Holiday shopping, office parties, family get-togethers, wrapping up end-of-year projects at work … the holidays can, quite frankly, be an exhausting time of year! Be sure to make time for some fun and relaxation. This month is overflowing with things to do, and our December event roundup offers you 6 ways to make it a December to remember in Dayton!

This is only the tip of the event iceberg, so be sure to check out our calendar of events and download our Visit Dayton app to explore more.

Image: Dayton Ballet's "The Nutcracker" / courtesy Dayton Performing Arts Alliance

1. Take in an Arts Event

We’re cheating a little bit, by cramming a whole bunch of events under our first selection. The arts calendar for December is an embarrassment of riches! Just take a look at some of these offerings from arts groups in Dayton. Follow the links for more about each.

Dayton Performing Arts Alliance
Hometown Holiday Featuring Amahl And The Night Visitors, December 2 & 3
Dayton Ballet’s The Nutcracker, December 9-11 & 16-18
Handel’s Messiah, December 14
New Year’s Eve: Voyage á Paris, December 31

The Human Race Theatre Company
Who’s Holiday!, December 8-23

Dayton Live
Beth Stelling: The Petty Betty Tour, December 3
Season’s Greetings: A Holiday Cabaret, December 8-11
Voctave, December 15
Million Dollar Quartet Christmas, December 16-18
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis, December 20
Baby Shark Live! The Christmas Show, December 22

Dayton Art Institute
American Myth & Memory: David Levinthal Photographs, through January 15
Joe Fig: Other Artists, through January 15
Netsuke and the Art of Little Wonders, through February 13

South Dayton Dance Theatre
Nutcracker 2022, December 3 & 4

The Contemporary Dayton
World Record (featuring artists Teju Cole, Amy Lynn Powell and James Nares), through December 24
Shop the CoShop for locally and Ohio hand-made fine art and fine craft, and much more

Front Street Gallery
Third Sunday Art Hop, December 18

2. Attend Holly Days at the Arcade

Longtime Dayton residents remember the holiday tradition of Holly Days at the Dayton Arcade. The newly renovated Arcade revived that tradition last year, and it continues in 2022, taking place December 6-8, from 3 to 8 p.m. each day. This year’s three-day event in the Arcade’s Rotunda and Tank event spaces will feature holiday shopping from small business vendors, food trucks and sweet treats, live entertainment curated by Culture Works, cash bars and other holiday surprises. Holly Days is free and open to the public, and more information can be found at the Arcade’s website.

3. See a Holiday Movie

Get away from all the holiday hustle and spend a couple hours getting reacquainted with some holiday movie classics!

The Neon in downtown Dayton features a family holiday film series on Saturdays at 11 a.m. in December:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, December 3
Elf, December 10
White Christmas, December 17

Get details at The Neon’s website.

At the historic Plaza Theatre in Miamisburg, the Holidays on Main Street film series will present a variety of festive favorites through the end of December:

The Muppet Christmas Carol, December 3
I Heard the Bells, December 2-4
Home Alone, December 7 & 14
The Santa Clause, December 7 & 14
A Christmas Story, December 9-11
Elf, December 9-11
White Christmas, December 15-17
The Polar Express, December 15-17
It’s a Wonderful Life, December 18 & 21
Christmas Vacation, December 19, 20, 22, 23 & 24
Die Hard, December 26 & 27
Frozen, December 29 & 30

For more information, go the Plaza Theatre website.

4. Have Some Family Fun at the Dayton Holiday Festival

The 50th anniversary Dayton Holiday Festival, which was featured in a previous blog post, continues throughout the month of December with a wide range of free things to see and do in downtown Dayton, including:

  • The dazzling holiday tree, adorned with golden lights, on Courthouse Square
  • The Rike’s Holiday Windows, on display in the Schuster Center Wintergarden through December 31
  • Memory Lane on Main historical photograph display through January 1
  • Downtown Jingle Lights through January 1
  • Virginia Kettering’s Holiday Train Display in the Stratacache Tower lobby through January 2
  • Noontime entertainment in the Stratacache Tower lobby, December 6-9 & 13-16

For more information, go to the Dayton Holiday Festival website and click here to download the calendar of events.

5. See Dayton’s Holiday Lights

We also featured some of Dayton’s stellar holiday lights in a previous blog post, and those displays continue through the month of December. A few highlights include:

Carillon Historical Park’s magnificent Tree of Light, part of A Carillon Christmas, is in all its glory through December 30. This Dayton landmark is even featured on's 2022 Ohio Holiday Lights Trail! The Washington Township Woodland Lights continue on select dates through December 23. The Downtown Jingle Lights offer a drive-through light show along Monument Avenue and Main Street in downtown Dayton, accompanied by holiday music broadcast on 105.7 FM.

6. Ring in the New Year in Style

If you want to ring in 2023 with an elegant soiree, then look no further than these three distinctly different new year’s events:

The Dayton Performing Arts Alliance’s New Year’s Eve: Voyage à Paris, brings together Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera and the Dayton Phiharmonic Orchestra for an unforgettable evening of music and dance at the Schuster Center. You can find the details here.

The New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Boonshoft Museum offers a fun-filled celebration for the entire family. Guests can dance the night away, snack on tasty hors d’oeuvres and experience the museum through a variety of live experience. The night will round out with a toast at midnight in the Planetarium! Learn more here.

Over at the Yellow Cab Tavern, they’ll ring in the new year with the 5th Annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop and Silent Disco. This unique event is hosted by Zac Pitts and features music from three different DJ stations, as well as a sparkling wine toast at midnight. Check out the Dayton Silent Disco website for details.

Well there you have it – get out and make some December memories! Are there other Dayton/Montgomery County events you’d add to the list? Drop them in the comments! If you’re visiting from out of town–or have out-of-town guests coming to Dayton for the holidays–be sure to also click here for information on the 70 hotels you can find in the greater Dayton area. Post pics of your Dayton adventures on social media and tag them with #DiscoverDayton … we might feature your photos on our website and Instagram page (click through and give us a follow if you don't already!).

For more information on things to do in Dayton, contact the Dayton Convention & Visitors Bureau at 937-226-8211 (Monday-Friday) or download the free Visit Dayton App from Google Play or the Apple Store. Be in the Know on All Things Dayton!

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