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10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

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Every year I feel slightly overwhelmed by all of the Holiday events I really don’t want to miss. A few years ago, I sat down and wrote them out on a calendar. And THAT is pretty much where the idea for this blog began! 😉  Now we’ve come full circle and, though there are probably hundreds of holiday events going on around town, today I am sharing 10 things my family loves doing at Christmastime in Columbus!

1. Village Lights

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Hands down, this is my favorite Columbus tradition of the entire year. Wow, did I really just say that? I did. I look forward to this probably more than anything else. I honestly don’t know how much my kids like it, but there are teddy bears and free cookies and hot chocolate, so I haven’t heard any complaints! The streets of German Village are lit with luminaries and restaurants, shops, and even a few private homes along the route are open late with special deals, free goodies and live music! Designated parking areas and shuttles are available.

When: December 3, 2017, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Where: throughout German Village

2. Wildlights

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You have to see Wildlights! The light shows are spectacular and the zoo becomes an (even more) magical place for about 6 weeks leading up to New Year’s Day! The first time we ever attempted to go to Wildlights, there was so much traffic that by the time we got there it was too late for my 1 yr old and we just drove right on by the entrance and back on home! Weekends are very busy, so if you can, I suggest trying a week day evening and arriving before 5:00 PM! If you’re a member, you can also avoid the crowds by catching the Member Preview on November 16th.

When: November 17, 2017 – January 1, 2018 (Wildlights begins at 5:00 PM)
Where: 4850 Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065

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3. Gardens Aglow (Formerly Merry and Bright)

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Gardens Aglow offers special holiday decorations, performances and evening hours at Franklin Park Conservatory. Throughout the season live music and special events are scheduled and the Conservatory is decorated beautifully (that goes without saying)! There are lights throughout inside and outside and it’s breathtaking! From December 1-31 (except for the 24th and 25th) they are open until 9:00 PM. There will be special family-friendly activities happening all through the season!

When: November 11, 2017 – January 3, 2018: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, December: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Where: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203

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4. Bicentenial Park

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Throughout the holiday season, the Scioto Mile is awash in light – Christmas lights, that is! What was previously The Grand Illumination will be replaced by WinterFest this year! Taking place on Saturday, December 2, 2017, it will include live performers such as Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons, food trucks like Paddy Wagon and Pitabilities, as well as the opportunity to purchase soup from Milestone 229 in a handmade bowl as part of the Empty Bowls initiative. The park will be full of lights beginning November 17th!

When: November 17, 2017 through Early January 2018
Where: 233 S. Civic Center Dr., Columbus, OH 43215

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5. Columbus Commons and the Lazarus Windows

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When you’re at Bicentennial Park, make plans to walk a few blocks to Columbus Commons where the park will be filled with holiday displays and lights! Just across the street (at the corner of High and Town) in the old Lazarus building, the windows will be filled with scenes from the 12 Days of Christmas!

When: Late November through early January from dusk until to 11:00 PM
Where: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

6. Huntington Holiday Train

Main Library is home to the Huntington Holiday Train and every year this amazing display is set up during the holiday season! This year, the library will begin set up of the train on November 17, 2017 and is usually up through New Years!

When: November 17, 2017 – Early January, 2017
Where: 96 S. Grant Ave. Columbus, OH 43215

7. Holiday Train at Ohio History Center

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If you happen to have kids that like trains, there is a also holiday train set up at the Ohio History Center. Granted, it’s not quite as elaborate as the Huntington Train, but since we’re members at Ohio History Center, this one is still a no-brainer for me and two boys who love trains! We don’t miss it!

When: Late November – Early January
Where: 800 E. 17th. Ave., Columbus OH 43211

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8. Think Outside the Brick

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This exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art isn’t even holiday themed, but it arrives in November and says goodbye in March, so in my mind it’s associated with Christmas! If you have kids on Christmas break, this would be a great reason to take them to the Art Museum! The LEGO replica of Columbus is awesome and we love to visit at this time! There are usually blocks for free building in the Big Idea Gallery, too! Admission is free on Sundays and on Thursday nights you “pay what you want” from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM! See more pictures from our visit here!

