These are 10 Holiday and Christmas events we make sure not to miss every year! If you’re looking to start some family-friendly Christmas traditions around Columbus, start here!
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 Columbus, today I am sharing 10 things my family loves doing at Christmastime in Columbus!
Here are 10 of our favorite family-friendly Christmas Events in Columbus!
1. Village Lights – cancelled for 2020
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 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 8, 2019, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Where: throughout German Village
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 held in mid November.
When: November 10, 2020 – January 3, 2021 (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) (Wildlights hours: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM Sundays – Thursdays, 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM Fridays and Saturdays)
Where: 4850 Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065
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 beautifully (that goes without saying)!
There are lights throughout inside and outside and it’s breathtaking! During this season, Franklin Park Conservatory is open until 9:00 PM. There will be special family-friendly activities happening all through the season!
Decorations now expand into the Grand Mallway. This year there will be a Special Engagement Admission Rate for this event and members will receive half off these rates. See the link for details.
When: November 14, 2020 – January 10, 2021, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Where: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203
- Related: 5 Holiday Trains in Columbus
Throughout the holiday season, the Scioto Mile is awash in light – Christmas lights, that is! The park will be full of lights towards the end of November!
When: November 2020 through Early January 2021
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 are filled with scenes from the 12 Days of Christmas!
When: November 20, 2020 through January 3, 2021 from 5:00 PM until to 10:00 PM
Where: 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215
6. Huntington Holiday Train – cancelled for 2020
Main Library is home to the Huntington Holiday Train and every year this amazing display is set up during the holiday season! The library typically begins set up of the train in mid November and it is usually up through New Years!
When: Mid November, 2019 – Early January, 2020 (Unconfirmed for 2020.)
Where: 96 S. Grant Ave. Columbus, OH 43215
7. Holiday Train at Ohio History Center – cancelled for 2020
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!
For two weekends in December, Ohio Village will host Dickens of a Christmas where you can celebrate Christmas in the 19th century with Victorian crafts, snacks, caroling and more!
When: Late November – Early January
Where: 800 E. 17th. Ave., Columbus OH 43211
8. Think Outside the Brick– delayed until spring of 2021
This exhibit at the Columbus Museum of Art isn’t necessarily holiday themed, but it is definitely a holiday tradition in Columbus! 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!
When: November 23, 2019 – January 17, 2020 (Unconfirmed for 2020.)
Where: 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215
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, 56 ft tree covered in 28, 680 RGB LED’s arrived in 2017!)!
There are carriage rides, live music performances and the lighting ceremony takes place on November 20, 2020.
When: beginning November 16, 2018
Where: 160 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219
Christmas Corner is something we love to do close to Christmas Eve! You can walk through a life-sized nativity following the Christmas story! There will be no tree lighting ceremony in 2020.
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: After Thanksgiving until Jan. 4: Daily from 6:00 AM – 8 AM and 5:00 PM – 11:30 PM, until 12:30 AM on Fridays and Saturdays (these times are subject to change in 2020.) Christmas Eve: 3:00 PM until 8:00 AM Christmas Day
Where: 518 E Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215
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I hope that whatever you chose to do, you have a special season with your family!
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Need even more ideas? Try 100 Fun Things to do in Columbus, Ohio