What Should We Do This Weekend? Columbus, Ohio, November 30 – December 2, 2018

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Looking for things to do in Columbus, Ohio this weekend? Here are over 80 family-friendly events happening in Columbus, and Central Ohio this weekend!

Family Friendly Events in Columbus Ohio This Weekend:

FRIDAY

9:00 AM – Family Gingerbread House Decorating at Young Chefs Academy of Gahanna – families can decorate a gingerbread house together! Everything you need will be provided in the cost. 

10:00 AM – Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory – visit the Conservatory while it’s decked out for the season! Enjoy special performances and activities and this year the event extends into the Children’s Garden!

10:00 AM – Snow Day – Theatre for the Very Young at Columbus Children’s Theatre – this is a one act musical play about a young girl’s first snow day recommended for ages 2-6 performed at Park Street Theatre. 

10:00 AM – Santa Photos at Easton Town Center – get your family’s picture with Santa between 10:00 AM and 9:00 PM (with 2 break periods (see link)). Get a professional 5×7 for $5 or take a photo with your own camera. Reservations are available!

11:30 AM – Snow Day – Theatre for the Very Young at Columbus Children’s Theatre – this is a one act musical play about a young girl’s first snow day recommended for ages 2-6 performed at Park Street Theatre. 

5:00 PM – Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo – Wildlights is included in your admission (or membership) to the Zoo and features special activities, amazing lights, light shows, Rudolph and friends in Asia Quest, Santa’s Holiday Home in the Battelle Ice Bear Outpost, Jingle Ball light display and much more!

5:30 PM – Parents Night Out at Tree of Life Play + Cafe Drop the kids off for open play and dinner! Open to kids who are potty trained up through age 12. Register online.

5:30 PM – Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek Campground – families can enjoy a 3 mile drive through holiday light show with over 140 LED light displays! $30/car on the weekends.

5:30 PM – Dragon Lights Columbus – walk through an amazing display of Chinese lanterns and holiday light sculptures. Special cultural performances, food and shopping will also be available. Save money by purchasing your tickets online. 

6:00 PM – Parents’ Night Out at Code Ninjas (Hilliard, OH) – Drop your kids off for a night of Code Ninja games, building robots and more! Pizza and drinks will be provided. Register online.

6:00 PM – Winter Festival in Upper Arlington This holiday event includes ice sculpting, horse drawn carriage rides, visits with Santa and his reindeer and the tree lighting ceremony! Plus caroling, a giant human snow globe, s’mores and more!

6:00 PM – Holiday Carriage Rides at Easton Town Center – carriage rides are available every weekend through December 23 for $10/person. Children under 15 are free with a paying adult. Get on the carriage outside of Zara on Gramercy Street. Hours are Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM and Sundays from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

6:00 PM – Home for the Holidays Weekend in Downtown Delaware – this is a weekend long celebration featuring a tree lighting, Santa, reindeer, horse drawn carriage rides, a scavenger hunt for Dasher, special holiday deals and a parade on Sunday at 3:00 PM.

6:00 PM – November Parents Night Out at We Rock the Spectrum – Columbus Parents night out at We Rock The Spectrum is for kids 3 years and older and includes pizza, snacks, open play, crafts and more! Register online. 

6:30 PM – Family Night Out at Goldfish Swim School – enjoy an open swim in 90 degree water at all Goldfish Swim School locations! Cost for non-members is $5/person or $15/family. First come first served!

6:30 PM – A Heritage Holiday at Heritage Park Groveport Ohio – this event includes music from the Groveport Madison High School Band, crafts for kids, carriage rides, ice carving, refreshments, and Santa arrives by fire truck at 6:30!

7:00 PM – Westerville Tree Lighting Ceremony – this tree lighting ceremony includes live music, a candle lighting celebration, cookies, and visits with Santa!


A BIG Thank You to Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights for sponsoring this post!

Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights is an annual holiday 3 mile drive thru light show, with over 140 LED brilliant light displays during the 25 minute drive, admired in the comfort of your own car. Butch’s children honor his legacy through this annual tradition that has been around for decades, giving thousands of other families the opportunity to create traditions of their own.

