Things to do in Cincinnati for December {2021}

December? Where has this year gone?!

2021 may be coming to a close but there’s still a lot to celebrate in Cincinnati for the month of December! From historic tours to sing along movies to outdoor markets, this curated list of things to do should keep you busy this month!

winter scence with trees and lights for things to do in Cincinnati in December

The list below is date specific for Cincinnati in December, 2021.

You might also want to check out these seasonal guides:
50+ Christmas and Holiday Things to Do
Drive Through Christmas Light Shows (plus walk thru too!)
Christmas Craft Shows
Where to Find a Live Nativity Scene

December 1-4: The Heritage Village Museum hosts 19th Century Holiday Guided Tours (advanced ticket purchase required). Celebrate the season with a holiday guided tour of the Village! Visit Kemper House, Fetter General Store, Schram Print Shop, Vorhes House, Chester Park Train Station, Elk Lick House, and Hayner House and learn how Christmas celebrations changed and evolved over the course of the 19th century in Southwestern Ohio. See glimpses of the earliest Christmases of Cincinnati, the impact of the Civil War on celebrations, and the new traditions introduced by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert an ocean away. Discover popular 19th century gifts and how they would have been purchased, the early history of Christmas cards, and how the holidays impacted transportation during the 1800s. Guests will be treated to the beauty and simplicity of historic decorations and see some G-scale model trains in our historic train station. 

December 2: Newport on the Levee is hosting Movie Nights on Thursday evenings in December. You can watch “Elf” on their jumbo LED. Guests are encouraged to bring additional blankets and chairs. Seating is first come, first served. 

You might also like: Ultimate Christmas and Holiday Fun Guide

December 3-5: Head to Waynesville for Christmas in the Village. Stroll in and out of retail and dining storefronts, while listening to barbershop quartets, choirs, and musicians. You will be able to take a carriage ride and feel the holiday spirit in the air, all while listening to the clip clapping of the horses hooves and jingle bells.

December 3-5: Findlay Market hosts “Elves on Elder” featuring the Shillito’s Elves! The Shillito’s Elves will be displayed facing out, so market shoppers and visitors can walk around to view them 6 days per week during market hours (Tuesday-Friday, 9a-6p, Saturday 8a-6p, Sunday 10a-4p). They will be animated on weekends. In addition to the Shillito’s Elves, the old Leader Furniture Store will be transformed into a robust magical holiday experience, appropriately named Elves on Elder, a Magical Market Experience! Each Saturday and Sunday from 10a. until 3p, Findlay Market and Cincinnati Bell will host family-friendly activities, programming and special events inside of the space. All activities are free for children, though space is limited. Cincinnati Bell will have an entire side called Imagination Destination. During the evenings on Friday and Saturday nights from 5p-10p, the space will be transformed into a cozy cocktail and musical experience. 

December 4-5: Winter Market at Washington Park returns with regional artisans and crafters in cozily designed huts! You’re sure to find something special for everyone on your list. Vendors will vary from weekend to weekend so visit often!

December 4-5: Findlay Market’s annual Holiday Market is happening too! They will have dozens of farmers and outdoor vendors plus over 50 full-time merchants selling holiday gifts, food and decor. Jane’s will be open, serving beers and festive cocktails. They will also be selling beautiful Christmas trees, wreaths and garland at Jane’s. Shoppers will receive a FREE commemorative 2021 Findlay Market ornament locally produced by Lucca with every tree purchase. Bundle up, grab your friends and support small businesses this holiday season!

December 4: Lebanon’s 32nd Annual Horse Drawn Carriage Parade and Christmas Festival returns. There will be two horse-drawn carriage parades this year: a daylight parade at 1 pm and their traditional candlelight parade at 7 pm. Enjoy a Christmas Festival (starting at 10am), visits with Santa, shopping, food, lights, and more.

December 4: The 10th annual Christmas Tour of Homes in Historic Waynesville will be held during Christmas in the Village on December 4th, 2021. The tour includes homes and businesses decorated by the owners. It begins at the Museum at the Friends Home just two blocks off Main Street at 115 Fourth Street in Waynesville. Be sure to see these properties decorated for the holidays and learn their history. Pre-purchased tickets required (see link above).

