Free (and socially distant) things to do this Fall in Cincinnati

Those lazy days of summer are winding down, and we’re moving full steam ahead with fall! So we’ve compiled a list of fun, FREE and safe events that will keep your family busy all fall long!

Here’s a roundup of Free (and socially distant) things to do this Fall in Cincinnati:



Sept. 6 – virtual
Fireworks this year! Fireworks will be launched a secret secret location, so stay home and watch the broadcast from Channel 12! Check out the Local 12 Facebook page to watch live stream.

Spy a Truck Drive-Thru Eventat Deerfield Towne Center
Sept. 12 from 10 am-12 pm
Load up the family and DRIVE-THRU a designated route on Saturday, September 12 from 10am-12pm. There will be surprises along the way. This adventure will be interactive for all ages, so don’t miss out! The first 500 cars will receive a FREE swag bag. This is a free event, no registration required. Please keep an eye out on Facebook for updates.

Great Outdoor Weekend Week
Sept. 19-27
September 19-27 is Green Umbrella’s Great Outdoor Week, which features more than 100 FREE outdoor activities in Southwest Ohio.Choose from over 100 free, family friendly events at various outdoor venues! For 2020, this event has been extended from a weekend to an entire week! {Tri-State Trails outlines a bunch of free activities in this post.}

Fright Night Fest
Oct. 1-4, 8-10 pm nightly at Washington Park
Head to Washington Park for a spooktacular Fright Night Fest Oct. 1-4! Fright Night features a free Halloween movie screening in the Park starting at 8 pm, but come down early to grab a spot and a drink from the Porch.

Operation Pumpkin
Oct. 9-11 in Downtown Hamilton
All pumpkin, all weekend long! Operation Pumpkin features artisans, food, zipline, kids zone, entertainment, amusement rides and more.

Findlay Market Fall Food Fest
Oct. 16-18
Enjoy fall-themed samples from market merchants as well as fun activities for kids and adults all weekend long.

Family Festival: Outdoor Art
Oct. 24th 12-3 pm 
This fall the Contemporary Arts Center is teaming up with Pyramid Hill for a unique outdoor event featuring local artists, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and lots of creative art making. Families will receive free Art Bags loaded with materials for you to explore at home. Family Festival: Outdoor Art is a free event; however, registration through Showclix is required. For the safety of our guests, all family members who are attending (both adults and children) must reserve a festival time slot, in order to limit visitor capacity.

Fall Programs at the Libraries/Parks:

Outdoor Family Storytime
Tuesdays in October from 10:30-11 am at Sharonville Branch Library,
Bring the entire family to enjoy books, songs, and activities, while building literacy skills. For all ages. These story times will be held outside on Tuesdays during the month of October, so please bring a blanket or chair to sit in. Masks will be required for parents/caregivers. Physical distancing will be observed *Weather permitting — please call ahead to confirm.

Outdoor Storytime at The Cincinnati Observatory
Wednesdays in October from 11-11:30 am
Join Hyde Park Library’s Miss Mary at The Cincinnati Observatory for a socially distanced story time. Enjoy books, songs, activities and more, while building early literacy skills. Recommended for ages 3-6. Registration required and limited to 10 families. Please bring blankets and chairs. Masks are required for adults.  Weather permitting — call the Hyde Park Library in case of inclement weather 513-369-4456. (The library is offering lots of story time options this fall – both virtual and outdoors/in-person! Check their schedule here.)

Tri-State Trails
Easily one of the coolest parks programs in Cincinnati, Tri-State Trails is a free resource, that lets you search for kid-friendly hiking trails in the area.

Museums and More

Patterson Homestead Open House
Oct. 4 from 12-5 pm at Carillon Historical Park
Take a tour of the Patterson Homestead and learn how the Patterson Family influenced the Dayton area.

Cincinnati Art Museum do it (home)
Virtual program 
As many of us across the globe are experiencing social distancing and orders to stay at home, the Cincinnati Art Museum is joining Independent Curators International (ICI) and over 30 art spaces around the world in sharing do it (home). This interactive exhibition, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, provides a set of art-making prompts that can easily be brought to life in your own home. These instructions have been created by contemporary artists, including some who are represented in our permanent collection. Click here to view and download all do it (home).

Family Night at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force 
Oct. 1 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
The museum, gift shop and café will remain open until 8 pm the first Thursday of each month in 2020. In addition, one aircraft will be open each month for visitors to look-in.

Dayton Science Expo
Nov. 21, 10 am-4 pm at The Boonshoft Museum
The Boonshoft Museum invites families to explore hands-on STEM activities, interact with partners and Museum professionals, and more at a FREE day of science and fun. In addition to the complete Museum experience, guests can also explore the STEM Expo (closes at 3 pm) in the Main Exhibit Hall! Museum educators and representatives from 20+ community partners will offer a day of fun, STEM immersion, family interaction, and one-of-a-kind Museum programming.

Celebrate Halloween

Trick-or-Treat all October long! Keep an eye out in September for our official Trick or Treat Guide; here are some of our favorite events:

Scarecrow Row
Sept. 28-Oct. 24 at Otto Armleader Park
Cool, creative scarecrows line the paths of Otto Armleader Park.

Fall Fest Weekend at Washington Park
Oct. 24 and 25 from 12-6 pm
Carve out some good times at Washington Park’s weekend of fall family fun! We’ve got a jam-packed entertainment lineup for all ages with local vendors selling craft & homemade items, baked goods, pet needs and more!

Halloween Treat Street
Oct. 23 from 6-8 pm
Come dressed in your favorite costume for an evening of spooktacular fun at Deerfield Towne Center! They are working hard to plan safe and fun opportunities for season that align with current requirements. Please check back closer to the event date for updates!

Halloween Drive-In Storytime
Oct. 27 at 7 pm at the Monfort Heights Library
This Drive-In Storytime will feature friendly Halloween stories and songs for all ages!  Dress up and join us for some spooky fun! Space is limited to 21 vehicles. Please RSVP at

Trick or Treat at Findlay Market
Oct. 31 from 4-6 pm
Enjoy a fun and safe trick or treat at Findlay Market! Our vendors and volunteers will pass out candy, decorate their stalls and dress up for a spooky and wacky Halloween celebration. We will also be hosting a costume drive prior to the event for those who need a costume on Halloween.

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