39 Holiday Bar Crawls, Movie Sing-A-Longs, Drag Shows and Solstice Celebrations to Attend in Cincinnati This Holiday Season

A little winter calendar of things to do

Overlook Lodge — Miracle, a national nostalgic holiday bar pop-up experience, returns to transform Pleasant Ridge’s Overlook Lodge into a winter wonderland full of themed cocktails and ugly sweaters. The Overlook will be decked out with a ton of classic Christmasy decor and feature a Miracle cocktail list with drinks like the Christmapolitan, Run Run Rudolph and SanTaRex. Through Dec. 26. Free admission. Overlook Lodge, 6083 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, facebook.com/overlooklodge.

The North Pole Express — Presented by LM&M Railroad, this hour-long train to the North Pole features cookies, hot chocolate and an appearance from Santa and his elves. Through Dec. 28. Coach class: $26 adults; $22 kids/seniors. Deluxe class: $39 adults; $35 children/seniors. LM&M Railroad, 16 E. South St., Lebanon, lebanonrr.com.

OTR A-Glow — This storefront display competition pits OTR businesses against each other to see who can create the most magical winter wonderland in their shop window. Each evening, shops (and residences) will illuminate their displays. Through Dec. 31. Free. Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/otraglow.

The Frog Princess at Ensemble Theatre — Look past the quirks (and warts) and you might just find love. And, more importantly, kindness. At least, that’s the moral center of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s whimsical production of The Frog Princess. No, it’s not a take on that Disney princess tale. With music/lyrics by David Kisor and a book by Joseph McDonough, this Russian fairy tale first premiered at ETC in 1997. It tells the story of Princess Vasilisa (played sweetly by Brooke Steele), who hails from a faraway land shrouded in mystery. Once selfish, she has been cursed to live as a frog unless she is able to bring kindness into her heart. Through Jan. 4. $57 adult; $29 students; $27 child. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, ensemblecincinnati.org.

Ice Rink at Fountain Square — Whether you’re a professional skater or someone who can barely stand on skates, this slice of winter wonderland on Fountain Square is open to everyone. Skate rental is available and concessions include snacks, hot chocolate and alcohol. Santa skates select weekends in December. Through Feb. 2. $6 admission; $4 skate rental. Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., Downtown, myfountainsquare.com. 

The Pedal Wagon Polar Bear Express — While the weather outside is frightful, pedaling on the Polar Bear Express is a cheerful way to warm up your body temp. The 15-passenger pedal-powered wagon stops at local bars in downtown and OTR for drink specials. An electrically assisted wagon is available upon request. BYOB onboard. Through February 2020. $29 adults weekends; $25 adults weekdays; $255 private ride. Pedal Wagon, 1114 Bunker Alley, Over-the-Rhine, pedalwagon.com. 

House Party at the Taft: Tis the Season to Celebrate — The Taft Museum of Art is hosting an after-hours house party with a celebration theme. Partnering with the Cincinnati Young Black Professionals group, expect ornament and card crafting, hot spiked apple cider and a cash bar, a preview of the Taft’s Journey to Freedom: Art Quilts by Cynthia Lockhart and access to Antique Christmas. 5-8 p.m. Dec. 12. Free admission. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., Downtown, taftmuseum.org.

Ugly Sweater Party at Arts OTA — Happy Friday the 13th. Wear your worst ugly sweater to compete for a prize. There will be a dance party, spiked apple cider and egg nog. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Dec. 13. Free admission. Arts OTA, 2141 Central Ave., Brighton, artsota.com.

Ugly Sweater Party on Fountain Square — Head to Fountain Square’s ice rink for a ugly sweater-themed party with a DJ. Bring a gently used coat to donate for free skate rental. 7-10 p.m. Dec. 13. $6 admission; $4 skate rental. Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.

Santa’s Workshop at Washington Park — Two Santas will be visiting Washington Park. Santa Galen and the elves from Happen, Inc. or Gabby Claus and a merry band of elves will be at the gazebo at Washington Park with a letter-writing station and fun activities while kids wait for their free photo with Santa. Photos are free, but you must bring your own camera. Gabby Claus 1 p.m. Dec. 14; Santa Galen 1 p.m. Dec. 21.  Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, washingtonpark.org.

Mount Adams Reindog Parade — Dress your pets in holiday gear for the 30th-annual Mount Adams Reindog Parade. The parade features multiple costume categories including those for small dogs, large dogs and dog/owner look alike. Prizes will be awarded for the most creative, festive and unique costumes. 12:30 p.m. registration Dec. 14; parade begins at 2 p.m. There is a suggested donation to the SPCA to register. 1055 Saint Paul Place, Mount Adams, spcacincinnati.org. 