December 4: It’s “Dad Day” at Rhinegeist! Their hoppy holiday ale returns and they’re celebrating all things Dad! They’ll have some winter allstars on tap, holiday-themed cocktails, food from OTR Chili (FACT: dads love coneys), and more fun for the whole famdamily!

December 4: Get outside for this month’s Ugly Sweater Riverfront Volksmarch. This will be a non-competitive Volksmarch walk of 5K through the gorgeous Cincinnati Riverfront Park System from Smale to Friendship Park along the Ohio River. Start and end at the Moerlein Lager House Restaurant and Brewery. Registration is between 10AM and Noon in the Lager House. Costs to register is $3. See discussion comments on event page for more details.

December 4: Taft’s Brewpourium is hosting a Holiday Market, 11:30am-3:30pm. Your ticket gets you a free welcome beer to enjoy as you shop. In addition, if you buy anything from a local vendor you’ll receive $1 off pints for the rest of the day! Tickets required (?).

December 4: The Comboni Mission Center invites you to Breakfast in Bethlehem, 8:30am-11am. Visitors will get an early viewing of the animated Nativity before it’s open for the its 74th season. For $3 per person ($10 per family) guests will also enjoy: a pancake breakfast, games, crafts, facepainting, shopping in the Christmas Boutique, and museum tours. RSVP required (see link above).

December 4: Head to Fountain Square for Downtown Dazzle. See Santa rappel from a Cincinnati skyrise and wait with anticipation for the sky to fill with a fabulous fireworks display! 6:30pm = music and festivities; 7pm = Downtown Dazzle show begins.

December 5: The Mariemont Theater is hosting an interactive, sing along version of White Christmas. Crowd participation, singing and surprises and most importantly, SNOW! This Cincinnati tradition is not to be missed! Tickets are limited so don’t delay!

December 5: Head to MadTree for the Winter Market. Shop local in the festive, spruced up taproom. They’ll have vendors specializing in categories such as handcrafted jewelry, woodworking, photography, clothing and home goods to sell their products. 10am-2pm

December 5: Get ready for gift giving with the Esoteric Brewery Holiday Winter Market. Sip and shop indoors from 9am-3pm.

December 5: Taft Museum of Art will host a Holiday Music Series, 3-4pm (tickets required). Celebrate this special time of year with musical performances featuring the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Northern Kentucky Brotherhood, and the Queen City Sisters.

December 7: Light Up College Hill is coming on December 7th, 6-8:30pm! This will be an avenue-wide event with the 2nd annual tree lighting in Patrick’s Park, a train ride for kids, Santa, live reindeer and more! As part of Light Up College Hill festivities, several businesses throughout the district will be hosting special (free!) activities for families and then offering some adult options as well.

December 8-10: The Heritage Village Museum hosts 19th Century Holiday Guided Tours (advanced ticket purchase required). Celebrate the season with a holiday guided tour of the Village! Visit Kemper House, Fetter General Store, Schram Print Shop, Vorhes House, Chester Park Train Station, Elk Lick House, and Hayner House and learn how Christmas celebrations changed and evolved over the course of the 19th century in Southwestern Ohio. See glimpses of the earliest Christmases of Cincinnati, the impact of the Civil War on celebrations, and the new traditions introduced by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert an ocean away. Discover popular 19th century gifts and how they would have been purchased, the early history of Christmas cards, and how the holidays impacted transportation during the 1800s. Guests will be treated to the beauty and simplicity of historic decorations and see some G-scale model trains in our historic train station.

December 9: Newport on the Levee is hosting Movie Nights on Thursday evenings in December. You can watch “The Grinch” (2018) on their jumbo LED. Guests are encouraged to bring additional blankets and chairs. Seating is first come, first served. 

December 10-11: If 2021 hasn’t been scary enough for you, take a look at The Dent Schoolhouse’s “A Christmas Nightmare“, a Christmas haunted attraction. They’ll be bringing some of their Halloween haunted house characters in for a grizzly twist on the holiday. This 1 weekend special event is December 10th and 11th. 6:00pm – 10:00pm.

