Ultimate Christmas and Holiday Fun Guide

Christmas in Cincinnati is definitely one of our favorite times of year! It’s a time to see the lights, take pictures with Santa, enjoy all the holiday train displays, see the live nativities, and so much more.

Ring in this holiday season with these fun Christmas and Holiday Events happening in Cincinnati!

Click the links for full details; all dates are for the 2020-2021 holiday season.

50+ Holiday and Christmas Things to do in Cincinnati

Please keep in mind that event details could change based on future recommendations made by the individual community, the state of Ohio, and/or public health departments.

Be safe and stick with COVID-19 recommendations which includes, among other things, wearing a mask, keeping a physical distance of 6 or more feet, and staying home if you’re not feeling well. Get more info here: CDC.

Christmas and Holiday Fun for 2020:

Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains is at Cincinnati Museum Center through January 3, 2021, Friday-Sunday from 10am to 4pm. See our pics and read about our 2019 visit here. Advance ticket purchases are required.

The winter wonderland that is the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo will be back,  Nov. 21, 2020 – Jan. 3, 2021. Things will be different for 2020 (have you heard that a few times before?!). Reservations are required for this year’s light show. Read our tips for your visit to Festival of Lights.

Fountain Square Ice Rink will open on November 7, 2020 AND they’re adding bumper cars to the mix this year! Fountain Square will be the only rink in the Tri-State to offer Bumper Cars on Ice this fall and winter. They will operate alongside ice skating from Nov. 7 to Feb. 15, seven days a week. Bumper Cars may be driven by adults as well as children ages 7 and up and will allow for individuals with limited physical abilities to enjoy the rink in a new way. The ice rink will open this year with new COVID-19 procedures in place, including a timed reservation system with a maximum of 80 patrons and increased cleaning processes.

The Krohn Conservatory’s Holiday Show for 2020 is “A Very Merry Garden Holiday” and it will be open November 14, 2020- January 10, 2021. See our pics and read about our visit to the 2019 Krohn Holiday Show here. closed for the season effective Nov. 23.

See Scuba Santa at the Newport Aquarium! It’s a Water Wonderland full of playful penguins, colorful holiday lights, and a flurry of magical bubbles. See Scuba Santa swim underwater with a tank full of sharks and tell him what you want for Christmas. Meet cheerful elves straight from the North Pole and join in the fun as Scuba Santa fills the Theater with bubbles. His magical bubbles will float and fall all around you and every time a bubble pops, a wish will come true for someone throughout the world. Plus, make a stop at Scuba Santa’s Post Office where you can write your special holiday wish on a magic bubble and drop it in Scuba Santa’s Mailbox. Scuba Santa will be at The Newport Aquarium every day from November 27 through December 24, 2020.

Christmas at EnterTRAINment Junction will be open Nov. 14, 2020 – Jan. 1, 2021. See the magic of Christmas at the home of the World’s Largest Indoor Train Display. Take a “Journey to the North Pole”, where you can meet Mrs. Claus and Santa himself.

Santa’s Workshop will be set up on Saturdays in Washington Park, November 28 – December 19, 2020. Santa and his merry band of Elves will be spending time in Washington Park making gifts, ornaments and other fun creations from 1pm to 3pm. Bring your family, bring your wish lists, but most all–be sure to bring your cameras!

Downtown Dazzle, a Fountain Square event that is typically held every weekend between Thanksgiving and Christmas, not return until 2021.

More Christmas and Holiday Fun:

Drive Through Christmas Light Shows are abundant in Cincinnati this year. Check out our list and visit one each week!

Christmas Tree Farms in Cincinnati

Cutting down your own Christmas Tree is a wonderful way to start the season! Here’s our list of local Christmas Tree Farms and what you can expect in 2020.

Visiting with Santa might look a bit different this year. Find some tips for booking a virtual visit with the Jolly Ole’ Elf.

Looking for some ways to see Santa in 2020? We gathered up all the spots we could find for Pictures with Santa and Breakfast with Santa.

Take it easy this season and order your Christmas dinner from one of our wonderful local restaurants.

Christmas Shows and Performing Arts:

Will we have any Christmas shows in 2020? The results look pretty dim. I was able to find info for The Nutcracker (see below) and will add more shows as the dates get closer.

