The holiday season is a time for families to come together and celebrate. Louisville, Kentucky is a city that offers a range of festive activities and attractions that will make this year’s holiday season unforgettable. From mesmerizing light shows to fun outdoor activities, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Let’s explore the highlights of the best family holiday events happening in Louisville during Christmas 2016.
Whether you’re a local or visiting from out of town, Louisville has plenty of Christmas events that will put you in a festive mood. From parades and festive processions to holiday markets and craft fairs, there are countless ways to experience the magic of the season. Let’s take a closer look at the highlights of the best holiday events that you and your family won’t want to miss.
Lights Shows in Louisville
One of the most captivating aspects of the Christmas season in Louisville is the mesmerizing light shows that illuminate the city. With several spectacular displays to choose from, families can indulge in the magical wonderland of holiday lights.
Louisville Mega Cavern
The Louisville Mega Cavern is one of the most popular destinations for lights shows in Louisville. The underground light show features over 850 lit characters and over 3 million points of light. The whimsical display starts in early November and lasts through December. Families can enjoy the show from the comfort of their own car, making it the perfect socially-distanced activity.
|Location:||1841 Taylor Avenue, Louisville, KY 40213|
|Dates and Times:||Early November – December|
|Price:||$35 per car (up to 7 people), $55 per van (8-15 people)|
Light Up Louisville
The annual Light Up Louisville event is a holiday tradition that has been entertaining families for over 38 years. The event features a festive parade, live entertainment, and a spectacular tree-lighting ceremony in Jefferson Square Park. The park is transformed into a winter wonderland with stunning holiday lights that will leave you in awe.
|Location:||Jefferson Square Park, 601 W Jefferson St, Louisville, KY 40202|
|Dates and Times:||November 27, 2020 – January 5, 2021|
Christmas Lights at the Galt House
The Galt House Hotel is another popular destination for families to experience the magic of Christmas lights in Louisville. The hotel features nightly dancing lights and festive music on their waterfront fountain. Families can also take a stroll through the hotel’s Winter Wonder Lane, which is lined with over 200 whimsical displays.
|Location:||140 N 4th St, Louisville, KY 40202|
|Dates and Times:||November 27, 2020 – January 3, 2021|
|Price:||$15 per person, children under 2 are free|
With so many stunning and enchanting light shows to choose from, Louisville is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to experience the magic of the holiday season.
Parades and Festive Processions
One of the most exciting aspects of Christmas in Louisville is the variety of parades and festive processions happening throughout the season. From traditional holiday parades to quirky street processions, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
The “Light Up Louisville” parade kicks off the holiday season on November 23rd, featuring floats, balloons, and marching bands, all illuminated with festive lights. The parade starts at Fourth and Liberty Streets and travels down Main Street to Ninth Street.
On December 2nd, the “NuLu Holiday Open House” transforms East Market Street into a winter wonderland. The event includes a festive procession featuring Santa Claus, the Grinch, and other holiday characters, along with live music, local food and drink vendors, and unique holiday shopping opportunities.
The “Bardstown Road Aglow” event on December 3rd features a parade that starts at the Mid City Mall and travels down Bardstown Road, showcasing holiday floats, marching bands, and costumed characters. The event also includes a holiday marketplace, live music, and special discounts at local businesses.
The “Louisville Christmas Parade” on December 10th is one of the largest parades in the region, featuring over 100 units, including floats, marching bands, dancers, and Santa Claus himself. The parade starts at Fourth and Broadway and travels along Main Street to Ninth Street.
Whether you prefer the traditional charm of the “Light Up Louisville” parade, the quirky fun of the “NuLu Holiday Open House” procession, or the festive atmosphere of the “Louisville Christmas Parade,” the parades and festive processions in Louisville offer a unique way to get into the holiday spirit with family and friends.
Holiday Markets and Craft Fairs
If you’re looking for unique holiday gifts and handmade crafts, be sure to check out the holiday markets and craft fairs happening in Louisville this Christmas season.
One of the most popular events is the 28th Annual Christmas Gift and Decor Show at the Kentucky Expo Center. Running from November 11th through the 13th, this show features over 700 vendors selling everything from home decor to personalized gifts.
|WinterFair!||November 19th-20th||Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church|
|Holiday Craft Bazaar||December 2nd-4th||Bellarmine University|
|The Flea Off Market Holiday Bazaar||December 10th-11th||The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage|
If you’re looking for a more unique shopping experience, be sure to visit Butchertown Market, a community of local artists and craftsmen who sell their items in a re-purposed 19th-century building.
