10 Things To Do in Cincinnati This Weekend (Dec. 24-26)

Holiday attractions are wrapping up their runs this week and next

click to enlarge The Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo - Photo: Adam Doty
Photo: Adam Doty
The Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo

Holiday attractions are wrapping up their runs this week and next, so if you didn't get a chance to fit in some wholesome cold-weather fun, now's the time to do so.

Also, just a heads up, basically everything is closed on Christmas.

Friday, Dec. 24


click to enlarge A Christmas Carol at the Playhouse in the Park - Photo: Mikki Schaffner Photography
Photo: Mikki Schaffner Photography
A Christmas Carol at the Playhouse in the Park

A Christmas Carol at the Playhouse in the Park
Ebenezer Scrooge — and actor Bruce Cromer — are back onstage for this family favorite in 2021. This is Cromer's 17th time playing the Christmas-hating curmudgeon, who finally remembers the reason for the season after being visited by three holiday apparitions. Charles Dickens' tale is brought to life on the Playhouse stage this year with full costuming, characters and special effects. Through Dec. 30. $30-$98. Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mount Adams Circle, Mount Adams, cincyplay.com.

Cincinnati Ballet's The Nutcracker
A favorite family tradition is back onstage at Music Hall as the Cincinnati Ballet presents their annual rendition of The Nutcracker. It’s Christmas Eve, and Clara and her nutcracker prince must wage war against an evil mouse king and journey to the Land of Sweets, where a Sugar Plum Fairy and dancing delicacies from around the globe celebrate Clara’s bravery. Choreographed by the ballet’s artistic director, Victoria Morgan, the imaginative two-act event features swirling snowflakes and Tchaikovsky’s iconic score played by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Through Dec. 26. $29-$129. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cballet.org.

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s annual send-up of Christmas classics is back onstage. Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some!) transforms a production of A Christmas Carol into an irreverent and fast-paced skewering of other holiday favorites ranging from It’s a Wonderful Life to How the Grinch Stole Christmas and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Three actors (and a Drunk Santa, played by Miranda McGee) spend 90-plus minutes of “high octane jollity and frivolity” making merry this season in an adult-friendly romp through both kitschy and nostalgic Christmas favorites. Through Dec. 26. Tickets start at $14. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 1195 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincyshakes.com.

Holiday Junction at Cincinnati Museum Center
The Duke Energy Holiday Trains are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year. The display first debuted in downtown Cincinnati in 1946, and this year’s iteration at the Cincinnati Museum Center’s Holiday Junction features 60 trains, with more than 300 total railcars, zooming along cozy, miniature winter vignettes. Check out the details at track level, or see an overview from above. Through Jan. 3, 2022. Included with admission. 1301 Western Ave.,Queensgate, cincymuseum.org.

Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo
The PNC Festival of Lights — which was just named the No. 1 light display in the nation by USA Today features 4 million LED lights, a North Polar Express train, the fan-favorite light show on Swan Lake, s'mores stands and more. Through Jan. 9, 2022. Included with zoo admission. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.

Saturday, Dec. 25

Take the day off. Spend time with friends and family.


Sunday, Dec. 26


click to enlarge Trains and Traditions at Krohn Conservatory - Photo: Catie Viox
Photo: Catie Viox
Trains and Traditions at Krohn Conservatory

Trains and Traditions, a Cincinnati Holiday at Krohn Conservatory
Krohn Conservatory is upping the whimsy factor this winter with floral show Trains and Traditions, a Cincinnati Holiday. The exhibit features "a tapestry of colorful poinsettias, charming garden railways and beautiful replicas of Cincinnati landmarks created out of 'botanical architecture' by local artisans Applied Imagination," per the Krohn. Look for mini but elaborate stick-like renderings of structures including the Roebling Suspension Bridge, Taft Museum of Art, Union Terminal and the Krohn itself. Trolleys, streetcars, Cincinnati-themed locomotives and even Thomas the Tank chug along both elevated and eye-level railways, all surrounded by holiday flowers, blooming schlumbergera (aka Christmas cactus) and other verdant greenery. Through Jan. 9, 2022. $10 adults; $7 ages 5-17; free kids 4 and under. 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatiparks.com.

WinterFest at Kings Island
Get in the festive mood by visiting WinterFest at Kings Island, where the amusement park has transformed into 11 different “winter wonderlands.” There is ice skating on the Royal Fountain and the 314-foot Eiffel Tower has turned into a festive Christmas tree, shrouded in over 5 million lights. Up to 20 rides remain open, including the park’s 3,265-foot-long wooden coaster, Mystic Timbers. Expect live entertainment throughout the park and tons of activities like carriage rides, ice carvers and Jack Frost’s Igloo Village, plus themed food and drink. Through Dec. 31. $29.99. Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, visitkingsisland.com.

The Shillito's Elves at Findlay Market

This holiday season Findlay Market is featuring a classic Cincinnati Christmas tradition, the Shillito’s Elves. These mechanical elf dolls from Shillito’s downtown department store windows have been around the Queen City since the 1950s, and this year six magical vignettes will be on display at the Leader Furniture Store. The space has transformed into the thematic “Elves on Elder” pop-up. There will be rotating family-friendly events inside the store, including storytelling and crafts. In the evenings after the kiddos have had their fun, the space will change into a “cozy cocktail and musical experience” with specialty cocktails and food from the market. Through Dec. 31; Shillito’s Elves are on display daily and animated on weekends. Free. Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, findlaymarket.org.

Lumaze at the Duke Energy Convention Center
Holiday light viewing doesn’t have to be cold or seen through your car window. Instead, enjoy the seasonal spectacle at downtown's Duke Energy Convention Center this year. Lumaze, an “all-indoor Christmas light festival and market,” kicks off Nov. 26 and lasts through Jan. 1, 2022. Organizers say the theme for Cincinnati's inaugural Lumaze is “Glow Around the World,” where visitors will find “magnificent world landmarks” rendered in light throughout the indoor winter wonderland. Look for LED hopscotch, a fully stocked bar and 100,000 square feet of lights. Through Jan. 1, 2022. Weekday tickets start at $22.99 for adults and $16.99 for seniors, veterans and kids ages 4-12. Prices go up on weekends. Family bundles available. 525 Elm St., Downtown, facebook.com/lumazecincinnati.

Journey BOREALIS at Pyramid Hill
Hamilton's Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum is upping the wow factor once again with its second-annual Journey BOREALIS drive-thru light display. The immersive illuminated experience includes "light art, installation art, and projection mapping," says a release. Displays include an ode to Hanukkah and a journey through a German-inspired candy cane forest (with yarn-wrapped trees), Grinch's Greenland, Bethlehem and the North Pole. This year's soundtrack will be provided by the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra with tracks sung by the Cincinnati Boychoir. Before visiting, download the Otocast app to your phone for a mapped musical experience. Through Jan. 2, 2022. $20 per car Monday-Thursday; $25 per car Friday-Sunday; $15 per car for members; free for Hamilton residents on Tuesdays. 1763 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton, journeyborealis.com.

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