Top 5 Ways to Find the Holiday Spirit


Image Courtesy of Newport on the Levee

You know Dasher and Dancer, and you know about lights and trees and ice skating downtown. These are tried and true ways to get into the holiday spirit. But many roads lead to that warm, fuzzy feeling. Here are some under-the-radar options:

1. BRICKmas
Legos are one of those universal experiences. Even if we weren’t into building spectacular structures, we all have some memory of make something out of little blocks and being ridiculously proud of it. Newport on the Levee’s BRICKmas has more than 13 giant Lego displays (that’s giant displays made of Legos, not displays of giant Legos). Come to see miniaturized, pixelated versions of Roebling Bridge, Music Hall, and Washington Park—kids can even try their hand at creating their own Lego masterpiece. BRICKmas, $8, Opens Tuesday, Nov. 28, 6 P.M. – 8 P.M., Newport on the Levee, 1 Levee Way, Newport,

2. Trains
Train enthusiasts have their pick of local locomotive holiday events. At the Cincinnati Museum Center, you can check out Holiday Junction. This train display used to live at the headquarters of Duke Energy, and has been growing since 1946. Duke Energy gave the trains to the Cincinnati Museum Center in 2011, but they’re only open for viewing once a year. Once you’ve taken in trains in miniature, you can go to the life-sized North Pole Express, which goes all the way from Downtown Lebanon to the North Pole (in a half an hour, no less!). Holiday Junction: $12.50 for adults, $8.50 for children, Open until Jan 4, Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Downtown, (513) 287-7000, North Pole Express: $20.50 for adults, $15.50 for children, Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad, 127 South Mechanic, Lebanon, (513) 933-8022,

3. Laser Lights
Dreaming of a bright Christmas? The Drake Planetarium’s regular laser show is taking a decidedly jolly turn, featuring colorful light displays to the tunes of holiday classics. Sit underneath a colorful display of lights and special effects while surrounded by the sounds of the most wonderful time of the year. (Safety note: laser shows can be dangerous for young children and people who are light sensitive. Call ahead to determine the intensity of the show: no one wants a seizure for Christmas.) $8 online, $10 at the door, Drake Planetarium, 2020 Sherman Ave., Norwood, (513) 396-5578,

4. Magic
Okay, we’ll fess up: this magic is less Pull-A-Reindeer-Out-Of-A-Hat and more Magic-In-The-Air, but Magic and Mistletoe at the Krohn Conservatory is still pretty cool. All of the plants you know and love will be there, plus displays of poinsettias, cyclamen, and “botanical architecture” made from local willow. Plus, there’s no better time than when it’s ridiculously cold out to enjoy the warmth of Krohn’s tropical display. Magic and Mistletoe, $7 for adults, $4 for children, Open until Jan 4, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., 1501 Eden Park Dr., Downtown, (513) 421-4086,

5. Antiques
If looking at antiques is a kind of mental time travel, the Taft Museum of Art’s An Antique Christmas is basically a DeLorean. The display includes toys, ornaments, and decorations from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s. This year, there will also be a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer display celebrating the 50th anniversary of the television special. Take a look to see how the past played and decorated; you might even see something that brings you back to your own favorite Christmas morning. An Antique Christmas, $10 for adults, $4 for children, free on Sundays. 10 A.M–4 P.M. weekdays, 10 A.M–5 P.M. weekends, Open until Jan. 4. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., Downtown, (513) 241-0343,

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