Things to Do in Cincinnati Over Thanksgiving Weekend {2019}

If you’re looking for something to do for the 2019 Thanksgiving Day weekend in Cincinnati, we’ve got you covered!

Whether you have family in town, you’re visiting for the weekend, or you simply have a few days off of work, you’ll enjoy this list of events for Thanksgiving weekend.

Things to do in Cincinnati over Thanksgiving weekend

The following events are date specific. Don’t miss our list of Holiday Events that go on all weekend – find it after the dated events.

Friday, Nov. 29:

Santa arrives at Cincinnati Museum Center! Festivities begin at 11 a.m. Santa will arrive by helicopter, weather permitting, around 11:50 a.m., with a special celebration at noon!

Macy’s Light Up the Square Event at Fountain Square. Festivities will begin at 6pm with live music and a special appearance by Santa Claus. Make sure you’re here so you can help us LIGHT UP this year’s Macy’s Tree. There will be food trucks, music, ice skating, and a fireworks show that’s sure to be a “blast”! 6-11pm

Hometown Holidays in Milford in downtown Milford. This annual family friendly event, which is free and open to the public, will feature a variety of holiday happenings along the four block Main Street (U.S. Route 50) historic district of Milford, Ohio 45150. Visitors will revel in the sounds and delights of the holidays as they shop local for unique gift items, dine in the town’s restaurants and brewery, and take advantage of the many great service providers. All while celebrating the spirit of the season with family and friends! Strolling Victorian carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, and free antique fire engine rides fill the air with old town holiday charm. Be sure to take time to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at Kirk & Company Jewelers from 12-5pm on Friday & Saturday, and Sunday.


Saturday, Nov. 30:

Take the kids to see Santa at Washington Park as part of their “Santa’s Workshop“, 1-3pm. Every Saturday in December, 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. Stop by the wish-list station where elves will help you write a list to give to Santa when you meet him- or bring yours from home. Bring your family, your dog, your friends, but most all–be sure to bring your cameras! *Please note that this event is free, but you must bring your own camera for photos.*

Hometown Holidays in Milford in downtown Milford. This annual family friendly event, which is free and open to the public, will feature a variety of holiday happenings along the four block Main Street (U.S. Route 50) historic district of Milford, Ohio 45150. Visitors will revel in the sounds and delights of the holidays as they shop local for unique gift items, dine in the town’s restaurants and brewery, and take advantage of the many great service providers. All while celebrating the spirit of the season with family and friends! Strolling Victorian carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, and free antique fire engine rides fill the air with old town holiday charm. Be sure to take time to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at Kirk & Company Jewelers from 12-5pm on Friday & Saturday, and Sunday.

Macy’s Downtown Dazzle. Macy’s Downtown Dazzle is one of the biggest highlights of the holiday season. See Santa rappel off of a Cincinnati skyrise (6:30) and wait with anticipation for the sky to fill with light thanks to a fabulous Rozzi fireworks display. 5:30-7pm

Westside Holiday Market at Westside Market, 4-8pm. This outdoor Holiday themed event will have carolers, Santa, hot cocoa and bonfires. Enjoy local brews from West Side Brewing, over 100 talented local vendors, food trucks, baked goods, kid friendly activities and so much more!

Sunday, Dec 1:

Holiday Season Kickoff at the Taft Museum of Art. Enjoy free activities for the whole family. The house will be decorated inside and out with lights, garlands, and displays of antique ornaments on old-fashioned feather trees. 11am – 4pm.

Hometown Holidays in Milford in downtown Milford. This annual family friendly event, which is free and open to the public, will feature a variety of holiday happenings along the four block Main Street (U.S. Route 50) historic district of Milford, Ohio 45150. Visitors will revel in the sounds and delights of the holidays as they shop local for unique gift items, dine in the town’s restaurants and brewery, and take advantage of the many great service providers. All while celebrating the spirit of the season with family and friends! Strolling Victorian carolers, horse-drawn carriage rides, and free antique fire engine rides fill the air with old town holiday charm. Be sure to take time to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at Kirk & Company Jewelers from 12-5pm on Friday & Saturday, and Sunday.

Polar Express and Holiday Storytime at Behringer-Crawford Museum. On Sunday afternoons between Thanksgiving and Christmas, local children’s librarians will read aloud from Grady’s book and the Christmas classic, “Polar Express.”  The readings will take place at 2 p.m. on Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 22. Holiday finery or comfy PJs are encouraged for the story hours, which include crafts, refreshments and a visit from Santa. Activities are included with museum admission, but space is limited, so reservations are required by the preceding Friday. Register at education@bcmuseum.org or call (859) 491-4003.

Holiday Events that go on all weekend:

Holiday Junction at Cincinnati Museum Center: Nov. 8 – Jan. 5; Come experience a deep-rooted Cincinnati holiday tradition: Holiday Junction Featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains. The exhibition, a display of hundreds of model trains zipping around a winter wonderland, has been a part of Cincinnati holidays since 1946. Now you can gain a new perspective: peer over the Duke Energy Holiday Train’s snow-capped neighborhoods with a bird’s eye view of the historic layouts. Take a snowy walk and build a snowman under the mesmerizing northern lights. Walk among a blizzard of bricks in a custom-built LEGO wonderland.

