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6 of the Most Festive Things You Can Do in Columbus This Holiday Season

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If you’re looking for a few ideas to fill Winter Break or if you’re in need of a healthy dose of festivity to get into the Christmas spirit, here are 6 things to do around Columbus that are guaranteed to put you in a festive mood!

1. Ohio Chinese Lantern Festival

Dates: Now through January 7, 2018
Hours: 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Where: Ohio Expo Center & State Fair Grounds – 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211
Phone: 888-484-2698

Bundle up and walk through some incredible light sculptures, enjoy cultural performances and eat Chinese and traditional fair food. The light displays are really something to see! There are traditional Chinese sculptures and also American Christmas sights like Santa and Mrs. Claus. I was invited to the VIP night and I attended with my 3 year old. I couldn’t talk him into sitting for the performances, but I have heard they are very good! How to save: Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more, seniors and those with a military ID. Thursdays are College ID night ($3 discount) and on Mondays, you can receive a $2 discount for bringing a canned good donation.

2. Gardens Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory

Dates: Now through January 3, 2018
Hours: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM in December, until 5:00 PM in January
Where: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, Oh 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000

Franklin Park Conservatory does not disappoint when it comes to creating a festive atmosphere! 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 for the holidays. 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 such as Central Ohio Youth Ballet’s performance of selections from The Nutcracker, a magician, the Muppet Mayhem Band and more! Also, make sure not to miss the rotating railroad!

3. Wildlights at Columbus Zoo

Dates: Now through January 1, 2018
Hours: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM Sundays – Thursdays, 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM Fridays and Saturdays (Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)
Where: 4850 Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065
Phone: 614-645-3400

In my opinion, Wildlights gets better every year! This year there are more lights than ever and the season includes special visitors and performances. This year make sure to make it to the Polar Frontier for the LED tree and Santa! Do it for me! It changed locations and we didn’t make it to that end and I missed the tree this year! The tree is a definite highlight! If there is any way you can do this on a weeknight, I highly recommend doing so, as traffic on the weekends can be a nightmare!

4. The Nutcracker

Dates: Now through December 24, 2017
Hours: Performances happening Wednesday through Sunday
Where: Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St., Columbus, Oh 43215
Tickets: See ticket info here.

It’s hard to find a more beautiful spot than Ohio Theatre and when it’s decked out for the holidays? Amazing! Seeing The Nutcracker at Ohio Theatre was incredible this year (disclaimer, I was given free tickets for helping promote the event – and our seats were AMAZING!) My boys were mesmerized through the whole thing and were still talking about it a week later! It is so full of the Christmas spirit, it’s hard not to leave happy! I dare you!

5. State Auto Christmas Corner  

Dates: Now through January 2, 2018
Hours: 6:00 AM – 8:00 AM, 5:30 AM – 11:30 PM and until 12:30 AM on Fridays and Saturdays
Where: 518 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215
More Info: Visit their Facebook Page for more info.

Take a walk through this downtown nativity for a life-sized retelling of the story of Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus. This Friday night beginning at 6:00 PM, choirs will perform and hot chocolate will be available! My family does this each year as close to Christmas Eve as we can. On Christmas Eve, baby Jesus is placed in the manger at their Christmas Eve ceremony taking place at 3:00 PM.

6. Holiday Lights Downtown

Dates: Now through January 2, 2017
Hours: Dusk until 11:00 PM
Where: Columbus Commons, the Lazarus Building and the Scioto Mile
More Info: CDDC Website

A good plan to see the lights downtown is to park in the Columbus Commons parking garage, walk around Columbus Commons for holiday lights and decorations, then head over to the Lazarus building to see the decorations in the windows and the huge tree in the Galleria, then head to Bicentennial Park and the Scioto Mile to see the lights that deck the entire area from Bicentennial Park to Broad Street.

Don’t forget to check out 10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions for more ideas!

What are you favorite Columbus holiday traditions?

6 of the Most Festive Things You Can Do in Columbus Ohio this Holiday Season!


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What Should We Do This Weekend? December 8-10, 2017 Holiday Edition!

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Tons of holiday events continue this weekend! Happy Weekend and Happy Holidays!

Ongoing:

Wildlights – see fantastic light displays, special visitors and performances from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM each night through January 1, 2018.

Twelve Elves of Dublin – during the month of December your family can go on the 12 Elves of Dublin scavenger hunt! Pick up your 12 Elves Card and hunt for an elf at each of the participating locations. At each stop your kids will receive a prize when they find it!

