Holiday attractions are in full swing. Look for light shows, holiday theater and tiny trains. Here are 11 things to do this weekend.
Friday, Nov. 26
The PNC Festival of Lights — which has been named the No. 1 light display in the nation by USA Today three years running — returns. This year's fest will feature 4 million LED lights, a North Polar Express train, the fan-favorite light show on Swan Lake, s'mores stands and more, including brand new light attractions like an "Under the Sea" area. Through Jan. 9, 2022. Included with zoo admission. 3400 Vine St., Avondale, cincinnatizoo.org.
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. Nov. 26-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, lumazelights.com.
Kings Island has announced it will be adding a new festive feature to its WinterFest holiday celebrations this year. The Wonderland Parade will be a nightly addition at the Mason-based amusement park during WinterFest. Organizers say the parade will feature “more than 150 festive performers and eight floats with classic themes such as toy boxes, gingerbread houses and even a float for the big man himself- Santa Claus.” The amusement park will transform into 11 different “winter wonderlands” during WinterFest. There will be ice skating on the Royal Fountain, and the 314-foot Eiffel Tower will turn into a festive Christmas tree. The park says the landmark replica will be shrouded in over 5 million lights. Through Dec. 31. Tickets start at $29.99. 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, visitkingsisland.com
The nostalgic mile-long holiday spectacle returns this year, featuring more than 1 million lights decorating over 250 vignettes along a woodland path depicting "everything from Santa Claus and his elves, to every animal on the ark," says the website. There's also an option to buy some special effects glasses ($2 for one pair and three pairs for $5) to enhance the drive. The park has walkable tours of the lights on Dec. 1 and Dec. 29. No cars will be allowed on those nights. Purchase your tickets in advance online or by card at the gate; no cash. Through Dec. 30. $17 per car/truck/SUV; $55 bus; $7 walking ticket.11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville, holidayinlights.com.
Coney Island transforms into a drive-thru Christmas show during Christmas Nights of Lights. Enjoy the warmth of your car while lights manipulated to resemble dancing candy canes, glowing snowmen, colorful tunnels and giant holiday trees are synchronized to Christmas tunes both classic and new, available via your car radio. The two-and-a-half-mile long display features more than 1 million lights. Through Jan. 2, 2022. $7 per person; free for 3 and under; available at the gate. 6201 Kellogg Ave., California, coneyislandpark.com.
Saturday, Nov. 27
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s annual send-up of Christmas classics is back onstage after taking a year off due to COVID. 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. 1195 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincyshakes.com.
A Christmas Carol at the Playhouse in the Park
Like most holiday theater, the Playhouse in the Park's annual production of classic A Christmas Carol went on hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic. But Scrooge — and actor Bruce Cromer — are back onstage for this family favorite. Charles Dickens' tale is brought to life with full costuming, characters and special effects. The Playhouse says, "More than 659,000 people have enjoyed the story of Ebenezer Scrooge at the Playhouse over the past 29 years, comprising more than 1,100 performances (including 168 student matinees)." Nov. 26-Dec. 30. Tickets start at $40. 962 Mount Adams Circle, Mount Adams, cincyplay.com.
The Cincinnati Museum Center's Holiday Junction returns for its 75th year. Visitors can find everything from LEGO builds “featuring whimsical scenes and characters from your favorite books and movies” to historic trains, to scavenger hunts at their winter wonderland. Of course, Santa will be there getting his sleigh ready and feeding his reindeer. Through Jan. 3, 2022. Included with admission. 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, cincymuseum.org.
Sunday, Nov. 28
Krohn Conservatory is upping the whimsy factor this winter with floral show Trains and Traditions, a Cincinnati Holiday. Now open, 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," according to a release. Through Jan. 9, 2022. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for those ages 5-17 and free for kids 4 and under. 1501 Eden Park Drive, Eden Park, cincinnatiparks.com.
Land of Illusion — a haunted horror town during Halloween and a family-friendly splash zone during the summer — transforms into a drive-thru holiday light display this winter. Christmas Glow offers "over 3.8 million lights at the 2-mile long Christmas Around the World drive-thru experience," as well as a petting zoo, Christmas Village (with hot cocoa, fire pits and a 45-foot Christmas tree), Santa's workshop and a gift shop. Nov. 24-Dec. 30. $7 per person. 8762 Thomas Road, Middletown, landofillusion.com.
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. Nov. 19-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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