8 ways to give the gift of experience in Dayton

6:00 a.m. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016 What To Love
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The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC). Submitted photo.

The holidays will be here before you know it and time is of the essence. Now is the time to secure gifts and shop till you drop to ensure you aren't purchasing gift cards from Kroger an hour before you're supposed to celebrate with family.

A night out on the town is always a winner — it's thoughtful, unexpected, different and is one of the easier options if you are looking for something impressive that's easy to secure and gift on your end. And then there are the tickets and passes that last all year long. 

Here are some ideas to get you started down the experiential gift giving path to find the perfect gift that will surprise and impress even the hardest to buy for. 

If you haven't before, visit daytonperformingarts.org to see the wealth of options that are out there to explore. There's something for everyone — Mahler's Fifth on Feb. 3 and 4 for the serious classical music lover, Gavin Hope with Jeans 'N Classics on Jan. 28, Lights, Camera ... The Oscars! on Jan. 20 and 21 for the film buff in your life, Whitney Houston's song catalog on Feb. 11, the ballet on Feb. 9-12, and that is just the list of upcoming performances through mid-February. It's a one-stop shop with a viable option for just about anyone you know. 

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Dayton Ballet dancers performed at the upcoming "American Mosaic" concert. Submitted photo.

Give your gift recipient the gift of choice with a Ticket Center Stage gift certificate. Visit victoriatheatre.com/gift-certificates to learn more. Gift certificates can be purchased in any amount and can be applied to any performance. Pair it with a gift certificate for Citilites at the Schuster Center if you are looking to help your loved one make a full night of it. 

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The national tour of "Elf - The Musical," a heartwarming story of identity and the joys of the holidays based on the popular 2003 Will Ferrell film of the same name, was presented Nov. 22-27 at the Schuster Center. CONTRIBUTED

For the loved ones who are impressed by a name, there are plenty of major acts that will be on tour in 2017 at large arenas around the state. 

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Country-rocker Brantley Gilbert is one of the big names coming to perform in the region in 2017. CONTRIBUTED

• Schottenstein Arena in Columbus (555 Borror Drive) will play host to The Lumineers (Jan. 28); Panic! At The Disco (March 7); Brantley Gilbert (April 8), New Kids on the Block (May 12); Red Hot Chili Peppers (May 14); Bruno Mars (Sept. 20). 

• The Nutter Center has some major country acts coming with Dierks Bentley (Jan. 19); Toby Mac (March 10) and Thomas Rhett (March 11) set to play. 

• Nationwide Arena in Columbus (200 W. Nationwide Blvd.) has the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience (Feb. 22); Justin Moore and Lee Brice (March 4); Ariana Grande (March 9); Bon Jovi (March 18); Roger Waters (July 20) and Soul2Soul The World Tour (Sept. 7) coming up. 

• Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena (100 Broadway) has upcoming dates with The Lumineers (Jan. 31); Maroon 5, (March 3); Eric Church, (April 22); New Kids on the Block, (May 16) and Tim McGraw and Faith Hill (Sept. 2). 

These will be tickets with a hefty price tag, but the spectacle around the music is usually worth the price of admission. 

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The Cincinnati-based cover band The Menus

Summer concert announcements are beginning to trickle in. The Fraze has announced dates for The Menus (June 16) and the Happy Together Tour 2017 starring The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie, Chuck Negron, The Association, The Cowsills, The Box Tops and The Archies (Aug. 10). But with the bulk of concert announcements happening in the new year, a Fraze gift certificate is probably the way to go. They are available in $5, $10, $25, $50, $75 and $100 denominations. The recipient can redeem a gift certificate for any event at the Fraze, so no need to worry about scheduling conflicts. 

Gift certificates can be redeemed at the Fraze FanFare store located inside Kettering's Town & Country Shopping Center. Note: gift certificates can not be used for online ticket purchases. 

Museum memberships offers an entire year of special events and entertainment and many come with reciprocal benefits to other locations across the state. Memberships make a great gift for families looking to stretch a dollar and expand their children's minds and world view. 

Brady Kress, president and CEO of Carillon Historical Park, stands besides a keg of beer along with samples at the Carillon Brewing Company museum/restaurant. CONNIE POST/FILE PHOTO

Dayton History at Carillon Historical Park (www.daytonhistory.org) tells the story of how Dayton, Ohio, changed the world through vision, ingenuity and hard work. It's a 65-acre history lesson waiting to be explored. 

The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery (www.boonshoftmuseum.org) is one part zoo, one part science museum, one part children's museum and one part huge playground. This is sure to be a hit with the younger kids. 

• A membership to The Dayton Art Institute (www.daytonartinstitute.org) is the gift of a year of world-class art. All membership levels include reciprocal admission to 14 other Ohio museums while memberships at the Reciprocal level and higher receive privileges at 750 museums around the country, making a great gift for the traveling art lovers in your life. 

All museum memberships have benefits including free admission, discounts to special events and programs and other discounts on shopping and food. 

Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati is set to take place June 2-4. Three day general admission tickets are on sale now at the best prices you will get all year. The line-up has not been announced, but that's part of the fun. If you have a live music lover that's into alternative rock, this gift will hit the spot. Learn more at www.bunburyfestival.com/tickets

Brian Glass | Concert-Captures
ZZ Ward thrilled her fans with rocking set on the Main Stage during the last day of the Bunbury Music Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio.

You can't go wrong with a ticket that comes with food and beverage. 

Scenes from Jungle Jim’s Big Cheese Festival last year.

Alefeast (http://alefest.com) on Feb. 4, featuring more than 75 handcrafted beers and wines as well as food stations, is always a popular event. On Feb. 10, a new event, Bourbon & Bubbles, will launch. Billed as an artsy cocktail party, featuring handcrafted Bourbons, refreshing bubbly, gourmet bites, world-class art and incredible entertainment, in the beautiful setting of the The Dayton Art Institute's Shaw Gothic Cloister, this is a great holiday gift or Valentine's Day ticket. Several local restaurants like El Meson routinely have special tastings and dinners, so that's another avenue worth exploring. 

GREG LYNCH / STAFF FILE PHOTO

Giving a Kings Island season pass to a loved one this year will result in even more returns next year around this time when WinterFest returns after a 12-year absence. This is one of the priciest gifts on the list, but it will be a gift that will last through every holiday and every season. Its a must for any adrenaline junky in your life. 

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