Get into the holiday spirit with the return of Coney Island's Christmas Nights of Lights, the Greater Cincinnati Holiday Market at Duke Energy Convention Center and the Taft Museum of Art's annual Antique Christmas exhibit.
And if you need some time, and perhaps some assistance, to ease into the holidays, there is also a LEGO-themed pop-up bar, a wine fest at Jungle Jim's and several breweries celebrating anniversaries this weekend.
FOOD & DRINK
Rotolo Grand Opening: 9 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday; 11:30 a.m.-midnight Sunday. Rotolo, 1 Levee Way, Newport. Rotolo: Bowling-Bocce-Eatery will put a new spin on the traditional bowling experience with its grand opening this weekend. Rotolo, an Italian phrase meaning “to roll,” will offer 15 bowling lanes, a full bocce court, billiards, foosball, two full-service bars and a complete menu of Italian cuisine featuring shareable plates, flatbreads, pizzas and hearty pasta specialties. Rotolo’s innovative beverage program will include signature and classic cocktails, Italian sodas and local craft beers. www.rotolobowling.com
The Brick Bar: Multiple times Friday and Saturday. American Sign Museum, 1330 Monmouth St., Camp Washington. $15-$25. Are you a master builder? How about a cocktail aficionado? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you’ll want to make time to visit the Brick Bar, a LEGO-inspired pop-up bar featuring adult beverages and more than 1 million building blocks. There also will be local DJs spinning tunes during each of the Brick Bar’s 12 hour-and-a-half-long sessions at the American Sign Museum. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Wooden Cask Third Anniversary Weekend: 11:30 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday. Wooden Cask Brewing, 629 York St., Newport. Free. Help Wooden Cask Brewing celebrate three years of making great beers this weekend with special tappings, live music and food. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Jungle Jim's International Wine Festival: 7-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Jungle Jim’s International Market, 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield. $26.63-$79.88 non-drinkers; $69.23-$133.13 drinkers. This is one festival fit for a god (namely Dionysus, the ancient Greek deity of wine and wine making). Jungle Jim’s will host its 12th annual International Wine Festival featuring more than 400 wines from around the world to sample. You also will have the choice of two different experiences at this year’s event. The Grand Tasting includes wine samples, appetizers and a commemorative 2019 festival glass. The Connoisseur experience includes 6:30 p.m. early admission to the festival, a monorail ride, gourmet dinner and rare wine tastings. junglejims.com
Fretboard Brewing Co. Anniversary Bash: 6:30-11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Fretboard Brewing, 5800 Creek Road, Blue Ash. Ages 21 and older after 9:30 p.m. Free. Fretboard Brewing Co. is celebrating two years of blending brews and tunes with two nights of carefully curated lineups of great music. The brewery also will tap Drummer Boy Winter Warmer on draft and debut the beer’s six-pack cans. For the full lineup of live music visit the event Facebook page.
Friends Fest 2019: 3-8 p.m. Saturday. MadTree Brewing, 3301 Madison Road, Oakley. $99-$149. If you really enjoy amazing beers, cocktails and/or meads, you should buy your ticket to this year’s Friends Fest now. MadTree is selling only 300 tickets to this intimate affair that will let you rub elbows with brewers. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Rhinegeist Veterans Day: Noon-6 p.m. Saturday. Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. Join the Covington-based Barracks Project in honoring men and women who are currently serving or who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. All donations raised during this special Veterans Day event at Rhinegeist will help continue the Barracks Project’s mission to prevent current service members and veterans from becoming homeless or unemployed. www.thebarracksproject.org
Sonder Brewing’s One-Year Anniversary: 10 a.m.-11:30 p.m. Saturday. Sonder Brewing, 8584 Duke Boulevard, Mason. Free. You only turn 1 once. Sonder Brewing will celebrate one year of business with a specialty beer release party, live music and food. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Westwood Town Hall Grand Opening Block Party: 4-8 p.m. Thursday. Westwood Town Hall District, 3017 Harrison Ave., Westwood. Free. Celebrate the dedication of the new Westwood Town Hall commons with food, music, wine, beer and local artists. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Holiday Junction featuring the Duke Energy Holiday Trains: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday through Jan. 5. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate. $5.50-$14.50; free for members. All aboard! The Duke Energy Holiday Trains, a holiday staple since 1946, will return to the Cincinnati Museum Center on Friday. This year’s display includes 300 rail cars and 60 locomotives that weave through the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky landscapes on 1,000 feet of track. The trains will be part of the Museum Center’s larger “Holiday Junction” display, which includes an interactive winter wonderland where visitors can build a snowman, create footprints in the snow and board a riding train. For more information, visit www.cincymuseum.org/holiday-junction.