Gardens Aglow – 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 for the holidays. 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!

Christmas Corner at State Auto Insurance – walk through a life-sized nativity following the Christmas story! Choirs are scheduled on Friday and Saturday evenings through December 23rd and free hot chocolate (donations accepted!) will be available on those evenings!

Think Outside the Brick – visit the Columbus Museum of Art for a huge LEGO display, special LEGO open build hours on Saturdays and LEGO Holiday decorations!

Downtown Lights – visit Columbus Commons and Bicentennial Park for festive light displays!

Holiday Parties at Columbus Recreation and Parks – check the link for all the dates for the Holiday Parties at each Columbus Recreation Center!

Friday:

  • 9:30 AM – Toddler Time with Santa Claus at Sky Zone Columbus – Enjoy stories and songs with Mrs. Claus and a visit from Santa! Purchase tickets online!
  • 4:00 PM – Make & Take Ornaments at The Smithery – Make and take your own hand stamped ornaments! All ages are welcome!
  • 5:00 PM – Pictures with SANTA, Horses & Pony Rides

 in Grove City, Ohio – take pictures with Santa and take pony rides. Several times all weekend. Check the link for details on how to reserve a spot!
  • 5:30 PM – Dickens of a Christmas at Ohio Village  – this event takes place Friday, Saturday and Sunday and includes a world inspired by Charles Dickens! There will be carols, holiday decorations, craft and cooking demonstrations and more!
  • 6:00 PM – Festivus 2017

 at 400 West Rich – this event goes on all weekend and includes music, open studios, food trucks, vendors and more!
  • 7:00 PM – It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play

 at Westerville South High School – this holiday favorite is going on all weekend at Westerville South HS.
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Polar Express Weekend at COSI – this weekend and next you can watch Polar Express on the big screen at COSI. Several times available throughout the weekend.
  • 7:30 PM – Messiah Sing-ALong with ProMusica Chamber Orchestra at Southern Theatre – sing along with selections from Handel’s Messiah!

Saturday:

  • 8:00 AM – Holiday Character Breakfast presented by Meijer at CenterPoint Gahanna – this event includes breakfast, face painting, crafts, Santa, story time, and holiday characters! Purchase tickets online.
  • 8:45 AM – Breakfast with Santa!

 at Dave & Buster’s, Hilliard – your ticket includes breakfast, a $10 Power Card and unlimited video games, crafts, cookie decorating and the opportunity to take your own photos with Santa. Ticket sales end at 8:00 PM on Friday.
  • 9:00 AM – Family Gingerbread House Decorating at Young Chef’s Academy of Gahanna – the whole family can decorate their own Gingerbread House in a festive environment!
  • 9:00 AM – Breakfast with Santa Cow

 at Chick-Fil-A, Grove City – have breakfast with Santa Cow and enjoy a hot chocolate bar and crafts!
  • 9:00 AM – Breakfast with Santa at the Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA – register for your seating time online and enjoy a warm breakfast and a meet and greet with Santa!
  • 9:00 AM – Holiday Open House

 at Hoover Gardens & Gift Center – enjoy hot apple cider and cookies and enjoy the gardens while you pick out your Christmas Tree. Happening on Sunday, too!
  • 9:00 AM – Free Breakfast with Santa

 at CrossLink Community Church – enjoy a free breakfast and pictures with Santa! You can also put a letter in Santa’s mailbox and enjoy live jazz music!
  • 9:00 AM – Visit with Santa at the Herb Center – visit with Santa and his elves, write a letter to Santa and make a gift with Mrs. Claus!
  • 10:00 AM – Holiday Toy Drive at Nationwide Children’s Hospital – literally drive through to drop off a donation for the patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital! See the top 10 Wish List at the link.
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Jack Hanna’s Home for the Holidays, featuring Santa Paws

 at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – bring an approved enrichment gift for the animals and get one free admission to Wildlights. The animals will be given special treats and Jack Hanna will take the Animals on Safari Stage for 3 shows that evening.
  • 10:00 AM – Storytelling Childhood Memories

 at Coffee Connections of Hilliard, LLC – join Hilliard community members as they tell stories from their childhood. There will be hot cocoa, pastries and each kid will get a small gift. RSVP at the link.
  • 10:00 AM – Saturday Morning Cartoons – December Edition

