Holiday Activities

Check out this list of all the happenings in Cincinnati this holiday season. You'll find local events at your favorite places. Some of the best theater of the year will also be onstage. And our local museums are hosting some great holiday exhibitions.

Nov 24, 2010 at 2:06 pm


Through Dec. 19: Pop-up Shop in OTR Pop-up shops have grown in popularity around the country as brief occupants of unused retail space. Local businesses including Studio Vertu, Powerhouse Factories, Chocolats Latour, Nati Evolvement Clothing Co. and Artfully Disheveled will have their products for sale in the shop on weekends through the holidays. 1213 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine

Through Jan. 1: Holiday in Lights Enjoy an incredible mile-long holiday spectacle from the comfort of your car in Sharon Woods. 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. 26-Dec. 23), which features carolers, shopping and holiday treats. Admission fee. Sharon Woods, 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville,

Through Jan. 2: Holiday Lights on the Hill This spectacle has been a must see at the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park for 12 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. 2: Christmas at EnterTRAINment Junction Create a holiday tradition for your family at 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. 2:

Light Up the Levee LED lights will illuminate the exterior Riverwalk from the Gallery Building to the Newport Aquarium, synchronized to holiday music. The display will also include a 30-foot tall Christmas tree, ten- and 20-foot spiral trees, five-foot snowflakes, wreaths and more. The animated light shows begin at 6:10 p.m. and repeat every 20 minutes through 11:50 p.m.

Through Jan. 2: Holiday Floral Show One of the largest public greenhouses in existence shows off hundreds of Poinettias and a train display in the winter. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams/Walnut Hills, 513-421-5707,

Through Jan. 2: Festival of Lights For 28th year the Cincinnati Zoo lights up and presents a favorite local holiday event featuring Santa and his reindeer, puppet shows, Mrs. Claus’ story time, ice carving and tons of entertainment for all ages. This year the zoo promises to “glow green” with LED lights. Admission fee. 3400 Vine St., Avondale,

Through Jan. 2: Scuba Santa 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. 20: U.S. Bank Ice Rink on Fountain Square Ice skating is a holiday tradition that never gets old, and you can enjoy it all winter long amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown. Open daily including holidays, the rink welcomes skaters of all ages from 10 a.m. ‘til 10 p.m. or later through December. Skate rentals, lockers, benches and a heated tent with concessions are all available. $3 admission, $3 skate rental. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine Sts., Downtown,

Nov. 25: Thanksgiving Day Race The Thanksgiving Day 10k Run/Walk’s theme is “Live, Laugh, Run One,” celebrating the race’s 101st year. Your “ one” might be another mile, another pound, more me-time or someone you love — this race is all about adding up the reasons to lead a healthy lifestyle. The run benefits local charities, so strap on your Nikes and get out there before you pig out on turkey. 9 a.m. Paul Brown Stadium, Second and Elm Sts., Downtown,

Nov. 26: Light Up the Square Fountain Square is no Rockefeller Center, but Cincinnati’s annual tree lighting 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. To keep with the light theme, the night will conclude with fireworks and a special appearance by Santa Claus. Free. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine Sts., Downtown,

Nov. 26: Holidays in the Bag Support local businesses and find unique gifts as specialty shops in the Gateway District offer discounts. Shoppers will receive a special shopping bag to stuff with sale items. Gateway Quarter, 12th and Vine Sts., Over-the-Rhine,

Nov. 26-28: Winterfair This juried fair of fine art and craft features 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,

Nov. 27-Dec. 19: North Pole Express

The Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad takes you on a vintage holiday train ride to visit Santa Claus each Saturday and Sunday. Take a picture with Santa and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate and a cookie. 127 S. Mechanic, Lebanon,

Nov. 27-Dec. 19: Santa Skates 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. From 11 a.m. To 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 cheese coneys. Skyline Chili will be on-site to keep you warm and your belly full. Free. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine Sts., Downtown,

Dec. 3: Grapevine Wine Walk Hop from store to store during this First Friday progressive wine tasting. Get some holiday shopping done as you travel through the eclectic Gateway Quarter, centered at 12th and Vine streets in Over-the-Rhine. This holiday edition of the monthly event will feature choral music and holiday treats. If you start to get cold, just pop in a shop for another glass of wine!

