This may be the perfect start to your Memorial Day weekend. The Hip-Hop Orchestra is coming to Memorial Hall on Thursday with its fantastic blend of Mozart, Motown and Mos Def. Thee Phantom & The Illharmonic Orchestra have performed sold-out shows at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.
7-9 p.m. Thursday. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. $20. www.memorialhallotr.com
MeSseD Tunnel Tour
Yes, this does sound messed up ... but also intriguing. The MeSseD Tunnel Tour is an immersive experience that allows you to live the Cincinnati-born "MeSseD" comic book. The illustrated work meshes sewer management with science fiction, and the tour lets people experience the comic together inside a real tunnel in the subterranean basement of Union Hall. There's a tour on Thursday evening, followed by other tours on May 31, June 2, June 7, June 9, June 14 and June 16.
6-9 p.m. Thursday. Union Hall, 1314 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine. $6 adults; $4 youth. www.messedcomics.com
In the Garage summer series
You'll want to sneak out of work early for this event. AGAR marketing agency in Over-the-Rhine will host the first show of its In the Garage summer series of live music on Friday. Daniel in Stereo will perform, and beer will be available. The series will continue June 29, July 27 and Aug. 31.
4-5:30 p.m. Friday. AGAR, 1205 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine. Free. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Eastgate Mall Carnival
Who doesn't like a spring carnival? Enjoy rides, games and food in the parking lot of Eastgate Mall all weekend long.
6-10 p.m. Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday; noon-6 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Eastgate Mall, 4601 Eastgate Blvd., Eastgate. $20 unlimited ride wristband; $2.50 individual ride tickets; $23 for 10 tickets. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Kings Island and Soak City Water Park
Not only do full summer hours begin Friday at Kings Island, but Soak City Water Park will reopen for the season starting Saturday. The water park, which features more than 50 water attractions, will be open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It will operate 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Memorial Day, and those hours will last until regular summer hours begin on June 1.
10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Monday. Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason. $44.99 daily admission. www.visitkingsisland.com
Love Ludlow Oak Street Block Party
If you've never been to Ludlow here is a great reason to visit. The little town that sits on a bend of the Ohio River just west of Covington will host a community block party this Saturday. The party will take place on Oak Street between Kenner and Davis streets. It will feature kids games, face painting and live music, along with food, snacks, beer and other drinks for sale.
6 p.m.-midnight Saturday. Oak Street, Ludlow. Free. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Taste of Cincinnati
This is the big enchilada every Memorial Day weekend. The 40th annual Taste of Cincinnati will return at 11 a.m. Saturday featuring 33 local restaurants, 18 food trucks, five stages of live music and the return of the Taste of Findlay Market. New this year: the inaugural Music Bash at Taste, featuring headliners the B-52s and Rick Springfield, along with special guest Loverboy. Tickets for the 6 p.m. Sunday Music Bash (yes, there's a cost) start at $29.99; you can buy them here.
11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday. Fifth Street, from Main Street to I-71 and Columbia Parkway ramps, Downtown. www.tasteofcincinnati.com
Maria Bamford at the Taft Theatre
Maria Bamford has made a name for herself as a comedian, actress and star of the quirky Netflix series "Lady Dynamite." Bamford delivers punchlines and biting insights, and her performance Saturday at the Taft Theatre should be a great way to cool off after a day of eating at Taste of Cincinnati, which will be right outside the venue's front doors.
8 p.m. Saturday. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown. $32.50. tafttheatre.org
While we're all about this holiday weekend, it never hurts to look ahead. That's what Jungle Jim's in Eastgate will do on Saturday when it hosts a Bunbury Music Festival pre-party. The market is partnering with Bunbury organizer PromoWest and Miller Lite to get you ready for the music festival, which will take place June 1-3 at Sawyer Point and Yeatman's Cove. The pre-party will feature $3 draft beers, giveaways by the Miller girls, karaoke, a DJ set and a chance to win one of six pairs of tickets to Bunbury.
