Our Top Picks to Get You in the Holiday Spirit all Season Long

‘Tis the season to celebrate Cincinnati holiday traditions, so mark your calendar for these top events in the tristate.

Christmas Story at the Christmas Casino at Rising Star Resort Casino, November 15-December 28

Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves return to the Rising Star Resort in Rising Sun, Indiana this fall for the opening of a one-of-a-kind holiday season experience at the “Christmas Casino” now through Wednesday, January 2, 2019.

The Rising Star Casino Resort will once again be transformed into a whimsical “winter wonderland” in the midst of popular table games and slots complete with holiday music, animatronic characters and even live reindeer nestled along the festively lit driveway.  

There are several new holiday attractions added this year, including the Christmas Market Village, offering a wide variety of seasonal merchandise, an imaginative animated 12 Days of Christmas Tree that comes to life with the famous theme song in the Pavilion, hundreds of props including a North Pole Display complete with real frost and customized figures, along with an extraordinary Christmas tree in the pavilion with gleaming stars overhead.

Also, Rising Star Casino Resort, in association with Ghostlight Theatricals, is presenting the season’s only live regional production of “A Christmas Story: The Musical” in the Grand Theatre on Thursdays-Sundays from November 15 to December 28. The award-winning Broadway show is based on the perennial holiday movie favorite, which chronicles young and bespectacled Ralphie Parker as he schemes for the holiday gift of his dreams, an official RedRyder® Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.

The role of ‘The Old Man’ is played by John Vessels, a regular on regional stages including Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre in Indianapolis and Derby Dinner Playhouse near Louisville. Another Indianapolis performer is Carrie Neal who plays ‘Mother.’ ‘Ralphie’ is played by Finn O'Hara of Youngstown, Ohio. The cast is filled out by Randa Meierhenry, Sarah Willis, Lauren Bass, Crystal Nichols, Hope Pauly, Wendell Hester, Todd Tucker, Jake Smith, Gray Lynn and Gerard Pauwels. The show is directed by Darrin Murrell with music direction by Cincinnati-based Griff Bludworth and choreography by Cincinnati-based Heather Hale. Costumes are by Natalie Cagle with scenic design by Shane Cinal.

Purchase tickets at RisingStarCasino.com.

Liberty Center’s Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting

Liberty Center Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony, Saturday, November 17

Join Liberty Center for the fourth annual Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 17.

  • 10 a.m., Begin your holiday shopping with our Silver Saturday promotions where participating retailers and tenants offer discounts.

  • 12 p.m., Relax in the Living Room to enjoy holiday classics in front of the fireplace or head upstairs for family-friendly activities at MidPointe Library Liberty

  • 2 p.m., Head down to The Square to visit Dancer and Prancer at our Reindeer Encounter

  • 6 p.m., Save your spot along the streets of Liberty Center as the parade will be bigger than ever and takes off at 6:30 p.m. to celebrate the season with festive entertainment and classic holiday characters for the whole family.

  • 7:30 p.m., Count down with Santa to light the 51-foot Christmas tree to mark the official start to the holiday season at Liberty Center. 


Holiday in Lights & Santaland Returns to Sharon Woods

Keep the holiday tradition going with family and friends at Holiday in Lights, presented by Frisch’s Big Boy, and Santaland November 16 – December 31, and Santaland, November 16 – 18, November 23 – December 23.

Holiday in Lights

Presented by Frisch’s Big Boy, this legendary drive-through display offers a over mile of a million twinkling lights and colorful themed displays that are sure to spark that holiday spirit. Cost is $15 per vehicle/$45 for buses and passenger vans. Find more information at https://www.holidayinlights.com/.


Presented by Great Parks of Hamilton County, Santaland is a magical place where you can visit Santa, laugh with Mr. Scrooge, get jolly with Everette the Talking Christmas Tree, listen to Dickens Carolers, check out a festive train display, enjoy holiday treats and more! Entrance into Santaland is free. Learn more at https://www.greatparks.org/calendar/special-events/santaland.

Hours for Holiday in Lights and Santaland are Sundays – Thursdays, 6 p.m.– 9 p.m. and Fridays & Saturdays, 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.  Sharon Woods is located at 11450 Lebanon Road, Sharonville.


Macy’s Downtown Dazzle on Fountain Square

<Photo: https://www.dropbox.com/s/4gjssjlbyhd7g9o/DCI_dazzle_fireworks.JPG?dl=0

Santa Claus will move to a new downtown home for the holidays in the first floor of Carew Tower beginning Friday, Nov. 23 at noon through Christmas Eve for free photos in a festive North Pole setting. On Thursdays in November and December (November 29, December 6, 13, 20) from 4-7 p.m., children can visit with African American Santa for free photos.

The Cincinnati Bell Connector will offer free rides during the holidays on Nov. 23 and 24, and Dec. 1, 8, and 15 with caroling from the Young Professionals Choral Collective and ArtsWave CincySings choirs on Nov. 24, Dec. 1, 8, and 15, 3-5 p.m.

Downtown Cincinnati will offer more than 30 free holiday activities this season, including the return of the popular Macy’s Downtown Dazzle on Saturday, November 24, December 1 and 8. Visit DowntownCincinnati.com for more information and a full schedule of activities.

Each Saturday during Macy’s Downtown Dazzle, Santa, Rudolph and an Elf rappel down the side of the Huntington Center, 525 Vine Street, at 6:30 p.m., followed by a spectacular Rozzi’s fireworks display that wraps up this 20-minute family-friendly program.

Macy’s Downtown Dazzle

Fountain Square, Corner of Fifth and Vine Streets, Downtown Cincinnati

Saturdays, November 24, December 1, 8; 6:30 p.m. (choirs at 5:30 p.m.)

FREE! See Santa and his friends rappelling down the side of the Huntington Bank Center to the Macy’s rooftop to kick off a spectacular fireworks display. This 20 – minute family – friendly program features performances from local choirs, cool lighting effects, and a few surprises.


Nov. 24 – Home for the Holidays

FREE! Join Big Boy and special guests from Frisch’s as they welcome the Young Professionals Choral Collective and UC–CCM Ensemble.

Dec. 1 – Holiday Magic

FREE! Downtown Cincinnati Inc. welcomes the Macy’s Choral Ensemble and Cincinnati Boy Choir with host Victoria Morgan artistic director of the Cincinnati Ballet.

Dec. 8 – Holiday Harmony

FREE! Downtown Cincinnati Inc. welcomes the Queen City Sisters and the Classical Roots Community Choir with host William H. Caldwell, the Choir’s conductor.

Story time with Mrs. Claus at Carew Tower

Carew Tower, 441 Vine St., Second Floor

Saturdays, Nov. 24, Dec. 1 & 8, 7:15 p.m.

FREE! After the fireworks, cozy up for story time with Mrs. Claus.

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