Winter in Cincinnati can be magical with a unique charm of its own. Whether it's the sparkling lights or the crisp winter air, the Queen City is a city that refuses to hibernate. With so many activities to choose from, it's difficult to know where to start. From ice skating to holiday shopping, we've curated a list of the 10 must-do activities in Cincinnati during winter. Whether you are a visitor or a local, be prepared to have your winter blues vanish with these exciting activities. So, bundle up and let's explore the winter wonderland of Cincinnati together!
|Holiday Lights Tours||Explore Cincinnati's holiday lights by bus or on a walking tour|
|Ice Skating||Glide around at great ice skating rinks, including Fountain Square|
|Visit Museums||Cincinnati Art Museum, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center|
|Shop at Winter Markets||Find unique gifts at various winter markets like Holiday Junction|
|Attend Festive Events||Events like the Festival of Lights and Winterfest at Kings Island|
|Visit the Cincinnati Zoo||See animals in their winter habitats, learn educational zoo programs|
What You'll Learn
- Ice skating at Fountain Square
- Visit the Cincinnati Zoo's Festival of Lights
- Taste the chili at The Cincinnati Chili Parlor
- Visit the Krohn Conservatory's holiday displays
- Watch a Bengals or Bearcats game at Paul Brown Stadium or Fifth Third Arena
- Experience the Cincinnati Museum Center's holiday train display
- See the Christmas lights at Coney Island's Christmas Nights of Lights
- Check out the Winterfest at Kings Island
- Explore the Newport Aquarium
- Catch a show at the Aronoff Center for the Arts
Ice skating at Fountain Square
If you're looking for a fun winter activity in Cincinnati, ice skating at Fountain Square is a must-do! Located in the heart of downtown, Fountain Square is transformed into a winter wonderland during the colder months, complete with a giant Christmas tree, holiday lights, and of course, an ice rink.
The rink at Fountain Square is open from November through February, and offers skate rentals for both children and adults. Don't worry if you're an inexperienced skater - there are skating aids available to help you feel more confident on the ice.
In addition to public skating sessions, the rink also hosts special events and theme nights throughout the season. On Wednesday nights, for example, they offer "Rockin' Fridays on Ice," where skaters can skate to music from a live DJ. They also have a family-friendly New Year's Eve celebration with a countdown and fireworks display.
If you're not interested in skating, there are plenty of other winter activities to enjoy at Fountain Square. You can take a ride on the giant Ferris wheel, browse the holiday market for unique gifts, or simply enjoy a cup of hot cocoa while taking in the festive atmosphere.
Overall, ice skating at Fountain Square is a great way to embrace the winter season in Cincinnati. Whether you're looking for a romantic date night or a fun family activity, it's definitely worth a trip downtown. Don't forget to bundle up and bring your camera to capture all the memories!
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Visit the Cincinnati Zoo's Festival of Lights
Winter in Cincinnati can be a magical time of year. With the festive holiday season in full swing and the temperatures starting to drop, there are plenty of fun and exciting things to do and see in the city during the winter months. One of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit is by visiting the Cincinnati Zoo's Festival of Lights.
The Cincinnati Zoo's Festival of Lights is an annual holiday event that takes place from November to January. During this time, the zoo is transformed into a twinkling, winter wonderland, with over three million LED lights illuminating the park. The event attracts thousands of visitors each year, and it's easy to see why.
One of the highlights of the Festival of Lights is the spectacular light displays. From giant snowflakes and icicles to whimsical animal displays, the entire park is lit up with stunning, colorful lights. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the park, admiring the magical sights and sounds of the holiday season. There are also special attractions and activities for families, including a train ride, hot cocoa and s'mores stations, and even opportunities to meet Santa and his reindeer.
Another great thing about the Festival of Lights is that it's not just for kids. Adults can enjoy the festive atmosphere and even indulge in some adult beverages at the many bars and restaurants located throughout the zoo. The park's many restaurants and food stands also offer tasty treats and warm drinks to keep visitors cozy and comfortable during their visit.
Overall, the Cincinnati Zoo's Festival of Lights is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit in Cincinnati. Whether you're young or old, this event is sure to delight and dazzle visitors of all ages. So grab your coat, hat, and gloves, and head on down to the Festival of Lights for a fun and festive winter experience you won't soon forget.
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Taste the chili at The Cincinnati Chili Parlor
When it comes to finding the best things to do in Cincinnati during the winter season, it's hard to overlook the delicious cuisine that the city has to offer. And if there's one food item that encapsulates the taste and feel of Cincinnati, it has to be chili. The Queen City is known for its unique take on the classic American dish, which involves using a Mediterranean spice blend along with the traditional ingredients, resulting in a flavorful and aromatic bowl of goodness. And if you're looking for the ultimate chili experience this winter, look no further than The Cincinnati Chili Parlor.
