Take a deep breath and rest a bit before the culture-saturated holiday season heats up. Enjoy time with family and friends and take in some Queen City favorites, together. Families can enjoy the Christkindlmarkt or some fun on the Purple People Bridge. Or, drop the kids at Grandma’s and head out for a date night to the symphony. We are thankful for the beauty, grace and memorable moments the arts bring to our lives. Our vibrant and diverse arts community is one of the best. Make sure to thank an artist or a supporter for all they do. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Wednesday, Nov. 22
Servatii’s Christkindlmarkt at Moerlein Lager House | Opening night, 5-9 p.m., Schmidlapp Event Lawn, Smale Riverfront Park, 124 E. Mehring Way, downtown. DETAILS: A European-themed holiday festival, right here in Cincinnati! German, to be exact. What, you ask? Vas You Ever in Zinzinnati? Food, beverages, choral groups and musical entertainment, merchandise, happy hour, a 4-lane ice slide, lights and, wait for it, IGLOO rentals. So cool. Can’t wait for this. Through Dec. 31. Igloo rentals going fast. Rent yours, today.
Thursday, Nov. 23
Purple People Bridge, Winter Nights & River Lights | Sunset. 1 Levee Way, Newport (Kentucky entrance) or 700 E. Pete Rose Way (Ohio entrance). DETAILS: Do you need to walk off the extra pie or the two dozen deviled eggs you ate? Grab your sweetie or treat yourself to some quiet, solo time and soak up the lights and decorations from Kentucky to Ohio over the beautiful Ohio River. Or, from Ohio to Kentucky. One of the most unusual light displays in the area. Through Jan. 7.
Friday, Nov. 24
Prolink, Light Up The Square | 6-9 p.m. Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., downtown. DETAILS: Fountain Square is the place to be 12 months of the year. Kick off the holiday season with lights, fireworks, live music and dance performances and the lighting of the most massive Christmas tree you’ve ever seen. The Fountain Bar is pouring and the Ice Rink is open with skates for rent in your size.
Pendleton Art Center, Final Friday | 5-9 p.m. 1310 Pendleton St., Pendleton. 513-421-4339. DETAILS: Wander eight floors and four buildings of artist studios and original art in this long-running monthly affair. Great Christmas shopping, yes, but loads of art possibilities for your own home. From jewelry to sculpture to paintings there is something for everyone. This month’s featured artists are Andrea Eisert and Jerry Saylor, Studio 112. Have some good eats at one of Pendleton’s cool restaurants and then stop in and be amazed.
Saturday, Nov. 25
De La Dance, “The Nutcracker Jazzed Up” | 2 & 7:30 p.m. 5141 Kennedy Ave., Kennedy Heights. 513-871-0914. DETAILS: Here’s a different take on Tchaikovsky’s classic Christmas treat as jazz great Duke Ellington reinterprets this familiar ballet. Create some family magic this holiday season with the old and the new. Through Dec. 11.
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Sibelius Symphony No. 5 | 7:30 p.m. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: Finnish conductor Dalia Stasevska leads the orchestra in a concert of music that calls us home. The “Goin’ Home” theme from Dvorak’s “New World Symphony” and George Walker’s “Lyric for Strings” open the program. Bass-baritone Davone Tines performs Saariaho’s “True Fire” based on Native American texts and “Spiritual Laws” based on text by Ralph Waldo Emerson. The program concludes with Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony with its famous “swan theme” wrapping up the final movement. Repeats Sunday at 2 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 26
Cincinnati Opera, “Madame Butterfly” | 8 p.m. WGUC-FM, 90.9 FM. DETAILS: If you’ve simply had enough green bean casserole, shopping, drive-through lights and jazz, spend an evening in with Puccini. Catch the last opera of the 2023 summer season on your local classical music station, WGUC. Prepare a gourmet turkey-free dinner, pour a glass and settle in for this tragic tale of love and devotion. Karah Son sings the title role.
Monday, Nov. 27
Woodward Theater, “Aftersun” | 7:30 p.m. 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-345-7981. DETAILS: This feature film debut of director and writer Charlotte Wells explores the relationship between a young girl and her 30-year-old father. As the world of adolescence creeps into her view, the father struggles under the weight of depression and life outside of fatherhood. As an adult she tries to reconcile the father she knew with the man she didn’t.
Memorial Hall, Phil DeGreg Trio Plays “A Charlie Brown Christmas” | 7 p.m. 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-977-8838. DETAILS: No holiday season would be complete without one of Cincinnati’s most prolific jazz pianists, Phil DeGreg taking the stage. Take a trip down memory lane and conjure up those cold, winter nights as a kid in your jammies in front of the TV watching Charlie Brown decorate that scrawny, little tree. Tonight, you won’t have to go to bed when it’s over, though. DeGreg and his trio play other holiday favorites to help you consider what Christmas is all about. Repeats Tuesday, 7:30. Tickets going fast.
Tuesday, Nov. 28
Caffe Vivace, Gunnar Gidner & Brian Cashwell | 7 p.m. 975 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills. 513-601-9897. DETAILS: Cincinnatians Gunnar Gidner and Brian Cashwell pay tribute to jazz great Stan Getz, one of the all-time great tenor saxophonists. Gidner is an award-winning professional saxophonist and studied with Rick Van Matre and Bobby Watson. Cashwell teaches jazz at CCM and maintains a busy performing schedule. $10 drink minimum.