Free (and Socially Distant) Things to do in Cincinnati this Holiday Season

The holidays are here! And we don’t know about you, but we could sure use some holiday cheer. Make that *free* holiday cheer. And socially distant, of course.

We worked some holiday magic and compiled the following list of 20+ Free (and Socially Distant) Things to do in Cincinnati this Holiday Season:


Entertrainment Junction‘s Holiday Display in the Expo Center
Nov. 14-Jan. 1
Entertrainment Junction, location of the world’s largest indoor train display and awesome holiday display, offers a separate, FREE, holiday train display throughout December inside its Expo Center. Here visitors will find three unique holiday train layouts, including a Lionel train display originally exhibited at the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis.

Light Up Middletown
6-10 pm nightly from Nov. 26 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!

Hamilton Welcomes the Holidays Annual Tree Lighting Celebration
2020 date TBA
This year’s event features holiday music, live reindeer, children’s activities and more.

Nov. 21, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 at 8 pm at Fountain Square
Experience the Live From Music Hall simulcasts on a big screen at free, socially distanced watch parties at iconic Cincinnati gathering spaces. Make sure to arrive early to get set up! Concerts happen Nov. 21, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12 at Fountain Square. Schedule subject to weather-related changes. All guests must wear a mask and practice social distancing at all times.
Christmas in Springboro Festival
Nov. 22-24 in Historic Springboro
Be sure to mark your calendars for the “12 Days of Christmas in Springboro” presented by Niki Gulick, Realtor/Owner – Reign Realty on Nov. 11-22! This event is a festive way to visit Springboro area hotspots, shop local in Historic Springboro, enjoy complimentary children’s activities and give back to our wonderful community. Event passports will be available for $1 at the Springboro Chamber beginning on Nov. 2nd — children’s passports and activities are FREE.
Virtual Macy’s Light Up the Square
Nov. 27 from 6:30-7:30 pm. Virtual
Welcome Fountain Square into YOUR homes on Friday, Nov. 27 for a Virtual and Televised Macy’s Light Up the Square. Broadcast begins at 7pm. Viewers at home will be able to watch the broadcast on Channel 5 and participate virtually in several ways including the opportunity to have their own tree lighting shown at the end of the broadcast.
Santa Parade
Nov. 28 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.
Nov. 29, 6-8 pm at Harbin Park
The City of Fairfield is proud to welcome the community to celebrate the holiday season with the second Fairfield Parade of Lights, which will be held as a drive-thru parade. The illuminated floats will stage at Harbin Park while the community will drive-thru this unique experience.
Santa’s Workshop
Nov. 30, Dec. 7, Dec. 14 and Dec. 21 from 1-3 pm at Washington Park
Every Saturday in December, Santa and his merry band of Elves will be spending time in Washington Park making gifts, ornaments and other fun creations from 1 to 3 pm. Stop by the wish-list station where elves will help you write a list to give to Santa when you meet him- or bring yours from home. Photos are allowed – bring your own camera!

Holiday Lights
Dec. 4, 6-8 pm at Deerfield Towne Center
Enjoy the annual holiday festivities with friends and family at the Deerfield Towne Center! 2020 activities TBA.
Waynesville’s Christmas in the Village
Dec. 4-6 on Main Street in Downtown Waynesville
Christmas in the Village of Waynesville, presented by Peoples Bank, is coming up on December 6th, 7th, and 8th. Come and experience small town charm during the holidays with 1300 luminaries on Friday and Saturday, strolling characters, carriage rides, and entertainment throughout the downtown area. And make sure to stop by heated entertainment tent too. Santa arrives on firetruck daily, and don’t forget the shopping and dining.
Oxford Holiday Festival
Dec. 5
Get in the Christmas spirit with your family during the Oxford Holiday Festival held annually in early December at Uptown Parks and the Community Arts Center. Oxford Christmas lights are beautiful amongst the backdrop of Miami University. Enjoy a winter wonderland full of family-friendly activities including carriage rides, musical performances, official tree lighting, and ice skating. No Christmas is complete without an appearance by Santa! Santa Claus arrives by fire truck and is available for meet and greets with your little ones. You can event visit with Santa’s reindeer.
Dec. 12 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!
Christmas in Loveland
Dec. 18, 4-8 pm in Downtown Loveland
Be swept back in time while visiting Old Historic Loveland on this special day. 2020 events TBA. There will be extra precautions to avoid large crowds and this event will be more spread out around greater Downtown Loveland than in past years. Masks are encouraged to be worn throughout the event, and required in businesses.
Mt. Adams Luminaria
Dec. 20, 5:30-8:30 pm
Every December, Mt. Adams comes aglow with the soft light of thousands of luminaries for this Event organized by the Mt. Adams Beautification Association. Residential streets and the business district are lined with the temporary “lanterns” inviting neighbors to get out and enjoy the sights and sounds of the Holiday Season. The evening is elevated with caroling by local Choral Groups and Choirs. Local bars and restaurants offer holiday specials throughout the evening. Santa will visit the Monk Fountain at 6 pm, and tours will run from 6:30-8:30 pm.

Crib of the Nativity
Check website for 2020 schedule.
Sponsored by Western & Southern, this live nativity scene features live animals – a cow, sheep and a donkey – in an antique barn just outside Krohn Conservatory.

Please note: while Crib of the Nativity is FREE, Krohn’s holiday show (A Very Merry Garden Holiday) is not — but in our opinion, it absolutely part of the holidays and definitely worth a visit! Check it out from 10 am-5 pm starting Nov. 14.

The holidays may be a little different this year, but with a little planning and safety precautions, we can all enjoy a happy, healthy season of fun — complete with some new traditions!

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