6 Ways to Enjoy Columbus Commons this Summer

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My family has enjoyed many events at the Columbus Commons over the past few years! Many of the events have become traditions, especially the Downtown Live Concerts and Commons for Kids! My son still routinely asks when they are having the Harvest Festival because he remembers “making bread” there a few years ago!

Get out your calendars because this summer is packed full of free fun at Columbus Commons. In fact, the Commons has developed a 2017 Summer Checklist to make sure you don’t miss a thing! This year, I am a Columbus Commons Ambassador, so you will definitely see us checking off many of the items on this list!

Download the CHECKLIST here!

Here are 6 ways you can enjoy Columbus Commons with your kids this summer:

1. Food Truck Food Court

Now through October 26 (with the exception of September 14) from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM, head down to the Commons for a fun lunch date! There will be 8 regular trucks and 2 rotating trucks each week!

2. Commons for Kids

Beginning June 2 through August 18 (with the exception of June 30) from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM, the Commons hosts a fun Friday morning for kids! The carousel and bounce-houses are FREE during this time and there are other activities like arts and crafts, ball play, Imagination Playground, Art Box and a life-sized chess board! There are different visitors each week and we have seen Ronald McDonald, Columbus Zoo, Daniel Tiger from Visit Pittsburgh, and others!

Other visitors this year include The Great Randini Magic Show, Aha! Children’s Museum, Franklin Park Conservatory and more! If the temperature is 80 degrees or higher there will also be a water slide!

3. Downtown Live Concert Series

For the past few summers we have hit at least a few of these FREE concerts on Thursday nights! We like to pack a picnic dinner and then get ice cream at Jeni’s while we enjoy live music in the background! My kids love watching live bands and this is a relaxed and family-friendly way to do it!

Downtown Live Concerts happen on Thursdays in July from 5:30 PM – 10:30 PM. There are food trucks and an artisan market as well! The bands this year are as follows:

  • July 6: Mojo Flo / Nick D & the Believers
  • July13: Popgun / Forest & the Evergreens
  • July 20: Conspiracy / Reaganomics
  • July 27: Floorwalkers / Spikedrivers

There are other FREE concerts happening at Columbus Commons throughout the summer! See the list here.

4. Free Movie Nights

There are 2 more Free Movie Nights throughout the summer! You can bring your own picnic or purchase food at the park. Each Movie Night has a different time and set of events going on that day. You can see all the details here.

The dates and movies are as follows:

  • July 21: The LEGO Batman Moive
  • September 2: The Jungle Book

5. Family Fundays

Family Fundays are FREE events on select Saturdays with activities for families! There are two more this summer! There will be free carousel rides, arts and crafts, a planting station with Lowe’s and more! A $5 wristband will get your child unlimited access to activities like laster tag, inflatables, face painting and Putt-Putt.

If your child has a sensory sensitivity, you can come one hour early for a low-key atmosphere, thanks to Autism Speaks.

Upcoming Family Fundays this summer include:

  • September 2
  • September 30: Harvest Fair

In addition to the regular activities, the Harvest Fair also includes a pumpkin patch, pumpkin painting, and carving!

6. Open Play

You don’t have to wait for a special event to play at Columbus Commons! Activities like Art Box (a cabinet full of free art supplies), Bocce Ball, the NEOS electronic playground, and the carousel ($1/ride) are open throughout the week! Open Play hours begin May 31 and end on October 2 and are Wednesday through Sunday from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM, weather permitting.

The carousel is open through October 2 and the hours are as follows:

  • Monday – Friday: 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
  • Saturday: 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM

In addition to Open Play, there are two permanent cafes at the Commons, Jeni’s and Tortilla.

For convenient parking, use the Main Garage at 55 E. Rich St. Parking is usually $5 for special events, but this may vary. That garage is directly across the street from Columbus Commons and takes the stress out of parking. Or you can be me and circle around the one way streets, trying to find a meter in the area. (I recommend arriving very early if you plan to do this!) 😉  There is also an underground parking garage. You can see all the parking info here.

Which Columbus Commons event is your family’s favorite?

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ICYMI: IKEA Columbus Sneak Peek!


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Columbus Christmas Staycation 2016

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When I was a kid, this was the best week of the year: the week between Christmas and New Year’s!

I picture the week being filled with long, restful days filled with playing with new toys, padding around in pajamas, eating cookies  and sleeping in every morning. We all know that’s just a page out of a Pottery Barn Kids magazine. Real life looks more like kids fighting over toys, crashing from too much sugar and NEVER sleeping in!

