The following is a guest post from Emilie Johnson, Associate Vice President of Communications and Marketing, Downtown Cincinnati Inc. With the Holidays upon us, we asked Emilie to share with us some information what we can expect this downtown year!
Downtown Cincinnati comes alive for the holidays for the nearly 500,000 visitors who will celebrate the season with the yearly traditions of shopping, dining and holiday-themed events and performances. More than 300 events are scheduled downtown for the holidays, many of which are FREE.
It all begins at Fountain Square, where the traditional tree lighting the Friday after Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season downtown. Other familiar traditions returning to downtown include the Ice Skating Rink at Fountain Square (opening Thanksgiving Day), the Duke Energy trains, and the Macy’s Downtown Dazzle spectacular, featuring a rappelling Santa, Rudolph and fireworks on Saturday evenings in December.
Immediately after the Macy’s Downtown Dazzle fireworks, Mrs. Claus will lead story time at Macy’s Fountain Place. From Fridays through Sundays and during the week of Christmas, you can visit with Santa himself at Macy’s, and bring your own camera for free photos in a festive North Pole setting. And getting to Downtown Cincinnati holiday activities will be one ride away on weekend horse-drawn carriage rides from Macy’s Celebration Station at Fifth and Race Streets along with the Holly Jolly Trolley, boarding in front of The Westin Hotel on Fifth and Vine Streets.
Another tradition that celebrates the city is the third edition commemorative Rookwood art tile with a design depicting Cincinnati’s Music Hall, available for $75 exclusively at Macy’s Fountain Place. The tile goes on sale on the Friday after Thanksgiving (November 27) with an artist signing from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on that day.
Two lucky holiday shoppers will have the opportunity to win a $1,000 Downtown Shopping Spree from participating downtown retailers, attractions and restaurants. Register to win at www.downtowncincinnati.com.
New this year is a special edition of the Downtown Tour of Living called “Home for the Holidays,” on Saturday, December 5, 1-5 p.m. The Tour features a variety of properties, all within easy walking distance for a free, self-guided tour, each decorated for the holiday season by a local retailer. Take the tour and have your “Passport” stamped at each residential location for the opportunity to win a $100 Downtown Cincinnati Gift Card.
Downtown Cincinnati Inc. makes holiday shopping easy with the Downtown Gift Card, redeemable at 130 stores and restaurants throughout downtown. Cards are available at www.downtowncincinnati.com, the DCI offices and the Tower Place Concierge Center.
To keep visitors in the digital loop, DCI brings back the Downtown Holidays Media Network by posting videos, photographs and updates from events, shops and restaurants using Facebook.com, Youtube.com and Twitter.com under the keyword: DowntownCincy. Registration is free.
A free holiday guide listing events and activities in the region throughout the season is also available for download and by request at www.downtowncincinnati.com and at the U.S. Bank Ice Skating Rink at Fountain Square.
Key Dates for Major Holiday Events
U.S. Bank Ice Rink on Fountain Square
Opens Thanksgiving Day from 2-10 p.m.)
Light Up the Square, Fountain Square, Friday, Nov. 27, 6:30 p.m.
Home for the Holidays
Saturday, Dec. 5, 1-5 p.m., free registration at U.S. Bank branch on Fountain Square
Macy’s Downtown Dazzle, Fountain Square
Saturday, Dec. 5, 12, 19, 6:30 to 7 p.m.; choirs begin at 6 p.m.
New Year’s Eve on Fountain Square
Thursday, Dec. 31, 8 p.m., Free Skate with live DJ; Fireworks at midnight