Holiday Events in Cincinnati and Dayton You Won’t Want to Miss! 

Get ready to embrace the magic of the holiday season in Cincinnati and Dayton! As the weather cools and the twinkling lights start to adorn the cities, it’s time to plan your family’s festive adventures. And the best part? These unforgettable holiday events are all season long, so you have plenty of opportunities to experience the joy and wonder!

26 Season Long Holiday Events You Won’t Want to Miss! 


Christmas Event at the Ark Encounter

Location: Ark Encounter
Dates: Nov. 24 – Dec. 30, Tuesday through Saturday
Times: 5pm – 8:30pm

Bring the family for an unforgettable evening of festive lights, live music/shows, holiday dining, gift shopping, and more at the life-size Noah’s Ark during this free Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Christmas event!

Christmas Glow

Location: Land of Illusion Adventure Park
Dates: Nov. 22 – Dec. 30
Times: 6pm – 10pm

Celebrate the season at The Christmas Glow, over 3.8 million lights at the 2-mile long Christmas Around the World drive-thru experience, visit Santa at the Christmas Village Santa Workshop or just take in the majestic lights of the 45-foot Christmas Tree as you and yours warm by the gas fire pits.

Christmas at the Junction

Location: EnterTRAINment Junction
Dates: Nov. 18 – Jan. 2
Times: Open until 8pm

Create a holiday tradition for your family! See the magic of Christmas at the home of the World’s Largest Indoor Train Display. Take a “Journey to the North Pole”, where you can meet Mrs. Claus and Santa himself.

ChristmasTown at Creation Museum

Location: Creation Museum
Dates: Nov. 24 – Dec. 30, Tuesday through Saturday
Times: 5pm – 8:30pm

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 this free, annual ChristmasTown!

Cincinnati Christkindlmarkt

Location: Schmidlapp Event Lawn
Dates: Nov. 22 – Dec. 31
Times: Times vary

This magical holiday-themed Christmas festival features food, beverages, merchandise, holiday lights, choral, themed character visits, a 4-lane Ice slide, an Igloo boardwalk, and musical entertainment, with a European, yet Cincinnati Holiday theme.

Deck the Y’alls 

Location: Thomas More Stadium
Dates: Nov. 24 – Jan. 1
Times: Times vary

This ongoing display is decked out in more that 2.5 million brilliant lights and dazzling decorations that rival the North Pole. With a holiday activities, ice skating rink, food, drinks, fireworks and more, these nights are anything but silent. You won’t find a bigger, brighter celebration anywhere else!

Duke Energy Holiday Trains

Location: Cincinnati Museum Center
Dates: Nov. 10 – Jan. 8
Times: 10am – 5pm

The Duke Energy Holiday Trains have been a Cincinnati holiday staple since 1946, delighting generations since they first debuted downtown in 1946. Track-level views reveal intricate details of the display, where over 300 rail cars and 60 locomotives steam past anxious passengers waiting to board while cars sit with snow to their hubcaps and the perfect trees strapped to their roofs.

Golden Days of Yule Trains

Location: Krohn Conservatory
Dates: Nov. 11 – Jan. 7
Times: 10am – 8pm

This holiday season, Krohn Conservatory will be filled with a warm glow as illuminated stars shine over colorful poinsettias, lush tropical foliage and holiday trees. Threading through the horticultural exhibit are the traditional garden railways and miniature Cincinnati landmarks made of locally sourced plant material by Applied Imagination. Joining the iconic collection this year is our newest addition, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Holidays on the Farm

Location: Parky’s Farm
Dates: Nov. 24-Dec. 17, Dec. 21-23, Dec. 26-31
Times: 5pm – 9pm

This year’s event will feature even more lights, Santa’s reindeer, a merry beer garden, food trucks, wagon rides, entertainment, and for the first time, guests will be able to play the fun wintertime sport of curling.

Holly Jolly Days

Location: Behringer-Crawford Museum
Dates: Nov. 11 – Jan. 7
Times: 10am – 5pm Tuesday through Saturday and 1pm – 5pm Sunday

Designed with family enjoyment in mind, Holly Jolly Days offers an engaging adventure filled with timeless wonder for all generations amid the holiday bustle.

Light in the Forest

Location: Cincinnati Nature Center
Dates: Dec. 1 – 30 (Select Dates Only)
Times: 5:30 – 9 pm

Join the nature center for a celestial walk through the illuminated woods! Marvel at the many light displays and interactive activities as you stroll through the forest. There will be music, food trucks, drinks, and holiday shopping. Bring your friends and family to this seasonal tradition!

Light Up Middletown

Location: Smith Park in Middletown, Ohio
Dates: Nov. 23 – Dec. 31
Times: 6pm – 10pm

Tour the season’s fantasyland of holiday lights at this drive-thru display. Your journey begins with a tunnel of lights that leads to an abundance of themed areas. You’ll encounter a floating sea serpent in the lake, Santa’s workshop and sleigh, a penguin village and plenty more festive fun. Deer leap over the road and there are surprises around each sparkling turn.

Nights of Lights

Location: Coney Island
Dates: Nov. 10 – Jan. 2
Times: Dusk – 10pm

Coney Island’s Nights of Lights is a Cincinnati holiday classic! Your family will love driving through the region’s largest synchronized holiday light spectacular. You’ll experience more than two million lights fully synchronized to a mix of traditional and rocking holiday music. Visitors of all ages will be awed by larger-than-life Christmas trees, glowing snowflakes, dancing candy canes, fantastic tunnels of lights, and more!

