From an art opening featuring the drummer of The National to a haunted holiday experience and an adorable costumed dog parade, this weekend promises plenty of things to do.
Here are our 11 picks.
Friday, Dec. 10
The spirits of Dent Schoolhouse get in the holiday spirit with a Christmas Nightmare event at the popular haunted house. For two nights only, Charlie the Janitor is Santa Charlie in a scary attraction full of garlands, lights and twisted holiday monsters. Think Krampus, killer elves and really bad fruitcake. 6-10 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11. $25-$55. Dent Schoolhouse, 5963 Harrison Ave., Dent, frightsite.com.
The Naughty List at Arnold's Bar & Grill
The OTRImprov team has taken over Arnold's for the holidays with their annual presentation of The Naughty List. No show is ever the same as the troupe transports viewers to a "magical world to celebrate, skewer, lament, embellish, and extol everything we love, and love to hate, about the holidays," says Arnold's. An a la carte dinner will be available before the show (arrive no later than 7 p.m. if you want to eat). The production takes place in the Arnold's courtyard. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23. $20; dinner not included. 210 E. Eighth St., Downtown, otrimprov.com.
The Regional at the Contemporary Arts Center
The Contemporary Arts Center's forthcoming exhibit breaks ground as being the first "major multi-museum survey dedicated to contemporary artists based in the Midwest," says the museum. The Regional will encompass the work of artists from cities including Detroit, Kansas City, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and more and will include "site-responsive commissions." There will be painting, photography, performance art and installation pieces that bring to the forefront those who are "shaping the current and future discourses of contemporary art and culture," says the CAC. The exhibit has been co-organized with the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri. The opening celebration will include live performances from Bryan Devendorf of The National as well as Curt Kiser from local band Carriers. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test required for entry. The public opening celebration takes place 8-11 p.m. Dec. 10. On view through March 20. Free admission; cash bar. 44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, contemporaryartscenter.org.
The Holiday Pops at Music Hall
Get into the holiday spirit with a little help from the Cincinnati Pops and conductor John Morris Russell. The Pops perform a variety of holiday favorites with help from vocalist Michael Preacely and singers from the Classical Roots Community Mass Choir and May Festival Chorus, as well as dancers from the Studio for Dance. The program is full of Christmas classics like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Silent Night.” You can also watch a livestream of the show on Dec. 11. Remaining shows Dec. 10-12. $25 adults; $20 students; $15 under 17. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatisymphony.org.
Saturday, Dec. 11The City Flea Winter Market
Knock everyone off your list in one place during the City Flea’s Holiday Market at Washington Park — a two-day event with both daytime and evening hours. Stroll and shop local makers offering everything from stuff for kids and pets to apothecary items, artisan eats and vintage goodies. The holiday market is set to have different vendors for each day, so stop by both days if you want to see all that Cincy has to offer. 4-9 p.m. Dec. 11; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 12. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, thecityflea.com.
Holiday Bright Ride
The 10th-annual Holiday Bright Ride invites kids and adults to deck out their bikes with anything and everything sparkly. "Use any kind of lights or reflective thingy you can find to light up yourself and your bike: battery powered twinkle lights, spoke lights, glow light necklaces etc.," write event producers Margy and Mel Ride Bikes on the event page. The ride, which takes place at night, will move at a slow pace and cover flat ground. Meet at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 11. Free. Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, facebook.com.
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 returns on Dec. 11. Don your best Christmas character costume and meet at the "North Pole"(aka Hard Rock Casino) to embark on a group drinking adventure to 50 venues around downtown Cincinnati, Over-the-Rhine and Northern Kentucky. Registration includes a wristband, itinerary with official bar stops, access to food and drink deals and a donation to The Cure Starts Now. There’s a lyric sheet online for songs to sing. Noon-midnight Dec. 11. $10 advance; $15 day-of. Hard Rock Casino, 1000 Broadway St., Pendleton, cincinnatisantacon.com.
Mt. Adams Reindog Parade
Don’t miss out on one of Cincinnati’s cutest and most charitable parades this holiday season: the 32nd-annual Reindog Parade. The Mount Adams Business Guild says along with the parade there will be a costume contest, raffles, celebrity judges and an appearance by Santa himself. There are four prize categories: under 25 pounds, over 25 pounds, master look-alikes and three or more. Dog-friendly bars and restaurants will also be open. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. and the parade kicks off at 2 p.m. Dec. 11. Free. 1055 Saint Paul Place in Mount Adams, facebook.com.
Sunday, Dec. 12
Art on Vine makers market takes over Rhingeist for an afternoon of shopping, plus beer. With a focus on holiday gifting, vendors encompass crafters and artisans of all stripes selling everything from jewelry and T-shirts to fine art and more. Noon-7 p.m. Dec. 12. Free admission. 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, artonvinecincy.com.
Head to Covington's Sixth Street Promenade for a German-style holiday market in the center of MainStrasse. There will be more than 25 artisans selling their wares in the outdoor set-up, along with food and beverage options. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 12. Free. Sixth Street, Covington, facebook.com.
Red Dog's Santa Paws at MadTree Brewing Co.
Has your dog been a good boi this year? If so, head to Red Dog's Santa Paws event at MadTree where Santa will be stopping by. The dog-friendly party includes photos with the man in red (by Alyssa Jeanine Photography), treats, a dog and cat toy-drive and special pet-focused vendors. Stitches & Sass will have bandanas and bow ties, Pugalicious Pet Treats will have freeze-dried goodies, MaiRo & Co Dog Treat Bakery will be slinging cookies and DOGNATTi offers dog-breed-focused goods. Proceeds from the photos will benefit the League for Animal Welfare. Noon-3 p.m. Dec. 12. $10 suggested donation. 3301 Madison Road, Oakley, facebook.com.
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