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Get in the jolly spirit with Cincinnati holiday activities!

The Christmas holiday season begins the day after Thanksgiving. Cincinnati provides festive and cheerful activities for the entire family to enjoy.

From ice skating to plays to carolers and iconic trains, there is something for all ages to love. So, grab some family and friends, or make it a date with Cincinnati holiday activities.

This article is as current as the publication date. Readers are encouraged to confirm the information before acting.

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Black Santa at the Freedom Center  

December 17, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (The Banks)
Free Admission
Join The Voice of Black Cincinnati for a special event on December 17 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. as we welcome Black Santa to Cincinnati. 

children sitting on Santa's lap

Black Cincinnati Holiday Activities

New Year’s Eve: Ellington at 125

December 31, 8 p.m.
Music Hall (OTR)
Starting at $26
JMR and The Pops ring in 2024 with the sophisticated jazz stylings of Edward “Duke” Ellington to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the legendary pianist and composer’s birth.

Narnia: The Musical 

December 9 – 17, 2 p.m. & 5 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Taft Theatre (Downtown)
$10 – $53
In this spellbound landscape, filled with creatures of myth and fable, the children face temptation and fear but learn profound
lessons of courage, unselfishness, and wisdom that help them grow in spirit and prepare them for life in our world—part of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati Mainstage productions.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony: 50 Years of Hip-Hop Holiday Show 

December 15, 7 p.m.
MegaCorp Pavilion (Newport)
$35 – $75
Iconic Cleveland group brings the holiday spirit to town, celebrating 50 years of hip-hop.

Island Christmas Holiday 

December 15, 6 p.m.
The Redmoor (Mount Lookout)
$40 – $80
Cincinnati’s hottest holiday concert, where ‘White Christmas’ meets Bob Marley on a Caribbean island. Escape the humdrum with some steel drum (and much more) — Including a soca party sing-along and original island Christmas songs!

Related Article: Things to do this week in Black Cincinnati

Black Nativity  

December 8 – 16
Word of Deliverance Church (Forest Park)
Adult $35, Children and Seniors $30
“This illustrious story of joyfulness, personal struggle, and the powerful discovery of faith, this spirited performance is filled with a taste of African American flavor, impactful sounds of music, and praise and worship songs.”

Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra Jingle Mingle 

December 14 – 15, 6 p.m.
The Redmoor (Mount Lookout)
$10 – $25
The annual Jingle Jazz performance features swinging remixes of favorite holiday classics, many of which were written by members of the Orchestra.

An Acoustic Christmas with Over the Rhine 

December 15 – 17, 8 p.m.
Memorial Hall (OTR)
$44 – $74
The beloved local band performs a mix of their original acoustic-folk holiday songs and seasonal classics.

mother and daughter ice skating for the holidays
Cincinnati holiday activities will get the family out of the house.

An Intimate Christmas with Vocal Arts Ensemble 

December 16, 7:30 p.m.
Christ Church Cathedral (Downtown)
$5 – $35
Conductor Trevor Kroeger will lead VAE singers, instrumentalists, and Queen City Cabaret in a program featuring fresh arrangements of favorite holiday tunes and unexpected choral gems. 

Holiday Family Funday: Jazzy Holiday 

December 17, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. 
Taft Museum of Art (Downtown)
Free Admission (registration is encouraged)
Explore the museum all decked out for the holidays. Enjoy free music, artmaking, and more.

A Merry Christmas Big Band Evening 

December 17, 7 p.m.
Memorial Hall (OTR)
Free Admission, tickets required
Enjoy the 17-piece Cincinnati All-Star Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Carmon Deleone, recreating the sounds of the Stan Kenton Orchestra. 

Holiday-Themed Music

Jazz Under the Mistletoe  

December 8, 6 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.
The Redmoor (Mount Lookout)
Join the electrifying 2nd Wind Band, Grammy Award-nominated Josh Strange, dynamic saxophonist Ric Sexton, and exciting family band Anna & The Deeper Well for an unforgettable holiday concert experience!

Kid-Friendly Cincinnati Holiday Activities

Santa on the Levee 

November 18 – December 23
The Gallery Newport on the Levee (Newport)
ree Admission
Santa is coming to town
! Bring loved ones, and enjoy taking complimentary photos with Santa! 

Holidays on the Farm 

November 24 – December 26
Parky’s Farm (Winton Woods)
$17/person at the gate, $15/person online. Children 2 and under: Free
Festivities Include Lighted Trails, Pony Rides, Farm Animal Meet and greets, Photos with Santa and Other Friends from The North Pole, Santa’s Reindeer, Dickens Carolers & Mrs. Claus Storytime, Vendors with Handmade Gifts and treats, Wagon Rides, Nature Programming Stations, A Cozy Beer Garden, Artificial Ice Curling, and Holiday Movies. 

Heritage Village Museum 

November – December
The Heritage Village Museum (Sharonville)
Starting at $10
events and activities are available for sign-up, including a guided 19th-century holiday tour, a Christmas by candlelight dinner, and holly days. 

Scuba Santa 

Through December 24
Newport Aquarium (Newport)
from $22.99 – $39.99 (Included with aquarium admission)
See Scuba Santa swim underwater with a tank full of sharks and tell him what you want for Christmas.   


Through December 31
Kings Island (Mason)
Starting at $29.99
An unforgettable holiday experience where Kings Island transforms into 12 enchanting winter wonderlands.