December 10-12: Findlay Market hosts “Elves on Elder” featuring the Shillito’s Elves! The Shillito’s Elves will be displayed facing out, so market shoppers and visitors can walk around to view them 6 days per week during market hours (Tuesday-Friday, 9a-6p, Saturday 8a-6p, Sunday 10a-4p). They will be animated on weekends. In addition to the Shillito’s Elves, the old Leader Furniture Store will be transformed into a robust magical holiday experience, appropriately named Elves on Elder, a Magical Market Experience! Each Saturday and Sunday from 10a. until 3p, Findlay Market and Cincinnati Bell will host family-friendly activities, programming and special events inside of the space. All activities are free for children, though space is limited. Cincinnati Bell will have an entire side called Imagination Destination. During the evenings on Friday and Saturday nights from 5p-10p, the space will be transformed into a cozy cocktail and musical experience. 

December 10: Happy Holidays with the Mighty Wurlitzer returns at Music Hall with two shows, 10:30am and 7pm. Celebrate the joys of the season with their annual “Happy Holidays with the Mighty Wurlitzer” concert in Music Hall’s beautiful and historic Ballroom. This holiday program will be hosted by Cincinnati Opera’s Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director Evans Mirageas and will feature renowned theater organist Jelani Eddington, vocal performances by soprano Victoria Okafor and tenor Avery Bargasse, dancers from the Otto M. Budig Cincinnati Ballet Academy, and the sounds of Kenny Smith’s Peace & Serenity Choir. Tickets required.

December 11-12: Winter Market at Washington Park returns with regional artisans and crafters in cozily designed huts! You’re sure to find something special for everyone on your list. Vendors will vary from weekend to weekend so visit often!

December 11-12: Print Like Charley Harper at the Cincinnati Nature Center. Enjoy your hand at screen printing as you pull your own Charley Harper print. Sessions begin every hour; all supplies are provided and include one print. Registration required.

December 11-12: Grab some great gifts at The City Flea‘s Holiday Market, held at Washington Park. Early Birds Mini Market is from 11am-4pm on Saturday, Full Evening Market is 4-9pm on Saturday, and a Daylight Market will be on Sunday, 11am-5pm.

December 11: The Reindog Parade will be brightening up the streets of Mt. Adams starting at 2pm. Santa will lead the parade of dogs in their holiday best accompanied by their two legged friends.

December 11: Head to Fountain Square for Downtown Dazzle. See Santa rappel from a Cincinnati skyrise and wait with anticipation for the sky to fill with a fabulous fireworks display! 6:30pm = music and festivities; 7pm = Downtown Dazzle show begins.

December 11: “It’s a Wonderful Light” Holiday Festival at the American Sign Museum. Stroll down Main Street to feel like you’ve stepped back in time to holidays past and view festive signs from the collection. The storefronts of Main Street will be decorated with care by Brushworks of Cincinnati. They’ll have events all day including holiday crafts, penguin encounters, holiday music, and much more. Grab your tickets while they have some left!

December 11: The jolliest bunch of Santas will be singing some tunes as SantaCon takes on Downtown Cincinnati, OTR, the Banks, PLUS Covington, and Mt. Adam’s. They expect to have 10,000+ Santas this year and have a goal of getting 50+ Official Santacon stops. The Cure Starts Now is their official charity and they will be supporting them again.

December 11: Head to Caesar’s Creek Pioneer Village for a Candlelight Walk. Go back to a time when Christmas time was celebrated in the most basic of ways. All of their buildings will be open for the public to go through and once it gets dark the whole village will be lit up by candle light along the paths between the buildings and within the buildings themselves. $5 per person

December 11: Paul Young Funeral Home will have their nativity scenes set up for the season. They will be unveiling their life-size wax Nativity by Paul R. Young Sr. complete with adorable donkeys and sheep. They will also have the annual visit from one of Santa’s Reindeer plus our Mule-Drawn Carriage Rides by Gorman Farms. The life-size wax Santa Claus, everyone’s favorite photo op by Russ Adams, will be back again this year, too! And it wouldn’t be Christmas in Mt. Healthy at the Youngs without live music by the Yuletide Brass Quartet, fresh kettle corn by Bluegrass Kettle Masters with cider and homemade hot chocolate.

December 11: It’s a Holiday Cookie Decoration Party at Taft’s Brewpourium (ticket purchase required). All ages are welcome at this fun event! Kids will receive 2 cookies from Pink Burdy Cookies with icing to decorate, and adults will get the same plus a free welcome beer. Come any time between 11:30am-2:30pm to decorate (and enjoy!). They’ll have all the supplies you need, and Taft’s full menu will be available for you to snack on some pizza as you decorate.

