Kentucky Tourism
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Kentucky Christmas and Holiday Events

Escape to one of America’s favorite fun holiday destinations

What makes Kentucky one of the most fun holiday destinations in America? A big part of it is the huge number of seasonal events and attractions going on every week here in Kentucky. Christmas and holiday festivals, concerts, parties and other events bring joy to all and make for a more memorable holiday season and a fun destination for festive family Christmas getaways. 

If you’re planning an unforgettable Kentucky Christmas, add a few of these fun winter events and great ideas to your travel agenda and make your visit to one of America’s most fun holiday destinations a memorable family vacation.

Looking for dinner and a show, a tour of holiday lights, toy trains and train rides for children and adults? Find these and more at the holiday events, attractions and activities listed below.


Louisville & Surrounding Area

Maker’s Mark Candlelight Tours
– 12/2 - 12/9 from 5-8 p.m.  
Tis the season to experience this wonderful yearly celebration at the Maker’s Mark Distillery. This after-dark tour features bright lights, holiday décor, seasonal cocktails and sweet treats.  It’s the perfect way for anyone to get into the spirit of the season. 

Nutcracker The Exhibition: 60 Years of Magic and Majesty – 11/9/17 – 1/7/18 
Nutcracker: The Exhibition celebrates Louisville Ballet’s Nutcracker, a beloved holiday tradition in the Louisville community for six decades, from its early amateur company performances in the 1950s to the current lavish production of The Brown-Forman Nutcracker. 
http://fraziermuseum.org/upcoming-exhibitions/ 

Victorian Tea - Conrad Caldwell House Museum – 12/2 – 12/3/17
Join us on December 2nd and 3rd as the Conrad-Caldwell House Museum hosts its 11th Annual Victorian Tea event in conjunction with the Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour.
Set within the Conrad-Caldwell House, this traditional Victorian Tea party will feature a variety of teas, provided by the Louisville Tea Company, and a sampling of savory and sweet treats enjoyed during the Victorian era. The museum will be fully decorated for the holiday season!

Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour – 12/2 – 12/3/17
The 41st annual Holiday Home Tour takes place in Old Louisville, a neighborhood reminiscent of Yuletides past mingled with today’s urban vitality. This national historic preservation district boasts the largest collection of Victorian architecture in the country. Step back in time and enjoy an authentic Victorian Tea or take a moment to relax between tour stops with a free bourbon tasting!

Belle of Louisville – Brunch with Santa & Mrs. Claus – 12/9 & 12/16
Join Santa and Mrs. Claus on a two-hour cruise on the Spirit of Jefferson! With two enclosed decks, she is a boat for all seasons. A delicious buffet brunch will be served, and a DJ! – A whole lot of fun for the whole family! Advanced reservations required.

Louisville Mega Caverns: Lights Under Louisville – 11/17 – 12/31/17

Each year the Louisville MEGA Cavern is transformed into an underground holiday light spectacular for the Christmas season. Load up the kids and enjoy a 30 minute ride through part of 17 miles of underground passageways, which features over 850 lit characters with over 2,000,000 points of light. It's the only underground light show of its kind on the planet.

Santa’s Safari at Louisville Zoo – 12/9 & 12/10 and 12/16 & 12/17
Santa is making a special stop by the Louisville Zoo and he’s bringing some of his North Pole friends along too. Enjoy a visit and photo with Santa plus meet Mrs. Claus and Frosty the Snowman. Grab your special Santa Safari passport and begin your journey through the Zoo’s heated buildings to experience one-on-one interaction with Zoo educators. 
https://louisvillezoo.org/santa 

Cakes with Kris Kringle - Kentucky Derby Museum - 12/2 & 12/9
Come to the Museum to enjoy a pancake breakfast with Santa, then get into the festive spirit with other holiday activities including Storytime with Mrs. Claus, photos with Santa, ornament workshop, meet and greet with Winston, the Museum's resident mini horse and much more!  

Light Up Bardstown –11/24 from 5:30 – 8 p.m.
Kids have fun getting ready for Light Up Bardstown in the Christmas Corner. Get the entire family in the holiday spirit with hot cocoa, cookies, balloons and face painting!  Kick off the Christmas Season with the official lighting of the City of Bardstown’s Christmas tree, as well as the lighting of lampposts wreaths, stars and frolicking deer. Music, refreshments, and Santa will make an appearance!

Barton 1792 Distillery Lantern-lit Tours - 11/24 - every 30 min beginning at 7 p.m.
Following Light Up Bardstown, Barton 1792 Distillery will be serving hot cocoa, egg nog and holiday refreshments in the distillery Visitors' Center and giving lantern-lit tours.