Located in the heart of Cincinnati's Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, The Cincinnati Chili Parlor has been serving up its signature chili recipe since 1949. The restaurant has a cozy and welcoming vibe, with vintage décor and friendly staff that make you feel right at home. The menu features a variety of chili options, from classic three-way to vegetarian and even vegan versions, ensuring that there's something for everyone to enjoy.
One of the most popular dishes on the menu is the classic three-way, which consists of spaghetti, chili, and cheddar cheese. The chili itself is rich and hearty, with just the right amount of spice and sweetness. The cheese adds a creamy and tangy flavor to the dish, while the spaghetti acts as a perfect base for the chili to rest on. The result is a perfect blend of flavors and textures that creates a truly unique culinary experience.
But that's not all that The Cincinnati Chili Parlor has to offer. The menu also includes other Cincinnati classics like the chili cheese coney, a hot dog topped with chili and cheese, and the chili potato, which is essentially a baked potato smothered in chili and cheese. The restaurant also has a selection of sides like french fries, onion rings, and coleslaw to complement your meal.
So if you're looking for a delicious and heartwarming meal to enjoy this winter season, be sure to visit The Cincinnati Chili Parlor. With its cozy atmosphere and flavorful food, it's the perfect place to experience the unique taste of Cincinnati chili and create memories that will last a lifetime.
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Visit the Krohn Conservatory's holiday displays
Winter in Cincinnati can be cold and dreary, but there are plenty of attractions to lift your spirits and keep you warm. One of the best places to visit during the winter months is the Krohn Conservatory. This 7,000-square-foot greenhouse is home to a variety of exotic plants, flowers, and trees, but during the holiday season, it's transformed into a winter wonderland.
Every year, the Krohn Conservatory hosts holiday displays that are not to be missed. These displays feature thousands of twinkling lights, festive decorations, and stunning floral arrangements. The displays vary year to year, but some of the most popular ones include the Poinsettia Express, the Holiday Show, and the Magic and Mistletoe display.
The Poinsettia Express is a miniature model train display that winds its way through a winter wonderland. The train makes stops at various holiday scenes, including a Christmas tree farm, a gingerbread village, and even a reindeer pasture. The kids love watching the train chug along, and the adults can appreciate the intricate details of the scenery.
The Holiday Show is the centerpiece of the Krohn Conservatory's holiday displays. It's a massive floral arrangement that fills the entire room with color and fragrance. The theme of the show changes every year, but it always features hundreds of poinsettias, other holiday plants, and plenty of twinkling lights. It's the perfect place to take a holiday photo or just soak up the festive atmosphere.
Finally, the Magic and Mistletoe display is a must-see for anyone who loves Christmas. This display features a giant mistletoe that visitors can stand under for a holiday kiss. There are also magical fairy gardens, whimsical snowmen, and plenty of other surprises around every corner. Kids and adults alike will love exploring this enchanting display.
If you're looking for something to do in Cincinnati during the winter months, be sure to visit the Krohn Conservatory's holiday displays. Whether you're looking for a family-friendly outing or a romantic date night, the Krohn Conservatory has something for everyone. Don't miss out on the magic of the holiday season in Cincinnati!
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Watch a Bengals or Bearcats game at Paul Brown Stadium or Fifth Third Arena
If you're wondering what to do in Cincinnati during the winter months, why not catch a game at either Paul Brown Stadium or Fifth Third Arena? These two sports venues are home to the Cincinnati Bengals and the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, respectively, providing locals and tourists alike with a thrilling sports experience.
Football fans can head to Paul Brown Stadium, situated along the Ohio River, to watch the Bengals play. The stadium is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, including a jumbo video board, 114 luxury suites, and a fan zone area. Fans can enjoy a variety of food and drink options while surrounded by tens of thousands of likeminded supporters.
Basketball enthusiasts, on the other hand, can watch the UC Bearcats in action at Fifth Third Arena. The stadium recently underwent an extensive renovation, which added more legroom and seating capacity, better lighting, and modern audiovisual technology. The venue is also wheelchair-accessible, ensuring that all fans can enjoy the game.
In addition to the excellent sports facilities, both venues are located downtown, near some of the city's top attractions. You can easily grab a drink or a meal before or after the games at any of the nearby restaurants or bars. It's also worth taking a stroll along the riverfront or heading to the Cincinnati Museum Center to learn more about the city's history.
If you're not a fan of football or basketball, don't worry - there are plenty of other things to do in Cincinnati during the winter. You can visit the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, which is open year-round and offers a festive Festival of Lights during the holiday season. You can also check out the Cincinnati Art Museum, which houses a vast collection of artworks, including pieces by famous artists such as Monet, Pissarro, and Degas.