Holiday Lights at Sharon Woods, Nov. 16 – Dec. 31; This charming light show is built over a mile of wooded roadway, the only drive through light show through the woods of a beautiful Hamilton County park! The holiday themed displays showcase everything from Santa Claus and his elves to every animal on the ark. There’s no need to bundle up to enjoy Holiday in Lights; simply warm up the car, turn your radio dial to Warm 98, round up your friends, family, or a special date, and head to Sharon Woods. It’s that easy. Make sure to visit Santaland before or after you drive through the lights for the full Holiday in Lights experience! New this year: pixel light displays, more lighted trees, new light displays, special event nights, coupons for pictures with Santa, new Santaland entertainment, and MUCH more! 

Antique Christmas at the Taft Museum of Art: Nov. 8 – Jan. 5; Escape to a winter wonderland of Christmas past at the Taft’s annual display of antique ornaments, decorations, and toys. Enjoy a glimpse of Christmas past at the Taft Museum of Art’s annual exhibition of holiday treasures. Visitors will find beautiful decorations throughout the historic house, thanks to generous collectors from Cincinnati and beyond. This year, guests can expect many new and exciting displays, including several feather trees with decorations ranging from vintage Disney ornaments to characters from German fairy tales. Figures of the jolly old elf will also be on view under a large tree adorned with antique paper, chenille, and glass ornaments.

Holiday Lights on the Hill at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, Nov. 22 – Jan. 5; Hours: Mon-Thurs, 6-9pm ($20/car) and Fri, Sat, Sun 6-10pm ($25/car); Members are $15 any day.

Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo,  Nov. 16 – Jan. 4. The Cincinnati Zoo will once again be transformed into a “Wild Wonderland” for the 37th annual PNC Festival of Lights! In addition to admiring the beauty of 3 million LED lights, visitors can watch a Madcap black-light puppet show, ride the Toyland Express train ride, marvel at the spectacular Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, or snack at one of two S’mores-n-More stands. Santa will be available for visits starting at 4 p.m., an hour before the rest of the festivities begin.

A Christmas Carol at the Playhouse in the Park, Nov. 27 – Dec. 29. The Playhouse’s version of 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. Ebenezer Scrooge undergoes a miraculous Christmas Eve transformation as he views with new eyes his past, present and the possibilities of the future. As he witnesses all those who have improved his life — his first love Belle, his kindhearted employer Fezziwig, his nephew Fred and his heartily abused clerk Bob Cratchit — he realizes that it’s never too late to change his miserly ways. A Christmas Carol’s heartwarming message, hundreds of costumes and thrilling special effects help to make the show one of the Playhouse’s most popular productions each year.

Fountain Square Ice Rink, Nov. 2 – Feb. 2

Krohn Conservatory’s Holiday Show – A Zinzinnati Holiday, Nov. 9 – Jan. 5. Discover the beauty of our city’s German history at our holiday display. Surround yourself with evergreens and poinsettias as you stroll through the historical representations of Cincinnati’s buildings. On view you will find Atlas Cedar, Lawson Cypress, and an array of Amaryllis such as the lovely Papilio and Red Pearl.

Christmas at EnterTRAINment Junction, Nov. 16 – Jan. 1. Create a holiday tradition for your family! 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.

Holiday Toy Trains at Behringer-Crawford Museum, Nov. 16 – Jan. 5. Toy trains will click-clack down the tracks, snow dogs will spin on the ice rink and BCM will be aglow with lights, music and the holiday spirit. This is the 28th year for BCM’s Holiday Toy Trains display with its 250 feet of track and more than 30 guest-activated displays. Guests can also enjoy Wahoo’s Winter Wonderland, a kid-size, animated exhibit based on the children’s book by Kenton Hills author Diana Grady, “The Holiday Adventures of Wiley Wahoo & Me,” plus special Polar Express and Wahoo readings, Santa visits, Charles Dickens Victorian Village display, holiday concerts and more.  

Christmas Night of Lights at Coney Island, Nov. 8 – Jan. 5. Experience this amazing light show synchronized to both traditional and rocking holiday music through your car radio. Visitors of all ages will be awed by the larger-than-life trees, glowing snowflakes, dancing candy canes and fantastic tunnels of lights!  In the warmth of your own car, you can sing along to the sounds of the season synchronized to each holiday display. Christmas Nights of Lights welcomes carloads of families and friends to enjoy this Christmas tradition. With two and a half miles to drive through, your family can see displays and light shows made of over a million lights driven by more than forty thousand computer channels. The show will begin nightly at dusk and run through 10 p.m. Christmas Nights of Lights will be open every night including holidays.

Winterfest at Kings Island, Nov. 22-Dec. 31. Imagine an old-fashioned winter…rosy-cheeked skaters gliding under twinkling lights, the magic of dazzling holiday events and carolers in traditional costumes, shops filled with ornaments, trinkets and toys, the aroma of freshly-baked treats and the spirit of everyone’s favorite season captured in an atmosphere of warmth and nostalgia – a place where memories of holidays past are present; a place where memories of Christmas activities are waiting to be made. Step into WinterFest at Kings Island on select nights in November and December. It’s an unforgettable experience with the park transformed into ten enchanting winter wonderlands. There’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy at our Christmas event, like ice skating on the Royal Fountain, seeing the Eiffel Tower transformed into a magical 314-foot tall Christmas tree, live shows, rides, delicious holiday treats, millions of lights and holiday characters spreading merriment, like Jack Frost, Candy Cane and the Sugar Plum Fairy.


All events were accurate at the time of this posting but things do happen and events do occasionally get canceled or postponed. You should always double check with the event source before you head out the door. Links for each event are provided so that you can be sure the date is still accurate before you head out.

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