Winter Holiday Happenings to Enjoy Your Break

Written by Erin Michel, Graduate Assistant for the Graduate College

Snow on Campus

As we prepare to wrap up final projects and put another semester in the books, many of us will be faced with something we haven’t experienced since August: free time to fill with fun and friends. Fortunately, Cincinnati is full of fun wintery activities to get cold and cozy this holiday season.

  • Light in the Forest (Cincinnati Nature Center): On select evenings through December 30th, Cincinnati Nature Center will open their trails to the public to display a vast array of lights including installations by five different regional light artists. Other attractions include a bonfire, holiday shopping, and children’s activities. Admission is $12 or $10 with membership.

  • Ice Skating in Fountain Square: For a more athletic activity, Fountain Square has set up an ice-skating rink right in the middle of downtown. The rink will be open through 7 days per week through February 20 and includes not only traditional skating but also on-ice bumper cars. A concession stand with cold and warm treats is also available on-site. Cost is $10 for skating only or $15 for bumpers and skating. 

  • Servatii Christmas Christkindlemarkt: Every Thursday-Sunday until New Year’s Eve, Servatii Pastry and Moerlein Brewery have partnered up for a traditional German Christmas market on the Schmidlapp Event Lawn outside of Moerlein. Heated igloos are available to rent, and attendees can browse and buy traditional German gifts and food while sipping on warm Glühwein (hot mulled wine), or other nonalcoholic alternatives.  

  • Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens PNC Festival of Lights: From now through January 4th, the zoo will be all decked out in more than 4 million LED Christmas lights. It is certainly a sight to behold. Other offerings include costumed holiday characters, a North Polar Express train, a black light puppet show, light shows on Swan Lake, and even s’mores stations where guests can roast their own tasty treats. Festival activities begin at 4PM on each day that the zoo is open. Admission starts at $15.50 for adults.  

  • Holiday Pops: From December 9-11, see the Cincinnati Pops and the Annie Moses Band play holiday classics in the beautiful and historic Cincinnati Music Hall, all decked out with winter decorations. Students can receive a special discounted price of $20.  

  • Al Neyer Winter Market: Each weekend in Washington Park through December 18, local vendors and artisans will be selling their wares from 3-8 PM on Fridays and 11 AM-5 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Beer, wine, and hot beverages will be available for purchase.  

  • Dent Schoolhouse’s A Christmas Nightmare: This weekend (December 9 and 10), experience some very nontraditional holiday cheer, or rather, fear. Dent Schoolhouse will be transformed into a Christmas-themed haunted house including Krampus, the Grinch, and more. Tickets start at $30.  

  • Cincinnati Ballet presents The Nutcracker: Come and see one of the top ballet programs in the country perform a true holiday classic December 15-24 with tickets starting at $39. Performances will take place in the Cincinnati Music Hall and dancing will be accompanied with live music by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.  

  • King’s Island Winterfest: On select nights through December 31, King’s Island transforms into “11 enchanting winter wonderlands.” Offerings include ice skating on the Royal Fountain, the Eiffel Tower turned into a magical Christmas tree, the WinterFest Wonderland Parade, more than five million lights, and live entertainment throughout the park. Select rides will be open as well. Tickets start at $29.99.

  • Entertrainment Junction’s Christmas Journey: Especially for those with kiddos, Entertrainment Junction (the world’s largest display train), offers some holiday cheer and excitement. In addition to viewing the locomotives,  attendees can visit with Santa, check out the reindeer stables, and watch elves at work building toys. An interactive fun house is also on site for kids of all ages! Holiday programming lasts through New Year’s Eve and tickets cost $16.95 for adults and $12.95 for children.