10 Under-the-Radar Holiday Events in Cincinnati

We’re kicking off the holiday season with one of our very favorite guides: 10 Under-the-Radar Holiday Events in Cincinnati. Read on for our top picks for the 2016 holiday season, which include an array of events, exhibits, shows and festivals!

Start a new family tradition with your family this year at one of these holiday events in Cincinnati:


Holiday In Lights/Santaland

Dates: Nov. 18-Dec. 31 at Sharon Woods

Details: This drive-thru lights display celebrates its 25th anniversary this year! We recommend going on Opening Night (Nov. 18), when Santa drives in on a bright red sled fire truck! After driving through the mile of lights, stop by Santaland for more festive family fun!

Cost: Admission is $13 per vehicle and $45 for buses and 15 passenger vans (get a $2 coupon here!)

Holiday Lights on the Hill
Photo credit: Pyramid Hill

Dates: Nightly from Nov. 18-Jan. 1 at Pyramid Hill

Details: A gorgeous, drive-thru lights display covering Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park. Grab a hot chocolate, crank the Christmas tunes and enjoy the lights!

Cost: Tickets are $20/carload from Monday-Thursday and $25/carload on Friday-Sunday. Members tickets are always $15!

Downtown Dazzles

Dates: Nov. 25-27, Dec. 3-4 and 10-11 at various locations downtown

Details: The first two weekends in December, head downtown to enjoy fun, festive, family friendly holiday activities! Downtown Cincinnati is hosting more than 30 holiday activities this season, including the return of the fan favorite Macy’s Downtown Dazzle, a light-and-fireworks show on Fountain Square. As part of Downtown Cincinnati’s holiday lineup, you’ll also see Santa rappel down the Huntington Center, Mrs. Claus lead a story time and take a horse-drawn carriage ride.

Cost: All Downtown Dazzle events are free!


Scuba Santa
Photo credit: Newport Aquarium
Photo credit: Newport Aquarium

Dates: Nov. 25-Dec. 31 at Newport Aquarium

Details: This is one of the most unique Santa sightings in town: the jolly old elf dons a snorkel and flippers for a scuba-swimming spectacle! Instead of snapping a pic of your kids on Santa’s lap, you’ll get a fun photo opp of your kid meeting one-on-one with Santa in the swim tank.

Cost: Tickets are $23.99 for adults 13 and up and $15.99 for kids 2-12.

Victorian Holiday Village at Ohio National

Dates: Activities on Dec. 2-3 and 8-9; lights open through December

A memorable outdoor event for the entire family featuring thousands of twinkling lights; miniature-sized, yet exciting fully decorated Victorian-style homes and buildings; entertainment; free cocoa and cookies; and a complimentary 5 x 7 photo with St. Nick.

Cost: Free!

Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Festival
Photo credit: Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Festival Facebook Page
Photo credit: Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Festival Facebook Page

Dates: Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Downtown Lebanon’s North Broadway Street

Is there anything more festive than horse-drawn carriages? We don’t think so! On the first Saturday of December, head to Historic Lebanon for a healthy dose of holiday spirit at the annual Lebanon Carriage Parade. Featuring a parade, vendors, food, kid friendly activities and, of course, carriage rides, the Lebanon Carriage Parade is a fantastic way to start the merry month of December.

Cost: Festival admission and carriage rides are free

Christmas in the Country at Dinsmore Homestead

Dates: Dec. 3 and 4 at Dinsmore Homestead

For an off-the-beaten path holiday festival, head south to Burlington, KY. Dinsmore Homestead’s heritage event features live music, children’s crafts, cookies and more! Definitely check out the candlelight tours on Saturday evening from 5-8 p.m.

Cost: $7/adults, $3/kids ages 5-16 and free for kids under 5 and Dinsmore members.


Mt. Adams Reindog Parade
Photo credit: spca Cincinnati Facebook page
Photo credit: spca Cincinnati Facebook page

Date: Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. in Mt. Adams

The Mt. Adams Reindog Parade has been voted “Best Family Event” in Cincinnati – and it seems Santa loves it, too! Canines come in costume to this free parade, which is led through the streets of Mt. Adams by the Big Elf himself. Come watch as Santa practices his reindeer/dog skills for the big day!

Cost: Free; donations to the scpa are accepted.

Heritage Village Holly Days

Dates: Dec. 10-11 from 12-4 p.m. at Heritage Village

December’s Holly Days just may be our favorite event of the year, as the Historical Village is transformed into a festival of lights unlike any other. Walk through the entrance at Sharon Woods, and you’ll instantly travel back in time to 19th Century, where the Village’s historical buildings will be decked to the nines with traditional decor from the 1800’s. This two-day festival also features seasonally inspired storytelling, craft making, model trains, holiday treats and live music to put your family in the jolly, holly spirit!

Cost: $10 for adults, $6 for children 5-11 and free for children 4 and under and museum members.

Elf the Musical JR
Photo credit: The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati Facebook page
Photo credit: The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati Facebook page

Dates: Dec. 10-11 and 16-18 at the Taft Theatre

If Will Ferrell’s holiday film is one of your favorites, then you’ll love Elf Jr.! This tale of a misplaced elf’s search for his family has become a modern classic. The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s take on Elf is sure to please the entire family, with its mix of humor, heart and music!

Cost: Tickets range from $10-$30.

So, bundle up, load up the family minivan and crank the Christmas tunes as you head to one of these holiday events in Cincinnati!

Feature image courtesy of the Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Festival Facebook Page




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