with Santa! Reservations recommended. Visit for details.

First Night Akron 2016 (Saturday, December 31, 2016)

Make plans for New Year’s Eve and join the fun in Downtown Akron! Now in its 21st year, First Night Akron is a New Year’s Eve celebration unlike any other.From 6 p.m.-midnight, enjoy indoor entertainment and fun for all ages throughout Downtown Akron featuring the region's best in music, dance, theater, visual and interactive arts. Entertainment and fun will delight the whole family. Visit for more details. 

Ongoing Events:

November 19 - November 27
Akron Children's Hospital Tree Festival at John S. Knight Center

November 20
The Club @ the Civic presents "Home for Christmas" - Helen Welch CD Launch and Concert at Akron Civic Theatre

November 25
Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony at Lock 3

November 25 - December 17
Holiday Train Ride at Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad/Akron Northside Station

November 26 - December 4
The Nutcracker presented by Ballet Theatre of Ohio at Akron Civic Theatre

November 26 - November 27
Christmas Tree Adventure at Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad/Akron Northside Station

November 26 - November 27
8th Annual Crafty Mart at Akron Art Museum

November 26
Welcome Santa Parade at Lock 3

November 27
A Christmas Story movie trivia game at The Nightlight

November 30 - December 21
Perkins Stone Mansion Holiday Tours at Summit County Historical Society

December 1
Merry Mingle at Musica Performing Arts

December 1 - December 2
Myers School of Art Holiday Shop at The University of Akron Myers School of Art

December 2 - December 4
36th annual Christmas Arts & Craft Show at E.J. Thomas Hall - The University of Akron

December 2 - December 4
36th Annual Christmas Arts & Crafts Show at E.J. Thomas Hall - The University of Akron

December 2 - December 3
Heartfelt Holiday Pop Up Shop at Quaker Square at University of Akron

December 3
Akron Christmas History talk with local book author Joanna Wilson at Polsky Building (University of Akron)

December 3 - December 18
Snack with Santa & the Animals at Akron Zoo

December 3
Santa Breakfast & Visitation Day at Hower House

December 9
UA Nuance - Holiday Concert at Akron Civic Theatre

December 10
37th annual TubaChristmas at E.J. Thomas Hall - The University of Akron

December 10
Lock 3 Jingle Bell Bash at Lock 3

December 10 - December 18
Breakfast with Santa at Lock 3

December 11
Kulas Concert Series Jingle Jazz at E.J. Thomas Hall - The University of Akron

December 11
Christmas Carol Brunch Tea at Hower House

December 11
Holiday Brunch Tea & Tour at Hower House

December 14
Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer - The Musical at Akron Civic Theatre

December 15 - December 16
The 8th Annual Ryan Humbert Holiday Extravaganza: Christmas in the Round at Akron Civic Theatre

December 16
Holiday Open House at Zeber-Martell Clay Studio and Gallery

December 16 - December 18
Christmas by Candlelight at St. Bernard- St. Mary Parish

December 17
The Oakridge Boys Hits & Christmas Show at Akron Civic Theatre

December 18
Holiday Choir Classic at Akron Civic Theatre

December 23
Holiday Hang at NOTO North

December 23
A Christmastime Comedy show w/ Patrick Quinn at Musica Performing Arts

December 31
First Night Akron at Downtown Akron Partnership

December 31
New Year's Eve Celebration with Roxxymoron at Jilly's Music Room

December 8
Home for the Holidays with Helen Welch at E.J. Thomas Hall - The University of Akron

December 12
Cirque Dreams Holidaze at E.J. Thomas Hall - The University of Akron

December 30
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas at E.J. Thomas Hall - The University of Akron