There are so many events to enjoy the Christmas and Holiday season in Columbus, including family activities, date ideas, community tree lightings, and more. Mark you calendars so you don’t miss out. More details can be found through the links, or on the individual event websites.
This list will be added to throughout the holiday season, so bookmark and check back regularly to see the many, many updates coming over the next few weeks. Please let me know what I’m missing in the comments or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need to shop? Our gift guides are here to help!
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- Buy Local: Columbus Gift Guide
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- White Elephant Gift ideas
- Stocking Stuffer ideas
- Gifts for mail carrier and delivery drivers
- Teacher Gift and Hostess Gift Ideas
Ongoing Holiday events through the Season
Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: November 15 – January 5. Don’t miss the Columbus Zoo Christmas lights for 2019! Admission $19 adult, $14 children 2-9 and adults over 60. Franklin County residents receive a $5 discount with valid driver’s license, state-issued ID or a current utility bill to receive the Franklin County pricing. Purchase tickets online to save $1 (plus save time at the gates – can show admission on your smartphone). Parking is $10/car. November 14 is Member Preview Night from 5 – 9 p.m. November 15 is Stuff a Truck Food Drive – bring 5 cans of food per guest for free admission and parking.
Columbus Christmas Lights: All Season. Columbus LOVES Christmas lights! From free but amazing neighborhood displays, to immersive paid Christmas lights experiences, you’ll find plenty of holiday joy around the city with the best Christmas lights in Columbus.
Easton Holiday Carriage Rides: Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, November 22 through December 23 in the evenings at Easton Town Center. Admission is $10, children under 15 ride free with paying adult.
Easton Trolley: Ride around and check out the holiday lights of Easton (it’s beautiful during the season). Hop on at Brio Tuscan Grille, Bon Vie, or at Easton Gateway across from Zoup! The trolley is free to all customers. All tips help fund Easton’s Change for Charity program.
Cratchit: November 17th – December 22nd Shadowbox Live’s original jukebox musical Cratchit, filled with popular rock and holiday music, follows Bob Cratchit on that fateful Christmas Eve. This performance is family-friendly, and appropriate for ages 6 and up! Tickets are $10-$40. Get a 50% off discount code for the show “Cratchit.” with promotion code: “PARENTS50”!
Holiday Hoopla: November 21- December 28: (Slightly) raunchy Christmas Fun and Rock and Roll. Tickets are $25 and up.
Holiday Lunchbox: December 3 – December 20 at 1 p.m. on select weekdays. A 45 minute holiday show featuring music and sketch comedy from the Shadowbox holiday archives featuring holiday fun and antics with The Snow Bunnies! Tickets start at $5.
Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights: November 15 – January 1. Alum Creek light display and Santa’s House. $20-$30 per car; free cookies and cocoa at the Santa House.
Lights at the Scioto Mile: From November 21 through January 2, 2019, downtown Columbus with be lit with more than 200,000 lights for the Holiday Light Display. This spectacular display will span Columbus Commons, the Lazarus Building and along the Scioto Mile.
Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory: November 16 – January 5. Admission is $12 – $19. Holiday displays and activities at the Franklin Park Conservatory, including live entertainment, gingerbread contest, and family fun days. Also new for 2019, the holiday light experience expands into the Grand Mallway adding festive flare to the area. The Pool, an interactive environment by artist Jen Lewin, welcomes guests to interact with its giant rings of circular pads that change colors with movement and pressure. There are events every weekend and select weekdays.
Huntington Holiday Train at the Main Library: November 20 – 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 Nov. 18 through Jan. 2 during Main Library’s regular hours. Free one-hour parking in the library garage. Check hours and holiday closures here.
Annual Holiday LEGO® Exhibition at Columbus Museum of Art: November 23, 2018 – January 17, 2020. Columbus Museum of Art’s annual holiday celebration of the creative potential of LEGO® bricks returns. Bring your friends and family and celebrate the season by connecting with LEGO® and each other. Think Outside the Brick features an enormous collaboratively-built model of Columbus. Don’t forget – 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.
- LEGO Design Challenge Day: December 28, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM – Compete in fast-paced creative challenges using LEGO® bricks. A new round of competition will be held every 30 minutes between 1:00 and 4:00 pm, and prizes will be awarded to each round’s winning team. Held in conjunction with Think Outside the Brick: The Creative Art of LEGO. Cost of this program is included with general museum admission.
Gifts of the Craftsmen Sale at Ohio Craft Museum: Ohio-made gifts for sale through December 23, plus children’s gift making workshops.
Columbus Commons Holiday Lights: November 22 – January 2, 2020 from dusk to 11 pm. Check out more than 400,000 LED lights dazzle Columbus Commons park, thanks to a generous contribution from American Electric Power.
