There are so many great holiday events around Cincinnati that I look forward to each year. As your calendar fills up, you will want to make sure that you save these dates so that you don’t miss out!
November 18 – January 1
One of my favorite annual traditions as a child and now I share the tradition with my kids.
The Cincinnati Zoo will once again be transformed into a “Wild Wonderland” for the 34th annual PNC Festival of Lights! In addition to admiring the beauty of 2.5 million LED lights, visitors can watch a Madcap black-light puppet show, ride the BB&T Toyland Express, search for fairies in Fairyland, marvel at the spectacular Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, or snack at one of two S’mores-n-More stands.
Nov. 22 – Dec. 30
Find out why this play is annual tradition for young and old
Your favorite holiday tradition. Or your chance to make a new one.
The Playhouse’s version of A Christmas Carol combines faithful storytelling with spellbinding stage magic to bring to life its familiar story of a sinner given one last chance at redemption by four persuasive ghosts. Ebenezer Scrooge undergoes a miraculous Christmas Eve transformation as he views with new eyes his past, present and the possibilities of the future. As he witnesses all those who have improved his life — his first love Belle, his kindhearted employer Fezziwig, his nephew Fred and his heartily abused clerk Bob Cratchit — he realizes that it’s never too late to change his miserly ways. A Christmas Carol’s heartwarming message, hundreds of costumes and thrilling special effects help to make the show one of the Playhouse’s most popular productions each year.
*A Christmas Carol is suitable for all general audiences, including children ages 5 and older. Due to the full-length nature of the show, children younger than 5 cannot be admitted.
December 1 & 2
Find out why you won’t want to miss Saengerfest!
See award-winning choirs from the World Choir Games and visit six great venues in Over-The-Rhine. Tour the Churches, Brewery, and newly renovated Memorial Hall. Help support numerous organizations with one ticket. Get around Christmas Saengerfest by shuttle buses. Buses will be available to take patrons from venue to venue.
Don’t miss Cincinnati’s favorite holiday tradition! Following our Nutcracker tour to the world-renowned Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Cincinnati Ballet returns with twelve performances at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. Join us for the magic and wonder of Frisch’s Big Boy Presents The Nutcracker, with sparkling choreography, awe-inspiring sets, and costumes, and Tchaikovsky’s beloved score played live by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
When Clara receives a nutcracker on Christmas Eve, her dreams take her on a grand adventure. Follow Clara and her Nutcracker Prince to the wondrous Land of Sweets, where a fantastic cast of characters awaits. Meet the Snow Queen and her King, Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier, mischievous mice, brave toy soldiers, chicks, bumblebees and even Clara’s friend Minnie the Poodle. Plus, dozens of local young performers join Cincinnati Ballet’s professional dancers onstage for these holiday performances. It’s a spectacular holiday treat for the entire family!
4. Macy’s Downtown Dazzle (FREE)
6:30 pm Sat, Nov 25, Sat, Dec 2 6:30 pm, Sat, Dec 9
A Crowd Favorite
Each Saturday Santa rappels down the Huntington Center at 525 Vine St., to the Macy’s rooftop to kick off a spectacular fireworks display. This 20-minute family-friendly program also features performances by local choirs. Then, come inside to Macy’s Fountain Place to warm-up with holiday fun.
5. Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa at Newport Aquarium (Kentucky)
November 24 – December 31
Daily from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.*
Discover the magic of Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa® as Newport Aquarium presents a holiday celebration under the sea. It’s an experience that’s overflowing with enchantment and fun experiences the whole family will love.
Join the fun as Scuba Santa fills his air tank with magic bubbles – and sends them throughout the Aquarium creating an enchanted Water Wonderland. Be amazed as you’re surrounded by lights and bubbles dancing to holiday music in Shark Ray Bay Theater, where you’ll also have the opportunity to meet Scuba Santa one-on-one.
The undersea celebration continues with holiday music and more magical bubbles as you journey through the Seahorses: Unbridled Fun Gallery, where the ceiling is filled with hundreds of twinkling sea creature lights. The white gators in Gator Alley are having fun with a truckload of seasonal cheer and special decorations. Now even Mighty Mike loves the holidays.
The all-new Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa is a truly wondrous experience where families connect and interact with the magic of an undersea holiday celebration.
6. An Acoustic Christmas with Over the Rhine
This is one of my all-time favorite bands that I’ve listened to for over 2 decades.
For the 2017 tour, they will be performing as a trio, leaning into three-part harmonies and making an intimate but hopefully holy ruckus. It won’t be all Christmas music: they’ll certainly mix in tunes from many of our records along the way. But hopefully it’s still true; that you haven’t heard anything quite like it.
Tickets are available to the public Oakley shows (December 1-14) will be available on November 21 at 10am
Remaining Tickets for Oakley shows (December 15-23) and all Mason shows (December 15-23) will be available on December 4 at 10am at awaitedshow.com.