When: November 10, 2017 – March 2, 2018
Where: 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

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9. Easton

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We always enjoy going to Easton at Christmastime – and not just to do our Christmas shopping! There is a life-sized nativity and a humongous Christmas tree (an all-new, 50 ft tree covered in 28, 680 RGB LED’s arrives in 2017!)! There are carriage rides, live music performances and the lighting ceremony takes place on Friday, November 17, 2017 beginning at 6:00 PM and includes a parade, a fireworks show, a visit from Santa and more!

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When: beginning November 17, 2017
Where: 160 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219

10. State Auto Christmas Corner

Christmas Corner is something we love to do close to Christmas Eve! You can walk through a life-sized nativity following the Christmas story! The Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at 5:30 PM. There are choirs scheduled on Friday and Saturday evenings through December 23rd and free hot chocolate (donations accepted!) will be available on those evenings!  There are ample parking lots designated for viewing this display!

When: Tuesday, December 5, 2017 through Christmas Day when baby Jesus is placed in the manger.
Where: 518 E Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

I hope that whatever you chose to do, you have a special season with your family!

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ICYMI: Columbus Tip Sheet: November 2017


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2016 Columbus Holiday Scavenger Hunt: 25 Things to Find Before New Year’s Day!

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Welcome to What Should We Do Today’s Holiday Scavenger Hunt! If you’re out and about over the next two weeks, entertaining kids on winter break, doing last minute Christmas shopping or trying to squeeze in all Columbus has to offer during the holidays, here’s a list of 25 things to look for on your way! I’ve made a printable list so you can take it with you!

****CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD SCAVENGER HUNT PRINTABLE!****

Please, enjoy Columbus and have a Merry Christmas!

1. Glass Ornament Tree at Franklin Park Conservatory


2. Rotating Railroad at Franklin Park Conservatory


3. Polar Express Train at Ohio History Center


4. Book Tree at Grove City Library


5. Thomas Train at Main Library


6. Larger than Life Nutcrackers outside Grove City Library


7. Nutcracker display at Grove City City Hall


8. Christmas Tree in the Lazarus Building

 


9. Nativity Scene at Easton


10. The Three Wisemen at the State Auto Christmas Corner


11. Santa on the train at Easton


12. The Holiday Tree Farm at the Think Outside the Brick Exhibit


13. Santa’s Fire Truck at Columbus Commons


14. Large glowing balls at Bicentennial Park


15. Rudolph at Wildlights at Columbus Zoo


16. “Short North Pole” sign in Short North Arts District


17. Gingerbread Carousel at KDB Easton Town Center


18. Gingerbread North Market at Franklin Park Conservatory


19. Santa’s Gingerbread Camper at The Shops at Worthington Place


20. Life-sized Playmobil Knight at Learning Express Toys


21. Christmas Tree at Topiary Park


22. An underground world at Main Library


23. A painting snowman at Polaris Fashion Place


24. “Happy Holidays” on the Nationwide Building


 25. Large Hanging Wreaths at North Market


****CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD SCAVENGER HUNT PRINTABLE!****


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ICYMI: Columbus Museum of Art: Think Outside the Brick


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What Should We Do This Weekend? September 2-5, 2016 Labor Day Weekend!

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It’s Labor Day Weekend – the official end of summer. Sad. Tears. But I’m looking forward to things like apple picking and fall festivals, wearing boots and sweaters and drinking hot coffee instead of iced. 🙂 Enjoy your holiday weekend!

1. Gala Apple Picking at The Orchard and Company

When: Friday – Sunday, September 2-4, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 7255 US HWY 42 S., Plain City, OH 43064
Phone: 614-873-0510

Visit The Orchard and Company to pick your own apples and enjoy other farmyard fun like pedal carts, a barrel train, zip lines, hill slide and more! This weekend is my personal favorite, Gala!