Dec. 4: Shop and Stroll Main Street rolls out the red carpet for this holiday favorite! Come to Over-the-Rhine to find the best, most unique gifts from your favorite stores like Park Vine, Atomic Number 10, Iris Book Café and more. See, shop and dine Over-the-Rhine for the holidays.

Dec. 4-25: Macy’s Downtown Dazzle This year Santa said, “Sleigh? I don’t need no stinkin’ sleigh!” and traded it in for a harness and some rope. So now at 6:30 p.m. every Saturday in December you can check out Santa, his elves and Rudolph rappelling down the side of the 525 Vine Building to the roof of Macy’s. After they make their landing, enjoy a fabulous fireworks show. The spectacle lasts around 20 minutes, but there will be plenty of street performers, holiday characters and music to keep the whole family entertained for hours. Free. Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine Sts., Downtown,

Dec. 5: Chanukah Celebration: Giving, Giggles & Gelt Ring in

Chanukah with songs, crafts, a giant moon bounce, tzedakah projects, snacks, menorah lighting and more. Everyone is encouraged to bring unwrapped gifts for needy children and teens. Free. Mayerson JCC, 8485 Ridge Road, Ridge,

Dec. 6: St. Nicholas’ Arrival The traditional German Saint Nicholas arrives on horseback with goodies for all the children. MainStrasse Village, Covington,

Dec. 10-Jan. 2: Holiday Fest Cincinnati’s summertime waterpark transforms into The Beach On Ice when it’s too chilly to swim. Water slides and pools get a holiday makeover with light displays, carriage rides, a petting corral, toboggan side and giant ice rink. The Beach Waterpark, 2590 Waterpark Drive, Mason,

Dec. 11: Caroling in the Quarter Local choirs, including Cincinnati Men’s Chorus and the Fairview-Clifton German Language School choirs, will spread holiday cheer at Twelvth and Vine Streets in the neighborhood’s Kristkindl market, a traditional outdoor German holiday market with unique gifts, traditional food and drinks to keep you warm.

Dec. 11: SantaCon Join fellow Santas to spread good cheer on a pub crawl throughout Downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine. 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: New Year’s Eve Blast Ring in 2011 with thousands of your friends and neighbors at Fountain Square’s annual New Year’s extravaganza. The party kicks of at 8 p.m. with a live DJ, free ice skating, drinks 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 Sts., Downtown, www.myfountainsquare.comnewyearseve

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


Dec. 2-18: The Santaland Diaries recounts the daily humiliations and all the you-can’t-make-that-up observations made by David Sedaris during his first New York job: working as an elf in Macy’s Santaland. Season’s Greetings recounts

the story of a cheery homemaker who reveals some disturbing details in her annual holiday letter.

Columbia Performance Center, 3900 Eastern Ave., Columbia-Tusculum, 513-321-9050

Dec. 2-30: A Christmas Carol combines faithful storytelling with spellbinding stage magic to bring to life its familiar story of a sinner given one last chance at redemption by four persuasive ghosts. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mount Adams Circle, Mount Adams, 513-421-3888

Dec. 3-12: Lebanon Theatre Company’s Best Christmas Pageant Ever is a hilarious Christmas tale about a couple struggling to put on a church Christmas pageant, faced with casting the Herdman kids, probably the most inventively awful kids in history. Top of the Shoe Theatre, 120 E. South St., Lebanon, 513-228-0932

Dec. 3-12: Holiday Follies 2: A Trip to the North Pole highlights all of your yuletide favorites celebrating this special time of year, with appearances by Frosty, Rudolph, Susie Snowflake, Jack Frost and that jolly old elf himself – Santa Claus. Presented by Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. Taft Theatre, Fifth and Sycamore Sts., Downtown, 513-569-8080

Dec. 4: Carolfest features the May Festival Choir and a holiday singa-long. 1 and 4 p.m. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Dec. 4-5: Mooseltoe: The Moosical follows a loveable moose as he travels through a wintry wonderland to learn the secret of flight. Victoria Theatre, 138 North Main St., Dayton, 937-228-7591

Dec. 4-5 Feast of Carols welcomes the holiday season with festive choral favorites performed by CCM’s fabulous choirs and a number of guest choirs, featuring a total of 300 voices. Ralph Corbett Auditorium, CCM Village, University of Cincinnati campus, Clifton Heights, 513-556-4183