My Old Kentucky Home  - Merry & Bright  - 11/26 – 12/31/17
Experience the traditional, and sometimes odd, Christmas customs of the Victorian era at My Old Kentucky Home! Learn the origins of the Christmas tree, how mistletoe became famous for exchanging kisses, the tradition of the yule log, the history of the Christmas pickle, the legends of Father Christmas and Santa Claus and more.

The 37th annual Live Nativity at Bardstown Baptist Church – 12/16  from 6 – 8 P.M.
Remember the reason for the season at this live portrayal of the Bethlehem manger scene, featuring actors and live animals. Free admission. 

Christmas Tea at Wickland – 12/9 – 12/10/17
Julia Wickliffe Beckham (the only woman in the world to be the mother, sister and daughter of a governor) hosts a Victorian Tea at Wickland, Home of Three Governors.  

Kentucky Railway Museum Santa and North Pole Express
– Dec. 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17 and 21, 22

During the Santa Express, you will enjoy an approximate 1.5 hour train excursion. Santa walks through the train and visits with the children. Don't forget your camera! We will serve cookies and hot chocolate. Children are encouraged to wear their pajamas.

Christmas in the Park - Elizabethtown - 11/22/17 - 1/1/18

This holiday season, treat yourself and your family to this brilliant display of lights at Freeman Lake Park.  With more than 100 displays, Elizabethtown's Christmas in the Park is for everyone to enjoy again and again.  An illuminated roadway will guide you through this beautiful spectacle of Christmas spirit.

Lexington & Surrounding Area

Southern Lights Holiday Festival  – 11/17 – 12/31/17
Over twenty years ago, the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation presented the first ever driving tour of holiday lights, aimed at attracting the local community.  After driving through the lights, guests are invited to park and enjoy the attractions in the Park’s interior, which are designed to entertain every member of the family-from local crafts, model trains and mini train rides, visits with Santa, to the ever popular exotic petting zoo.

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill – 12/1 – 12/31  
This 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 twinkling lights illuminate the Village.


Dicken’s, “A Christmas Carol” at Waveland – 12/1 & 12/2; 12/8 & 12/9 and 12/15 & 12/16
Relive Christmas of the past with scenes from the Dickens’ classic, “A Christmas Carol” at Waveland State Historic Site. Since this Christmas classic was written in 1843, it only seems fitting to celebrate Christmas of the past in a historic home that was built in the same time period.

Victorian Christmas at Whitehall– 12/1 & 12/2; 12/8 & 12/9 and 12/15 & 12/16
The holidays are off to a festive start when you visit A Victorian Christmas at White Hall.  Costumed interpreters are on hand as you stroll through the holiday bedecked mansion and learn about Christmas customs of the Victorian era that people still celebrate today. 

Christmas Candlelight Tours at Ward Hall – 12/8-12/10 and 12/15-12/20
Ward Hall, completed in 1857, is considered one of the nation's finest Greek Revival-style mansions and will be decorated for the holidays and holding candlelight tours.

Santa Claus Train at The Bluegrass Railroad Museum-  12/9-12/10  & 12/16-12/17
Once the train pulls out of the station for a 90 minute train ride, Santa visits with every child. Our Conductors and Car Hosts will help you pass the time while waiting for your turn with the jolly old elf. Enjoy singing carols, watching the winter countryside or just relaxing with your family.

18th Century Christmas at the Fort – Fort Boonesborough State Park – 12/8 & 12/9
Visit the Fort to see and hear the differences in the holiday celebrations of the season during the early settlement of Kentucky. The Fort will be lighted by candlelight, with decorations in keeping with the traditions of the time. 

Lighting of The Trace – Buffalo Trace Distillery – 11/30
Embrace the holiday season in all its magnificence as we illuminate the colorful, festive displays at the Distillery. Featuring the Kentucky State University Choir and a visit from Santa. Candlelight Tour at 5:30 p.m., carols and holiday stories at 6:00 p.m., and Santa arrives at 6:30 p.m.  The drive-through 130,000 light display, Holiday Lights at the Distillery, remains up until 1/2/18 and is free to the public.

Western Kentucky

Grand Rivers Festival of Lights – 11/3 – through the first weekend of January.
Experience the magic of a small town Christmas.  In Grand Rivers our Christmas celebration includes over 700,000 lights and displays in Patti's Settlement and downtown, Musical Christmas productions at the Badgett Playhouse, one-of-a-kind gifts at unique shops, memorable family meals at Patti's Restaurant, and cozy lodging beside Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley.  Join us in Grand Rivers for the day or for the weekend and celebrate Christmas Between the Lakes.


Riverview at Hobson Grove - Starting the Tuesday before Thanksgiving until Christmas
Visitors to Riverview are transported back in time to Christmas 1890 in the setting of Atwood and Julia Hobson's three-story Italianate home.

