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25 Things to do in Columbus, Ohio in December (2023)

December in Columbus, Ohio is packed full of fun activities! Here’s a round up of things to do in Columbus during the month of December! Our own advent calendar of sorts!

Click the link for more information on each of these fun activities that are happening in Columbus!

This post has been updated for December, 2023!

Plan your holiday fun! Browse these blog posts for the best family-friendly holiday events in Columbus!

1. Twinkling Lights at Select Metro Parks

Twinkling Lights at Inniswood Metro Gardens.

Enjoy the twinkling lights displays at Battelle Darby Creek, Blacklick Woods, Highbanks, Homestead and Inniswood Metro Gardens from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM each night in December. Check each location individually for special activities.

 2. Butch Bando’s Fantasy Of Lights

November 17th through January 1st take a ride through Butch Bando’s Fantasy Of Lights! This locally owned and family operated drive through light show has it all! Beautiful lights, radio station to tune into while enjoying the lights and the comfort of your vehicle while enjoying the display. Perfect for those cold winter days! See link for tickets and pricing!

 3. Holiday Lights At Columbus Commons

holiday lights at Columbus Commons.

November 17th through January 1st visit Columbus Commons from 5pm-11pm for Holiday Lights! This dazzling display of holiday lights is a must see for the season! See link for special events at Columbus Commons during the holiday season including Festive Fridays!

4. The Nutcracker at Ohio Theatre

Watch The Nutcracker at Ohio Theatre December 7-23, 2023. Multiple performance times are available throughout the weekend. See link for dates, times and tickets!

5. Not So Silent Night at Shadowbox Live

This is a family-friendly show featuring a D.J. taking requests on Christmas Eve. Lots of fun dancing and familiar holiday songs make this show fast-paced and fun!

6. Holiday Carriage Rides At Easton Town Center

Beginning November 18th through December 23rd visit Easton Town Center for holiday carriage rides Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the season. See link for times and pricing.

7. Scioto Mile Holiday Lights

Take in the festive lights and holiday merriment at Scioto Mile Holiday Lights. The lights will be on from dusk to dawn each day! Due to construction at Bicentennial Park, in 2023, the lights will be lit along the Promenade from Rich Street to Broad Street until January 3, 2024.

8. Huntington Holiday Train Display In Downtown Main Columbus Metropolitan Library

Holiday Train at Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Visit the main library in downtown Columbus to see the Huntington Holiday Train Display. This is a must see for all train lovers during the holiday season! It will be on display through January 7, 2024.

9. State Auto’s Christmas Corner

State Auto Nativity in downtown Columbus, relocated to Cathedral Square.

In 2023, this larger than life nativity was donated to The Museum of Catholic Art and History and is now located at St. Joseph’s Cathedral at 212 E. Broad St. in downtown Columbus, OH. The nativity will be lit nightly through January 6, 2023. There is parking lot behind the St. Joseph Cathedral. The link above will take you to their Facebook page so you can stay in the know about upcoming events!

10. 12 Elves of Dublin Scavenger Hunt

Search Historic Dublin for the 12 Elves and get a small prize at each stop! Return your completed Scavenger Hunt card at any participating business before December 23rd to be entered to win the grand prize basket.

11. Holiday Open House at Central Ohio Model Railroad Club

COMTC Model Railroad display in Worthington, Ohio.

Each Saturday and Sunday in December from 12:00-4:00 PM The COMRC will open for visitors to view the model train displays. (Closed Christmas Day) There are holiday trains and a Thomas train that kids can operate! This open house is free to visit!

12. It’s a Wonderful Window Contest in Old Worthington

Wonderful Worthington Window Displays in Old Worthington, Ohio.

Take a stroll through Old Worthington and enjoy the magical holiday windows that have been created by the merchants! Make sure to check out the colorful photo opp outside of Dewey’s Pizza (the picture above is from 2022 but it is new this year)!

13. Gahanna Holiday Lights Display

Holiday lights at Creekside in Gahanna, Ohio.

Enjoy a 30-foot tree with interactive lights, and walk through 300,000 lights in the Creekside Park and Plaza in Gahanna!

14. Grove City Nutcracker Hunt

Find the Nutcrackers all through Grove City’s Historic Town Center! You can print out an entry sheet online and if you find at least 10 nutcrackers, you can turn it in for a chance to win a prize basket! Explore more things to do in Grove City while you’re there!

15. Winter Wonderland Forest at Blendon Woods Metro Park

Winter Wonderland Forest at Blendon Woods Metro Park.

Take a walk through the magical forest of lighted trees inside Blendon Woods Metro Park Nature Center through January 2, 2024!

16. Wildlights At Columbus Zoo And Aquarium

Visit Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for one of Central Ohio’s favorite holiday traditions. Millions of lights, holiday music and some of your favorite holiday characters are all here! See link for tickets, times and pricing. 

17. Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory

Tunnel of lights at Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio.

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. Also, make sure not to miss the gingerbread competition and the Paul Busse Garden Railway!

18. Holiday Train at Ohio History Center

Holiday train at Ohio History Center, on display in December in Columbus, Ohio.

Visit this holiday train display at Ohio History Center that features a Polar Express Train and various holiday scenes. You can see this train display during regular business hours. The rest of the building is decorated for the holidays, too, including the Lustron House!

19. Dickens Of A Christmas At Ohio Village

Tree lighting at Dickens of a Christmas at Ohio Village in Columbus, Ohio.

Explore Ohio Village during Dickens Of A Christmas on the weekends in December! This event features a Charles Dickens vision of Christmas coming to life! There will be 19th century celebrations and activities. Meet characters from this time period too! See link for tickets, times and pricing.

20. Winter Wonder Walks At The Dawes Arboretum

On December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17 from 6 – 9pm, The Dawes Arboretum will open its doors to the public for Winter Wonder Walks! This 1-mile walk will highlight all of nature’s splendor this time of year with the bonus of having beautiful lights filling the trees. This event requires pre registration. See link for tickets, times and pricing.

21. Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art

Think Outside the Brick Exhibit at Columbus Museum in Art, a December event in Columbus.

This exhibit is created entirely out of LEGO bricks by Ohio Lego User’s Group! You can see this exhibit with your membership, regular admission or for free on Sundays! It will be on view through February, 2024!

22. Visit the Ohio Statehouse

The tree at Ohio Statehouse in Downtown Columbus, Ohio.

The Ohio Statehouse is decked out for the holidays! You can visit the Ohio Statehouse during business hours to take a self-guided or guided tour! Make sure to check out the Atrium and the Rotunda areas for the holiday decorations! There will be choir performances on weekdays, December 5-19, 2023 during the lunch hour.

23. Mr. Scrooge the Musical at Columbus Children’s Theatre

This family-friendly show is a one act show with no intermission. The show is 1 hour long and show times run through December 23rd.

24. Riverside Crossing Park Ice Rink

This temporary ice rink is right near the Dublin Link pedestrian bridge and will be open for skating on Friday nights and on Saturday and Sunday! Opening day is tentatively scheduled for December 1, 2023!

25. Lazarus Window Displays

The Lazarus building windows feature holiday-themed displays along Town Street in downtown Columbus! They’re always magical! This year there are new lights lining Town Street!

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