Holiday Event Listings

Enjoy the holiday events, attractions, music, theater and arts offerings Cincinnati has to offer.


Nov. 25-27: Winterfair is a juried fair of fine art and craft featuring more than 200 artists from across the country. Shop ceramics, glass, wearable art, jewelry, sculpture, painting and photography. Northern Kentucky Convention Center, One West Rivercenter Blvd., Covington,

Through Dec. 31: Enjoy an incredible mile-long holiday spectacle from the comfort of your car in Sharon Woods' Holiday in Lights. Make your way through the park and check out beautifully decorated trees, light tunnels and more than 120 stationary and moving light displays. Then head over to Sharon Center for an indoor Santaland (Nov. 25-Dec. 23), which features carolers, shopping and holiday treats. Admission fee. Sharon Woods, 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville,

Through Jan. 1: Create a holiday tradition for your family during Christmas at EnterTRAINment Junction, the home of the World’s Largest Indoor Train Display during this seasonal showcase. EnterTRAINment Junction is the area’s only train-themed family entertainment center, including the world’s largest indoor train display, kids interactive play area and railroading museum. Admission fee.  EnterTRAINment Junction, 7379 Squire Court, West Chester, 513-898-8000,

Through Jan. 1: The Cincinnati Zoo is the greenest Zoo in America, earning regular recognition for its energy-efficient ways. This year the zoo’s Festival of Lights will include nearly 2 million LED lights, which will save the zoo up to 85 percent on its electric bill during the event. Celebrate the holidays by strolling through themed areas such as Fairyland, Candy Cane Forest and Twinkle Trail. There will reportedly be some rappin’ elves and other costumed characters. Open 5 p.m.-9 p.m. $10 child/senior; $14 adult. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Avondale,

Through Jan. 1: Duke Energy this year donated its beloved holiday trains exhibit to the Cincinnati Museum Center, where it will continue to be annually displayed in the grand rotunda throughout the holiday season. Cincinnati Museum Center Holiday Junction Featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains will present the collection of model trains zipping around a winter wonderland display as part of Museum Center’s Holiday Junction, which offers kids the opportunity to ride around in a special, kid-sized train and meet Santa and reindeer who visit from the North Pole, among many other attractions including a play area and gift shop. $6.50 child; $8.50 adult (free for Museum Center annual membership holders). Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate,

Through Jan. 1: Holiday Lights on the Hill has been a must-see spectacle at the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park for 13 years running. Hundreds of light displays are pulled from storage every year to make this winter wonderland. Peruse around 75 pieces of monumental sculpture on 265 acres of rolling hills in one of the few outdoor sculpture museums in the United States. Admission fee. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum, 1763 Hamilton-Cleves Road, Hamilton, 513-887-9514,

Through Jan. 1: Scuba Santa will be on hand during the holiday season greeting visitors from an underwater tank, with plenty of aquatic friends. Newport Aquarium, Admission fee. Newport on the Levee, 859-261-7444,

Through Feb. 19: What better way to enjoy the brisk December air than an ice-skating session at the Fountain Square Ice Rink. The rink offers skate rental, lockers, benches and a heated tent with vending machines, while nearby restaurants and coffee shops offer many other snacking, dining and drinking options. $3 admission and $3 skate rental. Various hours. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown,

Nov. 24:

The Thanksgiving Day 10k Run/Walk has been a Cincinnati tradition for 102 years. From marathon fanatics to first-time walkers, all types of locals start off the biggest pig-out day in a healthy way. Everyone will be participating to benefit charities like The Drop Inn Center or The Neediest Kids of All. So strap on your Nikes and run for all of the above. Then pig out on turkey. 9 a.m. Paul Brown Stadium, Downtown,

Nov. 25:

Fountain Square is no Rockafeller Center, but Cincinnati’s annual tree lighting,

Light Up the Square

, is quite nice. To keep with the light theme, the night will conclude with fireworks, and Santa Claus is rumored to make a special appearance. Free. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown, packs just as much punch as NYC’s. Come early and be prepared to stay late as the Queen City officially welcomes the holiday season with this spectacular tradition. Last year’s tree was the biggest and brightest yet — standing at 60 feet tall, draped with 20,000 white lights and a five-foot tall illuminated red star — and this year’s tree promises to be even grander.

Nov. 26:

Support local businesses and find unique gifts as special shops in Over-the-Rhine celebrate Small Business Saturday . The event kicks off at Findlay Market at 11 a.m. From there, shoppers are encouraged to explore OTR where local businesses will have ticket raffles and giveaways throughout the day. Round off the event at The Lackman for a special happy hour celebration 4-8 p.m. Over-the-Rhine,

Nov. 26-Dec. 24:

Santa Claus is taking time out of his busy schedule this season to join skaters at the Fountain Square ice rink every Saturday and Sunday for Santa Skates .   From 11 a.m.-noon each weekend, Santa will mix, mingle and glide around the rink and he wants to see the whole family! And did you think Santa liked cookies? He actually prefers coneys. Skyline will be on-site to keep you warm and full with plenty of grub. Free. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown,

Dec. 2-3:

Celebrate your favorite ballclub at RedsFest . Meet current and former players, play interactive games, peep hard-to-find memorabilia and enjoy activities for all ages. Proceeds benefit the Reds Community Fund. Duke Energy Center, Sixth and Elm streets, Downtown,