Northern Kentucky

Light Up the Levee "Grand Illumination" – 11/21/17
Head to the Levee for an evening of holiday music, holiday treats and hot cocoa, a visit from Santa, ice sculpting demonstrations, hula-hooping elves, prizes, and more!  All of this leads to 1.4 million twinkling lights being turned on to illuminate the Levee’s 50 ft. tree!

ChristmasTime at the Ark – 12/8/17-12/23/17 & 12/26/17 – 1/15/18
“Encounter the Wonder” Laser Projection Show - This year, prepare to be captivated as a world-class animated program is projected onto the life-size Noah’s Ark! This iconic 510-foot-long ship will become the screen for a groundbreaking new show during ChristmasTime at the Ark.  

ChristmasTown at the Museum – 12/8/17 –12/23 and 12/ 26- 12/30/17 
Stroll through the Creation Museum’s botanical gardens amid the breathtaking display of thousands of multi-colored lights. Step back in time as you view a realistic recreation of the events surrounding the night of our Savior’s birth. 

Frozen Wonderland Day and Festival of Trees at General Butler State Resort Park – 12/1
Spend your morning with us, we'll have your favorite Frozen & Holiday characters: Elsa, Anna, Krisoff, Olaf, Grinch, Buddy Elf, Cat in the Hat, Ralphie, and of course Santa Claus.  View the array of Holiday Trees decorated by local businesses, civic organizations, and schools.  Along with the decorated trees, special entertainers will all be on hand to top off the Frozen Wonderland experience.

Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa – Newport Aquarium – 11/24 – 12/31
Join the fun as Scuba Santa fills his air tank with magic bubbles - and sends them throughout the Aquarium creating an enchanted Water Wonderland. Be amazed as you're surrounded by lights and bubbles dancing to holiday music in Shark Ray Bay Theater, where you'll also have the opportunity to meet Scuba Santa one-on-one.


Eastern Kentucky

Winter Wonderland of Lights – Ashland  - 11/21 - 12/31
Winter Wonderland provides 850,000 lights throughout Ashland’s Central Park and downtown area beginning the week before Thanksgiving through New Year's Day. 


Jenny Wiley Theatre Presents: A Christmas Carol - Pikeville - 12/1 - 12/20
Ebenezer Scrooge summates his feelings of Christmas tidings and charitable giving, but he's forced to face his selfish ways when three ghosts on Christmas Eve lead him through his past, present and future.

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Elf-apalooza
Dec 15, 2017
Louisville, KY
6 PM      Elf arrival (Rivue Tower)  Greet the elves as they arrive from the North Pole to their remote workshop in Louisville! 6-7:30    E...
Caching for Claus
Dec 16, 2017
Louisville, KY
Jolly St. Nick is at it again! While flying his sleigh over the park, he got distracted by the remote controlled airplanes from our airfield, and dropped some of his gift...
Dec 15 - Dec 16, 2017
Harrodsburg, KY
  $5 After 5: Illuminated Evening @ Shaker Village Friday + Saturday evenings at Shaker Village mean extended hours and special admission! Celebrate the season...
Breakfast with Santa!
Dec 16, 2017
Olive Hill, KY
Have breakfast with “the big guy” Saturday December 16 starting at 9 A.M. Enjoy  a delicious breakfast buffet prepared by Chef Angela Peck at Tierney’s...
Cookies and Cocoa with Santa
Dec 16, 2017
Pineville, KY
Join us the first three Saturdays in December for Cookies and Cocoa with Santa.  Free for children and adults.  Come have your picture taken with Santa and printed o...
Dec 16, 2017
Richmond, KY
The Lyric is happy to present Cinemas & Sweets for the 2017 Holiday Season.  Come join the Lyric Theatre in celebrating the Holidays on Saturday December 16. We will ...
Dec 16, 2017
Richmond, KY
The Lyric is happy to present Cinemas & Sweets for the 2017 Holiday Season.  Come join the Lyric Theatre in celebrating the Holidays on Saturday December 16. We will ...
Dec 15 - Dec 16, 2017
Harrodsburg, KY
$5 After 5: Illuminated Evening @ Shaker Village Friday + Saturday evenings at Shaker Village mean extended hours and special admission! Celebrate the season with a ful...
Nov 24 - Dec 17, 2017
Elkhorn City, KY
A great Christmas story.  Thurs., Fri. and Sat at 7:30 pm. Sunday Matinees at 3 pm.
A Night in Bethlehem
Dec 20, 2017
Lexington, KY
A new star in the sky. A humble birth in a stable. A newborn babe in a manager. In honor of the birth of our Savior, the Bluegrass Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter...
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