Don’t miss out on the festive performances and activities associated with these events. From carolers to hot cocoa stands, holiday markets and craft fairs are a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.
Family-friendly Shows and Performances
What better way to get in the festive spirit than by attending a family-friendly show or performance in Louisville during the holiday season? From traditional ballets to modern musicals, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Here are some of the must-see shows and performances happening in Louisville:
|The Nutcracker||December 9-23, 2016 (select dates)||Various times||Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts|
|A Christmas Carol||December 9-23, 2016 (select dates)||Various times||Actors Theatre of Louisville|
|Elf: The Musical||December 20-27, 2016||Various times||Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts|
These shows and performances are suitable for all ages and will provide a memorable experience for the whole family. Don’t miss out on the chance to see some of Louisville’s finest talent on stage this Christmas.
Make sure to book your tickets early as these shows are very popular and tend to sell out quickly. Check with each venue for details on pricing, performance schedules, and any special events associated with the shows.
Outdoor Ice Skating and Winter Activities
Experience the magic of winter in Louisville by visiting one of the city’s outdoor ice skating rinks. Lace up your skates and hit the ice at one of the following locations:
|Alpine Ice Arena||Varies by day||$8 admission, $3 skate rental|
|Jeffersonville Ice Rink||Varies by day||$12 admission, $2 skate rental|
|The Rink at Parklands||Varies by day||$12 admission, $3 skate rental|
These rinks offer a variety of activities, from open skating sessions to lessons for beginners. Additionally, there are many winter activities to enjoy in Louisville. Take a trip to the Louisville Mega Cavern for their underground zip line and aerial ropes course, or enjoy the annual Winter Woods Spectacular at the Louisville Zoo.
Get into the holiday spirit by taking a stroll through the Winter Illuminations display at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. This one-mile walk through the forest features stunning light installations that create a magical winter wonderland.
Don’t forget to warm up with a cup of hot cocoa after your winter adventure. Many local coffee shops and restaurants offer seasonal drinks, such as peppermint mochas and eggnog lattes, to keep you cozy.
Festive Dining Experiences
Christmas in Louisville, KY is not just about the lights, parades, and outdoor fun. It’s also about the delicious festive dining experiences that are waiting for you and your family to indulge in. Whether you’re looking for an intimate date night, a group celebration, or a family-friendly feast, Louisville has a range of options that are sure to satisfy your appetite.
|Restaurant||Special Menu Offerings||Entertainment||Price Range|
|The Brown Hotel||A holiday-inspired prix fixe menu that includes roasted turkey, glazed ham, and gingerbread cake.||Live music in the lobby and a visit from Santa Claus.||$50-$100 per person|
|Mussel & Burger Bar||Special seasonal cocktails, such as a cranberry margarita, and holiday-inspired burgers.||Live music and trivia nights.||$15-$25 per person|
|The English Grill||A five-course prix fixe menu that includes grilled beef tenderloin and apple tart.||A live harpist and a visit from Santa Claus.||$100-$150 per person|
If you’re looking for a unique dining experience, you can book a holiday dinner train on the My Old Kentucky Dinner Train. Enjoy a four-course meal while admiring the beautiful sights of Kentucky’s countryside illuminated by Christmas lights. Prices range from $50 to $80 per person.
For a more casual dining experience, head to the Louisville Christmas Market and enjoy German-inspired dishes like bratwurst, pretzels, and hot spiced wine. This outdoor market also offers a variety of holiday gifts and crafts along with live music and entertainment.
Wherever you choose to dine in Louisville during the festive season, make sure to book your reservations early to avoid disappointment.
The holiday season in Louisville, Kentucky is an exciting time for families to come together and enjoy a range of festive activities and attractions. With so many Christmas events taking place in Louisville in 2016, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
From mesmerizing light shows to festive parades and processions, holiday markets and craft fairs to family-friendly shows and performances, outdoor ice skating rinks to winter activities, and festive dining experiences, Louisville has it all.
As we approach the festive season, it’s important to take time to spend with family and friends, and what better way to do this than by experiencing the magic of Christmas together. We hope this guide has provided you with all the highlights of the best Christmas events happening in Louisville in 2016.
So gather the family, grab some hot cocoa, and make the most of the festive offerings in your community. Happy Holidays from Louisville, Kentucky!