From their family to thousands of others, they want to provide a chance for people to take time to make memories during the drive thru the light show. The Fantasy of Lights benefits many local charities such as Recreation Unlimited, A Kid Again, Autism Speaks, among others, and honors current and former military through specialized evenings. This show truly brings light to this world, giving moments that will create memories that will last in families forever.

Located at the Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds at 3311 South Old State Rd., Delaware, OH 43015

Hours are Sunday-Thursday 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM | Friday and Saturday 5:30 PM – 10:30 PM


 Want to sponsor What Should We Do This Weekend? Click here.

SATURDAY

9:00 AM – Kids Clay Saturdays – Coil Winter Holiday Trees at Picktown Arts with Ellie Mescher-Miller – kids can learn how to make a holiday tree out of clay! Recommended for ages 4 and up. Register online.

9:00 AM – Breakfast with Santa at Polaris Fashion Place – meet and greet Santa while having a breakfast catered by California Pizza Kitchen. Purchase tickets ($8/person) at the Mall Management Office.

9:00 AM – Family Gingerbread House Decorating at Young Chefs Academy of Gahanna – families can decorate a gingerbread house together! Everything you need will be provided in the cost. 

9:00 AM – Christmas In The Garden at Hoover Gardens & Gift Center – each weekend in December you can shop for a Christmas tree and other gifts while enjoying cookies and hot chocolate. There will also be ornament painting!

9:00 AM – Christmas Prelude, Breakfast with Santa and Craft Fair at THE GRAND of Dublin – this event includes breakfast with Santa ($3/person), silent auction, bake sale, craft vendors, live entertainment and more. Breakfast tickets are first come first served and purchased at the door.

9:30 AM – Squats & Tots Saturday Classes! at piccadilly – exercise WITH your kids at this class designed just for parents and their kids – crawlers through preschoolers.

10:00 AM – Holiday Hoot at Gateway Film Center – watch family friendly short films on the big screen and enjoy live music from The Shazzbots! There are also activities in the lobby before the show! This is a free event when you bring a canned good to donate to The Open Shelter.

10:00 AM – Home for the Holidays Weekend in Downtown Delaware – this is a weekend long celebration featuring a tree lighting, Santa, reindeer, horse drawn carriage rides, a scavenger hunt for Dasher, special holiday deals and a parade on Sunday at 3:00 PM.

10:00 AM – Holiday Toy Drive 2018 at Nationwide Children’s Hospital – drop off toys and books for patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital at this annual Toy Drive. Staff can take your donation from your car. Check the link for Wish List of ideas.

10:00 AM – Christmas on the Towne in Downtown Reynoldsburg – this event includes a visit with Santa, a Secret Santa Shop, carriage rides, and specials available at the local merchants.

10:00 AM – Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory – visit the Conservatory while it’s decked out for the season! Enjoy special performances and activities and this year the event extends into the Children’s Garden!

10:00 AM – Snow Day – Theatre for the Very Young at Columbus Children’s Theatre – this is a one act musical play about a young girl’s first snow day recommended for ages 2-6 performed at Park Street Theatre. 

10:00 AM – Free Pictures With Santa at Antry/Isaacs Team at Saxton Real Estate – free pictures with Santa with a donation of an unwrapped toy for families in need!

10:00 AM – 2018 Grove City Christmas Celebration – this event in Grove City Town Center includes visits with Santa, live entertainment, shopping, a parade, the Heart of Grove City Mistletoe Market and the tree lighting.

10:00 AM – Sensitive Santa at Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities – get your picture with Santa in a sensory friendly environment, enjoy treats and a take home craft. This is a free event but they are accepting donations of a new hat or pari of gloves to the Common Grounds Free Store. RSVP online.

10:00 AM – Holiday Happiness at Upper Arlington Public Library – this event includes crafts for kids, live music, a gingerbread display, refreshments, a visit from Santa, face painting and more! See the complete schedule at the link.

10:00 AM – Santa Photos at Easton Town Center – get your family’s picture with Santa between 10:00 AM and 9:00 PM (with 2 break periods (see link)). Get a professional 5×7 for $5 or take a photo with your own camera. Reservations are available!

10:00 AM – Cheryl’s 2018 Annual Holiday Party at Cheryl’s Cookies and Brownies – shop at the Secret Santa Shop, enjoy cookie deals, frost a cookie with Mrs. Claus and visit with Santa!

