Cincinnati may be a long way from the North Pole, but come December, you’ll find the Jolly Old Elf all over the Queen City! And sure, you can find Santa at the expected spots (i.e., most local malls and shopping centers), but you’ll also find him in the most unexpected places.
Here’s Where to Find Santa in Cincinnati:
Beloved area attractions:
Nov. 23-Dec. 23
Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains is a multi-gallery holiday experience that includes the historic Duke Energy Holiday Trains in a new space with a new perspective. It will also feature LEGO Land with LEGO creations from CincyLUG, CMC Santa (starting November 23) and more! Get on Santa’s nice list and follow CMC Santa on social media! Twitter: @CMC_Santa, Facebook: @CMCsanta. Hashtag: #CMCsanta
Through Jan. 1
The PNC Festival of Lights at the Zoo is one of the most anticipated holiday events in Cincinnati; this year, Santa will be on site to meet with kids a full hour (4 pm) before the lights blink on. Last year, over 9,500 Cincinnati kids met with Santa at the Festival of Lights – which, by the way, features 2.5 million, or 237 miles, of twinkling LED lights!
November 23-December 31
Who would’ve thought Santa could scuba dive? All December long, you’ll find Mr. C donning an air tank and scuba mask to swim with the fish at Newport Aquarium – and this unique encounter with Santa is something your kids won’t soon forget!
Select dates from Nov. 23 through Dec. 31
WinterFest is an unforgettable experience — so of course Santa will be there! See Mr. C at St. Nick’s Pics, make cookies with the missus at Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen and see the elves at work in Tinker’s Toy Factory!
Riding the rails
LM&M’s North Pole Express
November 16-December 29
The LM&M railroad’s North Pole Express has become a Christmas tradition for many families. We invite you to experience the magic of a train ride with Santa Claus himself during the Christmas season.
Whitewater Valley Railroad’s Polar Express
Select dates November 16-December 16
The Polar Express comes to life when the train departs Connersville’s Grand Central Station for a journey through the quiet countryside for a special stop at the “North Pole” to allow Santa Claus to board the Polar Express. Guests on board will enjoy hot chocolate and a cookie while listening and reading along with the magical story.
Daily from Nov. 17-Jan. 1, 2019
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 can meet Mrs. Claus and Santa himself.
Santa loves being the star of the show, and this December, you can catch him front and center at the Taft Theatre in The Children’s Theater of Cincinnati’s Santa Claus: The Musical! This delightfully fun show runs Dec. 8-16 and is sure to be a hit with kids young and old. (Okay, so it’s not the realMr. C, but Local 12’s Bob Herzog sure captures the holly, jolly spirit of the Big Guy!)
Santa loves a great read – and not just The Night Before Christmas. Enjoy special story times with Santa at the Campbell County Branch Library (Dec. 1) and the Boone County Public Library’s Main Branch on Dec. 9. But it’s not just Mr. C leading story time – Mrs. Claus will be reading to Cincinnati’s good girls and boys at the Carew Tower on Dec. 1 and 8, and Joseph-Beth in Rookwood on Dec. 3.
Horse Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Christmas Festival
Dec. 1 in Downtown Lebanon
Check out Santa as he arrives at the festival upon horse-drawn carriage! This festival is free and lots of fun for families.
Deerfield Township’s Tree Lighting Festival
Dec. 8 from 5-7 pm at Deerfield Towne Center
Santa on a fire truck? You bet! Santa certainly knows how to make an appearance. (This festival is also free!)
Ohio Financial’s Victorian Village
Nov. 30, Dec. 1, Dec. 6 and Dec. 7
More free fun, Ohio Financial’s Victorian Village is a must for young families. Stroll through a twinkling village of kid-sized houses, and then get a free pic with Mr. C at the end! Donations to the Freestore Foodbank are encouraged.
Nov. 24, Dec. 1 and Dec. 8
Put this down as the “most adventurous” Santa experience in Cincy – during Downtown Dazzle’s 20-minute show, you’ll watch the big guy rappel from the Huntington Center building down to the top of Macy’s, right next to the jumbotron on Fountain Square! There’s also a firework show, carolers, carriage rides and a family-friendly story time with Mrs. Claus. (Oh, and Downtown Dazzle also features the best Santa in Cincinnati at Macy’s Fountain Place – pictures are free; simply bring your own camera!)
On the Rink
Nov. 24-25 and Dec. 1-2, 8-9, 15-16 and 22-23 from 12-1 pm
Despite his jolly stature, Santa can sure glide across the ice like an Olympic pro! See for yourself on Saturdays and Sundays from 12-1 pm during Santa Skates at Fountain Square’s Ice Rink. See if you can keep up!
