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Hot Picks

Northeast Ohio produces more events each week than it would be possible to attend, even if you had a full-time maid, chef, and/or babysitter. Hot Picks: This Week’s Smart Stuff sorts through the lists of concerts, festivals, exhibits, plays, readings and all sorts of other events and pulls out a few that seem out-of-the-ordinary. There will be new things each week, with the list updating each Monday.

Even though we like to think of ourselves as “in the know,” there will always be things that escape our notice. Please feel free to make suggestions to (be aware, we make no promises and the final decision rests with us). Enjoy!


Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age
Nov. 22, 2014 - April 19, 2015
Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Explore the lives of the giants of the ice age. Learn about the mammoths and mastodons, which weighed as much as eight tons and had tusks up to 16 feet long, through a collection of skeletons, casts, tusks, preserved flesh, media and interactive activities. Also, learn about the other creatures, such as the saber-toothed cat, giant short-faced bear and dire wolf. This exhibit is one the entire family can enjoy.

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The Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker
Nov. 26 & Nov. 28 - Nov. 30
State Theatre, PlayhouseSquare

Watch and enjoy as this classic holiday favorite comes to life. Presented by the Joffrey Ballet, with accompaniment by the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra Children's Chorus, this show is one you won't want to miss.

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A Christmas Story
Nov. 28 - Dec. 21
Allen Theatre, Cleveland Play House

The classic story of a boy and his Christmas wish is returning to the Cleveland Play House stage. Adapting some your favorite moments from the motion picture for the stage, including a pink bunny suit, a glowing leg lamp and a triple-dog-dare, this hilarious play is one the entire family can enjoy.

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Deck the Hall Feat. Dazzle
Nov. 28, 2014 - Jan. 3, 2015 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, Akron, Ohio

Bring the entire family and get into the holiday spirit at the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens. Enjoy the spectacular Dazzle light show with more than 350,000 lights, and discover the newest addition to the holiday festivities, Gingerbread Land. With freshly baked gingerbread cookies and warm Bavarian pretzels, this is one event you won't want to miss.

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Winterfest 2014
Nov. 29 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
PlayhouseSquare/Downtown Cleveland

With horse and carriage rides, a tree lighting, fireworks and so much more, Winterfest 2014 is a great way to kick off the holiday season. Taking place in various locations, there is sure to be something for everyone.

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Crafty Mart
Nov. 29 & Nov. 30
Musica, Akron Art Museum & Summit Artspace, Akron, Ohio

Get some of your holiday shopping done at the 6th Annual Crafty Mart. Shop handmade items made by crafters and artisans from the Akron area for unique gifts for everyone on your list.

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The Nutcracker presented by Ballet Theatre of Ohio
Nov. 29 - Nov. 30 & Dec. 6 - Dec. 7
Akron Civic Theatre, Akron

Don't miss the show that the Akron Beacon Journal readers voted as Akron's #1 Holiday Show. This classic ballet is one tradition the entire family can enjoy.

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A Christmas Carol
Nov. 29 - Dec. 23
Ohio Theatre, PlayhouseSquare

Charles Dickens' classic tale of the redemption of Ebenezer Scrooge is coming to PlayhouseSquare. Travel along with Scrooge as he looks into his past, explores his potential future and learns about what is happening in present. This timeless classic has themes and lessons everyone can learn from.

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Glow at the Garden
Nov. 28, 2014 - Jan. 4, 2015
Cleveland Botanical Garden

This is the third year for this event, and it's even bigger and better than the year before. Take a train ride through the garden, go ice skating, decorate a gingerbread house, make a wish on the wishing tree and so much more. One trip just might not be enough.

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Magic of Christmas
Nov. 30 at 2 p.m.
Connor Palace, PlayhouseSquare

Join The Cleveland POPS Orchestra and The Cleveland POPS Chorus for an afternoon full of your favorite Christmas songs and carols, plus a sing-a-long. Soloists, student musicians from local schools, Barbershop quartets and Santa Claus will all be in attendance to get you into the holiday spirit.

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