Cincinnati knows how to do the holidays. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, you’ll find lots of family-friendly events sure to put you in the proper holiday spirit. And the best part? In large part, this festive fun won’t cost you anything! Our roundup of 50 Free Things to do in Cincinnati this Holiday Season is full of festive family fun that won’t break the bank!
50 Free Things to do in Cincinnati this Holiday Season
Christkindlmarkt German Christmas Market
Nov. 5-7 at the German Society of Cincinnati
Christkindlmarkt is the Cincinnati region’s oldest and most authentic German Christmas market. Based on traditional Christmas markets that are popular throughout Germany, our Christkindlmarkt is mostly under our covered pavilion and heated tents, with some booths and attractions outdoors. 12 and under, free.
Nov. 5 at Normandy United Methodist Church
One of the area’s oldest and largest Bazaars featuring famous homemade pies and candies, needle-crafts, paper-crafts, hand painted items, a variety of fall and Christmas decor items, antiques and collectibles donated by our members and the community, and more!
Nakama Youth Makers Market
November 5 from 11a-3p at Nakama Studio
Come to Nakama Studio to support Youth Makers and encourage their
growth as entrepreneurs! A food truck and coffee truck will be on site in addition to the amazing goods the youth artisans have for sale. Any entrepreneur/maker under 18 is welcome to set up and sell their goods.
Tree Trimming Party
November 5 from 10am-1pm at Fountain Square
The Fountain Square Tree makes its grand entrance November 5 during the UC Health Ice Rink, presented by Fifth Third Bank’s Opening Weekend – celebrate with us at a festive Tree Trimming Party!
Winter Craft Show
Nov. 5 from 10am-4pm at EnterTRAINment Junction
Second Annual Winter Craft Show with over 50 vendors hosted at EnterTRAINment Junction in West Chester, Ohio.
Related Article: Holiday Markets and Craft Shows
Tree Lighting at The Greene
Nov. 18 from 5-8 pm
Join us on the Town Square for an event filled evening and a spectacular lighting ceremony as we illuminate our 50-foot tree. Festivities kick off at 5pm with live music from Anthony Mossburg, song & dance brought to you by Muse Machine, Santa arrival parade, and more!
Holly Jolly Hamilton
Nov. 4- Jan. 1 Downtown Hamilton
Holly Jolly Hamilton is a series of events happening across the city of Hamilton, OH. Support local this holiday season and make Hamilton, OH your shopping, dining and entertainment destination!
Mad Scientist Weekend
Nov. 19 from 11-2 pm at Miami Whitewater Nature Center
Come be a mad scientist for a day! Get mad in the lab with some slimy and smelly experiments! Test out chemical and physical reactions by channeling your inner scientist. Take home some of your crazy creations, and write down the secret formula so you can do your own experiments at home!
Harper Art Show
Nov. 13 – 17 from 11a-4p | Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve
Enjoy viewing and purchasing Harper prints at the annual art show. A free print, titled “Once There Was A Field,” will be given with each purchase of a framed or unframed print. Brett Harper, Charley’s son, will be signing books on November 16 and 17 from 1–3 p.m. The Harper Art Show is presented by Fabulous Frames & Art.
Deck the Halls Christmas Bazaar
Nov. 12 from 9 am-3 pm at St. Francis de Sales Church
Children will love talking to Santa and then shopping on their own in Santa’s Secret Workshop — they can buy small gifts for the family and have fun wrapping them. Be sure to browse through Crafty Creations and Grandma’s Attic for a wonderful variety of holiday decorations and gifts.
Kettering Holiday Arts & Craft Show
Nov. 12 from 9am-4pm at the Kettering Recreation Center (worth the drive)
This popular annual event showcases over 80 vendors throughout the Charles I. Lathrem Senior Center and Kettering Recreation Complex. Vendors will display their festive holiday decorations and handmade gift items for you to get started on your shopping.
Christmas in Springboro Festival
Nov. 18-20 in Historic Springboro
Sleigh bells ringing from the horse-drawn carriage, a sip of hot cocoa, the sound of children’s laughter and a nip in the air. Welcome to the annual Christmas in Historic Springboro Festival, the largest three-day holiday festival in the tri-state area!
Hamilton Welcomes the Holidays – Annual Tree Lighting Event
Nov. 19, 5-8 pm at Marcum Park
Please join us at Marcum Park for Hamilton’s Annual Tree Lighting Event with Holiday music, live reindeer, carriage & train rides, face painting, balloon artists, cookies, hot chocolate and much more–including a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Light Up the Levee
Nov. 26, 11a-7p at Newport on the Levee
Kick off the holiday season at Light Up the Levee! Join us for a magical evening of cheer, featuring the lighting of Newport on the Levee’s Christmas tree, and a special visit from Santa himself! A celebration of the season you won’t want to miss! Get in the holiday spirit with festive music and activities for the whole family.