8.”Cincinnati Choo Choo” at Krohn Conservatory
Saturday, November 18 through Sunday, January 7, 2017
Discover the magic of being home for the holidays aboard the Cincinnati Choo Choo at Krohn Conservatory! The 2017 Holiday Show will bring you back in time to holiday festivities in the city and remind you of the best family traditions. The conservatory showroom will be filled with ruby red poinsettias, fanciful evergreens, cyclamen, amaryllis, and more of your favorite holiday plants. Delightful botanical architecture surrounded by many miles of train track will be created in natural components by the Applied Imagination team. The train display and historical buildings created by Applied Imagination will immerse our visitors in the sights and sounds of chugging trains and splashing water, with trains overhead and trolleys at your feet. Bring the family to Krohn Conservatory and continue to make great holiday memories!
Visitors can also experience live musical performances on select dates, the Schmalz Family holiday display, extended “candlelight” nights and great photo opportunities.
9. Antique Christmas at the Taft Museum of Art (FREE on Sundays)
November 3, 2017—January 7, 2018
Escape to a winter wonderland of Christmas past at the Taft’s annual display of antique ornaments, decorations, and toys. Learn more about the festive display here. Kathy and Stewart “Greg” Gregory, lenders to the exhibition, will discuss their collection in upcoming gallery talks.
10. Christmastown at the Creation Museum (Kentucky) FREE
December 8-23, 26-30
Catch a glimpse of the amazing events that surrounded the wonder of our Savior’s birth when you visit the Creation Museum during our free annual Christmas Town event. Enjoy the dazzling lights, see the live nativity, and have fun as you learn about this special time of the year.
November 17, 2017 – December 31, 2017
Open Daily Including Holidays
Monday – Thursday 6 – 9 PM | $20 Per Carload
Friday – Sunday 6 – 10 PM | $25 Per Carload
November 10th through January 1, 2018
This family event features a 2-mile car ride through more than a million LED lights, powered by 10,000+ computer channels. Visitors of all ages will be awed by the larger-than-life trees, glowing snowflakes, dancing candy canes and enchanting tunnels of lights. In the warmth of your own car, you can sing along to the sounds of the seasons synchronized to reflect each holiday display.
The show will begin nightly at dusk and run through 10 p.m. Christmas Nights of Lights will be open every night including holidays.
Admission for the new Christmas Nights of Lights experience is just $6 per person, with children three and under free. All tickets sales are day of, upon arrival.
13. Ohio National’s Victorian Holiday Village (FREE) (Non-perishables food donations requested for the Free Store Food Bank)
One of Greater Cincinnati’s best holiday traditions returns this year with Ohio National Financial Services’ annual Victorian Holiday Village. Back for its 16th year, the Village features a variety of fun holiday activities that will delight parents and children alike – and it’s all free.
Since 2002, more than 42,000 guests have visited the annual free holiday event and enjoyed its complimentary cocoa, cookies, free photos (one per family, please) with St. Nick and more.
The Village is open:
Friday, Dec. 1: 2: 6-8:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 2: 5-8:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 7: 6-8:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 8: 6-8:30 p.m.
This year will feature enchanting houses decorated with holiday scenes, thousands of lights and free, family fun on the grounds of Ohio National at the intersection of I-71 and Pfeiffer Rd. Staffed by Ohio National associates who volunteer their time, the Victorian Holiday Village continues the company’s more than 100-year commitment to community outreach and service.
Back by popular demand, the ONtime Express, a whimsical miniature train that takes guests from the parking garage to the Village. Village visitors will also enjoy the balloon artist elves. The Village will remain lit throughout December, but the refreshments, photos and entertainment is only provided during the four nights above.
While the event is free, all guests are asked to bring a nonperishable food item (no glass containers, please), which will be donated to the Freestore Foodbank. Since 2002, Ohio National associates and Village guests have donated more than 26,000 pounds of food to the Freestore Foodbank. In addition, Ohio National will make its 15th consecutive monetary donation to the Freestore Foodbank to mark the opening of the Victorian Holiday Village.
Ohio National’s Victorian Holiday Village will be open rain or shine. Due to the outdoor terrain and gravel path, the Village is not wheelchair accessible. For the safety of all guests, please, no pets. On-site covered parking for 1,000 vehicles is available. Ohio National is located at the southeast corner of the Pfeiffer Rd. (Exit 15) and I-71 interchange. Pfeiffer Rd. is the first exit south of the intersection of I-71 and I-275.
Winterfest will take place select nights November 24- December 30th and builds on fond memories of previous guests who attended Winterfest in the 80’s. (Get tips for your visit here)
Imagine an old-fashioned winter…rosy-cheeked skaters gliding under twinkling lights, the magic of dazzling holiday shows and carolers in traditional costumes, shops filled with ornaments, trinkets and toys, the aroma of freshly-baked treats and the spirit of everyone’s favorite season captured in an atmosphere of warmth and nostalgia – a place where memories of holidays past are present; a place where memories of holidays now are waiting to be made. Ring in the holidays at WinterFest at Kings Island on select nights through December 30. It’s an unforgettable experience with the park transformed into nine enchanting winter wonderlands featuring ice skating on the Royal Fountain, the Eiffel Tower turned into a magical Christmas tree, up to 17 rides including Mystic Timbers, more than 5 million lights and strolling performers spreading merriment, like Jack Frost and the Sugar Plum Fairy.
All events were accurate at the time of this posting but make sure that you double check with the event source before the event in case there are any changes or cancellations. Click the link for the event’s website.