PNC Festival of Lights

Location: Cincinnati Zoo
Dates: Nov. 17 – Jan. 7
Times: Lights begin at 4pm

The Cincinnati Zoo will still be shining bright as we’re once again transformed into a “Wild Wonderland” for the 41st annual PNC Festival of Lights! Come early for more animals and stay for the lights!

In addition to admiring the beauty of 4 million LED lights, visitors can find the 5 Fiona fairies in Fairyland, take in a blacklight puppet show, marvel at the spectacular Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, or snack at one of two S’mores-n-More stands.

Pyramid Hill Lights

Location: Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park
Dates: Nov. 17 – Dec. 31
Times: Tuesdays to Thursdays: 6pm – 9pm, Fridays to Sundays: 6pm – 10pm

“Best holiday light show in the tristate!…”. With over one million lights, scenic displays, and installations by local artists, all experienced from the comfort of your car, Pyramid Hill Lights is the ultimate holiday experience.

Scuba Santa

Location: Newport Aquarium
Dates: Nov 24 – Dec 24
Times: Times vary

See Scuba Santa swim with all his fishy friends and a curious sea turtle while you tell him what you want for Christmas! Through some holiday magic, he can see, hear and speak with you while he’s under water! Meet cheerful elves straight from the North Pole and join in the fun as Scuba Santa fills the Theater with bubbles. His magical bubbles will float and fall all around you and every time a bubble pops, a wish will come true for someone throughout the world.

Shillito’s Elves

Location: Mariemont
Dates: Nov. 24 – Dec. 30
Times: Thursday & Friday: 2pm – 7:30pm, Saturday & Sunday: 10am – 7:30pm, (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: Closed)

The Shillito’s Elves are in Mariemont this season with a walk-through experience similar to the original SantaLand that was at the Shillito department store in the 1980’s. Mail your letter to Santa in the original mailbox and then tour his workshop featuring over 60 of the restored animated elves in 14 largely original scenes starting with the mailroom and ending with NORAD’s Santa tracking command center

WinterFest at Kings Island

Location: Kings Island
Dates: Nov. 24 – Dec. 31
Times: Times vary

This holiday tradition features more than five million lights, ice skating on the Royal Fountain, the Eiffel Tower turned into a Christmas tree, a parade and live shows across the park.


Carillon Christmas

Location: Carillon Historical Park
Dates: Nov. 21 – Dec. 30
Times: Mon – Sat: 9:30am – 5:00pm, Sun: 12:00pm – 5:00pm

Join in for A Carillon Christmas to see Carillon Historical Park’s 65-acre campus transformed into a winter wonderland of sparkle, magic, and holiday cheer!

Downtown Jingle Lights

Location: Main Street, Third Street, and Monument Avenue
Dates: Nov. 24 – Jan. 1

See downtown streets transformed into an interactive, drive-thru light show, choreographed to the beat of your favorite holiday tunes! Tune your radio to 97.1 FM as you drive the route. Free. Sponsored by AES Ohio.

Gift of Lights at Christmas Ranch

Location: Christmas Ranch
Dates: Nov. 17 – Dec. 23
Times: See times here.

To call this a ranch is an understatement. This is a country all its own. More than 350,000 animated lights are synchronized to music. Most of the ranch is accessible by car but there’s also a pedestrian-only Christmas Village with six shops. Train and wagon rides run most evenings and Santa visits for pictures from 5-9 pm.

Holiday Lights

Location: Lost Creek Reserve
Dates: Nov. 25 – Dec. 23
Times: Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays from 6 to 9 pm

Be transported into a winter wonderland filled with over 60 light displays, many of which are animated! The 1.25-mile driving tour takes you through the woods, down charming farm lanes and past the historic Knoop Homestead aglow with lights. Make this enchanted experience part of your holiday traditions.

Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill

Location: Clifton Mill
Dates: Nov. 24 – Dec. 25
Times: 5pm – 9pm (Dec. 24 & 25 5pm – 8pm)

For 36 years Clifton Mill has celebrated the Christmas season in a very special way. This light display is one of the country’s finest with over 4 million lights illuminating the mill, the gorge, the riverbanks, trees and bridges. There is even a 100 foot “waterfall” of twinkling lights. The flip of one switch turns all the lights on at once transforming night into a fantastical winter wonderland which includes a Miniature Village, a Santa Claus Museum, a Toy Collection and a spectacular synchronized lights and music show that features the old Covered Bridge.

MetroParks Ice Rink

Location: River Scape MetroParks
Dates: Nov. 24 – March 1
Times: Times vary

Whether you’re a skating rookie or have been lacing up your skates for decades, and whether you’re looking for a leisurely afternoon with the family or a competitive night on the ice, there is a full slate of activities to choose from at the MetroParks Ice Rink.

Parklights at Caesar Ford

Location: Caesar Ford Park
Dates: Dec. 1 – 30
Times: 6pm – 9pm

Forget deck the halls! We’ve decked the park with dazzling lights! You’ll wind your way through our Winter Wonderland, North Pole Car Show, Winter Farm, and Festive Festival, then wave to Santa at the North Pole. Drive through once, and you’ll want to do it again.

Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland

Location: Montgomery County Fairgrounds
Dates: Nov. 17 – Dec. 7
Times: 6pm – 10pm

If you’re ready for a big dose of Christmas cheer, join us at Shadrack’s Christmas Wonderland, where cutting-edge technology and traditional holiday charm unite to offer an unforgettable experience.

Chad Branton

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