Breakfast with Santa in Liberty Township
Dec. 8 from 8-11am at Liberty Heights Church
Enjoy a morning of holiday festivities including: arts/crafts, face paitners, balloon artists, breakfast goodies, and a visit with Jolly Ole’ St. Nick himself. Don’t forget your camera to snap a photo!
Breakfast with Santa at Joseph-Beth Cincinnati
Dec. 1 and 8 at 8:30 am
Ho ho ho! Join us for our annual Breakfast with Santa in Bronte Bistro! Guests will enjoy a tasty pancake breakfast, do some fun Christmas crafting, get started on holiday wish lists, and, of course, meet and take pictures with Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick! Families are very much welcome. These breakfasts sell out every year, so we recommend getting your tickets soon. Adult tickets are $15.95 and tickets children 12 and under are $9.95. Children 2 and under are free. Call the bookstore at 513-396-8960 to order your tickets today!
Dec. 9 from 8:30-10:30 am at Union Fire Station
Free breakfast and photos with Santa at the Fire Station!
Pancakes with Santa in Santa Land
Dec. 8 at 9 am and 10:30 am at the Fairfield Community Arts Center
Breakfast includes 3 pancakes, 2 sausages, a fruit cup, milk, juice and coffee. There will also be entertainment, balloon sculptures, ornament station, and a photo opportunity with Santa (bring your own camera) where each child will receive a special gift. Due to the tremendous popularity of this event, preregistration is mandatory by Nov. 28. This event is reserved for Fairfield residents only.
Breakfast with Santa at Dulle Park/Terwilliger Lodge
Dec. 8 from 8:30-10:30 am
Join Santa and his friends for an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast served up by City of Montgomery employee volunteers for $5/person (family rate of $20). Bring your wish list to share with Mr. Claus himself and your camera to take a photo with him! All proceeds benefit the Holiday Family Fund that supports local families in need with gifts and toys shared in the generosity of the holiday spirit. We invite you to share in the spirit of the season and to help others by bringing non-perishable food items for Matthew 25 Ministries.
Brunch at Winton Woods at Winton Woods
Dec. 9 registration required)
Start a family holiday tradition! Celebrate holiday cheer with Santa and enjoy a delicious buffet of more than 25 items. Santa will greet children and listen to wish lists. Each child will receive one complimentary photo. Advance registration is required. Tickets are $18.35/adult, $8.75/child ages 2–12 plus tax, and free for children under 2.
Dec. 2 from 1-5 pm at TCT on Redbank Road
Deck the halls at The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati when we host Santa and the Reindeer this December at The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, Sunday, December 2 from 1-5 pm.
Sitting Pretty at Local Parks
Santa’s Workshop at Washington Park
Nov. 30 + Saturdays in December (through Dec. 22) from 1-3 pm
This year, ditch your annual trip to the mall and venture down to Washington Park to see Santa Claus! Every Saturday in December, Santa and his merry band of Elves will be spending time in Washington Park making gifts, ornaments and other fun creations from 1 to 3pm.
Santaland at the Sharon Center
Through Dec. 23
Santa and his elves are taking over Sharon Centre once again as the annual Holiday in Lights drive through display returns. Santaland will be open nightly through December 23rd. Visitors can venture out of their cars and warm up with a cup of their favorite holiday beverage inside Santaland and enjoy entertainment provided throughout the week. The Dickens Carolers stroll throughout Santaland on the weekend nights singing traditional holiday melodies. Santa’s Confectionaries have holiday baked goods and candies available, and the Nature’s Niche Gift Shop is open for holiday shopping. Also featured is a holiday train display and photos with Santa starting at $6.75.
Carol Ann’s Carousel’s Santa-bration
Dec. 21-23 from 11 am-3:30 pm
Santa’s coming, Santa’s coming, to Carol Ann’s Carousel for holiday fun at ‘Santa-bration’ December 21-23 from 11 am-3:30 pm! Enjoy holiday and winter crafts all weekend, and be sure to bring your cell phones and snap a selfie with Santa!
Mugging at the Malls
Book a time slot for pics and one-on-one time with Santa at these local malls! Tip: go during the week to avoid big crowds – and reserve your spot online!
Kenwood Towne Center
Through December 24
Through December 24
Through December 24
Through December 24
Don’t miss Sensory Friendly visits with Santa on Dec. 2 and Dec. 16!
Through December 24
Friday, December 7 and 14
Santa’s coming to IKEA West Chester! These events are free and fun for everyone.