Dec. 10: Join fellow Santas to spread good cheer on a pub crawl throughout Downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine with SantaCon. This spirit filled holiday event starts on Fountain Square.  Santa Clauses will sing songs, make merry, and generally spread good cheer through the city. One catch: you must be dressed as Santa to participate! Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine Sts., Downtown,

Dec. 31:

Ring in 2012 with a thousand of your friends and neighbors at Fountain Square’s annual New Year’s extravaganza, New Year’s Eve Blast . The party kicks of at 8 p.m. with a live DJ, free ice skating, booze from the ice bar and plenty of holiday snacks. At midnight, the sky will light up with a dazzling fireworks show. Happy New Year! Free. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine streets, Downtown,

Dec. 31: Celebrate a swingin’ new year at Know Theater and CityBeat’s annual gangster-themed shin dig, the NYE Speakeasy Party. Enjoy casino games, Charleston lessons, martinis, snacks and champagne, of course! Know Theater, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine,


(For more information about upcoming holiday performances, see feature story on page 23.)

Through Dec. 31: Ensemble Theatre’s world premiere of Snow White, the eighth collaboration between composer and lyricist David Kisor and playwright Joe McDonough, is a holiday musical fairytale that kids and parents can enjoy. Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati, 513-421-3555

Dec. 1-17: New Edgecliff Theatre’s The Santaland Diaries looks at the comically darker side of Christmas through the eyes of David Sedaris’ memorable experience as a seasonal worker elf at Macy’s Christmas Winter Wonderland. NET also pairs with Cincinnati’s live storytelling group True Theatre to present trueCHRISTMAS, featuring real people telling real stories about their own memorable holiday experiences. These paired performances create a night of excellent holiday storytelling. Columbia Performance Center, 3900 Eastern Ave., Columbia-Tusculum, 888-588-0137

Dec. 1-23: Based on the timeless film, this heartwarming musical adaptation of White Christmas features 17 Irving Berlin songs and a book by David Ives and Paul Blake. Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, 4990 Glenway Ave., Covedale, 513-241-6550

Dec. 1-30: What would the holidays be without A Christmas Carol? Catch up with Scrooge and Co. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mt. Adams, 513-421-3888

Dec. 2-4, 10-11: The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati presents Holiday Follies at the beautifully renovated Taft Theatre, featuring lots of local references. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown, 513-721-8883

Dec. 3: Covedale Center for Performing Arts will present Holiday Punch featuring the Frisch Marionette Company. 4990 Glenway Ave., Covedale, 513-241-6550

Dec. 4-24: Get the most holiday bang for your buck with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s annual extravaganza, Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some). Arnold’s Bar and Grill, 210 E. Eighth Street, Downtown, 513-381-2273

Dec. 15-22: Northern Kentucky University’s Commonwealth Theatre Company takes a look at the joys and stresses of the holiday season in A Christmas Survival Guide. NKU Corbett Theatre, Highland Heights, Ky., (859) 572-5464


Dec. 4: The Cincinnati Metropolitan Orchestra presents its Holiday Concert, conducted by David F. Allen. Seton Performance Hall, 3901 Glenway Ave., Price Hill, 513-941-8956

Dec. 2-31: The

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the

fifth-oldest symphony orchestra in the U.S., presents Winterscape featuring Andrew Grams and Ray Chen (Dec. 2-3), Handel’s Messiah featuring James Bagwell and the May Festival Chorus (Dec. 17-18 at Christ Church, 5165 Western Row Road, Mason, and Dec. 18 at Music Hall) and A Swingin’ New Year’s Eve Concert and Ball (Dec. 31). Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-3300

Through Dec. 11: Cincinnati Pops Orchestra: Happy Holidays with the Pops is holiday feast  served up in the grandeur of Music Hall with the voice of five-time Grammy winner Sandi Patty. 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. $25 and up. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Dec. 15: Happy Holidays with The Mighty Wurlitzer takes over Music Hall. 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-744-3344


Dec. 7: The Athenaeum Chorale celebrates the holiday season with Advent Lessons and Carols. 6616 Beechmont Ave., Mount Washington, 513-231-2223

Dec 10-11: The Vocal Arts Ensemble presents Christmas with VAE


St. Boniface Catholic Church, 1750 Chase Ave., Northside (Dec. 10) and Summit Country Day Chapel, 2161 Grandin Road, Hyde Park (Dec. 11). 513-559-0000


Dec. 15-24: Victoria Morgan, now in her 15th season as artistic director and fourth season as CEO of Cincinnati Ballet, first performed the The Nutcracker at age 8. Now she’s presenting the world premiere of her own version, The New Nutcracker, which will feature more than 100 young ballet students and gymnasts. Music will be performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. $55-$80. Procter & Gamble Hall, Aronoff Center for the Arts, Downtown,

Nov. 25-Dec. 4: de la Dance Company will perform The Nutcracker Jazzed Up!, a Duke Ellington twist on a classic yuletide adventure. Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-721-3344


Dec. 3: Saturday Morning Children’s Series presents Frisch Marionette’s Holiday Punch. Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, 4990 Glenway Ave., Western Hills, 513-241-6550