Best time to go to Cincinnati, OH

Cincinnati Christmas Lights 2021-2022

Make lasting family memories at Cincy's best holiday displays

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Macy's Light Up the Square, taking place at Fountain Square in late November, marks the official kickoff of the Christmas season in Cincinnati. However, some holiday light displays open as early as mid-November, and most of them last throughout early January. The best places to immerse yourself into the spirit of Christmas include Coney Island Park, Cincinnati Zoo, and Kings Island.

Coney Island Christmas lights Cincinnati Ohio (November 12, 2021–January 2, 2022)

You'll have to leave downtown Cincinnati to immerse yourself into Cincy's largest synchronized light show that is held at Coney Island Park. Christmas Nights of Lights is local favorite drive-through experience, featuring over a million sparkling holiday lights. The show starts at dusk and continues until 10 pm. We recommend coming later, around 9 pm, if you want to skip the crowds. The tickets are $7 per person and $30 per carload.

Cincinnati Zoo Christmas lights (November 19, 2021–January 9, 2022)

Another holiday tradition, cherished by Cincinnati, is the annual PNC Festival of Lights, which transforms the Cincinnati Zoo into a "Wild Wonderland" of 4 million shimmering lights. You can visit the zoo early and stay for the Christmas lights, starting at 4 pm, as the festival is included with the zoo admission. Besides the glowing decorations, the program offers the North Polar Express train rides, the Wild Lights show on Swan Lake, and seasonal treats at S'mores-n-More stands.

Kings Island WinterFest (November 26–December 31, 2021)

If you don't mind a half-an-hour drive to Kings Mills, visit Kings Island WinterFest. In addition to dazzling Christmas lights, you'll get an array of seasonal activities to enjoy. Go ice skating, caroling, holiday shopping, or feast on finger-licking goodies. The WinterFest is open select nights from late November traditionally through New Year's Eve.

For the tickets and latest updates, please check with the official websites (see External Resources below.) Also, take a look at the map suggesting the best accommodations nearby.