If you’re hosting overnight guests over Christmas, make sure you show them some gems in our city! Here are some FREE and cheap ways to keep them entertained, and give them a taste of Cbus.
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Check out some of the best holiday light displays in the city! We have a huge list of Christmas lights all over the city, but Downtown Columbus is the top destination for free lights, with Columbus Commons, Scioto Mile, State Auto Nativity, Lazarus displays, and more. It’s an easy way to entertain guests over Christmas – for free! I highly recommend a stop at Condado Tacos.
Easton Town Center is beautiful during the holidays! Whether you shop, walk around, or go out to eat, it’s a great destination with the holiday lights, Christmas Tree, train display, and more. You can also enjoy a Holiday Carriage Ride. Easton is closed on Christmas Day.
Holiday Scavenger Hunts in Dublin
12 Elves of Dublin Scavenger Hunt: December 1 – December 23, 2021. Pick up your 12 elves card at one of the downtown locations, and then search through the shops of Historic Dublin to find the 12 Elves. When your kiddo finds the elf at each stop, they will get a little prize. Collect them all and return your completed card to a retailer to be entered to win one of three grand prize drawings.
Huntington Holiday Train at the Main Library
November 18 – January 2. This fixture of the downtown holiday scene has delighted people of all ages since 1992 with its trains, tracks, tunnels, bridges and replicas of historic German homes and castles. See the Huntington Holiday Train display through Jan. 2 during Main Library’s regular hours. Free one-hour parking in the library garage. Check hours and holiday closures here.
Everyone can enjoy FREE ADMISSION at CMA every Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and $5 admission on Thursdays from 5-9 p.m.
There are so many fun things to do in Columbus that aren’t holiday-specific. Check out our list of fun nights out in Columbus!
There are so many (SO MANY!) great Brewery, Winery, Meadery, or Distillery options in Columbus. Take a tour if they are offering them, or just visit the tasting room for a drink or two. Need help finding one? Drink Up Columbus has a list of directories that will guide you!
You don’t have to wait until the New Year to start up a fitness routine. Eat an extra cookie or 3 and lose the guilt with these free fitness options in Columbus during the winter. You’ll find suggestions for indoor options, as well as great outdoor hikes!
Enjoy a happy hour – you deserve it! Check out our huge list of happy hours in Columbus, and kick back with friends, family, appetizers, and good drinks for an hour or two!
There are several indoor ice skating arenas that you can enjoy no matter the weather, as well at outdoor synthetic ice, and real ice (if freezing).
Special Outdoor Skating Rinks offer synthetic ice, so you can skate no matter the weather. Skate rental may be required at some; check links for details, hours and more. These ice rinks can be used in slightly warmer temperatures, but may have to close during rain or other adverse conditions, so always check social media or the links provided for the organization to verify if they are open.
Dublin Ice Rink at Riverside Crossing: Open through March. $10 includes ice skates.
Skate Around Town at Easton: Open through January 2. FREE; skates provided
Mighty Children’s Museum Ice Skating at Yoctangee Park. Open through December (closed Dec 24-26). Admission $5.
Merry on Main Iceless Ice Skating in Marysville: Open through January 2. FREE, skates provided.
Most outdoor ice skating options won’t open until the weather is consistently cold. Please check links to verify if outdoor rinks are open, and holiday hours for the indoor rinks.
Dreaming of a White Christmas? Probably not going to happen this year, but maybe we’ll see some snow during break? Here are 25 places to go sledding in Columbus. Whether you’re looking for small or large sledding hills in Columbus, there are plenty of options. Please obey all posted signs for parking, sledding, and other designations, as availability of these hills may have changed since last sledding season. If you have other favorites, I’d love to hear them!
Roller skating is still a thing, and it’s still fun for kids and adults!
- Skate America in Grove City: Great pricing and plenty of discounts, plus holiday and Christmas break parties
- Skate Zone 71 near Morse Rd: Open every single day through Thanksgiving break, the holidays, and Christmas break. Tons of skate parties with character visits, Little kids skate is on Saturday mornings. There are also discounted days, young teen nights, and adult nights. There’s an New Years Eve party with mock countdown, as well as a family New Years Eve night with midnight countdown.
- United Skates of America on Refugee Rd: Lots of family skate and discount days over Thanksgiving break, Christmas season, and Christmas break. Open every day except Christmas Eve, including a Christmas evening session. Character skates feature Minions, Turtles, Superheroes, and Trolls. Also offering several New Years Eve parties and New Years Day skate.
Take a little drive to these holiday destinations
Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill (near Yellow Springs, 40 miles SW of Columbus): November 30 – December 30 from 5 – 9 p.m. (lights turn on at 6 p.m.) On Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve they close at 8 pm. Cost is $10 ages 7 and older; under 6 are free. Food and drink for sale. Enjoy 3.5 million lights, outdoor miniature village, Santa Claus Museum, and nostalgic Toy Collection. No Santa to visit, but peek into Santa’s Workshop to see Santa at work and then, every 15 minutes or so, watch him check his list and go up the chimney to load his sleigh.
Christmas at Kingwood Center: November 30 through January 3, every Thursday through Sunday from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Kingwood Center in Mansfield offers a variety of activities such as live music, dozens of uniquely trimmed themed Christmas trees in rooms throughout the hall, a beautifully decorated Greenhouse, and outdoor light displays. Admission is $5, ages 12 and under free.
Need more Columbus holiday entertainment ideas? Try these options:
- Your Guide to Christmas and Holiday Events in Columbus
- Columbus Restaurants open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
- Free and Cheap Activities for Winter Break in Columbus
- Over 85 Indoor Play Places and Activities for kids around Columbus
- New Years Eve and New Years Restaurant options in Columbus
- Nearly 35 parties for New Year’s Eve in Columbus
We’d love to hear how you like to entertain guests during the holiday season in Columbus!