51 Things to Do Thanksgiving Week in Columbus

Thanksgiving week is here! Maybe you have family in town and/or a few days off of work and are looking for something to do this week? If there’s a chance you’ll need to walk off an extra piece of pie (or two) or get bickering family members out of the house….tuck this list away! And have a happy week of thankfulness!



1. Looking for more turkey? Watch the PBS movie, My Life as a Turkey, at Battelle Darby Metro Park on Friday at 11:00 PM.

2. Clifton Mill Lights opens the day after Thanksgiving! Gates open at 5:00 every night and the display runs through New Year’s Eve!

3. Participate in a Photo Scavenger Hunt on Friday at Blacklick Woods Metro Park! Use your digital camera or phone and get a prize for photographing all of the items on the list!

4. Olde Worthington Holiday Open House is on Sunday from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM and it includes horse drawn carriage rides, live music and a visit from Santa! The evening ends with the tree lighting ceremony on the Village Green!

5. Everyone who enters the Columbus Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day gets a pumpkin pie! There’s also a Kids Tot Trot 100 yard dash!

6. Visit the Huntington Holiday Train display at Main Library!

7. If you’re looking to partake of something other than the usual turkey and pumpkin pie, Columbus Food Adventures has several tours going on this weekend!

8. Wildlights is in full swing all weekend at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium!

9. Need something for the kids to do on Wednesday? Check out the Harvest Party – School Break Program at Sunbury Urban Farm. It’s a drop off program where kids can participate in Thanksgiving activities! Must preregister!

10. Take the kids to SuperGames Winter Open Play! on Wednesday from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM. Arrive early because the play space is first come, first served! Cost is $10 for the first child and $8 for each additional child.

11. Friday through Sunday you can take a Holiday Carriage Ride at Easton Town Center!

12. Blue Monkey Parties & Events is celebrating their 1 year anniversary with a 1 Year Anniversary Open Play event from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM on Sunday! $5/child.

13. Kick off Thanksgiving Eve with a family meal deal and a glow skate at Skate Zone 71! They’re also offering $.99 admission on Thanksgiving Day and 50% off admission on Black Friday!

14. On Sunday, kids and adults alike can participate in the Make & Take Metal Stamping Event at The Smithery from 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM. Check the link for pricing options. No registration needed.

15. Another option for the kids that are out of school on Wednesday is the Open Swim at Worthington Pools!  $5 to enter.

16. Get out of the house for a CBus: Thanksgiving Eve Back to the Future Trivia Night on Wednesday at 16 Bit Bar + Arcade! Winner gets a ride in the Delorean – among other things!

17. Get your shopping done kid-free after dropping the kids at Parents Day Out at Worthington Pools on Friday from 7:00 AM – 12:00 PM!

18. When the Thanksgiving leftovers run out, head to Piada for Friendsgiving! Show the cashier that you follow Piada on Instagram and get a buy-one-get-one free entree from November 24-28!

19. Roller skate all week with these special deals at United Skates of America happening Wednesday through Sunday!

20. Visit the holiday lights at Columbus Commons from dusk to 11:00 PM each night and post a photo on Instagram using #CCHolidayLights or post the pic to their Facebook page using the hashtag to enter their photo contest. One winner each week wins a $25 gift card to Condado

21. Take a free tour at Anthony-Thomas Candy Company on Wednesday from from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM! (Regularly $2/person.)

22. See the amazing lanterns, watch cultural performances, shop and eat Chinese and traditional fair food at the Ohio Lantern Festival! Nightly from 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM.



23. Family Friday Night at COSI is this weekend – meaning they will stay open until 9:00 PM and admission is reduced!

24. Make a Gingerbread House Craft at Franklin Park Conservatory on Friday! This activity includes a hayride!

25. Friday, attend Thanksgiving Family Friday at Ohio History Center where you can visit with live animals such as an owl, wolf and snake and dissect an owl pellet! Also on Saturday and Sunday there are special activities like the Terrific Turkey Table and exploring Animal Bones!

