Celebrate the holidays at Hartville

By Nicholas Dekker

Meet Santa during special events every holiday season. All photos courtesy of Experience Hartville.

Generations of families and friends love making lasting holiday memories together at Experience Hartville. During the holiday season, the entire campus comes alive with special events and activities, from live music and carriage rides to sweet treats and even appearances by St. Nick himself.

The 200-acre campus that makes up Experience Hartville — Hartville Kitchen, Hartville Hardware and Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market — is expansive but easy to navigate and invites you to return again and again to explore the new products and menu items at the specialty stores and eateries. Best of all, shopping and visiting Experience Hartville allows you to support local, family-owned businesses and their communities throughout the season.

From the kids to their parents and grandparents, everyone in the family looks forward to the annual Breakfast with Santa at the Hartville MarketPlace. First, families enjoy a hearty breakfast, then each kid receives a goodie bag and sits for a professional photo with Santa. Tickets go quickly, so snag yours as early as possible.

Over the same weekend, the MarketPlace hosts its annual WinterFest, an exciting family celebration with live demonstrations, seasonal treats, and even animals. Gather around to watch professional carvers shape beautiful sculptures out of ice blocks. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride or climb aboard the miniature train. Warm your fingers with a steaming mug of rich hot chocolate, grab a fresh donut or toast s'mores around the campfire. If you're lucky, you'll hear carolers decking the halls with Christmas tunes or even spot a camel led by a Wise Man. Then say hi to Santa and snap a picture to capture your favorite memories.

While shopping for the naughty and nice on your list, stop by Hartville Hardware and visit the 8,000 square foot winter wonderland of decor and curated looks that reflect top decorating trends. Enjoy live demonstrations and seasonal music, including handbells chiming traditional melodies. Get the perfect holiday card photo with your kids or pet and Santa and enjoy once-a-year scratch-off savings during the Christmas Shop Open House.

Check Everything Off Your List

Experience Hartville offers merry-filled holiday shopping and dining for everyone on your list — and maybe the one or two things you want for yourself! The entire campus is a shopper’s dream: boutique shops, stalls selling antiques and vintage collectibles, candy stores and bakeries, not to mention the MarketPlace’s popular outdoor flea market during the warmer months.

The family-owned Hartville Hardware celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2022. That’s 50 years as the place for garden supplies and tools, home décor and housewares, material and inspiration for every DIY project you can imagine. The store spans more than 300,000 square feet, making it the country’s largest independently owned hardware store. During the holidays, it’s your go-to for seasonal décor and unique, personalized gifts you won’t find in the big box stores. Prepare your home for Christmas by browsing handsome artificial trees in every shape, size and color. Then deck it out with a themed tree topper, ornate tree skirt, sparkling garland and engraved ornaments!

Adjacent to the Hartville Kitchen Bakery and within 25,000 square feet of retail space, we’ve created several boutiques and curated more than 20 sophisticated and contemporary brands and collections, including products you won’t see in major retail stores. As you stroll from shop to shop, you’ll have plenty of room to see, touch, and try things out. Find the perfect handbag or a new piece of fine or fashion jewelry. Search for one-of-a-kind gifts or home decor items. Pick out clothing to match your style. Support local makers or a cause you care about with select purchases.

Santa’s smile will brighten everyone’s holiday spirits.

When shopping for the kids, be sure to visit the Children’s Shop upstairs at the Hartville Kitchen. The shop is full of unique finds, from books and clothes to toys and stuffed animals. The kids can climb on Noah’s Ark in the play area and embark on a Santa Scavenger Hunt. Put on your detective hat and follow the clues hidden throughout the shop. Once you complete your quest, you’ll be entered to win a toy-filled prize basket!

You’ll find something for everyone — and we mean everyone — on your list at the Hartville MarketPlace. Featuring three acres of indoor shopping and a diverse selection of vendors, the MarketPlace is where you’ll find the perfect gift. Vendors sell antiques, rustic home décor and holiday decorations, boutique clothing and accessories, books, toys, body care products, handcrafted silverware, and jewelry. Flip through vinyl records, pick up board games, make a custom candy bar at World Chocolate, discover autographed sports memorabilia and order carefully crafted pieces from Amish Furniture of Ohio. Stop by the food court for donuts, pies, coffee, and fresh-made sandwiches.


Speaking of food — who’s getting hungry? Take a break from your holiday shopping to visit Hartville Kitchen Restaurant & Bakery, where homestyle comfort food reigns supreme. It’s no wonder generations of families have gathered there for favorites like fried chicken, meatloaf, roast beef with gravy, taco salads and broiled salmon. Time your meal during one of the restaurant’s holiday concerts featuring Southern gospel groups, tribute bands and other charming performers. Make a night of it and stay next door at the welcoming Comfort Suites Hartville.

At Hartville Kitchen, the food is just as comforting as the company. Many families have a tradition of dining there during the holidays. The Kitchen also offers convenient heat-and-serve holiday meals, including homemade mashed potatoes and gravy and freshly baked rolls to allow you more time to relax and less time preparing for your company. Holiday meals are offered on a pre-order basis only.  

Of course, whether you’re dining in or carrying out, don’t leave Hartville Kitchen without one of its legendary desserts. Choose from their 21 varieties of pies with flavors like coconut cream, Dutch apple, rhubarb crumb or chocolate peanut butter, made from scratch daily. Indulge in their rotating cake selection or fresh baked cookies or breads to round out your visit.

Hartville Kitchen Restaurant & Bakery