 – for $5/person you can watch retro TV cartoons and enjoy a bowl of cereal!
  •  10:00 AM – Christmas Open House at Hanby House – enjoy hot cider and Christmas music at the home of the composer of “Up on the Housetop”.
  • 10:00 AM – Family Day at Pizzuti Collection – experience art in a family-friendly environment that includes activity books, crafts and Gallery Journeys. See our visit to Pizzuti Collection here.
  • 11:00 AM – Holiday Ornament Craft at Franklin Park Conservatory – fill an ornament with your choice of decorations! $2/ornament.
  • 11:00 AM –The Royals Project Holiday Gala at Aladdin Shrine Center – join The Royals Project for their Holiday Gala! The event includes professional photos, Santa Claus, over 30 princesses, princes and superheroes and your ticket price goes toward helping families in need.
  • 11:00 AM – Home for the Holidays – Family Fun Day

 in Uptown Westerville – the shops of Uptown Westerville will offer crafts, cookie decorating, letters to Santa and more!
  • 12:00 PM – Letters To Santa 2017 – Day 1

 at Ohio Railway Museum – Kids can write a letter to Santa and mail it in the Railway Post Office Car, visit with Mrs. Claus, make christmas crafts and ornaments and take a train ride!
  • 12:30 PM – Uptown Scrooge – this walking tour of Uptown Westerville takes place on Saturday and Sunday and includes a performance of Dicken’s The Christmas Carol.
  • 1:00 PM – Holiday Trolley Hop in The Discovery District – free trolley rides will be given through the Discovery District and there will be activities, crafts and special tours at the various stops! Bring a donation for local non-profits!
  • 1:00 PM – Free Shamrock Ornament Craft at Terra Gallery – kids can paint a shamrock ornament for free! Stop in to do this activity while you’re hunting for the 12 Elves of Dublin!
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Kid’s Cookie Decorating

 at Lucky’s Market Columbus – at this free event, kids can decorate freshly baked cookies! See the link for instructions on how to RSVP.
  • 2:00 PM – Grand Opening at Musicologie Westerville – the grand opening of Musicologie in Westerville includes cookies and cocoa, faceprinting, mini-lessons, a visit from Santa, music from The Shazzbots and beer from The Daily Growler!
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4:00 PM – Historic Christmas Tour

 in Grove City – this event involves several locations throughout Grove City! There will be a model train display, live music, holiday displays, visits from Santa and more!

Sunday:

  • 11:00 AM – Pictures with Santa Claus

 at Tractor Supply Co., Pickerington – bring your family and your pets for pictures with Santa. $10/picture.
  • 11:00 AM – Pizza School to benefit RMHC

 at Dewey’s Pizza – Grandview – make a reservation for a fun day at Dewey’s Pizza which includes mimosas, pizza and salad buffet and lessons on how to toss, top and cook your own pizza. All of the proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio.
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Frozen Adventure CAMP – Meet The Snow Queen, Snow Princesses and Star Smiling Snowman! There will be songs, dance, a craft, story time, dress up and more! For ages 4 1/2 to 7.
  • 1:00 PM – Cookies with Santa!

 at Coffee Connections of Hilliard – visit with Santa and decorate a cookie! $1.50/cookie
  • 2:00 PM – Christmas Open House

 at Orange Johnson House – Enjoy “An Old Time Christmas” at the Orange Johnson House which includes a musical ensemble and light refreshments.
  • 3:00 PM – Santa in the Caboose at the Historical Village at Weaver Park – at this event you can take your own picture with Santa, take a horse drawn wagon ride, enjoy live music, activities and refreshments!
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Sensory Friendly Visit with Santa!

 at Ohio Herb Education Center – children who need a more relaxed environment can visit Santa in a low-key environment. A photo is included in the price. Check online for ticket availability.
  • 3:00 PM – Free Family-friendly Library Concert w/ ProMusica String Quartet

 at Columbus Metropolitan Library – enjoy music inspired by the ocean! This is a free, family-friendly concert.

A big thank you to Musicologie for sponsoring this post!

Musicologie provides simply delightful music lessons for any age and ability on virtually every instrument. Our teachers are friendly and experienced music explorers who create a comfortable and positive community through private instruction, group classes, and concerts. Locations in Grandview Heights, and now in Westerville! Visit http://musicologielessons.com. Check out the Grand Opening event this Saturday at the Westerville location!


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ICYMI: How to Rock the 12 Elves of Dublin Scavenger Hunt


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What Should We Do This Weekend? December 1-3, 2017: Holiday Edition

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This weekend includes so many Christmas and Holiday related events! In order to include as many as I could, I had to shorten the information provided, so please check the link for all the important details! 🙂

Friday:

10:00 AM – Storytime with Kara at Me and the Moon – this week’s story time theme is Imagination!

