Visiting Ohio during Thanksgiving lets you take in everything that makes the holiday season a fun, family-filled time. Thanksgiving traditions are similar throughout the state, with Thanksgiving Day devoted to food, family, football, and 5ks with the rest of the weekend reserved for Black Friday shopping and kicking off the Christmas season. Check out these great Thanksgiving destinations to choose the perfect Ohio vacation rental for your family.

1. Columbus

Columbus

Thanksgiving in Columbus is all about family, football, and shopping. The Columbus Turkey Trots starts early Thanksgiving morning, and they have a Kids Tot Trot too. Plan your Thanksgiving dinner for early in the day, because you’ll need an after-dinner-nap to keep pace the rest of the weekend. Head to Tanger Outlets Thanksgiving night for its annual Moonlight Madness and After Thanksgiving Sale. Then, stop for breakfast before finishing your shopping in the Short North Arts District. People in Columbus reserve the Saturday after Thanksgiving for the OSU/Michigan football game, which starts at noon each year. If you aren’t lucky enough to get tickets, go tailgating or watch the game from your vacation rental.

2. Cincinnati

Cincinnati

Cincinnati vacation rentals give you easy access to everything happening Thanksgiving weekend in Cincinnati and Newport, Kentucky. On Thanksgiving Day, take your family on a riverboat cruise. BB Riverboats offers afternoon and evening Thanksgiving Day cruises that include a holiday feast with all the trimmings. Skip the traditional Black Friday shopping, and spend the day at the Hometown for the Holidays festival in Milton listening to strolling carolers sing and taking a horse-drawn carriage ride. Finish off the evening by enjoying the Macy’s Light Up the Square festivities at Fountain Square – the event includes ice skating, live music, and the city’s official tree lighting ceremony, which is followed by a fireworks show.

3. Cleveland

Cleveland
Source: Flickr / Erik Drost

The night before Thanksgiving is one of the year’s busiest nights for bars in Cleveland, so choose a family member to stay with your little ones while the rest of the adults attend The Martini Experience – the event venue changes each year, so buy your tickets online in advance. Thanksgiving Day is about spending time with your whole family – kids included – and there’s no better way to work up your appetite than by participating in the Cleveland Turkey Trot. Then, take the kids to The Cleveland Zoo for its annual Thanksgiving at the Zoo event – admission is free.

4. Dayton

Dayton

In Dayton, Thanksgiving Day is a time to relax with your family and enjoy a good meal, but there are plenty of festivities and events held throughout the weekend to make the city a great Thanksgiving vacation destination. After your Black Friday shopping, head downtown for the Dayton Holiday Festival. The annual event takes place in Courthouse Square, and includes live music, ice skating, the city’s Grande Illumination tree lighting and children’s parade. Complete your Thanksgiving weekend by participating in Dayton’s Turkey Trot, which takes place the Sunday after Thanksgiving along the downtown riverfront.

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5. Yellow Springs

Source: Flickr / Tina Lawson

If you want to experience a small town, community Thanksgiving, head to Yellow Springs. Each year, the First Presbyterian Church hosts a community Thanksgiving Day dinner that’s open to everyone. They serve traditional, vegetarian, and vegan food, and ask that everyone who attends bring a covered dish to share with all of the other guests. On Friday evening, head to Clifton Mill. This historic mill has an amazing holiday lights display that begins the day after Thanksgiving.

6. Toledo

Toledo

Start Thanksgiving Day by participating in Dave’s Turkey Chase – an annual 5k walk and kids run in downtown Toledo. After your Thanksgiving dinner is complete, head to the Toledo Zoo for the Lights Before Christmas display. It includes animation displays, a light display with over a million lights, and the zoo’s Winter Village, which includes an ice slide and live reindeer. Saturday evening, drive into Maumee for the annual Maumee Holiday Light Parade or visit historic Sauder Village for the annual Holiday Lantern Tours.

7. Akron

Akron

Spend Thanksgiving Day relaxing with your family at your Akron vacation rental or head to Papa Joe’s for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The annual Welcome Santa holiday parade takes place the day after Thanksgiving. It features parade floats, costumed characters, and local dance groups. On Friday afternoon, take advantage of the Black Friday sales at the Summit Mall. Visit the Akron Zoo on Saturday evening for the Wild Lights display, and complete your weekend by checking out a Sunday afternoon showing of The Nutcracker, which is presented annually by Ballet Theatre of Ohio at the Akron Civic Theatre.

8. Canton

Canton

Start your holiday by participating in the Perry Rotary Turkey Trot, which begins at the Canton Central Catholic High School. Then, enjoy a massive Thanksgiving dinner buffet with your family at The Amish Door restaurant or visit Mulligan’s for Mrs. Mulligan’s Homemade Turkey Dinner. Black Friday shopping at the Belden Village Mall begins Thanksgiving evening, but not all of the stores open until Friday morning. When you’ve finished your holiday shopping, visit the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum to see the holiday decorations and participate in planned family-friendly activities. On Friday evening, take a ride on The Polar Express. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers Polar-Express-themed rides for pajama-clad families that takes the family to the lighted North Pole Village to see caroling elves and Santa. The ride also includes hot cocoa, cookies, and a reading of the classic Polar Express story.

9. Hocking Hills

Hocking Hills

If you want to spend Thanksgiving weekend bonding with your family, look for a vacation rental in Hocking Hills. The Hocking Hills State Park dining lodge serves a Thanksgiving buffet each year. Then, you can burn off the excess calories with a family hike through the area’s scenic trails. On Friday, begin your holiday shopping in the Historic Square Arts District in Nelsonville and take a ride on the Santa Train – a family-friendly themed train ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad.

 
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