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; we are currently updating for the 2023 holiday season.

50+ Holiday and Christmas Things to do in Cincinnati

Christmas and Holiday Fun for 2023:

Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains is at Cincinnati Museum Center starting November 10, 2023. See the Duke Energy Holiday Trains (formerly on display downtown at CG&E) plus all the fun at CMC’s Holiday Junction. Brickopolis will be back as well! See our pics and read about our previous visit here. Advance ticket purchases are required.

Holidays on the Farm, a new event last year, is at Parky’s Farm again for 2023. Enjoy the farm under the twinkling glow of lights for the holidays. They’ll have wagon rides, Santa and his reindeer, farm animals, pony rides, carolers, and more. Wander along the lighted trails, listen to music, gather around the fire pits, and have a cold one at the beer garden. Holiday movies are back (outdoors on the large projection screens). And new this year: artificial ice curling! Holidays on the Farm is open from 5pm to 9pm, Friday through Sunday through December 17 and then they’ll be open Thursday through Saturday for Dec. 21-23. They’ll extend the schedule for Dec. 26-31 when they’ll be open Tuesday through Sunday.

Cincinnati Christkindlmarket at Moerlein Lager House will be back this year (it was new last year). This is a holiday-themed Christmas festival with food, entertainment, holiday lights, theme days, and more. Don’t miss this year’s new addition – an ice slide! The event starts on November 22 and runs Wednesdays through Sundays until December 31, 2023 (closed Christmas Day).

Light up the Square returns to Fountain Square in 2023. Light up the Square will happen on Nov. 24, 2023 to kick off the holiday season. Get all the details at the link above.

Fountain Square Ice Rink will open on November 4, 2023 AND they’ve added bumper cars to the mix! 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. 5 to Feb. 20, seven days a week. Make reservations online. They will have a limited number of “walk up” time slots available as well.

Santa’s Workshop will be set up on Saturdays and Sundays in Washington Park, November 25 – December 17, 2023. Santa and his merry band of Elves will be spending time in Washington Park making gifts, ornaments and other fun creations from 11am to 2pm. Bring your family, bring your wish lists, but most all–be sure to bring your cameras!

The winter wonderland that is the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo will be back, Nov. 17, 2023 – Jan. 7, 2024. The Cincinnati Zoo will still be shining bright as it’s once again transformed into a “Wild Wonderland” for the 41st annual PNC Festival of Lights! In addition to admiring the beauty of 4 million LED lights, visitors can find the 5 Fiona fairies in Fairyland, take in a blacklight puppet show,  marvel at the spectacular Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, or snack at one of two S’mores-n-More stands.
Read our tips for your visit to Festival of Lights.

The Krohn Conservatory’s Holiday Show for 2023 is “Golden Days of Yule”. Krohn Conservatory will be transformed into a glowing winter wonderland surrounded by the shimmering lights and twinkling stars.
See our pics and read about our visit to the Krohn Holiday Show here.

Deck the Y’Alls Lightfest, a new event last year, will be at Thomas More Stadium in Florence, KY. This interactive sparkling wonderland features more than 2 million dazzling lights and ten immersive themed displays. Guests will have the opportunity to walk around the field and can even skate on our outdoor ice rink located right on the first base line! Get some holiday shopping done with a variety of vendors, enjoy great food, cook s’mores by the fire pit and meet Santa! Happening Nov. 24, 2023 – Jan. 1, 2024 (closed Nov. 27 and Dec. 4).

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 – including the three new Sand Tiger 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. Scuba Santa will be at The Newport Aquarium from late November until December 24, 2023.

Christmas at EnterTRAINment Junction will be open Nov. 18, 2023 – Jan. 2, 2024. 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.

Yuletide Village Season of Lights will be at Renaissance Park in Warren County, November 24 – December 16, 2023 (Fridays and Saturdays only). Visit with Woodland Santa or Krampus, shop at the Yuletide Market, wander through themed lit areas ranging from the rivers of lights to their colorful Gum Drop Alley while costumed carolers serenade you, and more.

WinterFest returns to Kings Island this year, Nov. 24 through Dec. 31, 2023. Kings Island transforms into 11 enchanting winter wonderlands and features ice skating on the Royal Fountain, the Eiffel Tower turned into a magical Christmas tree, the WinterFest Wonderland Parade, more than five million lights and live entertainment throughout the park. Enjoy live entertainment and many activities. And 20 rides are open!

Have a train lover in the family? You can find Christmas Train Displays at Krohn Conservatory (details listed above), Highfield Discovery Garden, Cincinnati Museum Center (details listed above), EnterTRAINment Junction (details listed above), Behringer-Crawford Museum, Milford Garden Center, and at Heritage Village Museum for their Train Days.

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 in Cincinnati and surrounding areas.

neighborhood Christmas lights in Cincinnati suburb

Gas up the car, pack up some fun holiday snacks, and map out your route… because it’s time for Neighborhood Christmas Light Displays!

Looking for some ways to see Santa this year? We’re gathering up all the spots we can 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:

Enjoy these Cincinnati Christmas and holiday shows and performances in 2023.

A Christmas Carol is back at Playhouse in the Park! The holiday story you love unfolds in spectacular fashion with a brand-new production specially designed for Moe and Jack’s Place – The Rouse Theatre! The show runs from November 24 through December 30, 2023.

The Nutcracker from the Cincinnati Ballet will be at Music Hall, Dec. 14-24, 2023. Take in the magic and wonder of The Nutcracker, with sparkling choreography, awe-inspiring sets and costumes, and Tchaikovsky’s beloved score performed live by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!) will be at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, December 7-30, 2023. What begins as another annual production of A Christmas Carol, soon devolves into a slightly irreverent look at all of our favorite “Beloved Holiday Classics” including pop culture favorites like It’s a Wonderful Life, Rudolph, Charlie Brown and more! Add in topical references that always keep this annual tradition fresh and fun as we send up everything from Dickens to Dr. Seuss for 90+ minutes of high octane jollity and frivolity.

The Cincinnati Pops Orchestra will perform at Music Hall for Holiday Pops at Music Hall, December 8-10, 2023. Cincinnati’s beloved holiday tradition returns with music, warmth, laughter and seasonal inspiration for the entire family. Gather those dear to you to share unforgettable memories in the grandeur of a Music Hall adorned with wondrous decorations and joyful song.

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

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About the Author
Bridgett Raffenberg
My name is Bridgett Raffenberg and I am the creator of 365Cincinnati. I've been uncovering and sharing all of the best things to do in Cincinnati since 2010. I enjoy exploring new spots, discovering local events, and meeting the people who call Cincinnati home!

27 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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