10:30 AM – KidX Wake Up Santa! at Indian Mound Mall – this preschool story time includes music, snacks and a craft. After the story, the kids can go on a scavenger hunt to find Santa and wake him up!

5:00 PM – Olde Village Holiday Gathering in Olde Pickerington Village – includes tree lighting ceremony, shopping, games for kids, carriage rides, carolers, Santa and more!

6:00 PM – Winter Festival on the Mallway Park, Upper Arlington – includes caroling, carriage rides, bonfire, visits with Santa, ice sculpting and more!

6:00 PM – Christmas in the Village 2017 in the City of Canal Winchester -includes tons of activities all throughout downtown including the tree lighting, visits with Santa, cookies and card making, games, train rides, crafts and more! (Also happening Saturday night at 5:00 PM.)

6:00 PM – Holiday Carriage Rides at Easton Town Center – happening Friday, Saturday and Sunday!

6:00 PM – First Friday “Home for the Holidays” in Downtown Delaware – includes live reindeer, carolers, carriage rides, ice skating, tree lighting, visit from Santa and more!

7:00 PM – The Preschool Poets: An Animated Film Series – local artists have created a movie depicting kids’ poems. The film debut includes an onstage conversation with the directors and poets and a free public reception.

7:00 PM – Westerville Tree Lighting Ceremony at Westerville City Hall – live music, candle lighting, hot chocolate and the annual tree lighting.

8:00 PM – Holiday Pops with the Columbus Symphony – the Columbus Symphony and Chorus will perform your favorite holiday songs and Santa stops by! Several performances are happening throughout the weekend.

Saturday:

7:00 AM – Holiday All You Can Eat Pancake Breakfast at Aladdin Shrine – this all you can eat meal includes pancakes, sausage juice, milk and coffee.

9:00 AM – The Santa Race 5k and Little Reindeer Dash at Creekside Gahanna – this festive 5K event also includes a Little Reindeer Dash for the kids! Register by 12/2.

9:00 AM – Christmas Prelude at The GRAND of Dublin – event includes craft vendors, musical performances, silent auction, children’s crafts and games and breakfast with Santa!

9:00 AM – Kitty Adoption Party at PARTY Like It’s Your Birthday – adopt a plush kitten, paint it’s home, make a collar and take it home with you! The party includes cat themed snacks!

9:30 AM – Family Improv Class at Hilltop YMCA – this free event, presented by CATCO is Kids, includes improv and acting games for the whole family!

10:00 AM – Maker Mania – Gift Edition at PAST Innovation Lab: Kids can choose from one of the gift making options like Recycled Robot Art, Seed Bombs, Thumbprint Lights and more! This event is open house style and parents can join their kids in the process! Admission is $10 if you purchase it online, $12 at the door.

10:00 AM – National Lionel Train Day at Moody Street Trains – discounts will be available on train sets and accessories and kids can operate Lion Chief Trains in the store!

10:00 AM – Free Pictures With Santa at Saxton Real Estate – bring a toy donation for Firefighters for Kids and get a free picture with Santa!

10:00 AM – Sensitive Santa at Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities – – free pictures with Santa are done in a sensitive environment. Register online and consider a donation of a new hat or pair of gloves for the Common Grounds Free Store.

10:00 AM 2017 Grove City Christmas Celebration in Grove City Town Center – a full day of events includes visits with Santa, live entertainment, a parade, Mistletoe Market and more!

10:00 AM – Cheryl’s 2017 Annual Holiday Party at Cheryl’s Cookies and Brownies – event includes a visit with Santa, visitors from the Columbus Zoo, cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus, Secret Santa shop and more!

10:00 AM – Storytime at Grange Insurance Audubon Center – free nature-themed story time!

10:00 AM – Christmas Fairy Garden Workshop at Dutch Mill Greenhouse – make a winter-themed fairy garden! Register online.

10:00 AM – HOOT 81: Holiday HOOT at Gateway Film Center – kid-friendly short films with a holiday theme, music from The Shazzbots and crafts and kids activities!

10:00 AM – Holiday Open House at Main Street Delaware, Inc. – see Santa, shop local and enjoy community events for all ages!

10:45 AM – Family Yoga Class with Youth Yoga – School aged kids and their parents are invited to attend a family yoga class hosted by the Youth Yoga Project. Stay for The Shop for the Cause shopping party after class!