In summary, attending a Bengals or Bearcats game at Paul Brown Stadium or Fifth Third Arena is one of the best things to do in Cincinnati during winter. The vibrant sports atmosphere, coupled with the excellent food and drink options and downtown location, makes for an unforgettable experience. So why not grab your tickets today?
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Experience the Cincinnati Museum Center's holiday train display
As winter approaches, many people are looking for the best activities to enjoy in Cincinnati during this season. One of the most popular winter attractions in Cincinnati is the holiday train display at the Cincinnati Museum Center.
The Cincinnati Museum Center is a historic building that houses several museums. During the holiday season, the center transforms into a winter wonderland with a massive train display that features over 1,000 feet of track, including a replica of Cincinnati’s Union Terminal.
The train display is a labor of love for the volunteers who spend hours crafting every little detail. The model trains run through miniature towns, past snow-covered mountains and through tunnels. The display is a magical experience that will transport visitors back in time to the golden age of rail travel.
Aside from the train display, the Cincinnati Museum Center also offers other festive activities during the holiday season. Visitors can take a walk through the Holiday Junction exhibit, which showcases vintage toy trains and is perfect for families with young children. You can also visit the Omnimax Theater, which usually features a holiday-themed film during this time of year.
The Cincinnati Museum Center’s holiday train display is a perfect way to get into the spirit of the season. It’s a great activity for families, couples or anyone who wants to experience a bit of holiday magic. So, don’t hesitate to add it to your list of things to do this winter in Cincinnati.
In conclusion, if you’re looking for the best activity to enjoy in Cincinnati during winter, then you should definitely experience the holiday train display at the Cincinnati Museum Center. The train display is a one-of-a-kind experience that’s perfect for the whole family. So, hop on board and enjoy the ride!
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See the Christmas lights at Coney Island's Christmas Nights of Lights
Winter in Cincinnati can be a magical time, especially when it comes to the festive and illuminated scenes of Christmas lights. There are numerous attractions to see during this season, but perhaps the most dazzling display is at Coney Island's Christmas Nights of Lights.
Located just outside of downtown Cincinnati, Coney Island's Christmas Nights of Lights offers visitors an incredible display of more than one million holiday lights. The attraction is an immersive experience that will transport you into a winter wonderland, leaving you in awe of the sheer scale of the spectacle.
If you're looking for an enchanting evening out, this attraction should be at the top of your list. The twinkling lights and illuminated displays are guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit and make for an unforgettable evening with friends or family.
But why specifically choose Coney Island's Christmas Nights of Lights over other Christmas light displays in the city? Here are just a few reasons:
- The sheer scale of the display is impressive. As previously mentioned, more than one million lights are used to create the Christmas magic at Coney Island. This is quite a feat, and the results are genuinely breathtaking.
- The attraction is accessible. You can experience the Christmas Nights of Lights from the comfort of your own car, making it an accessible and socially-distanced outing.
- The admission fee is reasonable, making it a budget-friendly holiday outing that won't break the bank.
If you're visiting Cincinnati during the winter season, the Christmas Nights of Lights at Coney Island is a must-see attraction. It's an excellent way to enjoy the best of Cincinnati's winter spirit and get into the holiday mood. Whether you're a local or visiting the city for the first time, this display of Christmas lights is sure to amaze and enthrall you, leaving you with lasting memories of this magical time of year.
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Check out the Winterfest at Kings Island
As the winter season approaches, the city of Cincinnati has plenty of attractions and activities to offer to both tourists and locals. One of the best places to visit during the winter season is Kings Island, a popular amusement park located in Mason, just outside of Cincinnati. In particular, the Winterfest event at Kings Island is a must-visit during the colder months.
Winterfest at Kings Island is a yearly event that runs from mid-November until the end of December. During this time, the amusement park is transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with Christmas lights, holiday decorations, and festive entertainment. It's the perfect place to feel the holiday spirit and create magical memories.
The highlight of Winterfest is the illuminating lights, which create an enchanting atmosphere throughout the park. The Royal Fountain on the International Street is transformed into a giant Christmas tree, its sparkling lights creating an impressive sight. Moreover, all the world-famous rides of Kings Island continue to operate during this time, taking you to new heights, providing a dazzling sight of the park’s bright lights from above.
However, the park goes beyond its usual operations by adding more festive attractions. These include live shows, street performers, and carolers, capturing audiences with their captivating singing, dancing and cute costumes. Special Santa meet and greet opportunities are also available, making the day of young individuals who eagerly want to get a photo and a present from jolly old Saint Nick.
