Holiday season officially starts in Downtown Cincinnati

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - With the tree on Fountain Square now lit up with lights, the holidays are in full swing in downtown Cincinnati.

"You have the ice-skating, the tree," Barbara Surico said looking over the square.

Barbara and her husband John are in Cincinnati visiting family from Long Island.

"They left us," Barbara said of their family in Mason. "They said 'Go ahead, go down and see the city for yourself,' so we did. We came to see the big tree. They say it's supposed to be mini Manhattan."

The sights, however, aren't just for tourists. When fall turns to the holidays, visitors in downtown say Fountain Square comes alive even for locals.

"I think a lot of people want to create memories and traditions for their families and it's so easy to do that downtown," Downtown Cincinnati INC. spokeswoman Mindy Rosen said.

Rosen says the holidays are good for business.

"Very good for business," she emphasized. "Macy's opened at midnight and was jam packed. Brooks Brothers, Tiffany and Company, there's some wonderful shops downtown."

Not everyone is buying into the downtown shipping experience, however.

"Umm, I don't know if I would because I don't know of many of the shops," admitted mother Becky Stansbury who brought her kids to the square Friday.

"Actually, you know what, there isn't that much shopping," admitted downtown worker Stephanie Wilson. "But people still come down here just to sight see."

And sightseeing often leads to buying in on the action.

"Yes we're absolutely spending money downtown today, we have to," Stansbury said.

Whether it is getting out on the ice, grabbing a bite to eat, or hitting up the museums, the wallets come out.

"The minute we walked in the Freedom Center, my six year old said "can we get a souvenir?" Stansbury said.

Last year alone, Rosen says the ice skating rink brought 50,000 people downtown and she says she is hoping to top that this year.

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