11:00 AM – WinterFest at Bicentennial Park Scioto Mile – the first annual WinterFest includes live music, food trucks, seasonal ales and the Empty Bowls project!

11:00 AM – Dash for Dasher at Main Street Delaware, Inc. – explore downtown Delaware in search of Dasher the reindeer! Visit the Santa House when your search is complete!

12:00 PM – Winter Fest in Downtown Lancaster – event includes free carriage rides, music, elf scavenger hunt, pictures with Santa, local shopping and the Tour of Trees!

12:00 PM – Toys For Tots DRIVE THRU Toy Drive at Mikey’s Late Night Slice – drive thru with your donation for Toys for Tots and receive a coupon!

12:30 PM – Uptown Scrooge in Uptown Westerville – take a walking tour of Uptown Westerville in this walking theater performance featuring a local version of Dickens’ The Christmas Carol. Several times available this weekend.

1:00 PM – Nutcracker Celebration at Licking County Library – this celebration includes a performance of The Nutcracker by Central Ohio Youth Ballet, a hand bell choir, visit from Santa, hot chocolate, a holiday train and more!

1:00 PM – Historic Dublin Holly Days in Historic Dublin – kick off the season with tons of activities going on around Historic Dublin including craft activities, tours of fire trucks (bring a donation for Firefighters for Kids), letters to Santa, carolers and more!

1:00 PM – 12 Elves of Dublin – during the month of December you can go on the 12 Elves of Dublin scavenger hunt! Pick up your 12 Elves Card and hunt for an elf at each of the participating locations. At each stop you will receive a treat when  you find it!

2:00 PM – Holidays in Powell in the City of Powell – event includes free children’s activities and crafts, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and more!

2:00 PM – Lazarus Santa’s Workshop at the Lazarus Building– see Santa at the iconic Lazarus Building! There will also be crafts for kids, refreshments, free carousel rides at Columbus Commons and more!

3:00 PM – Columbus Police vs Fire Basketball Challenge to Benefit RMHC at Columbus Fire Training Academy  – watch the Police take on the Fire Department in this game that benefits Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio! Kids 12 and under are free!

3:30 PM – 2017 Main Street Christmas Cookie Walk & Lighted Parade in Downtown Pataskala – walk downtown Pataskala for the annual Cookie Walk! Other activities include kids crafts, letters to Santa, hot chocolate, face painting, a lighted Christmas Parade and more!

4:00 PM – Short North Arts District Holiday Hop 2017 in the Short North Arts District – this special Gallery Hop includes street performers, holiday window displays, photos with Santa and more!

4:00 PM – Free Family Portrait Day at Jerry L. Garver YMCA – all families are welcome to have their family pictures taken for free! See link for info on RSVPing.

6:00 PM – GRAND OPENING EVENT at AR Workshop Grove City – celebrate the grand opening of AR Workshop in Grove City with live music, food, drinks, desserts, Santa and goodie bags for the kids! There will also be swag bags, raffles and more giveaways!

Sunday:

12:00 PM – HolidayVille 2017 in Clintonville – this neighborhood-wide event includes hoping, carolers, cookies, sales and activities like a make and take ornament station, free s’mores, samples, cookie decorating, a visit from Santa and more!

2:00 PM – Christmas Open House at Orange Johnson House – enjoy “An Old Time Christmas” with live music performances and refreshments!

2:00 PM – Rudolph Run/Walk 5k (kid-encouraged!) on State Street in Westerville – this family friendly run/walk kicks off the Westerville Children’s Parade!

5:00 PM – Hilliard Holiday Hop & Tree Lighting in Old Hilliard – event includes balloon twisting, face painting, food trucks, hot chocolate, live reindeer, petting zoo, Santa, the Empty Bowls Project and more!

5:00 PM – Village Lights in German Village – stroll through a candlelit German Village enjoying treats, specials, live music, story time with Santa and Mrs. Claus and more!


A big thank you to the Historic Dublin Businesses Association for sponsoring this post!

Historic Dublin is kicking off the holiday season in a Merry way beginning December 2nd. It’s the start to the popular 12 Elves of Dublin scavenger hunt. Stop by one of the following locations December 2 through December 16 to pick up your 12 elves card: La Chatelaine, Boho 72, Dean Insurance Group, Chelsea Borough Home, Ha’penny Bridge Imports of Ireland, Winan’s, Our CupCakery, Donatos, or the Dublin Library.

Pick up your card and search through the shops of Historic Dublin to find the 12 Elves. Each time you find an elf you will be rewarded with a special treat from each shop!


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*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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