The Nutcracker from the Cincinnati Ballet, now a virtual event. Dec. 17-20, 2020 at Music Hall. Join Clara and her Nutcracker Prince in this re-envisioned holiday classic, The Nutcracker presented by Frisch’s Big Boy. During a Victorian Christmas party, a visit from her uncle and a mysterious gift begin Clara’s wondrous journey to a magical land. Along the way, Clara meets a colorful cast of characters including the Snow King and Queen, some frisky mirlipoos, a bouquet of beautiful flowers, and of course, the Sugar Plum Fairy. Artistic Director Victoria Morgan’s colorful, whimsical choreography is a treat to behold, in this hour-long performance in the Music Hall Ballroom.

Find Christmas and Holiday Information here):
🎄 Christmas Craft Shows
🎄 Things to do in December
🎄 Things to Do Over Winter Break
🎄 Things to Do on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

25 thoughts on “Ultimate Christmas and Holiday Fun Guide”

  1. Yet again, an amazing resource! Thank you so much for all the amazing information you provide!

    PS: This will also make our work a bit easier as we prep more holiday activities for the Geocaching community. 🙂

    Have a Happy Thanksgiving and a Very Merry Christmas!

  2. I definitely recommend checking out Awaited. This is not your ordinary Nativity play. Free cookies, hot cocoa and more before the show. Then a broadway quality spectacular that is easily on par with anything you would see at the Aronoff. And it’s all free. There’s no “big ask” for money and no “hard sell” to try to convince you to change churches or anything like that. Just an unforgettable retelling of the Christmas story from the perspective of the angels. Great music, great effects and an inner warmth that puts you in just-the-right spirit for Christmas. Over 50,000 people saw the show last year. Because of such high demand, the number of shows is being doubled so over 100,000 can see it this year. I’d still make sure to order tickets early to be sure you get some. Sorry for the long commentary, I’ve just never met anyone who doesn’t love this show after seeing it!

  3. Don’t forget the Barn Quilt Trail right across the river all over Boone County. We have 80 up now. They can be viewed 365 days a year any time during the day. Free. Go to website BooneBarnQuilts.com for locations. These are quilt blocks painted on boards on barns. All can be seen from the road.

    Love your site. Thanks!!!

    Joyce Foley

  4. November 14 please join the Salvation Army Toy Shop Auxiliary for their 59th annual fundraiser and doll auction at the Armstrong Chapel United Church in Indian Hill for a.silent auction, live auction, doll accessories and hand made items. Music and refreshments with homemade cookies will be served.
    Event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 11:00. Silent auction 11:00 to 12:30. Live auction begins at 12:45.
    50 yd line tickets to the St.Louis, Baltimore & Houston games available in the auctions. See 700 dressed dolls on display to be given to needy children this Christmas. It’s a fun event, come with friends.

  5. Victorian Holidays at William Howard Taft National Historic Site are free! On Saturday December 19th, everyone is invited to join us from 11 a.m. to 3: 30 p.m. for our special Father Christmas event. During this time children and adults will be delighted to learn about the traditions of Christmas and will make holiday crafts to take home with them. Father Christmas will be here taking photos with everyone and all children will receive a free photograph. Free carriage rides starting at 1:00 pm.

    Our Victorian Holiday Celebration will culminate on Sunday, January 3rd, when the annual New Year’s Open House will be hosted by The Friends of the William Howard Taft Birthplace. Everyone is invited to visit the Taft House from 1 to 4 p.m. to enjoy holiday refreshments with The Friends — just as guests would have during the 1850’s. All events are entirely free and open to the public!
    William Howard Taft National Historic Site is located at 2038 Auburn Avenue and is open from 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. year round. Visit the Directions page for instructions on how to get to the park.

  6. Can you add our new exhibit of children’s books?

    Once Upon A Time: The Mysterious World of Children’s Stories is on display in the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room at the Main Library from Nov. 18 to Jan. 8, 2017. Covering four centuries and featuring traditional fables, chapbooks, nursery rhymes and fairy tales from the Public Library’s rich book collection, this exhibition is sure to delight the whole family.

    The Cincinnati Room’s special hours are: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. For more information call 513-369-6900. Visit http://www.CincinnatiLibrary.org/programs/exhibits.html.

  7. There is also a Live Nativity, at Loveland United Methodist Church. This event is free to the public, and hot chocolate and cookies are provided. It is a rebuilt town of Bethlehem where visitors are guided through the scenes by Luke in the retelling of the Birth of Jesus.


    Friday December 2nd 6pm-9pm
    Saturday December 3rd 6pm-9pm
    Sunday December 4th 4pm-7pm

  8. Heard an interview from someone from Crossroads. Said there are always seats available because people order more tickets than they need. He said to just show up and you will get a seat. Didn’t say they would be great, but you would have a seat.

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