Downtown Events

Downtown and Over-the-Rhine Events

December 8 – 10, 2017

More events at

REC the Halls 

Cincinnati Art Museum

953 Eden Park Drive

Now through Dec. 31

Now through December 31 celebrate the holiday season in the REC at the Cincinnati Art Museum. Visit the REC the Halls Art Bar in the Rosenthal Education Center anytime during museum hours and make your own holiday-themed artwork. Create a collaged holiday card, stamp and personalize wrapping paper or a gift bag and design a decorative ornament. Get jolly with the Growsenthals!

Current REC theme: Art Inventions

From October 2017 until May 2018, visitors can learn about the technology, innovations and inventions that have helped expand the limits of artmaking throughout history! Try out a 16th century drawing tool called a camera obscura, make your own animation using a zoetrope, watch an Ultimaker 3D printer in action, try out screen printing equipment, and curl up in our Pop Art themed soft space with a book. Or try one of our many other fun activities available every day in the REC. If you complete your Art Inventions themed scavenger hunt during your visit, return it to the REC for a special prize!

Make a list and check it twice! Shop art-inspired gifts, including fashionable finds inspired by Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion in the CAM Gift Shop. Through your purchase, you directly support the Cincinnati Art Museum.


O Holy Night: A Classical Christmas

Covenant-First Presbyterian Church, 717 Elm St.

Friday, Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.

For the last five years EMMY nominated and award-winning lyric tenor Panuccio has enlivened the Christmas season with an annual mufti-city tour of holiday song, O Holy Night. With a voice that “electrifies the audience” (Cincinnati Enquirer) Panuccio presents a magical concert of holiday song at Covenant-First Presbyterian Church in downtown Cincinnati. Conducted by Jesse Leong, the program will include timeless pieces such as Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” as well as yuletide favorites including “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and a rendition of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” performed with orchestra.

Singing in flawless Latin, Italian and English a varied mix of classical and traditional selections appropriate to the season, Panuccio imprints each with clear musicality and an intimately warm delivery.

Holiday Pops

Music Hall, 1241 Elm St.

Friday, Dec. 8, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 9, 2 and 8 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 10, 2 p.m.

Cincinnati’s smash-hit holiday tradition comes home to Music Hall! Make new family memories with a joyful blend of holiday favorites, with special guests Liz Callaway and Denzal Sinclaire. Warm your heart and send your holiday spirit soaring with dancers and the Cincinnati Pops Chorale, made up of singers from the Classical Roots Choir and May Festival Chorus. Kids’ tickets just $15!

This year JMR and your Cincinnati Pops are teaming up with St. Vincent DePaul to host a toy drive at Holiday Pops performances as part of the Angel Toy Program. Click here for more info and a list of toys to donate when you come to a concert.

An Acoustic Christmas With Over The Rhine

Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St.

Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9, 8 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 10, 2 p.m.

Over the Rhine is an American folk music band, with husband-and-wife duo Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist at the heart. Detweiler acts as guitarist, bassist and pianist for the band while Bergquist is a guitarist and vocalist.

The band's name derives from the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, where the band was founded.

Originally founded as a quartet, Over the Rhine now primarily consists of Detweiler and Bergquist along with complementary musicians. The band has performed with several famous musicians over the years, including Ani DiFranco, Bob Dylan and the Cincinnati Pops for their American Originals recording.

With this tour, Over the Rhine continues their passion for holiday performances. The concert will include music from their holiday albums, including Snow Angels and Blood Oranges In the Snow, as well as songs from their many other popular albums.

My Best Friend Fiona: Book Launch and Signing

Mercantile Library, 414 Walnut St.

Dec. 9, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Don’t miss this family-friendly event about everyone’s favorite baby hippo!

Fiona was born six weeks too early, and there were times her caretakers at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden were not sure she could survive. But with round-the-clock care and help from others in the community, little Fiona not only survived — she thrived. Narrated by Fiona’s best friend, Trixie the Tilapia, this book tells the story of the little hippo who never gave up and how she became the superstar she is today.

My Best Friend Fiona is geared toward children ages 3 to 8, and is written by Lucy May and illustrated by Kevin Necessary. Free and open to the public. Reservations requested:

Co-presented with WCPO.