Cincinnati Santacon — Ho, ho, ho. The annual hibernal holiday pub crawl (or horror show, depending on whether or not you appreciate 10,000 drunk Santas on the streets) known as Cincinnati SantaCon is back — and it’s bigger than ever. This year, drinking destinations in Northside, Covington and Mount Adams have joined downtown and Over-the-Rhine. More than 50 venues across the area are participating. If you feel like you’re ready to don a red suit and imbibe a night’s worth of milk and cookies (aka alcohol) surrounded by up to 10,000 Santas, check out a tip sheet online for how to be your best Santa with a lyric sheet of songs the group will be singing. Remember, this is about the holiday spirit, so don’t drink and drive and don’t be a dick and mess with cops, kids, security or other Santas. Noon-midnight Dec. 14. $15 registration. Leaves from JACK Casino, 1000 Broadway St., Pendleton, cincinnatisantacon.com.

Ugly Sweater & Reindeer Games Pub Crawl — Head to Covington for an ugly sweater-themed interactive pub crawl. Don your worst holiday outfit for fun and games (and prizes) at stops including Parlor on Seventh, Hotel Covington, the Hannaford, Rich’s Proper Food & Drink and Braxton Brewing Co. There will be games at each bar and a chance to win prizes. 7 p.m.-midnight Dec. 14. Free admission. The Hannaford, 619 Madison Ave., Covington, facebook.com/thehannaford.

Krampus at West Side Brewing — Enjoy an evening of beer and the darker side of Christmas. West Side Brewing will release a Krampus Kandy Beer exclusively for the evening while Krampus himself pays the brewery a visit. A portion of proceeds will to go the Boys & Girls Club. 5 p.m.- midnight. Dec. 14. Free admission. West Side Brewing, 3044 Harrison Ave., Cheviot, facebook.com/westsidebrewing.

Macy’s Downtown Dazzle — Experience the magic of Christmas during Macy’s cheerful downtown celebration. Be sure not to miss Santa on his sleigh and stay for a fabulous fireworks show. 5:30 p.m. Dec. 14 and 21. Free. Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., Downtown, myfountainsquare.com.

Cincinnati Black Santa Claus — Black Santa Claus visits the Cincinnati Art Museum. He will be on hand to greet children of all ages, listen to their Christmas wishes and have pictures taken. Bring your own camera! 1-4:30 p.m. Dec. 14. Free. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams, facebook.com/thevoiceofyourcustomer.

Brrrbon Holiday Dinner Cruise — Local distilleries and BB Riverboats have teamed up for this boozy cruise. There will be a buffet of holiday favorites, live music and bourbon. 7-9:30 p.m. Dec. 14 and 21. $60 adults; $42 children. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, bbriverboats.com.

White Christmas Interactive Event — Crowd participation, singing and surprises. This 1954 Christmas classic starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney is a romantic tale that takes place in a Vermont lodge — where it is almost always a “white Christmas.” Crosby and Kaye’s successful song-and-dance team become involved with a sister act and together work to save the failing inn of their former commanding general. 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Dec 15. $15. Esquire Theatre, 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, esquiretheatre.com. 1 and 4 p.m. Dec. 14. $15. Mariemont Theatre, 6906 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, mariemonttheatre.com.

New Stories About Living Jewishly — Adath Israel Congregation is hosting an event with Rabbi Moshe Smolkin to discuss navigating faith and experiences this time of year. And Rabbi Benjamin Chaidell will discuss a different side to the Chanukah story that is “darker and more complex.” 10:30 a.m. Dec. 15. Free. Adath Israel Congregation, 3201 E. Galbraith Road, Amberley Village, adath-israel.org.

Streetside Santa Paws 2 — Head to Streetside Brewery for dog photos with Santa, doggie giftables and dog-friendly drinking. One dollar from every pint will benefit the League for Animal Welfare. 2-4 p.m. Dec. 15. $10 suggested donation. Streetside Brewery, 4003 Eastern Ave., Columbia Tusculum, facebook.com/streetsidebrewery.

Drag Brunch: Sugar Plum Fairies — The queens get festive this holiday brunch. Naughty and nice sugar plum fairies will be stomping it out in this seasonally inspired drag show and brunch featuring family-style dining and Amaya Sexton. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 15. $35 per person; includes brunch, show and a welcome mimosa. Metropole, 609 Walnut St., Downtown, metropoleonwalnut.com.

Elf Trivia Night at Sam Adams — Head to the Samuel Adams Cincinnati Taproom for some Elf trivia. Prizes will be awarded to the top three teams of six or less. 8 p.m. Dec. 17. Free admission. Samuel Adams Cincinnati Taproom, 1727 Logan St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com/samadamscincy.

Christmas Lights Run! Mariemont — Deck yourself out in holiday lights and take a five-mile run through Mariemont. At the end of the run, you can sip on beverages. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 17. Free. Tri-State Running Company, 7433 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, facebook.com/tristaterunning.

Holiday Dinner Cruise — Grab the family and take a trip down the Ohio River with a holiday buffet. 7-9:30 p.m. Dec. 18. $56 adults; $38 children. BB Riverboats, 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, bbriverboats.com.

ODD Presents: Holiday Hysteria! — ODD Presents alternative drag troupe is committed to bringing “queer-centric entertainment in all its forms.” Dress in holiday theme and be ready to get weird. 10:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Dec. 19. Free admission. The Mockbee, 2260 Central Parkway, Brighton, facebook.com/oddpresents.