December 12: Taft Museum of Art will host a Holiday Music Series, 3-4pm (tickets required). Celebrate this special time of year with musical performances featuring the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Northern Kentucky Brotherhood, and the Queen City Sisters.

You might also like: Drive Through Christmas Light Shows in Cincinnati, perfect for 2021

December 12Art on Vine – The Holiday Gift Sale at Rhinegeist. 12-7pm

December 12: The Esquire Theater is hosting an interactive, sing along version of White Christmas. Crowd participation, singing and surprises and most importantly, SNOW! This Cincinnati tradition is not to be missed! Tickets are limited so don’t delay!

December 14: Head to Taft’s Brewpourium for a Holiday Beer and Donut Pairing. With your ticket, you’ll get a flight of 4 different beers, each perfectly paired with a fresh donut. Plus, you’ll get a wristband to enjoy $1 off pints for the day of the event! Advance ticket purchase required.

December 16: Newport on the Levee is hosting Movie Nights on Thursday evenings in December. You can watch “The Santa Clause” on their jumbo LED. Guests are encouraged to bring additional blankets and chairs. Seating is first come, first served. 

December 17-19: Findlay Market hosts “Elves on Elder” featuring the Shillito’s Elves! The Shillito’s Elves will be displayed facing out, so market shoppers and visitors can walk around to view them 6 days per week during market hours (Tuesday-Friday, 9a-6p, Saturday 8a-6p, Sunday 10a-4p). They will be animated on weekends. In addition to the Shillito’s Elves, the old Leader Furniture Store will be transformed into a robust magical holiday experience, appropriately named Elves on Elder, a Magical Market Experience! Each Saturday and Sunday from 10a. until 3p, Findlay Market and Cincinnati Bell will host family-friendly activities, programming and special events inside of the space. All activities are free for children, though space is limited. Cincinnati Bell will have an entire side called Imagination Destination. During the evenings on Friday and Saturday nights from 5p-10p, the space will be transformed into a cozy cocktail and musical experience. 

December 18-19: Winter Market at Washington Park returns with regional artisans and crafters in cozily designed huts! You’re sure to find something special for everyone on your list. Vendors will vary from weekend to weekend so visit often!

December 18: Be swept back in time while visiting Old Historic Loveland during Christmas in Loveland. Everything from Jolly Ole’ St. Nick and Mrs. Claus at the North Pole, to a live Nativity scene, to a Winter Wonderland! 4-8pm

December 18: Enjoy a Full Moon Walk at French Park (registration required). This is a rare chance to experience the park at night and hopefully see and hear some nocturnal wildlife—even if it’s cloudy.  Dress for the weather!

December 18: Head to Fountain Square for Downtown Dazzle. See Santa rappel from a Cincinnati skyrise and wait with anticipation for the sky to fill with a fabulous fireworks display! 6:30pm = music and festivities; 7pm = Downtown Dazzle show begins.

December 19: Taft Museum of Art will host a Holiday Music Series, 3-4pm (tickets required). Celebrate this special time of year with musical performances featuring the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Northern Kentucky Brotherhood, and the Queen City Sisters.

December 19: It’s Movie Night at Rhinegeist, featuring “Home Alone”. The’ve got popcorn, candy, and food specials from OTR Chili downstairs. Get the gang together, grab some snacks and join in at the taproomto watch little Kevin protect the McCallister family home from the nefarious Wet Bandits with some of the most ingenious and hilarious booby traps ever devised for the silver screen. Show starts at 7pm.

Dec. 21: Enjoy a holiday themed “Music Live at Lunch” with the Christ Church Cathedral Choir and Elizabeth Motter (harp): Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols. Concertgoers are invited to bring their own lunch –– no food can be purchased at the cathedral. See site for full details.

December 23: Newport on the Levee is hosting Movie Nights on Thursday evenings in December. You can watch “The Polar Express” on their jumbo LED. Guests are encouraged to bring additional blankets and chairs. Seating is first come, first served. 

December 26: Walk it off at the Christmas Bird Count happening at the Cincinnati Nature Center, 8am – noon. You will be part of a team that counts every bird seen, so the more eyes, the better! No experience necessary, just dress to be outdoors for an extended period. 


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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