5-9 p.m. Saturday. Jungle Jim's International Market Eastgate, 4450 Eastgate South Drive, Eastgate. Free. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Coney Island, Sunlite Pool and the Island Wheel
Another tradition worth reliving this weekend is the season opening of Coney Island and Sunlite Pool. New to the amusement park this summer is the Coney Island Wheel, a 155-foot-high Ferris wheel that offers a 360-degree view of the park. It costs $5 to take a spin ($2.50 for season pass holders).Plan a trip to Coney soon, though, if you want to take a ride: The Island Wheel will be at the amusement park only through July 8.
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday and Monday. (Sunlite Pool opens and closes an hour earlier than the rest of the park.) Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township. Admission prices vary. coneyislandpark.com
Nowhere Else Festival
Over the Rhine is a band with a large and devoted following in the Queen City. Last year, Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, Over the Rhine's husband-and-wife duo, opened their Nowhere Else Farm in Martinsville, Ohio, to fans for the inaugural Nowhere Else Festival. The festival will return for its second year this weekend with two days of storytelling, workshops and musical performances by artists personally selected by Detweiler and Bergquist. The festival and farm are approximately an hour drive northeast from Downtown Cincinnati.
9 a.m.-midnight Saturday; 9 a.m.-9:45 p.m. Sunday. Nowhere Else Farm, 190 Townsend Road, Martinsville, Ohio. $90 single-day pass; $150 for a two-day pass. www.nowhereelsefestival.com
Who is ready to go back to the Beach? The Mason water park's 2018 season will start Saturday. It'll operate with limited hours through June 8. The weekend forecast looks warm enough for swimming but be warned: If temperatures dip below 70 degrees, the Beach will close for the day.
11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday-Monday. 2590 Waterpark Drive, Mason. $24.99 online; $28.99 at the gate; children age 3 and under free. www.thebeachwaterpark.com
Steve Martin and Martin Short at PNC Pavilion
The name of comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short's return visit to Cincinnati is a bit of a misnomer. Anyone seeing them perform "An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life" on Sunday at PNC Pavilion probably will remember it for a long time.
8 p.m. Sunday. PNC Pavilion, 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township. $63-$143. www.riverbend.org
Free fun at Fountain Square
Who doesn't like free things? Well, free entertainment is the name of the game Thursday through Sunday on Fountain Square. Things will heat up 7 p.m. Thursday with Salsa on the Square, followed by free spring concerts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Concerts will begin at 7 p.m. each evening. Grandson will perform Friday and the Bad Veins on Saturday. Sunday's act has not yet been announced.
7-10 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. Fountain Square, 520 Vine St., Downtown. Free. myfountainsquare.com
Lando's Memorial Day Weekend Rooftop Party
Dance the night away on top of Jack Casino's rooftop deck during promoter Lando's latest party on Sunday. Enjoy hip-hop and R&B DJ sets by DJ Sean Solomon. The evening is for the age-30-and-up crowd.
7 p.m.-midnight Sunday. Jack Cincinnati Casino, 1000 Broadway St., Downtown. $10. www.eventbrite.com
Funk Day 2018
It's back. MadTree Brewing will serve up new Funk series bottles and live music in its Oakley taproom on Sunday. Funk Day beer releases will include Boysen the Wood, Levanto Ligero, Limb From Limb and Rhone. There also will be guest taps from Little Fish Brewing Co. and Jackie O's Brewery. The Medicine Men Band will perform the first live music set from 10 a.m.-noon, followed by five more bands performing until 10 p.m.
10 a.m.-1 a.m. Sunday. MadTree Brewing, 3301 Madison Road, Oakley. Free. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Try something new
For most people, the long holiday weekend means more time to explore and try something new. Why not check out one of the breweries, rooftop bars or restaurants that recently opened in the Queen City? I've put together a list of newer places, such as Alexandria Brewing Co. in Northern Kentucky, AC Upper Deck rooftop bar at the Banks and Lucius Q in Pendleton. Check out the rest of my suggestions here.