If you’re enjoying a Columbus staycation this week, you’re probably going to need to get out of the house! I’ve got some ideas for you! For each day, I’m featuring one main idea and a couple of other events going on that day. This will be my only post for the week! Don’t forget to check out the 2016 Columbus Holiday Scavenger Hunt to check off the list throughout the week!

MONDAY

Ohio History Center

Visit the museum (which is open for special holiday hours this week) to see the holiday train display, the Lustron home decorated for Christmas and the finalists in the LEGO Design Challenge!  The museum will be open every day through January 8th. Monday through Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Sunday: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM. Make sure to click here to read about all there is for kids to do at Ohio History Center!

More Events:

  • 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM – The Bugman at Franklin Park Conservatory
  • 12:00 PM – 8:30 PM – $1 Roller Skating at Skate Zone 71
  • 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

TUESDAY

Recreations Outlet

By Tuesday, you may be reaching all-time-high levels of cabin fever and sugar overload! Take the kids to Recreations Outlet to let them run around and get out all that energy! The retail store doubles as a play area with lots of playground equipment, trampolines, basketball hoops, soccer goals and more! There’s plenty of room to run, very few chances to break anything, and the best part is that during their special Winter Break Playtime, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM, it’s only $2 per child to play! See more pictures and info about our visit here.

More Events:

  • 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM – Open Play at Easterseals
  • 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Open Play at SuperGames
  • 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Open Play at SuperGames

WEDNESDAY

Little Buckeye Children’s Museum

Take a road trip to the Little Buckeye Children’s Museum in Mansfield! Just one hour away from downtown Columbus, this hands-on children’s museum is great for children 12 and under! On Wednesday, The Little Ren Players, from Renaissance Theater will be there from 10:15 AM – 11:00 AM, acting out interactive fairy tales! My kids had a blast at the museum where there are cars to drive around, houses to play in, businesses to run, dinosaur bones to dig for, a water table and much more! See more about our visit here!

More Events:

THURSDAY

Blendon Woods Metro Park

All week long (Monday through Friday from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM), the metro park is hosting their Winter Break Scavenger Hunt and Craft time! Stop in to the Nature Center to do a scavenger hunt and a winter-themed craft! The Nature Center at Blendon Woods has large viewing windows and some “please touch” bins full of all sorts of things kids can touch and feel! My kids were big fans of those boxes! 😉

More Events:

  • 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM – Open Play at Easterseals
  • 10:00 AM – PreK Storytime at Scioto Audubon
  • 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Play to Learn at Columbus Metropolitan Library, Franklinton Branch

FRIDAY

Grove City Library

Check out the new Grove City Library! There’s a great kids area with a puppet theater, Duplos, toddler toys and cozy reading areas! During Winter Break, the library is having Winter Break at the Movies! At 2:00 PM every day December 27-30, they will be showing a movie with popcorn and crafts! If 2:00 PM doesn’t work for you, all day, each day they will be offering Building with Boxes, where children of all ages are welcome to pop in and create!

More Events:

SATURDAY

Grandview Library

Grandview Library has a great play area for kids with a train table, doll house, Duplos, puzzles, and there’s always an area for drawing and coloring. On New Year’s Eve you can join them for Noon Year’s Eve where you can count down to Noon with your Pre-K kids!

Looking to celebrate New Year’s Eve with kids? Here are some more options!

SUNDAY

Columbus Museum of Art

The museum is open on New Year’s Day and this is a great chance to see Think Outside the Brick! PLUS, admission to the Museum is FREE on Sundays! This LEGO exhibit is a temporary exhibit that will only be on display until February 26, 2016. If your kids love Legos, it’s a must see! There are also Legos available for free building and the Wonder Room is across the hall for more fun with kids!

Happy New Year’s Day! The lights are still on at Columbus Commons, State Auto Christmas Corner, Wildlights, the Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival and Bicentennial Park! See my post: 10 of our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions for more info!

Thanks for following along with us this year! I truly hope you enjoy your week and have a Happy New Year!

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ICYMI: 2016 Columbus Holiday Scavenger Hunt


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What Should We Do This Weekend? December 22-25, 2016 Holiday Edition!