Related Event: Lumaze Christmas Light Festival
Light Up Middletown
6-10 pm nightly from Nov. 24 through Dec. 31
Enter through the tunnel of lights to enjoy a sparkling fantasyland in Ohio. Light up Middletown is a driving tour through a 100-acre park. Oogle the many creative and themed displays, which include a floating Sea Serpent in the reflecting lake, Santa’s Workshop, American Flag, Penguin Village, Deer Leaping Over the Roadway, Helicopter, Whales and more! Admission is by cash donation only – you set the price!
Light Up the Square
Nov. 25 at 6p at Fountain Square
Festivities will begin at 5p with live music and a special appearance by Santa Claus and continuing into the evening with a dazzling fireworks display. Make sure you’re here so you can help us LIGHT UP this year’s tree!
Dayton Holiday Festival Grand Illumination & Parade
Nov. 25 from 4-9pm in Downtown Dayton (worth the drive)
Watch the holidays light up during Dayton’s traditional tree lighting on Courthouse Square, followed immediately by a nighttime parade for children, sparkling with more than 100,000 lights! Enjoy decorative seasonal floats, horses, drill teams and bands, and some special holiday treats.
Christmas Tiny Trains
November 25-26, December 2-3 at Beedle Cabin
Brought to you by Dayton N-Track, a free tiny train show!
ChristmasTown at Creation Museum
Nov. 25- Dec. 30 select days from 5 – 8:30 pm at the Creation Museum
Tour the dazzling garden of lights, reflect on the true meaning of the season at the live nativity, enjoy a special holiday dinner, do some unique gift shopping, and experience more during our free, annual ChristmasTown! Parking is not included
Related Event: Land of Illusion Christmas Glow
Nov. 26 at 4 pm in Downtown Middletown
A wonderful way to enjoy the holiday season and spirit. It’s not just a Santa Parade, it’s a performance parade! The parade route begins on South Broad Street to North Broad Street ending at Manchester Avenue.
Fairfield Parade of Lights
Nov. 26, 6-8 pm at Village Green Park
Celebrate the spirit of the winter season at Village Green Park in Fairfield. Shop the holiday market and listen to live performances before the parade kicks off at 6:00pm. Join Santa for the lighting of the tree after the parade.
Nov. 26, December 3, 10, 17 pm from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at Fountain Square
Downtown Dazzle is back to put a holiday twinkle in your eye! Join us in the heart of Cincy for one of the biggest highlights of the holiday season. See Santa rappel from a Cincinnati skyrise and wait with anticipation for the sky to fill with a fabulous fireworks display!
Nov. 26-Dec. 18 from 12-4pm at Washington Park
Ho ho ho! Join us every Saturday and Sunday from Nov. 26-Dec. 18 from 12-4p for socially distanced photos with Santa. Please note that this event series is FREE, but you must bring your own camera for photos.
Holiday Craft Gingerbread Robots
Dec. 1 from 4:30-5:30 pm at Sharonville Branch Library
Join us for a twist on a classic holiday activity. Use graham crackers and assorted candies to create your very own robot! For kids and teens. Registrations required.
ParkLights at Caesar Ford Park
Dec. 1-31 from 6-9pm at Caesar Ford Park (worth the drive)
Forget deck the halls! We’ve decked the park … with dazzling lights! We are lighting up Caesar Ford Park the entire month of December. You’ll wind your way through our Winter Wonderful, North Pole Car Show, Winter Farm and Festive Festival, then wave to Santa at the North Pole!
Waynesville’s Christmas in the Village
Dec. 2 from 11a-9p on Main Street in Downtown Waynesville
Waynesville takes on the nostalgic feeling of Christmas past as the downtown is adorned in traditional holiday décor. Make plans to visit this holiday season as we have exciting entertainment, strolling throughout the downtown, and in store fronts.
Lebanon Holiday Parade
Dec. 3 from 10 am-8 pm, located in Historic Downtown Lebanon
Located in Historic Downtown Lebanon, join us for the largest event to start the Holiday season. Our parades feature only horse drawn carriages. The Festival begins at 10 am, and runs until 8 pm with food and craft vendors along Mulberry and Mechanic Streets. Be sure to check out our entertainment lineup, and other Holiday activities throughout our Historic Downtown. Visit our amazing downtown businesses for those unique holiday gifts.
Liberty Township’s Breakfast at the North Pole
Dec. 3, 8-10 am at Liberty Heights Church
Enjoy a fun morning of holiday festivities including: arts & crafts, face painters and a visit with Santa Claus himself! Don’t forget your camera to snap a photo! Space is limited. Reservations required.
