Best Things to Do for Christmas in Cincinnati: the Definitive 2021 List

It’s Christmas time! And since Christmas is on the 25th day of the month, we thought it would be fun to focus on 25 Christmas things to do in Cincinnati. The city is full of activity in December, but we have some favorite events for you to put on your list. Whether you decide to do one or all, Christmas in Cincinnati is always festive!


Perfect for date nights, family days, or solo exploring, Lumaze is a great way to spend Christmas in Cincinnati. See a live show, shop the holiday market, eat, drink, and look at thousands of lights at this fun annual event. You can even visit more than once and get your kids to see Santa!

Entertrainment Junction

If you love trains, Entertrainment Junction is the way to go. Although you’ll have to drive your car to get there, this display features over 90 trains, two miles of tracks, and 20,000 square feet of space to see the mini locomotives go through tiny towns.

Don’t miss out on an incredible Christmas experience and get your tickets for Lumaze Cincinnati now!

Springdale Santa 5k

Run (or walk) off your Thanksgiving meal and all of those holiday cookies before Christmas day. Dress up as Santa — or at least wear a Santa hat — and participate in the Springdale Santa 5k. It’s a relaxed race, so you don’t have to come in first. Just having fun and completing the course is worth it.

City Flea Holiday Market

holiday presents

Plan the evening to shop and head to the City Flea Holiday Market. This event is carefully curated, so you can be sure you’re getting some of the best Christmas in Cincinnati gifts from local artisans and vendors. 

Elf the Musical, Jr.

Everyone loves the movie Elf, so see it live in musical form! Elf the Musical, Jr. is an abbreviated version of the original. However, you will still get to see adorable Buddy and witness all of his crazy antics during the holiday season. This show is one of our favorite Christmas things to do in Cincinnati! Holiday plays are a tradition and the Queen City knows how to go all the way with it!

Holiday Pops

Get in the holiday spirit by listening to the sounds of the season. Holiday Pops is a longstanding Cincinnati Christmas tradition and features 2 hours of music that brings back the nostalgia of the holidays. It’s also live-streamed if you don’t want to head outdoors. 

Harrison Christmas Parade

woman drinking hot winter beverage at night

The Harrison Christmas Parade is an annual tradition that focuses on a holiday theme. If you love the Grinch, you’ll be thrilled that he’s the center of attention at this year’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas parade in Harrison.

Holiday Junction

Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains is celebrating its 75th year. So get in on the Christmas in Cincinnati festivities by heading to see this vast display of trains. Not only do they have trains, but the event also features Brickopolis, which is a large land built with LEGOs. 

Taft’s Brewporium Holiday Market

Shop from 24 different vendors at Taft’s Brewporium Holiday Market. Your entry ticket also gets you a free beer so you can drink and shop simultaneously. In addition, if you purchase from a local vendor, you’ll receive $1 off pints for the rest of the day. What a fun way to shop till you drop!

Bah Humbug! A One-Man Christmas Carol

If you love the classic story of Scrooge, this adaptation definitely takes a twist! One performer plays all of the characters, from Scrooge and Belle to the ghosts and Fezziwig. It’s entertaining and lively and creative, too! Bah Humbug! is one of the more unique Christmas things to do in Cincinnati. 

Journey Borealis

trees wrapped in christmas lights

Fill your car up with family and friends, and head to a gorgeous drive-through light show. Journey Borealis features several light displays, including Grinch’s Greenland, Bethlehem, the Candy Cane Forest, Jerusalem, Hanukkah, and the North Pole. It’s a beautiful way to spend an evening.

Nutcracker Rocks!

The classic tale of The Nutcracker coming to life gets an updated twist in Nutcracker Rocks! The story is still the same, although the music is more upbeat. A rock genre of tunes accompanies this classic tale of Clara and her special Christmas gift.

Don’t miss out on an incredible Christmas experience and get your tickets for Lumaze Cincinnati now!

PNC Festival of Lights

Love animals? Head to the zoo! Not only will you see lots of exotic animals, but you can also see the PNC Festival of Lights. There are thousands of lights, and this one of our Christmas things to do in Cincinnati also features a light show over Swan Lake. It’s fun for the whole family!

Every Christmas Story Ever Told

Head to the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for a synopsis of Every Christmas Story Ever Told. This fast-paced show focuses on familiar tales, such as It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, and a Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s a fun take on a holiday show during Christmas in Cincinnati.

A Magical Cirque Christmas

Cirque shows are known for their acrobatics and astounding feats, making your eyes gaze in awe. Combine that wonder with the spirit of the holidays by seeing A Magical Cirque Christmas, which is set to holiday music.

Merry Christmas Market

christmas presents

Head to Niederman Family Farm for their 2021 Merry Christmas Market. Shop from local vendors to purchase handmade items and hot cocoa bombs. So make your family list, and head to this fun event during Christmas in Cincinnati.

Fountain Square Ice Rink

Ready to get on your ice skates and do a triple lutz? Ok, probably not, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time ice skating at your own pace at Fountain Square Ice Rink. They also have bumper cars on the ice, which is a lot of fun! 

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens’s tale of a miserly old guy coming to his senses comes to life on stage and with music in A Christmas Carol. Learn about Scrooge and his visits with three holiday ghosts. His change of heart may encourage you to have a giving spirit this Christmas in Cincinnati. 

PRM Handmade Market

Another shopping opportunity, the PRM Handmade Market, is the perfect place to get handcrafted goods to give your friends and family members. In addition, they’ll have food trucks outside so you can grab a bite to eat while you are on the go. 

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

One of the best Christmas things to do in Cincinnati is to go and hear Trans-Siberian Orchestra perform their music live. Their holiday tunes are so upbeat and fun to listen to. It’s the perfect way to get into a festive mood at the beginning of the holiday season. 

Don’t miss out on an incredible Christmas experience and get your tickets for Lumaze Cincinnati now!

Holiday in Lights

Tunnel of lights

Head to Sharon Woods, a Great Park of Hamilton County, to experience Holiday in Lights. This drive-through light display lets you keep warm in your vehicle while you see Santa and his elves, ark animals, and lots of other themed lit-up features. 

Annual Horse Drawn Carriage Parade

Now in its 32nd year, the Annual Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Festival in Lebanon brings back old traditions. The day features two different carriage parades, and the festival offers a day full of fun for families and couples alike.

Christmas Magic at the Movies

This activity is for the kids, but Christmas Magic at the Movies is filled with — magic! Princesses are on hand to greet guests as the Fairy Godmother passes out hot chocolate and cookies. In addition, a free holiday-themed princess movie will be on the big screen, and children can meet with the princesses after the show. 

North Pole Express

Of course, everyone loves mini-train displays as a part of Christmas in Cincinnati, but if you head outside of the city, you can ride one! The North Pole Express offers a fabulous experience as Santa and his elves visit during the one hour and 15-minute train ride.

The Dinner Detective

Dinner theaters are becoming rare. However, Cincinnati has one of the best ones around. Head to The Dinner Detective to see a show while solving a murder mystery. Who knows? You may even be accused of the crime, so try to clear your name before dessert!

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