Celebrating the Holidays in Cincy
Cincinnati sure knows how to celebrate the holidays. This year you can kick off the holiday season at Balluminaria, and then celebrate throughout the month of December with holiday lights and ice skating with Santa at Fountain Square; or you could go the more traditional route and enjoy The Nutcracker ballet or a concert at Cincinnati Music Hall. Whatever you choose, this city is pulling out all the stops to spread around holiday cheer. We’ve rounded up some top picks for events that are sure to impress.
A Festival That’s More Than Hot Air
Balluminaria happens on Saturday November 23, from 4:00pm – 6:00pm at Mirror Lake in Eden Park. With about a dozen hot air balloons, this is one of the largest hot air balloon festivals in the country and is free and open to the public. In addition to the balloons, this year there will also be live holiday music, circus entertainers, costumed characters from the Cincinnati Ballet, and opportunities to get your photo taken with Santa. Food, hot cocoa, and crafts will also be for sale at the event, so bring your appetite and your gift list so you can start checking off who’s been naughty and nice.
Light up the Square
On Friday, November 29 from you can continue the celebration at Macy’s Light Up the Square event. The festivities begin at 6:00pm and will include live music from local bands, ice skating at Fountain Square, and a fireworks show. Then, throughout the month of December you can enjoy the ice rink on the square from 10:00am – 10:00pm Sunday through Thursday, and you skate until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Santa hits the ice on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 1:00pm, which is an experience both kids and adults won’t soon forget.
Family Favorite at the Zoo
If holiday lights are what you’re after, then bundle up and head over to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden for the PNC Festival of Lights. This is the largest light display Cincinnati has to offer, and it’s been a family favorite for thirty years. The event runs from November 23 until January 4 from 5:00pm – 9:00pm (10:00pm on Friday and Saturday). Some of the highlights at the Festival of Lights are the lights show on Swan Lake, the North Polar Express train ride, and fairyland. Admission is $10 for children and $15 for adults. If you are a member of the zoo, you can enjoy the lights and festivities a bit early on Friday, November 22 at the Member’s preview night.
Want Some Holiday Tunes?
On Thursday, December 12 at 10:30am and 7:00pm the Cincinnati Music Hall will sing in the season with Albee Theater’s Mighty Wurlitzer. Acclaimed theater organist Walt Strony will perform holiday favorites with special guest Mary Ellen Tanner. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased in advance online or by calling the ticket office at (513)621-2787.
Cincinnati’s Can’t-Miss Classic
My final not to be missed holiday event is The Nutcracker ballet at The Aronoff Center. The holiday season doesn’t seem complete without this classic Christmas story. Performances are scheduled for Friday, Saturday, or Sunday from December 20 to 29. Fountain Square is only a couple of blocks away, so you can easily combine activities to create a day full of fun for the whole family.
Holiday Event Transportation
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