2017 Cincinnati SantaCon

JACK Cincinnati Casino

Saturday, Dec. 9, 12 p.m.

Thousands of Santas and holiday themed characters will bar hop throughout the city of Cincinnati for Santacon 2017, with JACK Cincinnati Casino once again the kick-off spot. Additionally, the Red Hot Dancing Queens will gather outside The Cube entrance of the casino to entertain guests with their flash-mob style dancing.

Santas will walk all over downtown and Over-the-Rhine after that.

Here are a few Santa-centric tips for participants:

  • Cincinnati SantaCon is about getting into the Christmas spirit and helping others do the same.
  • And you can help others by donating to The Cure Starts Now.
  • All you need to do is sign up, get yourself a Santa suit, and bring your fully charged mobile phone.
  • After you sign up, be sure and buy your wristband. All proceeds go to The Cure Starts Now and you’re automatically registered in the Grand Raffle.
  • The Grand Raffle is valued over $600 and includes: (2) 3 day passes to Bunbury Music Festival 2018, items from Rivertown Brewery, beer, gift cards and more!
  • Wristband pickup: Jack Casino 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Holy Grail 1:30 to 6:30 p.m., and Rhinegeist 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Another great way to navigate the city is the Cincinnati Bell Connector. Download the EZRide app (iOS and Android) so you can pay ahead of time and ride worry-free all day long!
  • Don’t drink and drive! Book a room downtown at a very merry rate.
  • Tip sheet on being Santa.
  • REMEMBER! Don’t mess with children, police or security, and Santa. Be respectful of the suit and each other.

The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati: Cinderella

Taft Theater, Fifth & Sycamore Streets

Saturday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. (this performance is signed for the hearing impaired)

Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2 and 5 p.m.


For the holidays, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati presents Cinderella.  This isn’t your mother’s (or your grandmother’s) Cinderella. Boys as well as girls will love all of the audience participation, side-splitting humor, and outlandish characters in this classic fairytale set to popular music.


Adapted by John B. Davidson, featuring original Music by Victor Zupanc. Based on the Fairytale by Charles Perrault. Produced by special arrangement with Plays for Young Audiences.

Cinderella will be performed as a holiday “panto,” which means this classic, rags-to-riches story has been turned on its head and cleverly staged to entertain everyone from children to adults.  Featuring:

  • Interactive audience participation
  • Slapstick comedy
  • Cross-dressing characters
  • Fantastic dance numbers
  • Modern music from Adele, to Walk the Moon, to Whitney Houston

In this hilarious holiday panto, you’ll jeer at the deliciously dysfunctional stepmother and sisters as much as you’ll cheer for Cinderella in her quest to attend the magnificent Christmas ball. Join TCT this winter to celebrate a Cinderella Christmas.


Performances continue Friday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16 at 2 and 5 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.

School performances of Cinderella will be held December 12-15 during the daytime hours. TCT’s Sensory Friendly performance will be held on Monday, Dec. 18 at 9:45 a.m. This performance is intended for individuals on the autism spectrum, as well as children (and adults) with other special needs who may benefit. To create a sensory-friendly performance, the show is performed in a welcoming, supportive environment for those with sensory challenges.  Slight adjustments to lighting and sound are made and effects such as fog, strobes, and lights that extend into the audience are minimalized. 


Macy’s Downtown Dazzle: Family Fun for the Holidays

Fountain Square

Corner of Fifth and Vine Streets

Saturday, Dec. 9, 6 p.m.

Santa rappels down the Huntington Center at 525 Vine St., to the Macy’s rooftop to kick off a spectacular fireworks display. This 20-minute family-friendly program also features performances from local choirs. Then, come inside to Macy’s Fountain Place to warm-up with holiday fun.

This Saturday, the Wicked Stepsisters, from Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati holiday production of Cinderella host Cinderella and the Cincinnati Boychoir as they sing family favorites for this festive season.

After the fireworks, enjoy balloon-twisters and face painters while you cozy up for Story Time with Mrs. Claus inside Macy’s Fountain Place. You can visit with Santa at Macy’s Fountain Place, Friday and Saturday, 12 – 8 p.m. and Sunday, 12 – 6 p.m. Bring your own camera for photos with downtown’s only Santa in a festive North Pole setting.