11:00 AM – WinterFest at Bicentennial Park Scioto Mile – WinterFest includes live music, food trucks, seasonal ales and the opportunity to purchase a hand-crafted bowl to support the Empty Bowls initiative.

11:00 AM – Sensory Storytime at Pickerington Public Library – this is a story time just for kids with special needs including sensory activities, dim lights, quieter music and more sensory friendly accommodations. Families can use the library before it opens! Registration is required.

11:00 AM – Meet Santa at Transcend Coffee + Roastery, USA – meet Santa and enjoy free coffee and hot chocolate. This is a free event but donations are being accepted for A Kid Again.

11:00 AM – Free Lazarus Santa’s Workshop at the Lazarus Building – visit with Santa at The Lazarus Building! Take your own photos with Santa, enjoy crafts, a Holiday Train display, and wander around Columbus Commons enjoying the holiday lights and free carousel rides, face painting and hot chocolate! Bring a new, unwrapped toy for Firefighters 4 Kids.

11:00 AM – Holiday Photos at HOOT Studio – register for a 20 minute portrait time and receive an hour of play time, a treat and your choice of prints from professional photographer Aaron Taylor. This is especially perfect for families of children with special needs. Email to RSVP for a time.

11:30 AM  – Snow Day – Theatre for the Very Young at Columbus Children’s Theatre – this is a one act musical play about a young girl’s first snow day recommended for ages 2-6 performed at Park Street Theatre. 

12:00 PM – A Heritage Holiday at Heritage Park Groveport Ohio – this event includes crafts for kids, carriage rides, ice carving, refreshments, and visits with Santa, reindeer and other farm animals!

12:00 PM – WinterFest in Downtown Lancaster – WinterFest includes horse drawn wagon rides, Santa, cookies, live entertainment and special activities at participating business.

12:00 PM – Toys For Tots DRIVE THRU Toy Drive at Late Night Slice Short North – drive thru to drop off a toy donation and receive a coupon from Mikey’s Late Night Slice!

12:00 PM – Kids Christmas at the Market at Lynd Fruit Farm – meet Santa, do a take home craft, enjoy food trucks and lots of Christmas goodies to purchase in the shop.

1:00 PM – Holly Days in Historic Dublin – Holly Days in Dublin includes activities at various participating businesses in downtown Dublin such as visits with Santa, carolers, sending letters to Santa, the 12 Elves of Dublin Hunt, crafts for kids, story time and more!

1:00 PM  – Snow Day – Theatre for the Very Young at Columbus Children’s Theatre – this is a one act musical play about a young girl’s first snow day recommended for ages 2-6 performed at Park Street Theatre. 

1:00 PM – Holiday Cookie Decorating Event at C. Krueger’s – visit the new C. Krueger’s store in the Short North for a cookie decorating event for kids!

2:00 PM – Holidays in Powell – this event includes crafts, activities, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus and the lighting of the city’s Christmas Tree.

3:00 PM – Winter Evening on the Farm at Gallant Farm Park – enjoy seasonal activities on the farm including live music, roasting chestnuts, cookies and family friendly activities.

3:00 PM – 2018 Cookie Walk in Downtown Pataskala – this event is open to the first 400 families and includes a walking tour of 50 local businesses collecting a cookie from each one! Minimum donation of $10 is requested.

5:00 PM – Christmas Under the Clock in Uptown Plain City – Plain City’s holiday event includes a free lighting, live entertainment, a visit from Santa, and open houses at the local businesses.

5:00 PM – Christmas on the Square in Sunbury – Sunbury’s holiday event includes holiday open houses at local businesses, a craft and gift fair, a lighted Christmas Parade, a Chrismas Tree sale, model train display and visit from Santa and much more! Click the link for all the details.

5:00 PM – Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo – Wildlights is included in your admission (or membership) to the Zoo and features special activities, amazing lights, light shows, Rudolph and friends in Asia Quest, Santa’s Holiday Home in the Battelle Ice Bear Outpost, Jingle Ball light display and much more!

5:30 PM – Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek Campground – families can enjoy a 3 mile drive through holiday light show with over 140 LED light displays! $30/car on the weekends.