Tower A Opens for the Holidays: Noon-4 p.m. Friday-Sunday. Cincinnati Museum Center, 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate. Free. Union Terminal’s original control tower will open for holiday tours starting this weekend through Jan. 5. The tower will give visitors a bird’s-eye view of the Queensgate train yard. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Christmas Nights of Lights: 5:30-10 p.m. Friday-Jan. 5. Coney Island Amusement Park, 6201 Kellogg Ave., Cincinnati. $6 per person; free for children ages 3 and younger. Christmas Nights of Lights returns to Coney Island for its third holiday season this weekend. This two-and-a-half-mile drive-through light display combines more than 1 million lights that blink in sync with classic Christmas tunes. New features for this year will include a 45-foot-tall Christmas tree decked out with shooting stars, 12 life-size gingerbread men and a new playlist of sing-along songs. coneyislandpark.com
Greater Cincinnati Holiday Market: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Duke Energy Convention Center, 525 Elm St., Downtown. $8 general admission. Children ages 12 and under free. This year’s Greater Cincinnati Holiday Market will feature more than 350 one-of-a-kind boutiques and specialty stores selling home décor, specialty clothing and more items. There also will be gourmet food from the Cincy Specialty Food & Treats Show. cincinnatiholidaymarket.com
Antique Christmas: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St., Downtown. Free admission for museum members; $12 adults; $10 seniors. Get into the spirit of the holiday season with the Taft Museum of Art’s annual exhibition that offers a window into timeless traditions. Step back into Christmases past with displays of holiday decorations that span nearly 200 years of history. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
2019 Krohn Holiday Show: “A Zinzinnati Holiday”: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily starting Saturday through Jan. 5. Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams. $10 adults; $7 youths ages 5-17; free children ages 4 and under. Krohn Conservatory’s annual winter greenery spectacular will surround you with evergreens and poinsettias as you stroll through historical representations of Cincinnati’s German history. www.cincinnatiparks.com
West Side Brewing Holiday Show: Noon-5 p.m. Sunday. West Side Brewing, 3044 Harrison Ave., Westwood. Free. Make your way over to West Side Brewing and get a head start on holiday shopping. More than 20 local artists, jewelers, crafters and bakers will be selling their creations in the brewery’s taproom. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
All Things Local Cincy & Ohio: Noon-7 p.m. Sunday. Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. It’s getting cold outside, which means Art on Vine is moving indoors. November’s edition of this makers’ market will feature more than 70 local vendors set up inside Rhinegeist’s taproom. For more information visit the event Facebook page.
MUSIC & COMEDY
Comedian Bert Kreischer: 7 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown. $39.75-$59.75. Comedian Bert Kresicher will perform two sets of his standup “The Body Shots Tour.” The comedian first gained fame in 1997 when Rolling Stone magazine named him the No. 1 partier in the nation. He since has produced multiple television standup specials, with his most recent being “Secret Time” on Netflix. tafttheatre.org
Bob Dylan and His Band: 8 p.m. Friday. BB&T Arena, 500 Louie B. Nunn Drive, Highland Heights. $50-$85. Bob Dylan, the iconic singer and songwriter, will perform new and old songs with his band on the campus of Northern Kentucky University. The stop coincides with the recent release of “Travelin’ Thru.” The album is the 15th volume of Dylan’s “The Bootleg Series.” The completion of recordings covers Dylan’s career from 1967-1969, so there is a good chance Dylan will perform some of his memorable songs from the era. www.bobdylan.com
“So You Think You Can Dance Live!”: 8 p.m. Friday. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown. $38.50-$63.50. Fans of the hit television series “So You Think You Can Dance” won’t want to miss this special live touring version of the series coming to the Queen City. Ten of the best dancers from the show’s 16th season will show off their skills on stage. tafttheatre.org
Wilco: 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown. $45-$75. The legendary alternative band Wilco will perform at the Taft as part of its first tour in nearly two years. Deep Sea Diver, aka Jessica Dobson, will join Wilco on stage during the band’s Queen City visit. tafttheatre.org
The Wood Brothers: 8 p.m. Sunday. Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Downtown. $29-$39. The Wood Brothers will bring their unique blend of “soulful folk” to the Taft. Singer/songwriter Nicole Atkins will bring her own moving music and golden voice to the evening as well. tafttheatre.org
“Mean Girls”: 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown. Tickets start at $35. High school can be savage, which makes for great comedy and heartbreak. The touring Broadway production about a new girl trying to make her way in high school is one of the most highly anticipated musicals to come to the Aronoff this year. www.cincinnatiarts.org
Moving Images: “She's Beautiful When She's Angry”: 7-9 p.m. Thursday. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Mount Adams. Be inspired, empowered and motivated when the Cincinnati Art Museum, in partnership with Women in Film Cincinnati, screens “She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry,” a documentary that chronicles the birth of the women’s liberation movement in the late 1960s. Director Mary Dore will attend and participate in a post-screening discussion moderated by Women in Film president Rachel Lyon. The event is part of the museum’s four-part “Women Breaking Boundaries Film Series.” For more information visit the event Facebook page.
Petrouchka + Tchaikovsky: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine. $14-$130. Violinist Gil Shaham will play Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto.” Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra conductor Louis Langrée will lead this special performance, which also will feature Julia Wolfe’s “Fountain of Youth” and Stravinsky’s “Petrouchka.” www.cincinnatisymphony.org