If you’re in the Cleveland area during the holiday season, its important to note that there are a few pretty spectacular displays and experiences to be had while here. The botanical gardens are no exception. If you’ve never been the the Cleveland Botanical Gardens in University Circle, it should be on your Cleveland bucket list. Its beautifully maintained throughout the year and has many gorgeous gardens and exhibits both inside and out. During the holiday season though, they put on the beautifully appointed Glow, and the gardens are lit up, uniquely decorated trees line the corridors and the sounds of season fill the air.

So what’s so special about Glow at the Botanical Gardens? Lets start at the beginning, shall we? At the entrance of the exhibit, you will find a huge, gorgeous Christmas tree, perfect for photos! glow-27

After capturing that beauty, take note of the beautifully decorated trees through the halls. Along with these trees, you will find the beginning of the Gingerbread House competition. While some of these were clearly made for the fun of it, others are pretty impressive with their detail and even candy-glass windows! Is that even a thing? It is now…..glow-4 glow-3 glow-2 glow glow-7 glow-6 glow-5

Don’t forget to head upstairs to see more of the entries from the competition.

If you have little ones who need to get some shopping done, consider the Treetop Shop. No parents allowed, you just check your child in and a volunteer will help them pick out gifts for whoever is on their list! Easy!glow-12

Afterwards, (little) kids can hop onto the Garden Express, a small train that circles through some of the lights while playing Christmas music.glow-21

Evergreen adventures can also be fun for the kids, where they can make a craft to bring home.glow-15

And if you’re feeling really adventurous, head on over to the Gingerbread Haus Bakery, where kids of all ages can work on their very own Gingerbread House to take home!glow-11

Feeling hungry? Need a refreshment? Head over the Garden Cafe and grab a seasonal goodie and a nice hot cocoa or coffee while listening to live holiday music.  While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend eating your entire meal here, it is an option if you’re running low on time and need the convenience. They offer soup, salads and wraps.glow-13

Lastly, don’t forget the best part of Glow, the outside lights! Depending on weather conditions, some of the gardens or trails may be closed, limiting on what you can see, but the lights are just the festive touch needed for the holiday spirit!glow-20 glow-19 glow-18 glow-22


For more information including hours and pricing for Glow, click here.

If you’re looking for any unique gifts, be sure to check out the Garden Store while there.

Keep in mind, all of Glow may not be available while there.Many of the trails were closed while we were there due to ice!Plan your trip around the weather if possible and be sure to bundle up…it gets cold!glow-23

Plan to spend a couple of hours while here. Its not really a day long excursion, but definitely something that can be squeezed into an evening after work.

Go during the week if possible- this is a pretty popular event and can get very packed on the weekend!glow-10


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