Festive Fridays on December 6, 13, 20 will be a little extra festive from 5-9 pm, with free hot chocolate and free carousel rides. Plus, you’ll catch carolers roaming around the park so you can sing along to your favorite seasonal songs as you stroll. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams will be open with a limited menu offering their five seasonal flavors
Holiday Open Farm at Harrison Farms: Saturdays, December 7-21, 2019 from 1 pm – 4 pm. Come visit The Hangar to shop the farm products, take a farm tour to meet the animals, and enjoy a delicious chocolate chip cookie (from Grandmother Harrison’s famous recipe).
Lights of Glenross: November 22 – January 1. Glenross subdivision in Delaware and has around 160 houses with light displays choreographed to Christmas music played on 94.1FM. The displays will run from 5-10pm daily. Check out the website at www.lightsofglenross.com or like Lights of Glenross on facebook for more info.
Dazzling Christmas Lights in Westerville’s Annehurst neighborhood: November 29 – December 31, 2019. Display features 100,000 Christmas Lights that dance to music. The show is every night (weather permitting) from 6:00pm – 10:00pm Sunday thru Thursday and 6:00pm – 11:00pm Friday and Saturday. Turn your car radio to 90.1 fm to listen to the lights. 649 Old Coach Rd. Westerville Ohio 43081. There collecting canned food items to be donated to the Westerville Area Resource Ministry.
The Lucy Depp Park Light Show: Runs every night from November 29 through January 5, 2020. 4pm to 10pm Sunday thru Thursday, 4pm to 11pm Friday and Saturday. Frabell Dr. Powell, OH 43065 features 45,000+lights over 5.5 acres. Make sure you read about the history of Lucy Depp Park – it’s fascinating!
Stuff the Stocking Wine Trail: Nov. 29-30, Dec 6-7 & 13-14, Noon to 6 pm. A self-driving tour along the Capital City Wine Trail in Central Ohio.At each participating winery, you will receive complimentary appetizers and samples of wines. At a designated winery you will receive a Christmas stocking cork cage to stuff with wine corks. You have 6 days (Fridays and Saturdays) to visit all the participating wineries. Tickets are limited and $50 per couple. Pick a location to start at, and stop at the wineries on the trail anytime during the designated weekends.
Elf on the Shelf with Prairie Township Community Center: November 25-December 19. Find Elf on the Shelf dolls at local business and receive a signature for finding them. Once completed, turn in sheets to the Community Center for a chance to win a new bicycle.
Segaway Holiday Lights Tour: November 29 – December 23, beginning at 6 p.m. or 8:15 p.m., take a festive ride on a segway through downtown Columbus and the Scioto Greenway to enjoy seasonal decorations, lights, and holiday music. Training + tour is about 1.5 hours and costs $49 per rider. Columbus Convention Center, 400 N. High Street, Columbus, Ohio.
$6 Holiday Classics Film Series at Marcus Theatres: $6 Holiday classics from December 6 – 19.
12 Elves of Dublin Scavenger Hunt: December 1 – December 30, 2019. 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 before December 30th to be entered to win one of three grand prize drawings.
Echoes in Time Theatre: Twas the Night Before Christmas at Ohio History Center: December 7 and 21 at 1 and 3 pm. Learn more about the famous poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore, from his inspirations to the world in which the poem was written. On Dec. 7, listen in as the author himself, portrayed by Ron St. Pierre, tells us more about this classic holiday poem. Echoes in Time Theatre lasts about 30-45 minutes and includes a post-performance Q&A.
BYOB Holiday Lights Trolley: November 29 – December 30 at 5:30 p.m. Tour of Columbus to see seasonal attractions, lighting displays and holiday landmarks on a Holiday Trolley. Tickets are remaining for select dates, so book now!
State Auto Christmas Display and Life-Sized Nativity: Opens on December 3 through January 2. Will be lit nightly at State Auto Downtown through the season, with choir performances on Fridays and Saturdays.
Ohio Statehouse Holiday Choir Performances are FREE lunchtime holiday choir performances from December 6-20 at the Ohio Statehouse weekdays.
BalletMet’s Nutcracker at Ohio Theatre: December 13-28. Purchase tickets at the box office or online with Ticketmaster starting at $29 (plus any fees)
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, family skates, and more. Also offering several New Years Eve parties and New Years Day skate.
Take a drive for these out-of-town Christmas Experiences!
WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio at National Trail Raceway: November 15, 2019 – January 5, 2020 from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm. Open rain, shine, or snow. Come see over 1 million LED lights synchronized to traditional and newer Christmas music played through your own car stereo. Pack your vehicle full of friends and family to enjoy the show. Tickets are $7.00 per person. Children Age 3 & Under: FREE! Or get a Carload Special for up to 7 passengers for only $30. National Trail Raceway, 2650 National Road SW, Hebron, OH 43025
Fairfield County Festival of Lights: November 28 – December 25, 2019. Drive-through Holiday Light Display at the Fairfield County Fairgrounds. Admission: $5 per Car/Mini Van $10 per Shuttle Bus/Passenger Van. Every Friday and Saturday night see Santa & Mrs. Claus. Sunday – Thursday 5:30pm to 9pm and Friday & Saturday 5:30pm to 10pm. Fairfield County Fairgrounds, 157 E. Fair Avenue, Lancaster, Ohio. See updates on Facebook.
