Beginning Winter Break

The fall semester has come to an end, and winter break is just beginning. Shake off those finals-week blues by making some fun plans for your time off. From sled riding to antiquing to pie eating, there are plenty of ways to get into the seasonal spirit and let the stress of the semester melt away.

Outdoor Fun

Chilly air shouldn't stop you from getting outside! Bundle up and head to Fountain Square for ice skating under the stars. After taking a few spins around the Rockefeller Plaza-sized rink, you can enjoy food and drink as you watch the action from the heated viewing area.

If you're looking for the next level of extreme frozen fun, Perfect North Slopes is sure to get your adrenaline pumping. With beginner to expert ski slopes and tubing hills, there's something for all skill levels. A lodge with hot food and drinks will warm you up between sessions.

For a more laid-back experience, horse-drawn carriage rides take you through the heart of downtown Cincinnati in style. Bring along a special someone and cozy up amidst the holiday lights.

Indoor Fun

You've seen holiday poinsettias in a deep red hue, but have you ever seen them in royal blue, lively orange and dark purple? Visit A Whimsical Wonderland Holiday Show at the Krohn Conservatory to discover poinsettias of a different color, along with countless plant and holiday displays galore.

Experience the charm of Christmases past with the Taft Museum's An Antique Christmas event. See the evolution of American holiday traditions through the display of antique toys, ornaments and cards.

For history buffs, a visit to the Hillforest House Museum's Victorian Christmas is well worth the trip. Located a short drive away in Aurora, Indiana, the Hillforest Mansion is decked out in period-specific holiday decor.


It just doesn't feel like winter until you've been immersed in colorful, twinkling lights. Here in Cincinnati, there is no shortage of places to see elaborate displays.

One of the area's most popular holiday events is the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo, where there are 2.5 million LED lights on display.

If you'd rather enjoy the lights from the comfort of your warm car, Coney Island's Christmas Nights of Lights offers a 2-mile-long show with synchronized holiday music.

You can also check out Holiday in Lights, a drive-through holiday light trail at Sharon Woods.


If the demands of the semester have left you scrambling for last-minute gifts, don't panic! There are plenty of opportunities to shop in a stress-free, festive environment.

The Cincideutsch Christkindlmarkt is an authentic German Christmas market held on weekends at Fountain Square, where you can sip Mulled Wine (hot spiced wine) as you browse through the artisan wares.

Check out the Holiday Market on December 17 to see Washington Park transformed into a festive space for the gift-giving season. Filled with local vendors and delicious food trucks, you're sure to find something for everyone on your list while having a good time to boot.

Businesses in OTR are competing to have the grandest storefront holiday display as part of OTR aGlow. Take a shopping trip through this historic neighborhood and judge for yourself who has the most creative display!

Seasonal Food

After all that winter fun, you'll need to settle in for a warm, hearty meal. Hofbrauhaus is an authentic German restaurant located across the river in Newport, where you can experience Zinzinnati's rich cultural heritage. Fill up on hearty cold-weather favorites and house-brewed beer, including the Weihnachtsbier Christmas lager.

Ice cream may not be your first thought when it comes to wintery desserts, but Graeter's will have you craving the cold stuff no matter what the temperature may be outside. Stop into a local scoop shop to try December's seasonal flavors, Peppermint Stick and Eggnog.

For a traditional holiday favorite, head over to O Pie O for fresh-baked seasonal goodness. Located in East Walnut Hills, they whip up handcrafted pies with wintery ingredients like Chocolate Hazelnut, Bourbon Pecan and Apple Crumble.

Written by Dakota Wright, Graduate Assistant to the Graduate School Office