2. Greek Festival at The Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral

When: Friday – Monday, September 2-5, 2016
Time: Friday & Saturday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 Midnight, Sunday: 12:00 PM – 12:00 Midnight, Monday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Location: 555 N. High St., Columbus, Ohio 43215
Phone: 614-224-9020

The Greek festival features food, dancing, culture, shopping, cathedral tours, a Kids Activity Center, and more! Admission is $5 for adults, kids 12 and under are free, and your admission is good all weekend!

3. Dime A Dog Night at Columbus Clippers

When: Friday, September 2, 2016
Time: 7:05 PM
Location: Huntington Park, 330 Huntington Park Ln, Columbus, OH 43215

Hot Dogs are $.10 a piece, tickets are $5 and if you have a AAA card, (up to 4) tickets are BOGO Free!

4. Rhythm on the River: BalletMet at Bicentennial Park

When: Friday, September 2, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM
Location: 233 Civic Center Drive , Columbus, OH 43215

This is the final Rhythm on the River of the summer and BalletMet dancers will perform excerpts from their 2016/2017 season! This event is free!

5. Historic Dublin Street Bazaar

When: Saturday, September 3, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: S High St., Dublin, OH 43017
Phone: 614-389-2444

Enjoy an open-air market in downtown Dublin including local artists, 12 food trucks, an Irish Zone and more! Don’t forget to visit the NW Columbus Macaroni Kids Zone!

6. Ohio Cup Vintage Base Ball Festival at Ohio Village

When: Saturday & Sunday, September 3 & 4, 2016
Time: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 800 E. 17th Ave., Columbus Ohio, 43211
Phone: 614-297-2300

The final weekend of the summer at Ohio Village is celebrated with the Ohio Cup, where 20 vintage base ball teams compete, including the Ohio Village Muffins! If you are an Ohio History Connection Member, this event is free!

7. Milford Center Bicentennial Celebration at Bicentennial Park

When: Saturday, September 3, 2016
Time: Parade begins at 1:00 PM
Location: Milford Center, OH

This celebration in Union County includes kids activities, a parade, a beard contest, craft show, ox roast, square dancing and more!

8. Gallery Hop

When: Saturday, September 3, 2016
Time: 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM (though individual business hours may vary)
Location: Short North

This weekend is Gallery Hop in the Short North! Galleries stay open late and there is often street art and entertainment! This also includes free admission to Family Days at Pizzuti Collection!

9. Star Wars at High Banks Metro Park

When: Saturday, September 3, 2016
Time: 8:00 PM
Location: 9466 Columbus Pike, Lewis Center, OH 43035
Phone: 614-891-0700

Another last of the summer: the outdoor movies at High Banks! This week it’s Star Wars – The Force Awakens! There will be activities before the movie and popcorn will be provided!

10. Kids Eat Free at Chipotle

When: Sundays in September
Time: all day
Location: your local Chipotle

In September, kids 12 and under get a free kids meal when you purchase a burrito, bowl, an order of tacos or salad, plus they also get a Dragons Love Tacos activity sheet! Click the link for all the rules.

11. Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival at Northam Park

When: Monday, September 5, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: 2070 Northam Rd, Upper Arlington, OH 43221

Celebrate art at Upper Arlington’s 50th Labor Day Arts Festival! There will be food, activities, music and, of course, art! There will be family-friendly stations presented by Picassos, OSU Urban Arts Space, piccadilly and more! Look for book crafts, face painting, drama and other kid-friendly activities!

For more fall fun and planning, check out my list of Upcoming Events, this list of local Apple Orchards from Columbus Moms Blog and this list of Family-Friendly Fall Festivals!

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ICYMI: 9 Things to Do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon

*Please be aware,  information is gathered from multiple community sources.  Times, dates and locations are subject to change. There may be a fee to participate in a featured activity.  Please call ahead or check links to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*


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