Alpaca Holiday Boutique
TBD at 590 Ibold Road, Loveland, 45140
Get your alpaca fix with this opportunity to feed and pet them! Doing some last-minute Christmas shopping? Looking for a unique gift? We’ve got your covered! Come on in and check out our Holiday Boutique! Find unique treasures and gifts! Free admission, parking and family friendly fun.
Holiday in the Village
Dec. 3, 5-7:30 pm in Downtown Montgomery
Head to Olde Montgomery for a healthy dose of holiday spirit. From a tree lighting ceremony to carolers to horse-drawn carriage rides, there’s plenty of free fun for families at this annual event.
Anderson Township Tree Lighting Ceremony
Dec. 3, 4-6:30 pm at Anderson Towne Center
Join us for holiday fun at Anderson Towne Center! Free food, drinks and entertainment. Tree lighting at 6p.
Dec. 3 & 4 from 10am-4pm at Findlay Market
Give the gift of supporting local this holiday season. Enjoy a wide selection of food and gift items plus fun activities and events for the whole family.
Related Event: A Carillon Christmas
Holiday Music Series
Dec. 4 from 2:30-3:30p at the Taft Museum of Art
Celebrate this special time of year and embrace the music of the season! Join us for two different holiday performances featuring the Northern Kentucky Brotherhood and the Queen City Sisters.
Light Up College Hill
Dec. 8 from 6pm at Patrick’s Park
Light Up College Hill is coming December 7th, from 6-8:30 pm! This will be an avenue-wide event with the 2nd annual tree lighting in Patrick’s Park, a train ride for kids, Santa, live reindeer, and more! Stay tuned for more event info and be sure to check out our website where we will continue to share details in the coming weeks.
Related Event: Holiday Junction feat. the Duke Energy Train Display
Madcap Christmas Carol
Dec. 14 from 7-8p at Blue Ash Library
f you think you know the story of miserly old Scrooge, think again! Madcap turns this Christmas ghost story into a fantastically funny tale, bringing your favorite Dickens characters to life with giant puppets and exciting new twists.
Family Holiday Craft
Dec. 15 from 6:30-7:30p at Monfort Heights Library
Join us for an evening of holiday crafts for all ages with many new ideas! This is an after hours program. Reservations required.
Santa Claus Meet and Greet
TBD at Voice of America Learning Center, Miami University
He’s back! Park your sled out back and join us for our annual visit with the man who wears the red and white so proudly … St. Nick! Enjoy some holiday refreshment and a free photo with Santa
Holiday Market at Washington Park
Dec. 17-18 at Washington Park
Shop local this holiday season! The Holiday Market at Washington Park is a festive event featuring loads of cheer and one-of-a-kind gifts. Browsing is free, but you might want to set aside a shopping allowance!
Mt. Adams Reindog Parade
Dec. 10 starting a 2 pm in Downtown Mt. Adams
Why do reindeer get to have all the fun? Easily the most adorable (and furry!) holiday parade in Cincy, the Mt. Adams Reindog Parade has been a tradition for over 20 years! This parade is free to watch and lots of doggone fun!
Live Nativity (Drive-Thru)
TBD at Faith Community UMC
Take a trip back in time as you drive through our campus and experience the sights and sounds of that first Christmas Under the Stars. You’ll see live animals, carolers, and actors.
Movie Night on the Levee | The Santa Clause
Dec. 22 time TBD at Newport on the Levee
Kick back and relax to film classics starting at 7PM in The Gallery on our jumbo LED! Attendees are encouraged to bring additional blankets and chairs. Seating is first come, first serve.
Christmas in Loveland
Dec. 17 in Historic West Loveland
Be swept back in time while visiting Old Historic Loveland on this special day. Everything from Jolly Ole’ St. Nick and Mrs. Claus at the North Pole, to a live Nativity scene, to a Winter Wonderland!
Family Holiday Craft Night
Dec. 10 from 2-3pm at Hyde Park Branch Library
Fill, paint, and or decorate your very own holiday/ seasonal ornaments! Ages 9 and up. Registration not required.
Santa and Mrs. Claus at Beedle Cabin
Dec. 11 and 18 from 10am-2pm at Beedle Cabin
Visit with Santa on December 11 at the Beedle Cabin! Santa will be available for pictures next to a cozy fire in the cabin from 10 am to 2 pm.
Cincy 3 Bridges Christmas Caroling
Lets explore Downtown Cincinnati, Newport and Covington with this easy laid-back approx. 6 mile Christmas Caroling Walkabout where we will collect donated items on this walkabout to give to those in need in our community.
Annual Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival
December 31- Jan 1 at Christ Church Cathedral
The annual Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival is a beloved Cincinnati tradition. Medieval costumes, a large orchestra and choir, spectacular lighting effects, and contagious holiday cheer make this an unforgettable experience!
Have a free holiday event to add? Email [email protected]!