Related Article: Holiday shop with Black-owned Businesses.

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And then some) 

December 7 – December 30
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (OTR)
Starting at $14 – $79
What begins as another production of A Christmas Carol devolves into an irreverent look at beloved holiday classics.  

Christmas at the Junction 

Through January 1
Entertainment Junction (West Chester)
$16.95, kids two and under free
Take the family to see the holiday train display! Then, walk through a winter wonderland to visit Mrs. Claus and chat with Santa. 

Cincinnati Christmas and holiday activities for the entire family.

Holiday Junction  

Now through January 8
Cincinnati Museum Center (Queensgate)
$10, Children under two and all members free, $2 per person for up to 10 guests. Free parking for one vehicle with a valid EBT or SNAP card
The Duke Energy Holiday Trains have been a Cincinnati holiday staple since 1946, delighting generations. 

Summit Park Ice Rink 

Through January 7
Summit Park (Blue Ash)
$7 per person
The ice rink will be located underneath Summit Park’s glass canopy. For inexperienced skaters, free skating aids are available for each session while supplies last.  

Related Article: Check out Cincinnati kid-friendly activities.

UC Health Ice Rink 

Through February 2
Fountain Square (Downtown)
Starting at $10
Rink amenities include 600 pairs of rental skates, the WGU Ohio Warming Tent, a full-service concessions tent with hot and cold snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, on-site parking, and restrooms. The rink is open to skaters of all ages.  

Penguin Days 

January 8 – March 10
The Cincinnati Zoo (Clifton)
Starting at $10.50
Waddle to the Zoo and save money during Penguin Days! Enjoy discounted admission from January 8 – March 10, 2024.

family taking silly christmas selfie
Cincinnati provides festive and cheerful holiday activities for the entire family to enjoy.

Holiday-Themed Dance 


December 16, 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Aronoff Center for the Arts, Jarson-Kaplan Theater (Downtown)
Musical revue celebrating the holidays with music and dance. Directed and choreographed by Missy Lay Zimmer and Andrew Hubbard, with additional choreography by Carlos Neto. 

Holiday-Themed Theater 

Cincinnati Ballet presents The Nutcracker 

December 14 – 24
Music Hall’s Springer Auditorium (OTR)
Starting at $49
With spectacular choreography by Victoria Morgan, grand sets and costumes, and a beloved story, The Nutcracker also presents a remarkable cast of characters such as the Snow Queen and King, Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier, mischievous mice, brave toy soldiers, chicks and Minnie the Poodle. 

 A Christmas Carol

November 24 – December 30
Playhouse in the Park, Rouse Theatre (Mt Adams)
This holiday story unfolds spectacularly in a brand-new production featuring a dazzling new set, costumes, and lighting designs. Preview performances  

Fiona: The Musical

November 29 – December 29
Ensemble Theatre (OTR)
Based on the true story of the hippo that captured the world’s heart, this story follows Fiona’s journey from a premature baby to a larger-than-life heroine. 

A Magical Cirque Christmas 

December 22, 7:30 p.m.
Aronoff Center for the Arts (Downtown)
Starting at $49.50
A variety show full of nostalgia, charm, and awe-inspiring performances for all ages. Get ready to be dazzled, enchanted, and filled with holiday cheer as you witness the incredible talents of world-class entertainers performing holiday music favorites.

Related Article: Weather keeping you indoors? Check out Holiday movies.

Holiday-Themed Lights

Festival of Lights 

Through January 7
Cincinnati Zoo (Clifton)
$6 per adult, $3 per child, or $40 family membership, and $1 parking with a valid EBT or SNAP card (Included with zoo admission)
Come early to see more animals and stay for the lights! Lights, animals, holiday cheer, and more! 

Celestial Holiday 

Through January 7
Krohn Conservatory (Mt. Adams)
Starting at $7, Children 4 and under are free
Krohn will be transformed into a glowing winter wonderland surrounded by shimmering lights and twinkling stars. 

Coney Island Christmas Night of Lights 

Through December 31
Coney Island (Anderson)
$30 – $75 per carload
More than one million twinkling lights synchronized to a mix of traditional and rocking holiday music. 

Light up Middletown Driving Tour 

Through December 31
Smith Park (Middletown)
Admission with a cash donation – attendees set the price!
The journey begins with a tunnel of lights. 

Land of Illusion Christmas Glow 

Through December 30
Land of Illusion (Middletown)
Over 3.8 million lights at the 2-mile-long lights display drive-thru. The Christmas Glow – Christmas Drive-Thru is here to create memories and celebrate the season with the family! 

Cincinnati holiday activities will keep families entertained. So, go ahead and pull out those ugly elf and reindeer sweaters. It is time to be jolly. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Please inform us at The Voice of Black Cincinnati if we missed any Cincinnati holiday activities and events.

Written by: Jaylyn Nurredin

The Voice of Black Cincinnati is a media company designed to educate, recognize, and create opportunities for African Americans. Want to find local news, events, job postings, scholarships, and a database of local Black-owned businesses? Visit our homepage, explore other articles, subscribe to our newsletter, like our Facebook page, join our Facebook group, and text VOBC to 513-270-3880.

Cincinnati holiday activities images provided by © [Monkey Business] /Adobe Stock and The Voice of Black Cincinnati via AI

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Written by Crystal Kendrick

Publisher, The Voice of Black Cincinnati