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    It's the most wonderful time of the year! In Louisville and surrounding areas, the holiday calendars sparkle and shine with so many events. Here ere are your must-dos for families (and friends!) in Louisville. 


    See The Brown-Forman Nutcracker 

    What Christmas season in Louisville is complete without attending the Nutcracker ballet with the Louisville Ballet? The classic tale of Marie and her nutcracker prince and their journey to the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy will be shown at the Kentucky Center from December 12- December 20. The beauty of this holiday classic paired with the Louisville Ballet's extravagant artistry is like no other, you do not want to miss it this year. Whether it's a family tradition of you are a first time visitor of the Louisville Ballet Nutcracker production, you are sure to be enthralled. Ticket information here. 


    Take a carriage ride and visit Santa

    The jolly old elf returns to the Paddock Shops once again this holiday season to give your children a chance to tell him what they are desiring off of their Christmas lists! Visits with Santa and festive carriage rides will be held every Saturday and Sunday from November 22-December 13. The rides are completely free and will run from noon to 4 p.m. They will also provide face painting to guests and entertaining holiday carolers for the crowds. 



    See Fifth Third Bank's A Christmas Carol 

    A Christmas Carol is another one of those classic tales you just have to see this time of year. It will be playing November 24-December 23 at Actor's Theatre. Of course the play follows along the story line of Ebenezer Scrooge and his spirit visits with Christmas Past, Present, and Future. This classic Dickens' tale has been brought to life on stage at Actor's Theatre for the past four decades and the tradition continues this holiday season. Ticket information here. 


    Revel in Christmastide at Historic Locust Grove 

    Step back in time as you experience an old fashioned Christmas at historic Locust Grove on December 4 and 5. Mark your calendar as this event will sneak up on you quickly at the beginning of December. The tidings of joy from a time long ago will thoroughly get you into the holiday spirit as you enter the home of a family from the year 1816. There will be music, refreshments and crafts for the children. There will also be a chance to purchase gently used antique books. 



    Wonder at Christmas at the Galt House and KaLightoscope 

    The enormous Christmas and holiday extravaganza has returned to the Galt House in downtown Louisville. Christmas at the Galt House runs now through December 27. There are a number of events and experiences to take in, including Breakfast with Santa, a Christmas Tea with the Snow Fairy Princess, entertainment by the Dancing Bellmen, the Dickens Dinner, the Gingerbread house contest, the World's Largest Elf Party, and more. Make a video of you and your guests sleigh riding along on the green screen experience and keep memories that will last all year long. Tickets are generally priced at $15 for adults and children ages 3-12 can enjoy all of the activities and festivities for just $5. Children under age 3 can enter for free. Your ticket includes all day in and out access, so enjoy the activities and the beautiful lantern show, make your way out to downtown for a bite to eat, and then return for more festive fun. See this link to purchase tickets online. Ticket information here. 


    Holiday (and skate!) in the city 

    This venue appears to be a new online addition to connecting residents and visitors to the holiday scene in beautiful and bustling downtown Louisville. The main attraction is ice skating, and the website lists holiday happenings and information for visiting the city during this holiday time of year. The ice skating rink will be open November 23-January 3 in Holiday Square (entrance is located at 4th and Jefferson Streets). You can also visit Santa's House, the World Market, and the Bourbon and Beer Village. Hours and pricing here. 


    Enjoy the holiday train exhibit at Yew Dell Express 

    Train enthusiasts both young and old will delight at the holiday trains on exhibit at Yew Dell in Crestwood. The Yew Dell Express will be available for viewing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the following days: November 27, 28, 29 and December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20. Shop locally here for those on your list and see snow villages and model trains as well as entertain the kids with scavenger hunts and visits with Santa. There is also a holiday wreath making class on December 5, but get registered early! 



    Watch Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" at Derby Dinner Playhouse 

    The classic story of "White Christmas" is showing now through December 31 at the Derby Dinner Playhouse in Clarksville, Indiana. The show is based on the popular movie and is a holiday comedy full of magical holiday cheer, dancing, laughter, and classic music and song selections. Make your way to see it this holiday season, as it is one of those traditional classics! Derby Dinner Playhouse is located at 525 Marriott Drive across the bridge in southern Indiana. According to the website, guests can make their way across the bridge early and enjoy a drink in the lounge at the Playhouse or browse the gift shop for a unique idea. For families, a good choice would be "Jack Frost Saves Christmas!" Ticket information here. 


    Wonder at Lights Under Louisville 

    See the self-proclaimed world's only underground drive-through Christmas and holiday lights display right here in Louisville! This event has become a staple for many families and folks visiting from out of town for years now. The event features over 850 light up displays and 2 million points of light! It's such a fantastic way to kick off the holiday spirit with the family, so load them up in their pjs, drive your own car through the mega caverns, and pack some hot chocolate to enjoy together! Lights Under Louisville is going on nightly now through January 3 at Louisville Mega Cavern. 


    Take an Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour 

    The holiday home tour in Old Louisville is a walking tour of historic older homes in Louisville. For the 39th year, the Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour welcomes visitors to view the largest collection of Victorian mansions and homes as they are decorated to the nines with holiday cheer. It will be held on December 5 and 6 from noon to 6 p.m. Old Louisville is situated between downtown and the University of Louisville's campus. Ticket information here. 


    Go on Santa's Safari at the Louisville Zoo 

    Lastly, get on board with Santa's Safari this holiday season at the Louisville Zoo. He's making a special stop at the Zoo this December to enchant the children and make some special visits with the animals themselves. Event goers can also meet Mrs. Claus as well as Frosty the Snowman. The photo opportunity with Santa is a picturesque one indeed, and you'll also enjoy a singalong, holiday crafts, sweets and treats from Mrs. Claus and more. Don't forget to pick up your Santa Safari passport and make your way through the heated buildings at the zoo as you interact one on one with some of the animals throughout the zoo. Ticket information here. 


    Cover image courtesy of the Louisville Mega Cavern. All other images credited in headings.

    Erin Nevitt's picture

    About Erin Nevitt

    Longtime Louisvillian, I am a children's librarian at heart and have a passion for children's lit. I am most recently a stay-at-home mom who is always on the move, searching for family fun in Louisville. If it's free, it's preferable!

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