Things to Do in Cincinnati This Weekend {December 27-29}

Friday, December 27:

Put your heads together 10am-12pm to see if you can decode the trailside mystery during Winter Break: Family Adventure Quest at Miami Whitewater Forest/Timberlakes Program Shelter. It’s a free program presented by the Great Parks* of Hamilton County.

Behringer-Crawford Museum presents “Jake Speed Sings Train Songs”, a live folk music show. This kid-centered show will have your kiddos singing and dancing along before the grand finale: a Jake Speed-led kid train where young audience members use their free harmonicas to make train-chugging sounds as they march over to the Holiday Toy Trains display. There are two one-hour shows at 11am and 1pm. Museum admission charged.

Come to the Cincinnati Nature Center for their Holiday Hike: A Walk Through Time from 10am-12pm. Pre-registration is required. Meet in the Rowe Visitor Center Whittaker Library and dress to be comfortable outside. The hike on the Geology Trail to Fox Rock will reveal evidence of the ancient sea and glaciers deposited 300,000 years ago. It will also transport you to when Cincinnati’s unique fossils were living organisms.  The hike wraps up at Abner Hollow Cabin as they remember how early settlers celebrated the holidays 220 years ago – when the cabin was built.

Need (your kids) to burn off some energy? St. Paul Community United Methodist Church is hosting a FREE Winter Game Day. There will be inflatables, creative arts, video games, and food. Play with your kids or hang out in the adults-only lounge were you can work or just read that book you got for Christmas.

The Microsoft store in Kenwood Towne Centre has two free workshops and a Fortnite Tournament to keep the kids busy during winter break. For all workshops, an adult caregiver per participant under 17 years of age must remain in Microsoft Store for the duration of the event. RSVP, as classes do fill up. 

Bring the whole family to the museum for the last weekend of Cincinnati Art Museum’s REC the Halls celebration. From 11am-5pm, the Art Bar will be transformed into a holly jolly winter wonderland. Visitors can create holiday cards with a wide variety of materials, as well as create custom gift bags and holiday home decorations. There will also be a Holiday Helpfulness donation drive. Every donation will be granted an entry to win a family membership to the museum. The event is free and runs daily through Dec. 29, 11am–5pm Tuesday–Sunday, with extended hours until 8pm on Thursdays.

Did you know Butler County has its own Donut trail, and there is a tour bus that drives you to four of the locations every Friday and Sunday? Each of these mom-and-pop donut shops will provide you with a unique experience, behind-the-scenes tour, donut sampling, and even some donut creation.

It is Final Friday at the Pendleton Art Center. Their studios are open to the public to walk from 6-10pm, giving guests the opportunity to view a creative art space, as well as purchase one-of-a-kind artwork directly from artists. Valet Parking is available for $5 at the front door of the Pendleton Art Center for each Final Friday event. Limited street parking is also available.

Arcade Legacy: Bar Edition hosts pinball tournaments on the last Friday of the month for a $5 entry fee starting at 7:30pm. No pre-registering necessary, must be 21+.

It is “513 Friday” at the Cincinnati Cyclones Hockey game at the Heritage Bank Center (formerly U.S. Bank Arena). Enjoy $5 craft beers, $1 sodas, and $3 cheeseburgers. The puck drops at 7:30pm, and doors open at 6:30pm. Tickets start at $18. Remember, all tickets increase $2 if purchased on game day.

Every other Friday, Braxton Brewing Company’s Taproom in Covington hosts a donut bar from Holtman’s Donut Shop in the taproom from 7:30-10:30am.

Head to Heritage Village Museum’s* Train Days from 10am-2pm. Watch model trains chug through villages, around mountains, and through tunnels in these large model train displays inside an actual historic train station and Hayner House. At least 10 trains will be operating and they will include N, HO, O, and S scale model trains. Admission is $3. Museum members, veterans and active duty military members (with a military I.D.), and children ages 4 and under are free.

It’s the last weekend for ChristmasTime at the Ark Encounter in Northern Kentucky. It is a free Christmas Event! See the life-size ark and gardens illuminated in rainbow-colored lights, an animated show that shares a Christmas message of hope in the Answers Center, and more for just the cost of parking ($10).

Bombs Away! Comedy is excited to present Speakeasy Comedy at the Comet Bar in Northside. Go to the bar, get a drink, and ask for the password. Tickets are $5 and available here. A few will also be available at the door. 

You might also enjoy our list of fun things to do over Winter Break!

Saturday, December 28:

How To Use Your Telescope: The Cincinnati Astronomical Society will be offering a free clinic at 5:30PM for anyone who wants to learn how to get the most out of their new telescope. They will go over basics, like kinds of telescopes, the parts of the telescope, how to point and focus. They will explain how to find objects in the sky and when is the right time of month and year for specific objects. They can also look at your specific setup and give some guidance on how to use it, so please bring your new toy and let them show you how to get the most of it. Free but registration requested.

