The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s annual PNC Festival of Lights begins Nov. 17.

5 holiday traditions we love in Cincinnati

One of the nice things about living in a big city is the myriad ways, whether it’s lights, massive tree lightings, or window displays, in which they charge the air with holiday festiveness and cheer. New York and Chicago are particularly famous for this, but Cincinnati has a few remarkable traditions of its own.

Here are the 2018 holiday events you won’t want to miss.

1. Macy’s Light Up The Square

This annual party kicks off the holidays in Cincinnati. The festivities begin with the musical stylings of the 2nd Wave Band (jazz and R&B), and continues with food trucks, ice skating, fireworks, and, of course, the lighting of the big tree.

How to Go

Where: Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., Cincinnati

When: Nov. 23, 6-11 p.m.

Cost: No admission cost

More Info: 513-621-4400 or www.myfountainsquare.com

2. Skate at the Square

Whether you’re an amateur or novice, there’s nothing quite like skating at this outdoor ice arena in picturesque Fountain Square, surrounded by the downtown Cincinnati skyline. The arena includes skate rentals, lockers, and a full-service concession stand that includes hot and cold drinks, alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages.

How to Go

Where: Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., Cincinnati

When: Through Feb. 18, 2019, daytime and nighttime hours

Cost: $6 admission, $4 skate rental

More Info: 513-621-4400 or www.myfountainsquare.com

3. PNC Festival of Lights

This holiday season, three million LED lights will turn the Cincinnati Zoo into an electric wonderland. This nationally recognized event also includes a Madcap blacklight puppet show, rides on the BB&T Toyland Express, the Wild Lights show on Swan Lake and, new this year, visits with Santa at 4 p.m., one hour before the festival begins.

How to Go

Where: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati

When: Nov. 17-Jan. 1

Cost: Included with zoo admission of $13-$26

More Info: www.cincinnatizoo.org

4. King’s Island Winterfest

Every holiday season, King’s Island is transformed into a winter wonderland. There’s ice skating on the Royal Fountain, the Eiffel Tower is turned into a gigantic Christmas tree, the shops are stocked with ornaments, toys and freshly baked treats, and a cast of holiday characters will spread Christmas cheer under the millions of lights. Oh, and since it’s King’s Island, there are a few rides, too.

How to Go

Where: King’s Island, 6300 King’s Island Drive, Mason

When: Nov. 23-Dec. 31

Cost: $25.99-$47

More Info: 513-754-5400 or www.visitkingsisland.com

5. Santa’s Workshop

Come visit Santa and his merry elves in the sylvan setting of Washington Park. The kids can make ornaments, gifts, and other items, or they can stop by the wish list station, where the elves will help them draft their lists to Santa (assuming they haven’t done so already). Cameras are highly recommended and even your dog is welcome.

How to Go

Where: Washington Park, 1230 Elm St., Cincinnati

When: Nov. 24-Dec. 22; 1-3 p.m. Saturdays

Cost: Free

More Info: 513-621-4400 or www.washingtonpark.org

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