26. Think Outside the Brick is now on display at Columbus Museum of Art! This LEGO set up shouldn’t be missed and would make a great weekend outing! Don’t forget the museum is free on Sundays!

27. On Saturday, head to Pizzuti Collection Family Day from 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM for free admission, art inspired activity books, crafts and family tours!


28. Mr. Scrooge starts on Friday at Columbus Children’s Theater! This 60 minute performance is recommended for ages 5 and up!

29. The Central Ohio Youth Ballet puts on Nutcracker this weekend only in Newark!

30. A Christmas Carol is playing this weekend only at Ohio Theatre!

31. Uptown Scrooge  is a unique walking tour performance taking place this weekend in Uptown Westerville! The production is 90 minutes and is suitable for ages 5 and up! Begins on Saturday!



32. Moonlight Madness and After Thanksgiving Sale takes place at Tanger Outlets Columbus! The first 200 shoppers receive a swag bag!

33. Christmas Trees will be on sale at the North Market on Saturday!

34. Shop Small Business Saturday at Never Grow Up Boutique in Grove City!

35. Small Business Saturday at Columbus Idea Foundry means a Maker Market from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM offering locally made goods like art, furniture, jewelry and more!

36. Get a Short North collectable tote while supplies last at Black Friday and Small Business Saturday in the Short North Arts District!

37. Visit the Small Business Saturday Market at Re:work Furnishings to shop for local goods from vendors like Plantropothy, Ridiculously Good Salsa, Pluma Jewelry and more! Pizza, beer and plenty of discounts will be available too!

38. More local shopping is available at Shop Local Saturday with the Marysville Art League!

39. Small Business Saturday in Powell is full of special offers!

40. Historic Dublin  is ready for the Holiday Shopping Weekend!

41. The Christmas Market at Canal Market District takes place on Friday and will feature music, food trucks, holiday treats, free family photos, the lighting of the Licking County Courthouse and a visit from Santa!

42. On Small Business Saturday in Downtown Lancaster, there are tons of special deals going on from free goodies and gifts, prizes, demonstrations and discounts!

43. At the Holiday Open House at Hoover Gardens & Gift Center on Saturday and Sunday, you can pick out your Christmas tree while you enjoy refreshments and a festive atmosphere!

44. While you pick your your Christmas tree at HTH Farm Market, you can help support and learn about a local dog rescue at the Stop the Suffering Bake Sale taking place on Sunday!

45. Shop for the trendiest kids clothing at the mrly popup shop at the Hart Room at Creekside Gahanna! There will be complimentary holiday treats and kids are welcome!


If taking a road trip sounds like a fun way to spend your extra days off this week, here are some special events going on around Ohio!

46. Thanksgiving at the Zoo is FREE at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo!

47. Head to Newark for Holiday Homecoming 2017 at The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology on Friday to learn about the heritage of the community! The event includes 3D ornament printing, a science show, glass blowing and more!

48. Santa will arrive at Brickopolis on Friday at the Cincinnati Museum Center with live music and a tree lighting! Visit Holiday Junction to see model trains, LEGO displays and a ride on train!

49. Christmas at the Castle, a Kingdom of Lights! at Landoll’s Mohican Castle features over 100,000 lights, a Christmas tree, holiday music and visits from Santa! This is a free event! This event happens every night starting Friday!

50. Head to Mansfield for the Grinch Scavenger Hunt at Little Buckeye Children’s Museum! Find all the hidden Grinches and receive a prize! Then spend a fun day at the museum! Starts on Saturday!

51. The Mt. Vernon Christmas Parade and Walk is on Sunday and includes train and carousel rides, photos with Santa and shopping!