Kings Island Winterfest: November 22 – December 31 Kings Island Winterfest features all of the sounds, traditions, and activities of the Christmas season, plus the fun of Kinds Island.
Marmon Valley Farm Country Christmas: December 6, 7, 13, 14, 15. The covered wagon tour is a 45 minute production that includes five mini dramas depicting events recorded in the Bible about the birth of Christ. Warm up afterwards with cookies and hot chocolate as you enjoy live music and activities. Children will also enjoy petting animals and pony rides. Christmas tree farm is also open for tree purchases. Tours begin at 6:30pm on Fridays and 5:00pm on Saturdays and they leave every 15 minutes. Walk-ins will be accommodated if there are openings on scheduled tours. To guarantee your spot, please call ahead to reserve tickets. $10 in advance, $12 at the door.
Christmas Ranch in Morrow, Ohio: Friday, November 22 through December 23, open every day at 5 pm except Thanksgiving. Located about an hour and fifteen minutes SW of Columbus, the Christmas Ranch features a Christmas Village with walk through with approximately 1 Million LED lights which dance with the music. Shop in 6 Christmas shops, visit Santa’s Bakery, take photos with Santa (additional charge for photo), and enjoy Train and Wagon rides. Admission is $20 per personal vehicle; event is a walk-through attraction. You can have a letter sent to your child from Santa – see details here! Monday night is family night!
Lights at the Brickyard: Lights at the Brickyard, returns November 27 through January 5 and will feature dozens of colorful displays totaling more than three million bright lights on a 2-mile course through the IMS infield and historic oval, including the front stretch and world-famous “Yard of Bricks” start-finish line. The standard lane entrance is Gate 2, off of 16th St. $25 Mon.-Wed., $30 Thurs.-Sun., or purchase a Speedy Pass for quickest access to the course to skip the longer lines and arrive through a special entry near the IMS golf course. Speedy Pass for 1-15 passengers are $40 online or $50-$60 at the gate.
Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill (near Yellow Springs, 40 miles SW of Columbus): November 23 – December 31 from 5 – 9 p.m. (lights turn on at 6 p.m.) On Christmas Eve, Christmas they close at 8 pm; closed NYE. Cost is $10 ages 7 and older; under 3 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.
Santa Train at Nelsonville Depot: Saturdays and Sunday November 30 – December 22. Each train departs Nelsonville round trip for about 20 miles and lasts approximately two hours. Reservations are strongly suggested as trains often sell out. Santa visits each child as the train rolls along the valley. Each child also gets to enjoy a candy cane treat after Santa’s visit. Each coach is decorated, heated, and plays Christmas music. Adult: $18, Child: $14, Senior: $16. Check out other Christmas Train Rides and Polar Express Rides!
Christmas at Kingwood Center: November 30 through January 5, every Thursday through Sunday from 3 p.m. to 9 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.
Christmas at the Castle, a Kingdom of Lights at Landoll’s Mohican Castle: November 22 – January 5, 2020. Visit the castle this holiday season for the annual Kingdom of Lights! Stroll the property after dusk, see the castle decked out with over 100,000 lights, take pictures with the outdoor Christmas trees, listen to Holiday music playing throughout the property, have dinner in the restaurant. Santa will visiting on Friday and Saturday nights 6pm-8pm. Admission is $8.00 per car on Friday & Saturday nights, FREE Sunday-Thursday nights. You will pay at the entrance to the property or in advance. This is a walking event, ends at 10 pm. Free hot cocoa every Friday & Saturday night.
Landoll’s Mohican Castle, 561 Township Road 3352, Loudonville, Ohio 44842
Day by Day Christmas events in Columbus Ohio!
Holiday Tours at the John and Annie Glenn Museum: December 2 from 5-8:30 p.m. Visit John Glenn’s boyhood home during the holiday season. Come and see what Christmas would have been like for a typical American family in 1962, the year John Glenn orbited Earth. John Glenn’s Lionel train will be running around the tree for all to enjoy and museum volunteers will be serving hot chocolate and cookies on the porch.
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Events waiting updates for 2019
- Old Time Christmas at the Orange Johnson House: tba from 2-5 pm. Enjoy federal-style tradition, light refreshments, and musical performances in the sitting room. Free admission with food donation to the Worthington Resource Pantry.
- Columbus Recreation and Parks Department’s Community Center Holiday Parties: tba. Many community centers and programs will host holiday parties in the month of December
- Skate America in Grove City: Great pricing and plenty of discounts, plus Thanksgiving break, holiday, and Christmas break parties