5:30 PM – Dragon Lights Columbus – walk through an amazing display of Chinese lanterns and holiday light sculptures. Special cultural performances, food and shopping will also be available. Save money by purchasing your tickets online. 

6:00 PM- Hilltop Art Hop – explore the most artsy block of the Hilltop including artists in residence at 3060 Artworks, classes at Clay Street Ceramics, a Holiday Artisan Market, live music, a book signing at Third Way Cafe and live music and refreshments at The Design Refinery. There will also be a food truck, Curbside Dish, from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM.

6:00 PM – Grand Opening! at The Design Refinery – my husband and I invite you to the Grand Opening of our design studio and event space! This space will be available to rent for parties, showers, pop up shops, meetings and other events! We will have live music, refreshments and raffle prizes from Third Way Cafe, Clay Street Ceramics, Sarah Harste Weavings and The Design Refinery! 

6:00 PM – Holiday Carriage Rides at Easton Town Center – carriage rides are available every weekend through December 23 for $10/person. Children under 15 are free with a paying adult. Get on the carriage outside of Zara on Gramercy Street. Hours are Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM and Sundays from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

SUNDAY

9:00 AM – Family Gingerbread House Decorating at Young Chefs Academy of Gahanna – families can decorate a gingerbread house together! Everything you need will be provided in the cost. 

9:00 AM – Sensitive Santa at Polaris Fashion Place – enjoy a sensory friendly visit with Santa with a calm environment and special activities. Registration is recommended but not required.

10:00 AM – Christmas In The Garden at Hoover Gardens & Gift Center – each weekend in December you can shop for a Christmas tree and other gifts while enjoying cookies and hot chocolate. There will also be ornament painting!

10:00 AM – Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory – visit the Conservatory while it’s decked out for the season! Enjoy special performances and activities and this year the event extends into the Children’s Garden! Don’t forget that on the first Sunday of each month, the Conservatory is free for residents of Franklin County and the City of Columbus (with valid ID)!

11:00 AM – Santa Photos at Easton Town Center – get your family’s picture with Santa between 10:00 AM and 9:00 PM (with 2 break periods (see link)). Get a professional 5×7 for $5 or take a photo with your own camera. Reservations are available!

11:00 AM – Santa Visits Cub Shrub – visit with Santa at the Short North location of Cub Shrub! Register online.

12:00 PM – HolidayVille 2018 in Clintonville – explore Clintonville with free Jolly Trolley rides through the neighborhood! There will be activities at neighboring businesses including make and take ornaments, s’mores, samples and more!

12:00 PM – Free Princess Meet and Greet at Montrose Elementary School – meet your favorite princesses during the Bexley Holiday Hop. This is free but check the times for each individual princess’ appearance. 

12:00 PM – Holiday Enchantment at Land-Grant Brewing Company – this festive event includes a visit from Santa, wreath making workshops, activities for kids, live music cocktails and treats, caroling and more!

12:00 PM – Holiday Hop 2018 in Bexley – Bexley’s Holiday Hop includes special events at local stores, prizes, giveaways, treats, visits from Santa and more!

 1:00 PM  – Snow Day – Theatre for the Very Young at Columbus Children’s Theatre – this is a one act musical play about a young girl’s first snow day recommended for ages 2-6 performed at Park Street Theatre. 

1:00 PM – Kid’s Gift Making Workshop at Sunbury Urban Farm – kids can make up to 5 of their own holiday gifts for friends and family. Recommended for ages 5-12 an cost is $20. Register in advance.

1:00 PM – Cram The Cruiser Toy Drive at Grove City UMC – drop off a new, unwrapped toy, visit with Santa and enjoy festive goodies.

2:30 PM  – Snow Day – Theatre for the Very Young at Columbus Children’s Theatre – this is a one act musical play about a young girl’s first snow day recommended for ages 2-6 performed at Park Street Theatre. 

3:00 PM – Holiday Carriage Rides at Easton Town Center – carriage rides are available every weekend through December 23 for $10/person. Children under 15 are free with a paying adult. Get on the carriage outside of Zara on Gramercy Street. Hours are Fridays and Saturdays from 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM and Sundays from 3:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

3:00 PM – Home for the Holidays Weekend in Downtown Delaware – this is a weekend long celebration featuring a tree lighting, Santa, reindeer, horse drawn carriage rides, a scavenger hunt for Dasher, special holiday deals and a parade on Sunday at 3:00 PM.