Head to Sharon Woods/Sharon Centre* for their free Frosty Fun event. Create winter-themed crafts and take part in self-guided activities for the whole family.  There are two sessions: Dec. 28 & 29 from 12-3pm.

Come to the Cincinnati Nature Center for their Holiday Hike: A Walk Through Time from 10am-12pm. Pre-registration is required. Meet in the Rowe Visitor Center Whittaker Library and dress to be comfortable outside. The hike on the Geology Trail to Fox Rock will reveal evidence of the ancient sea and glaciers deposited 300,000 years ago. It will also transport you to when Cincinnati’s unique fossils were living organisms.  The hike wraps up at Abner Hollow Cabin as they remember how early settlers celebrated the holidays 220 years ago – when the cabin was built. Members $5, nonmembers $10.

Not every gift exchanged this week is going to be a great one! Come try your luck at getting a better one at the Roosevelt Room 6-8pm! Bring in your least loved gift from this year’s holiday haul and replace it with a new (maybe better!) gift. To enter, just arrive by 6pm with a wrapped gift. Get one more wear out of that holiday sweater, listen to holiday music one last time, and enjoy half-price hot cocktails while you compare gifts.

It is Laughs at Taft’s w/ Mary Santora from 8-10pm at Taft’s Brewporium ($10). Bombs Away! Comedy provides fresh, high-caliber stand-up comedy in bars and breweries all over Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Along with your ticket purchase, each audience member will receive $2 off of each beer they drink all night. Get your early tickets at a discounted rate. Prices increase at the door, doors open at 7pm, and cash only accepted at the door. 

Sunday, December 29:

Come to Sharon Woods/Sharon Centre* for their Frosty Fun event. Create winter-themed crafts and take part in self-guided activities for the whole family for free. There are two sessions: Dec. 28 & 29 from 12-3pm. 

The last scheduled Budlight Tailgate Zone of the season is a doozy – the Battle of Ohio! From 10am-1pm, get ready to watch the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Cleveland Browns. The high energy, 90’s cranking band, Buzz Bin, will be on the Tailgate stage, and there will be plenty of food and drinks from the Bud Bar to get you game ready!

Take a Seasonal Botany Hike with UC’s Dr. Denis Conover at Burnet Woods. Dr. Conover shares information on identifying the over-100 species of trees documented in Burnet Woods, native v. non-native plants, the impact of invasive species, and more. Come see what the woods have to offer this week! Meet outside Trailside Nature Center (the Ludlow Avenue entrance is recommended if parking). Free. Hiking footwear/clothing to be both on and off trail is recommended. Hike is usually less than 2 miles but of moderate to difficult intensity.

Join Northern Hills Synagogue and PJ LIbrary to celebrate the last night of Chanukah at the Zoo, 5-8pm. Meet in the Treetops Private Garden at 5pm for donuts, hot chocolate and an animal encounter! There will also be a special appearance by Dreidel Man!  At 6pm, make your way to the Garden of Peace to light the menorah. Guests are then welcomed to head back to the room for more hot drinks or enjoy the zoo. Tickets are required for everyone ($10, including parking); zoo membership will not gain entry. Parking is included, but be sure to add parking to your cart free of charge when you get your ticket.

There’s a Christmas Bird Count happening at the Cincinnati Nature Center. Shake off the holiday humbug as you head outdoors for the nation’s longest-running citizen science bird project. You will be part of a team that counts every bird seen; the more eyes, the better! No experience necessary, just dress to be outdoors for an extended period of time.  Bring your binoculars and meet at the Center for Conservation. No fee, but please preregister so we can email you the details. Program participants should meet at the Center for Conservation at 8 am. Participants are invited back to the Center for Conservation at 5:30 pm to help tally up the bird count. Please bring your own dinner. Free to participants.

If all the train displays across the city are making you want to ride a real train, you’re in luck. The Cincinnati Scenic Railway is welcoming home two premier cars to the fleet: The City of Chicago ($60/person) and Sierra Hotel ($50-80). Both of these cars will offer an exciting new level of service to the Ohio Rail Experience excursions, and you can be the first to take a ride in this one time special dinner and ride event. All proceeds go towards the NKP GP-30 Repainting Fund. Space is limited. Boarding begins at 5:45p, with a prompt 6pm departure at 2172 E Seymour Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45237. The train will travel the normal route of the Cincinnati Dinner Train to the Boathouse in downtown Cincinnati, then reverse for the return trip home. Reservations can be made by phone: 513-933-8022. Photos, menus, and more info can be found here.

There is a Musical Chanukah and Giant Menorah Lighting at the square at Liberty Center 5:30-7pm. Children’s musician, Grammy nominee, and Cincinnati resident, Zac Morgan, will be performing. A Chocolate Gelt Drop will take place, you can make your own plush dreidel, enjoy snacks, and win prizes. Reservations required (at link above or call 513-234-0777).


*Great Parks of Hamilton County requires a Motor Vehicle Permit for entrance to the parks.

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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