A Christmas Story Trivia Night — Trivia with a Twist presents a “fra-gee-lay” night of trivia. 7 p.m. Dec. 19. Free. West Side Brewing, 3044 Harrison Ave., Westwood, facebook.com/westsidebrewing.

Riot Rose Variety Presents Dancer and Prancer’s Holiday Revue — A holiday burlesque revue with live music by Mr. Lugosi. 9 p.m. Dec. 20. $15; $50 VIP. Southgate House Revival, 111 E. Sixth St., Newport, southgatehouse.com.

Gremlins and Gremlins 2 at the Esquire Theatre — Catch a double-feature of Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch at the Esquire. A kid gets a new fuzzy pet and breaks some important rules, unleashing a bunch of mischievous monsters on an unsuspecting small town. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 and 2 p.m. Dec. 21; Gremlins 2: The New Batch 10 p.m. Dec. 20 and 4:20 p.m. Dec. 21. $10.25 adults; $7.75 seniors and kids. Esquire Theatre, 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, esquiretheatre.com.

Listermann’s Ugly Sweater Party — The third-annual Listermann ugly sweater party features a competition (judged by bartenders), a photo booth, music and beer. 8-11:30 p.m. Dec. 21. Free admission. Listermann Brewing Co., 1621 Dana Ave., Norwood, listermannbrewing.com.

Egg Nog Jog 5K — The 28th-annual Egg Nog Jog takes festive runners through the frigid and scenic streets of Mount Adams and Eden Park. 10 a.m.-noon Dec. 21. $27. Chapter Mount Adams, 940 Pavilion St., Mount Adams, facebook.com/runningtimeraceservices.

The Christmas Bar Crawl — Take a Christmas Bar Crawl around Over-the-Rhine with a $500 costume contest, drink specials, food specials and more. 4 p.m.-midnight Dec. 21. $20. Below Zero Lounge, 1120 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine, belowzerolounge.com.

Winter Solstice Celebration at Rowe Woods — Head to Rowe Woods to reflect on the ancient tradition of observing the winter solstice (the longest night of the year). Learn about the event’s history and symbolism, the significance of the solstice as we look to spring, take a hike by moonlight, participate in a drum circle and enjoy traditional music and light snacks. The hike is outdoors so dress accordingly. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 21. $15; $10 members. Cincinnati Nature Center, Rowe Woods, 4949 Tealtown Road, Milford, cincynature.org.

Winter Solstice Celebration at Fibonacci Brewing — Celebrate the solstice at Fibonacci with special beer releases, special wine drinks, ornament crafting and live music. Noon-midnight Dec. 21. Free admission. Fibonacci Brewing Co., 1445 Compton Road, Mount Healthy, facebook.com/fibonaccibrewing.

Winter Solstice Celebration — Celebrate the solstice at Imago with an optional potluck, personal reflection, storytelling, art making and the history of solstice celebrations from around the globe. 6-8:30 p.m. Dec. 21. Free but RSVP online; $5 suggested donation. Imago, 700 Enright Ave., Price Hill, imagoearth.org.

Winter Solstice Celebration at Union Terminal — Honor the winter solstice, lunar new year, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas at Union Terminal. There will be hands-on activities to explore holiday traditions around the world. Noon-3 p.m. Dec. 21. Free for members; included with Discovery Ticket. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, facebook.com/cincymuseum.

Lots O’ Latkes — Mayerson JCC is hosting Hanukkah festivities featuring a latke bar, music, crafts and a menorah lighting. 5-6:30 p.m. Dec. 23. Free but RSVP online. Mayerson JCC, 8485 Ridge Road, Amberley Village, facebook.com/mayerson.jcc.

Latkapalooza — Head to Braxton on Christmas Eve for a full-blown party. There will be drinks, a DJ and dreidels. There’s no cover, a cash bar, Kosher eats and a menorah lighting. For ages 21-45. 8 p.m.-12:30 a.m. Dec. 24. Free. Braxton Brewing Co., 27 W. Seventh St., Covington, facebook.com/jewishcincinnati.

WWE Live Holiday Tour — WWE Superstars Roman Reigns and King Corbin face off, with more matches featuring Braun Strowman, Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn and Bray Wyatt. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 26. $19-$503. Heritage Bank Center, 100 Broadway St., Downtown, heritagebankcenter.com.

The Boar’s Head And Yule Log Festival — This medieval pageant comes to Christ Church Cathedral for the 80th year. The performances feature characters in costume — lords, ladies, hunters, cooks, knights and more — with ceremonial mince pie, plum pudding and a roasted boar’s head. 2 and 5 p.m. Jan. 4; 2:30 and 5 p.m. Jan. 5. Free but tickets required; tickets will be distributed 8:30-10 a.m. Dec. 14 at the church. Christ Church Cathedral, 318 E. Fourth St., Downtown, boarsheadfestival.com.

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