Dec. 5-28: In Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!), what starts as an annual performance of A Christmas Carol quickly descends into a playful skewering of everyone’s favorite holiday classics. Arnold’s Bar and Grill, 210 East Eighth St., Downtown. 513-381-2273

Dec. 6-12: 2010 Cincy Fringe Festival favorite The Finkles’ Theater Show returns for an holiday performance. Know Theatre of Cincinnati, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-300-5669

Dec. 9: Michael W. Smith brings his It’s a Wonderful Christmas Tour to town. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-621-ARTS

Dec. 9-12: A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley, Israel Horovitz’s adaptation, follows the Dickens original scrupulously but, in bringing it to life on the stage, adds elements of inventiveness and brilliant theatricality which enhance and strengthen its timeless virtues. Parrish Auditorium, Miami University-Hamilton, 1601 University Blvd., Hamilton, 513-737-PLAY

Dec. 10-12: Holidays with the Pops features all the holiday classics courtesy of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-3300

Dec. 10-19: Enjoy Frank Capra’s classic story through the magic of 1940s era radio in Falcon Theater’s It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Drama. Monmouth Theater, 636 Monmouth St., Newport., 513-479-6783

Dec. 11: Santa’s North Pole Express, presented by Wayne Martin Puppets is part of the Saturday Morning Children’s Series. Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, 4990 Glenway Ave., Western Hills, 513-241-6550

Dec. 11-2 Bach’s Mary comes to life in this Founder’s Concert with the help of the twenty-four singers in the Vocal Arts Ensemble. St. Boniface Catholic Church, Northside (Dec. 11), St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, Downtown (Dec. 12), 513-559-0000

Dec. 13: Local celebrities and members of ETC come together to perform Expectations of Christmas, a show of heartwarming stories and songs to raise money for the theater’s nonprofit social services neighbor, Tender Mercies. Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-3555

Dec. 16: Happy Holidays with the Mighty Wurlitzer is like a full orchestra in one organ.

Acclaimed theater organist Jelani Eddington will perform holiday favorites with all the bells and whistles. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-621-ARTS

Dec. 16-26: The Nutcracker returns with mice, soldiers and fairies from Cincinnati Ballet Company. Aronoff Center, for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-621-ARTS

Dec. 19:

Soaring and uplifting, quiet and consoling,

Handel’s Messiah tells a t

imeless story of redemption will warm your heart this holiday season. Presented by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chorus. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-3300,


Through Dec. 31: Happy Holidays features affordable artwork for the holiday season from a group of artists. Collector’s Art Group, 225 East Sixth St, Second Floor, Downtown.

Through Dec. 31: The Holiday Show sweeps you into the festive, sparkling holiday mood with a collection of themed pieces. Miller Gallery, 2715 Erie Ave., Hyde Park.

Through Jan. 2: Toys Through Time invites adults to relive childhood memories and children to make new ones while exploring the toys of yesteryear. A tradition now entering its 16th year, Holiday Junction returns to the Tri-State’s most historic train station with a full slate of activities sure to thrill railroad enthusiasts of all ages. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, 513-287-7000,

Through Jan. 9: Antique Christmas is a lavish old-fashioned display of Christmas as it was lived a century ago. Decorations and toys created in the 19th and early 20th centuries adorn the historic house. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., Downtown, 513-241-0343,

Through Jan. 16: Holiday Train Display at Behringer Crawford Museum offers hands-on fun for all ages. Behringer Crawford Museum, 1600 Montague Road, Devou Park, Covington, 859-491-4003,

Nov. 26-27, Dec.17-18: Merry Miniatures is a holiday exhibition of teeny, tiny, small-scale art. Pendleton Art Center, 1310 Pendleton St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-4339

Nov. 27-Jan. 6: Home for the Holidays features house portraits, Federal and Victorian style decorations, craft activities and recent paintings by Marcia Alscher. Admission fee. Betts House Research Center, 416 Clark St., West End, 513-651-0734,

Dec.10-Jan. 1: Christmas Town at The Creation Museum takes a fun romp all over science and evolution with a live nativity, light displays and live dramas. 2800 Bullittsburg Church Road, Petersburg, 888-582-4253,