It’s easy to shun winter weather by hiding inside, drinking egg nog and watching A Charlie Brown Christmas Special. Instead, celebrate the season by taking in a few local performances or events and mingling with your fellow man.
Aronoff Center for the Arts
Get down to the Aronoff Center for delightful music performances that run the gamut of age and style. Acclaimed guitarist Joe Satriani kicks off the musical month with “The Wormhole Tour” on Dec. 7, and Michael W. Smith follows with his “It’s a Wonderful Christmas” concert on Dec. 9. Ticket prices vary depending on dates and seats.
650 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-721-3344
Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati
Children will delight in Holiday Follies 2: A Trip to the North Pole, featuring Mr. and Mrs. Claus through Dec. 12. This musical adventure to Christmas’ epicenter is a perfect way to get your little ones into the holiday spirit. Check the company’s web site for specific public performance dates and times.
Taft Theatre, Fifth and Sycamore Sts., Downtown, 513-569-8080
It wouldn’t be the holidays in Cincinnati without the Ballet’s presentation of Frisch’s Presents: The Nutcracker. The perennial favorite is performed Dec. 16-26 at the Aronoff Center, and tickets range from $30 to $80. You can also virtually track the Nutcracker by following him on Twitter (@CincyNutcracker) or on Foursquare (CBallet Nutcracker) and meeting up with him around downtown.
Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-621-5219
Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival
Eat, drink and be merry with Cincinnati Shakespeare’s presentation of The Merry Wives of Windsor, running through Jan. 2 (review here). Adult tickets are $28, seniors are $24 and students score with a price of $22. You can also purchase merchandise for your Bard-loving friends and family, including a variety of tees ($18-$21), mugs ($11-$18) and magnets ($3) with Shakespeare’s quotes or the CSC logo.
719 Race St., Downtown, 513-381-2273
Cincinnati Pops Orchestra
Enjoy classic holiday songs at Happy Holidays With the Pops, featuring Grammy Award winner Debby Boone and conductor John Morris Russell, newly named full-time Pops conductor. The lively show encouraging sing-alongs takes place at 8 p.m. Dec. 10-11 and 3 p.m. Dec. 12. Tickets start at $10 for children or $26 for adults.
Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-3300
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Get immersed in the Christmas spirit at the Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Handel’s Messiah at 3 p.m. Dec. 19. Guest conductor Robert Porco leads the May Festival Chorus and the orchestra for this one-performance-only event; tickets start at $10. On New Year’s Eve, the CSO joins with guest conductor Thomas Wilkins, pianist Michael Chertock and vocalists Alysha Deslorieux and John Riddle for Gershwin : From New York to Paris. The evening continues with An American in Paris Ball in the Music Hall Ballroom, where dinner, dancing, drinks and live music culminate in a midnight champagne toast.
Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-3300
Downtown Cincinnati Inc.
Reconnect with friends and family amidst the vibrant feel of downtown at any number of events DCI is hosting this holiday season. Bring the kiddos to read with Mrs. Claus at Macy’s Fountain Place Dec. 11 and 18 or watch the main guy himself rappel down an office building during Macy’s Downtown Dazzle the same Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. You can also do good while you shop: Get your gifts gift wrapped by SPCA volunteers on Dec. 11 or 18 and leave a donation for their service. Or patronize participating stores and restaurants and a percentage of your bill will be donated to Kindervelt and/or Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Duke Energy Holiday Trains
Take a break from shopping this season to celebrate the 65th annual Duke Energy Holiday Train display, running through Dec. 31 (closed Christmas Day) and featuring more than 300 model train cars and 1,000 feet of track. Stop in the Duke Energy building lobby to see the sights 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Get there on the free Holly Jolly Trolley, a free downtown shuttle stopping at various locations along Fourth and Fifth streets 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays. Trolley details: 513-421-4440.
139 E. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-287-1500
Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati
ETC’s annual holiday show features a musical version of Cinderella written by local playwright Joseph McDonough, with music by Fitz Patton and lyrics by David Kisor (review here). It’s a fresh, fun contemporary take on the classic fairy tale that demonstrates being smart is true beauty. Performed through Dec. 31. Tickets are $34-$42 depending on weekday or weekend performance, and children 12 and under are $16.
1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-3555
Know Theatre of Cincinnati
Madeleine L’Engle’s classic fantasy tale A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by 26 publishers because they couldn’t categorize it as a book for children or adults. In a way, they were correct: It’s actually both — a book that kids love and adults appreciate. This adaptation brings a world of imagination and fantasy to life through Dec. 26 (review here). Tickets are $12-$15.
1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-300-KNOW
OVO by Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil presents OVO in Greater Cincinnati for a limited engagement starting April 22. To get tickets before the general public, simply sign up to be a Cirque Club member online (it’s free!) and you can purchase selected tickets with a $10 discount. OVO brings grasshoppers, spiders, a ladybug and other colorful bugs to life in a dazzling show under the Big Top at Coney Island. You’ll be wowed by Cirque’s colorful costumes, upbeat music and amazing acts.
Playhouse in the Park
Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol returns to the Playhouse’s Robert S. Marx Theatre through Dec. 30 (more here). Tickets run $25-$68 for adults, $30 for teens ages 13-19 and $20 for children ages 5-12 (children under 5 not admitted). At the same time in the Shelterhouse Theatre, the infamous Chicago comedy troupe Second City continues its Pride and Porkopolis spoof of the Queen City’s quirks and personalities (review here). Tickets are $30-$67. If you’d rather give than watch, pick up a gift certificate for friends. The $50-$120 certificates include two tickets to a Marx or Shelterhouse production, while a $30 certificate can be used for four seats at a Rosenthal Next Generation Theatre Series performance.
962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, 513-421-3888
Shadowbox hosts the annual Holiday Hoopla extravaganza through Jan. 8. Ticket prices are $30 (adult) and $20 (for students and seniors over 55). Or try the lunchtime version, Holiday Lunchbox, performed at noon Dec. 10-23 for $10 (adult) and $5 (students and seniors over 55). This raucous show features holiday sketch comedy skits and seasonal tunes to brighten your day with holiday cheers and jeers.
Newport on the Levee, Newport, 859-957-7625
Singletary Center for the Arts
Head south for a variety of holiday-themed performances at the Singletary Center in Lexington. The Lexington Philharmonic presents Holiday Pops Dec. 10 (tickets run $25-$52) and Candy Cane Concert: Christmas Through the Eyes of Children Dec. 12 (tickets are $8-$12). The Kentucky Christmas Chorus performs Dec. 14, and The Lexington Singers present Handel’s Messiah Dec. 19 featuring tenor Gregory Turay (tickets are $12-$18).
University of Kentucky campus, Lexington, Ky., 859-257-5030