ArtsWave Cincy Sings Carolers

Dec. 9, 3-5 p.m.

Enjoy holiday tunes at great spots around Fountain Square from choirs that competed in this year’s Cincy Sings competition.

Weekend Carriage Rides at Macy’s Celebration Station

Boards at corner of Fifth and Race Streets

December 9 – 10, 16 – 17

(Final boarding at 4:45 p.m.–please arrive early!)

FREE! Enjoy free horse-drawn trolley carriage rides through the heart of the city. Courtesy of Macy’s.

Caroling on the Connector

Dec. 9 and 16, 3– 5 p.m.

Get into the holiday spirit with music from the Young Professionals Choral Collective on board the Cincinnati Bell Connector while you shop along the route.

Star Wars Night

US Bank Arena, 100 Broadway

Cincinnati Cyclones vs. Tulsa Oilers

Saturday, Dec, 9, Doors Open: 6:30 pm., Puck Drops: 7:30 p.m.

Celebrate the release of Episode VIII with special photo opportunities with your favorite Star Wars characters! The team will wear specialty jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game.

Looking to elevate your Star Wars Night experience? Purchase the Star Wars Family Four Pack and get 4 tickets and 4 lightsabers for the low price of $73!

Second Sunday On Main: Winter Edition!

Main & 12th Street

Sunday, Dec. 10, 12 – 5 p.m.

Do your Holiday Shopping in Over-the-Rhine! Support the Merchants of Main Street and Second Sunday Vendors and find unique gifts for the ones you love, with music, food, and a special scavenger hunt. Plus

  • Revel OTR Urban Winery Pop-Up Holiday Bar
  • Mr. Young’s Christmas Trees + Wreaths
  • The OTR Rail Dog Parade Awards Ceremony

Stage Schedule:

12 – 12:45 p.m.     Peraza Music Workshop

3 p.m.                    The OTR Rail Dog Parade Awards Ceremony

3:30 – 4:30 p.m.    Queen City Sisters

Dress up your canines in their finest holiday finery for the OTR Rail Dog Parade. The promenade begins Washington Park Dog Park at 2 p.m From there they will saunter around Washington Park and head to 12th Street, ending at the concluding at the Second Sunday on Main celebration. Dogs from all over the city will be ready to howl, as will their owners, during this kickoff to the holiday season for people and dogs.

The streets of Over-the-Rhine are a-glow with holiday decorations during the month of December!

Join Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce and Urban Rangers – Cincinnati during and following Second Sunday on Main for a special Instagram scavenger hunt. The goal for this event is to window “shop” for the scavenger items! Every clue leads you around the expanse of Over-the-Rhine neighborhood from the Main Street Business District to Findlay Market to find items in the area’s businesses window displays! Take photos, Post to Instagram. Tag #shopotr #weareurbanrangers. Discover new things in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.

Registration: Teams must consist of no more than 5 people. The event is free, but teams must register at the SSOM booth! They’ll post exactly where we are the day of the event.

Collegium Cincinnati: Messiah

Christ Church Cathedral, 318 East Fourth Street

Sunday, Dec. 10, 6 p.m.

It’s back! After rave reviews in 2016, the Collegium will return with its captivating and electrifying presentation of George Frideric Handel’s complete Messiah. With sixteen singers and chamber orchestra, you’ll hear each beautiful detail of this magnificent work.

The members of Collegium Cincinnati throw the old orchestra and chorus model out the window as they can create a relaxed and informal atmosphere for exploring new and old masterworks with audiences. They strive to bring the transformative beauty of art music directly to our friends; so, come experience Collegium Cincinnati’s musical masterworks in your jeans with a glass of wine in your hand in the most strikingly beautiful acoustical spaces in the city, performed by the region’s finest (and finest up-and-coming) musicians. For its fifth season, Collegium explores the idea of Reformation. In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Collegium has created an opportunity for audiences to hear beautiful ideas, refracted and reflected though the minds of the great composers.

Christ Church Cathedral is thrilled to continue its relationship with Collegium Cincinnati as an ensemble-in-residence. This enduring partnership means that many of Collegium’s programs are presented at the cathedral.