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ICYMI: 10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

*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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10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

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


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


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


3. Gardens Aglow (Formerly Merry and Bright)


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


4. Bicentenial Park


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


5. Columbus Commons and the Lazarus Windows


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


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


8. Think Outside the Brick


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


9. Easton


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!


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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4 Nature-Themed Story Times Around Columbus

I’ve mentioned probably more than a few times that my kids are really into bugs right now. So, when I saw that Ohio Wildlife Center had a story time about insects, we were there! It prompted the idea to put together a list of story times with a nature theme. The bonus is that these story times also come with so much more than just a story! Maybe there’s a craft, animals to meet or a woods to explore – whatever the case may be, these story times make a for a great way learn AND have an up-close, hands-on experience with nature!

1. Ohio Wildlife Center

Times: Second Wednesday of the month
Location: 6131 Cook Rd. Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-734-9453
Cost: $5 for anyone over 5, including adults.

Ohio Wildlife Center hosts a Wild Story Time on the second Wednesday of each month. Check the calendar here. We went in July and the theme was Insects. As I said, my boys are REALLY into bugs right now so they were completely enthralled! There were a couple of stories with an insect theme and then a visit from a resident opossum!

After the story time, we all got to take a tour of the grounds, check out the animals that live there, and then do an insect-themed craft!

When the program part was over, we were allowed to explore the grounds on our own so we borrowed some binoculars and went on a hike through the woods and looped back around to visit the animals again! Ohio Wildlife Center cares for wild animals that have been hurt or abandoned and then releases them as they are able. Some of the animals housed on the grounds included raccoons, coyotes, owls, turkeys and more.

The Ohio Wildlife Center is not open to the public on a daily basis so in order to visit, you need to attend a story time or one of their “Open to the Public” events which takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

2. Grange Insurance Audubon Center

Times: Thursdays and Saturdays at 10:00 AM
Location: 505 W. Whittier St. Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-545-5475
Cost: Free

Twice a week the Pre-K Storytime is held at the Grange Insurance Audubon Center in partnership with Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. See the calendar of events here. The story time takes place in the beautiful library at the Audubon Center with a stunning view of downtown Columbus.

Afterwards you can visit the aquatic animals and play in the indoor play area. Outside the Audubon Center is a sandbox, playground and rock climbing wall. See 9 Things to do with Your Kids at Scioto Audubon.

3. Franklin Park Conservatory

Times: Thursdays at 10:30 AM
Location: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000
Cost: Included with admission or membership

Franklin Park Conservatory hosts Little Adventurers on Thursdays at 10:30 AM which has nature themed story and activity. See the upcoming schedule of family-friendly events here.

We attended one last week and the book was The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle and the craft was making a firefly with a glittery (“glowing”) body. Ok, let’s be honest, due to a rain storm and circumstances beyond my control, we were about 10 minutes late and missed the story, but you get the point! 😉 The boys had just spent the previous weekend catching fireflies at their grandparents’ house so this craft was extra appealing to them! The Little Adventurers program is free with admission or membership!


Afterwards, check out the Enchanted Forest, a children’s play area on the lower level and take a walk through Blooms and Butterflies (open March – September) to see butterflies up close and personal. Newly emerged butterflies are released every day at 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM.

4. Stratford Ecological Center

Times: Second Tuesday of the month from 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: 3083 Liberty Rd., Delaware, OH 43015
Phone: 740-363-2548
Cost: $5 per family

Stratford Ecological Center hosts Story Time on the Farm on the second Tuesday of each month at 10:00 AM starting in March and running through November. See the Calendar of Events. We haven’t actually been to the story time here yet, but we have been to the farm and I have heard that the story time is very popular! The story time lasts an hour and is based on what is going on at the farm during the current season! After the story time, you can explore the farm, dig in the dirt and visit the animals! See A Day on the Farm: 5 Things to do at Stratford Ecological Center.


Where is your favorite local story time?


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ICYMI: Summer Nights in Columbus: Something to do Every Night of the Week

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