The lights on the tree will sparkle, the fireworks will pop, Santa will make his way down the side of the Huntington Bank Center, and all will be merry and bright this holiday season in downtown Cincinnati. Thanks to the amazing work done by Downtown Cincinnati Inc. (DCI) and our many partners, there is no better place to celebrate the holidays than downtown.

It’s the 14th year for Macy’s Downtown Dazzle, when thousands gather on Fountain Square to look up in wonder and watch Santa and his heroic friends rappel down the side of a 30-story building, followed by a spectacular fireworks show. Bundle up and bring the family to join us on Nov. 24, Dec. 1 and 8 for this free, wonderfully family-friendly tradition. Local choirs perform at 5:30 p.m., with the rappel beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Visits with Santa

Downtown’s favorite Santa has a new home this year, inside the iconic, art deco Carew Tower Arcade. Bring your children, grandchildren, and the rest of the family to capture a special moment with the most wonderful Santa Claus in the world with your own camera. Visit Santa every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, plus Christmas Eve. Mrs. Claus, who is also at the Carew Tower, will be reading stories to children each night after Dazzle on the second floor of the Arcade.

This year, the best way to see all the holiday sights from The Banks to Over-the-Rhine is on the streetcar. Take a “Comfort and Joyride” on the Cincinnati Bell Connector, which will be free on Nov. 23 and 24, and Dec. 1, 8 and 15 thanks to DCI. Hop on at any station and explore downtown—grab a free ride to go to Redsfest at the Duke Energy Convention Center on Dec. 1, or hear the Cincinnati Pops perform at Music Hall on Dec. 8. As an added treat, carolers will be on board each afternoon to serenade you with holiday tunes.

On Your List?

This time of year, everyone has a long list of gifts to buy. Instead of searching online for everything, why not visit some of my favorite places to shop for gifts you won’t find anywhere else? I love to shop at the gift shops at the Taft Museum of Art, Contemporary Arts Center, Freedom Center, Lloyd Library and Museum, Cincinnati Art Museum and Cincinnati Fire Museum. I promise you will find books, jewelry, note cards, scarves, framed prints and lots more great, local gifts for holiday stockings, friends from afar, and family nearby.

But if you can’t find just the right gift for someone, have no fear! DCI has you covered. Just pick up a Downtown Gift Card, provided by DCI. We sell gift cards on our website, downtowncincinnati.com, as well as at our office and at Findlay Market year round. These wondrous gift cards can be used at hundreds of shops, restaurants, hotels, museums, sightseeing tours, and even the ice rink on Fountain Square.

It’s easy to be merry this season, just spend some time downtown.

Mindy Rosen was appointed interim president and chief executive officer for Downtown Cincinnati Incorporated (DCI) in 2018. She joined the organization in 2007 as the vice president of marketing and communications. Mindy leads the civic team at DCI as they work to achieve the nonprofit organization’s mission “to build downtown Cincinnati as a dynamic metropolitan center valued as the heart of the region.”


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