But that’s not all, the whole area around the park has turned into a winter ‘village,’ with ice-skating rinks, holiday markets, and treats waiting, providing visitors with warmth, comfort, and joy. They have many delicious treats and snacks such as hot cocoa, cider, gingerbread cookie decorating, and roasting s'mores over fire pits.
Overall, Winterfest at Kings Island is a magical day out that the whole family can enjoy. With a wide range of activities, spectacular decorations, and festive spirit, you are sure to leave with unforgettable memories and a heart full of joy. Whether you’re visiting Cincinnati or a local, make sure to check out Winterfest at Kings Island during the winter season. You won’t regret it!
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Explore the Newport Aquarium
When it comes to Cincinnati in the winter, there is no shortage of wonderful activities to do and sights to see. However, one attraction that stands out above the rest is the Newport Aquarium.
Located across the Ohio River in Newport, Kentucky, this aquarium is a perfect destination for visitors of all ages. With over 70 exhibits and thousands of animals, you can easily spend several hours exploring the many wonders that lie within.
One of the most popular exhibits is the stunning Shark Ray Bay Adventure. Here, you can marvel at the incredible sight of a 385,000-gallon tank, where you'll see sharks, rays, sea turtles, and other aquatic creatures up close and personal. The aquarium also offers daily dive shows, where a certified diver enters the tank and interacts with the creatures for all to see.
Another must-see exhibit is Gator Alley, where you can catch a glimpse of some of the largest alligators and crocodiles in the country. And if you're feeling brave, you can even pet a baby alligator!
For those who want to get up close and personal with certain animals, the aquarium offers several interactive experiences. For example, you can touch a starfish at the Tide Pool, or even hold a penguin during the Penguin Encounter.
Beyond the exhibits themselves, the Newport Aquarium also hosts a variety of events throughout the year. During the winter, one of the most popular events is Winter Family Days. On select dates in January and February, the aquarium offers discounted admission and special activities for families. Plus, if you visit during the week, you'll have even more opportunities to avoid crowds.
Overall, the Newport Aquarium is a wonderful destination for anyone visiting Cincinnati in the winter. With its vast array of aquatic life, interactive experiences, and special events, it's no wonder why this attraction has become a beloved institution in the area. So next time you're in the Queen City during the colder months, be sure to add the Newport Aquarium to your itinerary!
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Catch a show at the Aronoff Center for the Arts
Winter in Cincinnati can be a magical time with plenty of exciting activities to enjoy. If you're looking for a fun way to escape the cold weather, catching a show at the Aronoff Center for the Arts is a great option. This world-class performing arts venue is situated in the heart of Downtown Cincinnati and offers a range of productions throughout the year.
The Aronoff Center for the Arts is well-known for its stunning architecture, which boasts a beautiful glass façade and a modern feel. The inside of the building is just as impressive, with four distinctive theaters: the Procter & Gamble Hall, the Jarson-Kaplan Theater, the Fifth Third Bank Theater, and the Weston Art Gallery. Each theater has its unique atmosphere and offers a different kind of stage experience. From Broadway shows to operas and ballets, the Aronoff Center stages it all.
One of the best things about catching a show at the Aronoff Center for the Arts during the winter season is that you'll have plenty of options to choose from. During the holiday season, the center hosts a variety of festive productions like The Nutcracker and A Christmas Carol. These classic productions are perfect for families looking for an entertaining way to spend the day.
Another benefit to visiting the Aronoff Center for the Arts during winter is that the center is conveniently located within walking distance to many other attractions in the city. After seeing a show, visitors can head to nearby restaurants and bars for a delicious meal or a drink. The famous Fountain Square is also just a stone's throw away from the center, where visitors can enjoy ice-skating and festive light displays.
In conclusion, catching a show at the Aronoff Center for the Arts is easily one of the best things to do during the winter season in Cincinnati. It's a great way to stay warm and entertained while experiencing the vibrant culture of the city. With its modern architecture, stunning theaters, and fantastic productions, the Aronoff Center for the Arts is sure to be a highlight of any trip to Cincinnati.
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Frequently asked questions
- Ice skating at Fountain Square or Summit Park
- Hiking or snowshoeing at Sharon Woods or Winton Woods
- Sledding at Devou Park or French Park
- Visit the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal
- Explore the Cincinnati Art Museum
- Attend a show at the Aronoff Center for the Arts
- Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo
- Holiday Market at Findlay Market
- Christmas at the Taft at the Taft Museum of Art
- Cross-country skiing at Miami Whitewater Forest
- Ice fishing at Lake Isabella
- Playing pond hockey at Mirror Lake
- 16-Bit Bar and Arcade for vintage arcade games and cocktails
- Rhinegeist Brewery for local craft beer
- Japp's Since 1879 for expertly crafted cocktails in a cozy, vintage setting.