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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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What Should We Do This Weekend? August 19-21, 2016

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1. Commons for Kids at Columbus Commons

When: Friday, August 19, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Location: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215

This week’s Commons for Kids includes putt-putt golf, a bubble play zone and music from Columbus Folk Music Society! This is the next to last Commons for Kids of the summer! (Also Saturday night, there will be a free showing of The Good Dinosaur at Columbus Commons!)

2. Movie Night at Blacklick Woods

When: Friday, August 19, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Beech Maple Lodge, 6975 E. Livingston Ave., Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Phone: 614-508-8111

During this program, kids can learn about beavers and then watch Leave it to Beavers, a movie. There will be free popcorn!

3. Great Columbus Duck Race at Creekside, Gahanna

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: Begins at 8:00 AM
Location: 101 Mill St., Gahanna, OH 43230

Races, family friendly activities, prizes, live music and a humongous duck race are all part of an event that supports the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital! See the link for info on how to register and/or purchase a duck for the Duck Race! Online purchasing ends Thursday night at 11:59 PM.

4. Back to School Party at Buffalo Wings & Rings

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: 6325 E Broad St, Columbus, Ohio 43213
Phone: 614-856-9464

Kick off the new school year with a bounce house, balloon animals, a magician and more! Other activities include a corn hole tournament, dance off, and karaoke!

5. BrickUniverse at Columbus Convention Center

When: Saturday & Sunday, August 20 & 21, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: Hall E, 400 N High St., Columbus, OH 43215

See amazing Lego creations, enter building challenges, participate in free-building and enjoy all things Lego! There is also a Duplo building area for the younger kids! Tickets often sell out and can be bought online.

6. Grove City Eco Fest at Henceroth Park

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: 2075 Mallow Lane, Grove City, OH 43123

This festival is all about healthy living and sustainability! Activities include touring a tiny house, a family bike tour with Mayor Ike, planting trees, an Art Zone, a Kids Zone, a Zoo Tent and more!

7. International Fun Festival at Grace Polaris Church

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Location: 8225 Worthington Galena Rd, Westerville, Ohio 43081

This free outdoor party with an international theme celebrates unity in diversity! The event features food trucks, live entertainment, activity stations, bounce houses, crafts and more!

8. Family Fun Day at the Shops at Worthington Place

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 7227 N High St, Worthington, Ohio 43085

This free event includes a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals, crafts, games and prizes!

9. Origami: Puppets at Franklin Park Conservatory

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Location: 1777 E Broad St Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000

Origami artists from Ohio Paper Folders will be on site to teach families how to fold origami puppets and toys. This event is free with admission or membership.

10. Hit Like an iGirl at Title Boxing

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 11:15 AM
Location: 955 W. 5th Ave., Columbus, OH 43212

Girls ages 9-17 can attend a boxing session with iGirl and Title Boxing! iGirl is an organization “committed to providing young women with a safe place to discover and reach their full potential through self-awareness, self-confidence and personal goals.” Cost is $10 which includes wraps the girls can keep. Gloves are provided and so is lunch! Moms can also attend when accompanying a girl ages 9-17! Must register in advance.

11. I Spy Nature Challenge at Sharon Woods Metro Park

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location: meet at Schrock Lake Restrooms, 6911 Cleveland Ave., Westerville, OH 43081
Phone: 614-508-8111
Families can pick up an Adventure Backpack and take the I-Spy Nature Challenge for a chance to win a prize.

12. Clintonville Quest

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Location: Begins at the Quest Booth at Crest Fest, corner of Tulane and Calumet

Want to explore Clintonville for a good cause? The Clintonville Quest is a scavenger hunt in the style of Amazing Race! Earn points and complete challenges as you discover various checkpoints around Clintonville. The money raised supports the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center! If you want to do this event as a family with young kids, consider entering the Quest Mini, which is open to all ages but contains fewer checkpoints and a shorter distance to cover! Adults can save $10 by registering by 10:00 PM on Friday. The race ends at Crest Fest, a neighborhood festival including food trucks, live music and a kids’ activity zone!

13. Lego Build Event at Barnes and Noble

When: Saturday August 20, 2016
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: your local Barnes and Noble

Kids age 6 and older can build with Legos at this free event!

14. Glow in the Dark Trail Run for Kids at Grove City YMCA

When: Saturday, August 20, 2016
Time: 8:30 PM
Location: 3600 Discovery Dr, Grove City, Ohio 43123
Phone: 614-384-2295

This fun run supports cancer survivors  in the LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA program! Ages 5-17 are welcome to participate and glow sticks and s’mores will be provided! Register here.

15. Back to School Bash with the Hilliard Arts Council at Hilliard’s Station Park

When: Sunday, August 21, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Location: 4021 Main St, Hilliard, Ohio 43026

Another opportunity to kick off the back to school season with kid-friendly musical performances, pop-up art, face painting, a food truck and more!

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ICYMI: Exploring Downtown Powell with Kids

*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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