Lean into the season in Medina, Ohio, with a peppermint twist of classic and kitsch.

Whizzing down the slide from A Christmas Story at Castle Noel signals it's time to move on—but where to next? Stocking up on gifts at Root Candles? Shopping for pierogies in an old grain depot? Or strolling past an evergreen-decked gazebo? Options (and pristine 19th-century architecture) abound in Medina, Ohio, less than an hour south of Cleveland. 

christmas gazebo snowy wonderland
Credit: Nick Hoeller

10 a.m. Meander the Markets

Start with a dark chocolate steamer at 1904 Coffee Bar. It's inside The Exchange Market, a rehabbed grain and feed mill anchored by Keller Meats that showcases local growers and makers. Medina Brewing Company is on the garden level. 

11 a.m. Circle the Town Square

Shrink your gift list at shops like The Gardener's Cottage (nature-centric gifts and garb) and Antiquation (local art and reclaimed items). Grab a treat from Circles on the Square doughnuts or Something's Popping (40-plus popcorn flavors).

1 p.m. Have Pizza with a View

The original Medina County Courthouse and oldest building in town houses the aptly named Courthouse Pizzeria, where New York-style pies come with a town square view. 

2 p.m. Experience Castle Noel

Open year-round, Castle Noel has a silly yet sublime hodgepodge of Christmas displays, including movie memorabilia and reassembled department store windows. Like Ralphie's visit with Santa, your tour ends with a ride down the slide. (Note that reservations are required.)

4 p.m. Visit Root Candles' Flagship Store

Root Candles was founded in 1869 by beekeeper Amos Root and still operates from its original factory. Visit the flagship store to purchase bayberry beeswax candles, a scent said to provide prosperity in the new year.

6 p.m. Sample Big City Flavors

Intimate Thyme2 pairs seafood, like pan-roasted rainbow trout or cedar-plank salmon, with an impressive wine list. For casual cravings, hit the downstairs pub for a perfectly messy burger. 

8 p.m. Fun and Games

Finish the day at Foundry Social, a grown-up playground with billiards, table tennis, duckpin bowling and vintage arcade games. If that's too sedate, head to High Voltage Indoor Karting in the same building. Loser buys drinks at adjacent MADBrewing Company.

Be in the Know About Medina

Impress the locals with your knowledge of Medina.

From the Ashes

Medina nearly burned to the ground—twice. In 1848 and again in 1870, disastrous fires destroyed most of the village's downtown buildings. It took almost 10 years to rebuild the town after the second fire.

Victorian Architecture

Medina's Historic Preservation Board and Community Design Committee have painstakingly preserved Victorian storefronts and the town square. The effort "resonates with people who love the authentic small-town feeling," says Matt Wiederhold, former executive director of MainStreet Medina. "It's a sense of history and maybe a calmer time and place."

Candlelight Walk Event

Medina's history and hospitality will be on full-charm display during the Candlelight Walk, a three-day event held the weekend before Thanksgiving, with Santa on hand and luminarias lining the town square.


A local couple with the last name Klaus—no, we can't make this stuff up—opened Castle Noel as a passion project. It's touted as the world's largest privately owned Christmas collection of its kind. This year Mark Klaus reimagined Toyland. Future plans include a tiki bar with props from around the globe.