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. 8, 2019 – Jan. 5, 2020
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 29) and more! Get on Santa’s nice list and follow CMC Santa on social media! Twitter: @CMC_Santa, Facebook: @CMCsanta. Hashtag: #CMCsanta
November 29-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!
Nov. 16 through Jan. 4
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, thousands of Cincinnati kids met with Santa at the Festival of Lights – which, by the way, features 3 million twinkling LED lights!
Select dates from Nov. 22 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!
Dec. 14, 1-4:30 pm
The Voice of Black Cincinnati presents “Cincinnati Black Santa.” He will greet children of all ages and listen to Christmas wish lists. Parents can take photos, or photos will be taken by the Voice of Black Cincinnati’s photographer and shared on its Facebook page. Last year, more than 1,800 families visited the museum during this event. FREE.
Riding the rails
Christmas at Entertrainment Junction
Daily from Nov. 16-Jan. 1, 2020
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.
LM&M’s North Pole Express
Nov. 16-Dec. 28
The LM&M railroad’s North Pole Express has become a Christmas tradition for many families. LM&M Railroad invites families to experience the magic of a train ride with Santa Claus himself during the Christmas season. Every child in attendance will receive a bell from Santa’s sleigh, and families are encouraged to bring cameras as pictures with Santa are allowed and encouraged!
Whitewater Valley Railroad’s Polar Express
Select dates Nov. 15-Dec. 15
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. Also, don’t miss the Santa Claus Limited — Whitewater Valley’s longest-running ride; a magical, must-attend excursion on Nov. 30.
Santa loves being the star of the show, but this December, it’s all about Mrs. C! Catch the Woman in Red front and center in Mrs. Claus Saves the Day, Dec. 21 and 22 at TCT’s Showtime Stage. This family-friendly show features lots of singing and silliness your whole family will love.
Santa loves a great read – and not just The Night Before Christmas. Enjoy special story times with Santa at CMC’s Stories from the North Pole, Dec. 2, 9, 16 and 23 at 9 am. This special event is for CMC members — if you’re not already a member, give your family the best Christmas gift ever with a CMC Membership!
Horse Lebanon Horse Drawn Carriage Parade & Christmas Festival
Dec. 7 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
Nov. 30 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!)
Macy’s Downtown Dazzle
Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14 and Dec. 21
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
Fountain Square Ice Rink
Nov. 30-Dec. 1, Dec. 7-8, 14-15 & 21-22 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!
Skate with Santa
Dec. 21, 3-5 pm at the Goggin Ice Center
Get ready to meet Santa and join the Goggin Ice Center from 3-5 pm! Admission is $7.50 and includes skate rental.
Breakfast with Santa at Joseph-Beth Cincinnati
Dec. 7, 14 and 21 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!
Breakfast with Santa at Dulle Park/Terwilliger Lodge
Dec. 14 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.
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.
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!
Black Santa @ Carew Tower
Dec. 5, 12 & 19. FREE! Bring your own camera for photos with Santa Galen in a festive North Pole setting on the first floor of the Carew Tower Arcade.
Santa @ Carew Tower
Select dates Nov. 29-Dec. 24. FREE! Bring your own camera for photos with Santa in a festive North Pole setting on the first floor of the Carew Tower Arcade.
Nov. 9 through December 24.