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Christmas Weekend is upon us! If you have kids on winter break or toddlers that have a lot of extra energy to get out, there are a lot of things to do this week and weekend! Don’t forget to check out my 2016 Columbus Holiday Scavenger Hunt and print out the printable to take it a long with you as you’re out and about! It includes 25 things to find in Columbus before New Year’s Day! I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

10:00 AM – Winter Warm Up Week at Grange Insurance Audubon Center – the center is offering a couple days worth of activities for kids including movies, story times, crafts, scavenger hunts and more! Admission is free!

10:00 AM – Holiday Open Play at SuperGames – the first 150 children (first come, first served) will be allowed to play during these open hours!

10:00 AM – Winter Break Scavenger Hunt and Craft at Blendon Woods Metro Park – stop by the nature center for crafts and a scavenger hunt!

10:00 AM – Merry and Bright at Franklin Park Conservatory –  the Conservatory stays open until 9:00 with special musical performances, a gingerbread house display, a holiday train, holiday lights and seasonal plantings!

1:00 PM – Lego Class at Level One Bar + Arcade – sign up in advance to attend a class teaching the kids how to create a special Lego figure! There is also a class at 3:00 PM

5:00 PM – Visit with Santa at Partner’s Park – last chance to visit with Santa before he gets ready for Christmas Eve!

6:45 PM – Family Night Painting and Cocoa at John E. Bickley YMCA – paint a picture on canvas, watch a holiday movie and enjoy a hot cocoa bar! $5 per person.

7:30 PM – Movie Night at Coffee Underground – watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas for free, with popcorn!

7:30 PM – Cirque Dreams Holidaze at Palace Theatre – Cirque’s holiday performance is in Columbus this weekend!

7:30 PM – Holiday Wishes at the Disney Store at Polaris Fashion Place – make a holiday wish every night at 7:30!

Friday, December 23, 2016

10:00 AM – Winter Warm Up Week at Grange Insurance Audubon Center – the center is offering a couple days worth of activities for kids including movies, story times, crafts, scavenger hunts and more! Admission is free!

10:00 AM – Winter Break Scavenger Hunt and Craft at Blendon Woods Metro Park – stop by the nature center for crafts and a scavenger hunt!

10:00 AM – Merry and Bright at Franklin Park Conservatory –  the Conservatory stays open until 9:00 with special musical performances, a gingerbread house display, a holiday train, holiday lights and seasonal plantings!

10:30 AM – Jingle and Mingle with Seniors with Seeds of Caring – join residents from Jaycee Arms Senior Apartments at their annual holiday party to play games, sing songs and give gifts to the residents! See the link for more info about registering.

11:00 AM – The Shazzbots at Franklin Park Conservatory – join this fun band for two sets (11:00 AM and 2:00 PM) of Shazzbots classics and holiday tunes!

1:00 PM – Open Swim at Worthington Pools – $5 per person during these open swim hours!

7:30 PM – Cirque Dreams Holidaze at Palace Theatre – Cirque’s holiday performance is in Columbus this weekend!

7:30 PM – Holiday Wishes at the Disney Store at Polaris Fashion Place – make a holiday wish every night at 7:30!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

11:00 AM – Cirque Dreams Holidaze at Palace Theatre – Cirque’s holiday performance is in Columbus this weekend! Also at 2:00 PM!

6:00 PM – Christmas Eve Ceremony at State Auto Christmas Corner – this life-sized nativity display will be completed when baby Jesus is placed in the manger!

7:30 PM – Holiday Wishes at the Disney Store at Polaris Fashion Place – make a holiday wish every night at 7:30!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

5:00 PM – $1 Roller Skating at Skate Zone 71 – admission is only $1 from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM!

Ongoing

Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art – check out the huge LEGO display and make your own LEGO creation!

Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – see the amazing light shows, special performances and holiday festivities!

Tribute to the Nutcracker at Grove City City Hall – see the animated window display Monday through Friday from 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 PM to 10:00 PM.

Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival at Ohio Expo Center and State Fairgrounds – a 5 week celebration of Chinese culture with amazing silk lanterns, traditional performances and food!

State Auto Christmas Corner – walk around inside a life-size telling of the Christmas Story and check out their schedule for each weekend’s choir performances! For every photo posted on Instagram with #StateAutoChristmas2016, State Auto will donate $1 to Manna Café (up to $500)!

Downtown Columbus Holiday Lights Photo Contest – share your pictures on Instagram or post to their Facebook page with the hashtag #DowntownColumbus to enter the contest for a $20 gift card to a downtown restaurant!

Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds – take an in-car tour of this light show!

For more ongoing ideas click here for 10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions!

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ICYMI: 2016 Columbus Holiday Scavenger Hunt


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