4:00 PM – Tree Lighting at Prairie Township Community Center – countdown to the lighting of the tree, visit with Santa and enjoy a musical program.

4:00 PM – Menorah Lighting at Polaris Fashion Place – enjoy doughnuts, cider and family activities at the Menorah lighting on the lower level near Saks Fifth Ave.

4:00 PM – Holiday Hop & 29th Annual Tree Lighting in Hilliard – Hilliard’s holiday celebration includes fun events at several locations around town. There will be live music, food trucks, horse and carriage rides, hot chocolate and live reindeer, balloon twisting, face painting, visits with Santa and much more! See the link for all the details.

4:30 PM – Gingerbread House Decorating at The Morgan House – families can decorate a gingerbread house! $40. Call to register.

5:00 PM – Village Lights 2018 in German Village – stroll around German Village following the path lit with lanterns, visiting local businesses, enjoying live music and lots of goodies from local businesses. Also this year you can visit the German Village Makers Market and Not Your Mama’s Craft Market during the event!

5:00 PM – Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo – Wildlights is included in your admission (or membership) to the Zoo and features special activities, amazing lights, light shows, Rudolph and friends in Asia Quest, Santa’s Holiday Home in the Battelle Ice Bear Outpost, Jingle Ball light display and much more!

5:30 PM – Dragon Lights Columbus – walk through an amazing display of Chinese lanterns and holiday light sculptures. Special cultural performances, food and shopping will also be available. Save money by purchasing your tickets online. 

5:30 PM – Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek Campground – families can enjoy a 3 mile drive through holiday light show with over 140 LED light displays! $30/car on the weekends.

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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!*

ICYMI: 10 of our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions


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3 Places I Love to Take My Kids in Columbus: Aaron Sheldon

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Each month I will be featuring a local parent who will tell us about three places they love to take their kids in Columbus!

Thanks to Aaron for sharing 3 of his favorites with us this month!

1. COSI

I guess it’s a no brainer that one of a wandering astronaut’s favorite places in Columbus is COSI. We have had a membership since Astronaut Harrison was two, and we still visit frequently. We have always enjoyed COSI for its permanent exhibits and fantastic kid’s play area. We love going there even more now that the planetarium shows and access to the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery are included in the cost of the annual family pass.

Another thing to love? Discount programs for veterans and families who participate in WIC, Ohio Directions or Ohio Medicaid through their Family Access membership ($49 per family!).


2. Cover to Cover Books

Having an amazing children’s bookstore like Cover To Cover was great when it was in Clintonville. When owner Melia Wolf moved it to the Mallway in Upper Arlington (5 minutes from my house) it became downright dangerous to my wallet. Melia and her staff are fantastic. They have introduced Astronaut Harrison to several new book series that he adores and they are always up for a game of chess.

They also offer frequent story times and visits from notable children’s book authors. If you have the chance you have to attend their Firefighter story time with the UA Fire Department. After story time (and fire safety tips) everyone goes across the street to the UA Fire Station for a chance to see the firefighting gear and trucks.


3. Legoland Discovery Center Columbus

Our new favorite place in Columbus is Legoland Discovery Center Columbus (LDC) at Easton Town Center. LDC has so many great activities with something of interest for kids of all ages (including us parents). Astronaut Harrison’s favorites are the 4D Cinema, LEGO Racers test tracks, the rides, and the multi-level playland.

My favorites are the Creative Workshops that offers a different build session every month, the MINILAND version of Columbus (and parts of Cleveland and Cincinnati), and the coffee shop (which serves Starbucks). The first Thursday of every month they have Adult Fan of LEGO Night with a host of activities and giveaways – no kids allowed. November was Casino night and I won big!

Astronaut Harrison and I have been there many times, and we’ve put together a few tips on how to get the most out of your visit (including how to save big on admission) on our blog at: Astronaut Harrison Explores the New LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Easton.


Astronaut Harrison is a 1st grader who loves to explore his everyday world. His Dad, Aaron Sheldon, when not documenting adventures for their Instagram account @smallstepsaregiantleaps, is a Social Media consultant for area non-profits and a real estate photographer.

As a special for What Should We Do Today Columbus readers, you can pick up a copy of their book “Small Steps Are Giant Leaps” for 50% off the cover price at: https://mpex.com/small-steps-are-giant-leaps.html

Use code Leaps50 at checkout to get the discount!


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Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio

Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio


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

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We’re never at a loss for things to do around here and the Holiday events in Columbus do not disappoint!

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 7 holiday events around Columbus that are guaranteed to put you in a festive mood!

Here are 7 of the Most Festive Holiday Events in Columbus Ohio:

1. Dragon Lights Chinese Lantern Festival

Chinese Lantern Festival, Columbus, Ohio

Dragon Chinese Lantern Festival, Columbus, Ohio

Dates: November 23, 2018 – January 6, 2019 (Closed Mondays)
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

Dragon Chinese Lantern Festival, Columbus, Ohio

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!

Cost: Adults $19, Children 5-16 $14, Kids under 5 are free. Discounts with Military ID and for those over 65. Family 4 pack is $55. Save $2-$5 by buying online. Purchase tickets before November 23rd for a $3 discount using the code “ZAONIAO” (early bird in Chinese Pinyin).

Dragon Chinese Lantern Festival, Columbus, Ohio


2. Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory

Lights at Franklin Park Conservatory, Conservatory Aglow, Columbus, Ohio

Dates: November 17, 2018 – January 2, 2019
Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM in November, 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

Rotating Railroad at Franklin Park Conservatory, Conservatory Aglow

Stockings hung at Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio

Franklin Park Conservatory does not disappoint when it comes to creating a festive atmosphere! Conservatory 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 Cookies with Santa, live musical performances, a magic show, and more! Also, make sure not to miss the gingerbread competition and rotating railroad! This year the celebration even extends to the Children’s Garden!

Trees at Franklin Park Conservatory, Conservatory Aglow


3. Wildlights at Columbus Zoo

Trees at Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

family at Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Dates: November 16, 2018 – January 6, 2019
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

Trees at Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

In my opinion, Wildlights gets better every year! This is one of our favorite holiday events in Columbus! 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 last 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!

Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, tree


4. The Nutcracker

Ohio Theatre, The Nutcracker, Columbus, Ohio

Ohio Theatre, The Nutcracker, Columbus, Ohio

Dates: December 7-23, 2018
Hours: Performances happening Wednesday through Sunday
Where: Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St., Columbus, Oh 43215
Tickets: See ticket info here.

Ohio Theatre, Columbus, Ohio, The Nutcracker

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 last 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!

Orchestra Pit at Ohio Theatre, The Nutcracker


5. State Auto Christmas Corner

Nativity scene, Bethlehem, State Auto, Columbus, Ohio  Nativity Scene, 3 wisemen, State Auto, Columbus, Ohio

Dates: December 4, 2018 – January 2, 2019
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.

Nativity Scene, Mary and Joseph, at State Auto, Columbus, Ohio

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. Official Lighting is Tuesday December 4 including a performance by the Columbus Children’s Choir. On Friday and Saturday nights 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.

Nativity Scene at State Auto, Columbus, Ohio


6. Holiday Lights in Downtown Columbus

Christmas lights at Columbus Commons

Christmas lights at Columbus Commons

Dates: November 21, 2018 through early January 2019
Hours: Dusk until 11:00 PM
Where: Columbus Commons, the Lazarus Building and the Scioto Mile
More Info: CDDC Website

Christmas lights at Columbus Commons

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.

Winterfest takes place this year at Bicentennial Park on Saturday, December 1, 2018.

Christmas lights at Columbus Commons


7. Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights

Dates: November 16, 2018 – January 1, 2019
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM, Friday and Saturday 5:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Where: Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds, 3311 South Old State Rd., Delaware, OH 43015

Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights is an annual holiday 3 mile drive thru light show, with over 140 LED brilliant light displays you can see in the comfort of your own car.

The Fantasy of Lights benefits many local charities such as Recreation Unlimited, A Kid Again, Autism Speaks, among others, and honors current and former military through specialized evenings.


What are you favorite Columbus holiday traditions?

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7 Festive Things to Do in Columbus Ohio


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Columbus Christmas Traditions

ICYMI: 10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions


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