93 Things to Do Thanksgiving Week in Columbus

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Looking for things to do in Columbus around Thanksgiving? If you have family in town and/or a few days off of work and are looking for something to do, check out this list of 93 events and things to do Thanksgiving week in Columbus!

93 Things to do Thanksgiving Week in Columbus:

If there’s a chance you’ll need to walk (or skate) 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! (As always, please double check the link for exact details, dates and times!) There will not be an additional What Should We Do This Weekend? post this week. This is the list! 🙂

Things to Do Any Time Thanksgiving Week:

Light Tunnel at Conservatory Aglow

Tunnel of Light at Franklin Park Conservatory.

1. Conservatory Aglow is happening at Franklin Park Conservatory! While you’re there, check out the Gingerbread Competition.

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

3. Visit LEGOLAND Columbus Discovery Center at Easton Town Center. LEGOLAND is open 365 days a year. Thanksgiving Hours are 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM and the last admission is at 3:00 PM.

Light Tunnel at WonderLight's Christmas in Ohio in Hebron, Ohio

Drive Through Tunnel at WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio!

4. Drive through WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio in Hebron, Ohio to see over 1 million synchronized LED lights! Open every night from 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM.

5. 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 event will be $8.00 per car on Friday & Saturday nights, free Sunday-Thursday nights.

Butch Bando's Fantasy of Lights, Alum Creek Campground

Drive Through Lights at Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights!

6. Drive through Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights, a holiday light display at Alum Creek Park Campground any night through January 1st, 5:30 PM – 9:30, until 10:30 on Friday and Saturday.

7. Take a road trip to visit the PNC Festival of Lights at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

8. Drop a letter in Santa’s Mailbox in Pickerington beginning Wednesday.

9. Check out the Thanksgiving Weekend special at Ten Pin Alley. Each day beginning Wednesday and running through Sunday there are different deals including $3 laser tag, half off arcade games, kids eat free and more! (Check the link for each day’s deals.)

10. For many people this is the week to get their Christmas Tree! Pick a farm or tree lot from this list of Christmas Tree Farms in Columbus and Beyond!

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

12. Sign up for a Family Gingerbread House Decorating class at Young Chefs Academy of Gahanna.

13. Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is playing this Friday, Saturday and Sunday only at Ohio Theatre!

Holiday Train at Columbus Metropolitan Library

Holiday Train at Main Library, Columbus.

14. Visit the Holiday Train at Columbus Metropolitan Library – Main Library downtown! Or check out one of these 5 Holiday Trains Around Columbus!

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

Think Outside the Brick LEGO Exhibit at Columbus Museum of Art.

Think Outside the Brick LEGO Exhibit at Columbus Museum of Art.

16. 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!

17. Drive through the Fairfield County Festival of Lights at the Fairfield County Fairgrounds. This light display goes on opens Thanksgiving Day and runs through Christmas Day!

18. Winterfest opens at Kings Island on November 22 and operates select nights through December 31. . It includes ice skating, holiday characters, millions of lights, holiday shows, carolers, and the park will included 10 winter wonderlands to visit.

boy standing in Mall at Tuttle Crossing looking down on Santa.

Santa at his post at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing.

19. Take photos with Santa at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing. Check the link for times.

20. Take photos with Santa at Easton Town Center. Check the link for times.

21. Take photos with Santa at Polaris Fashion Place. Check the link for times.

22. Drop a letter to Santa in Grandview Heights and get a letter back!

23. Visit Bubbles the Elf at Grandview Heights Public Library for a free activity each day!

24. Play with Purpose at Tree of Life Play + Cafe: bring in a donation of new hats, gloves or scarves for the Good Tidings Winter Wear store at SON Ministries through December 6 and get 50% off regular priced admission to Tree of Life Play + Cafe.


A BIG thank you to WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio for sponsoring this post!

Santa’s not the only one coming to town!! “WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio”, a drive-through Christmas light show, will be coming to National Trail Raceway in Hebron this holiday season!

This family-friendly event will feature a 2-mile car ride through more than a million LED lights, all synchronized to music! Giant Christmas trees, floating snowflakes, shooting stars, dancing candy canes, and (a favorite of children of all ages) three enchanting tunnels of light will illuminate the night! Guests will be able to watch the lights dance around them to traditional and newer, rocking Christmas music from the warmth of their own vehicle.

This dazzling Christmas display will be offered rain or shine every evening, including holidays, from November 15 to January 5! The cost of admission is affordable at $7 per person and children 3 years old and under are FREE! You can also purchase a “Carload Pass” for vehicles with up to seven passengers for just $30!

Learn more at www.christmasinohio.com!


Holiday Lights in Bicentennial Park, Columbus, Ohio

Holiday Lights in downtown Columbus, Ohio.

Monday, November 25, 2019:

25. Play with Purpose at Tree of Life Play + Cafe!

26. Attend a Turkey Handprint Play Date at The Shops at Worthington Place.

27. Spend a Messy Monday Afternoon at We Rock the Spectrum – Columbus.

28. Do Thanksgiving Crafts at Highbanks Metro Park.

29. Attend a second Turkey Handprint Play Date at The Shops at Worthington Place.

Christmas tree made of lights at WonderLight's Christmas in Ohio

Lights at WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019:

30. Go to Farm & Forest School at Sunbury Urban Farm.

31. Celebrate Taco Tuesday at The Kitchen!

32. Watch Elf (Free Screening) at Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.

33. Play Family Fun and Games at Homestead Metro Park.

hanging holiday decor at Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio

Holiday Decor at Franklin Park Conservatory.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019: 

34. Go to Farm & Forest School at Sunbury Urban Farm.

35. Skate and Bounce at Skate Zone 71.

36. Play Family Fun and Games at Homestead Metro Park.

37. Take advantage of Cheap Skate Wednesdays at United Skates of America – Refugee Rd.

38. Make Cedar Wood Creations at Creative Art Bar Hilliard.

39. Thanksgiving Eve Glow Skate at Skate Zone 71.

40. Leave the kids at home for Thanksgiving Adult Skates at Skate Zone 71.

Blendon Woods Metro Park, Columbus, Ohio

Blendon Woods Metro Park

Thursday, November 28, 2019, THANKSGIVING DAY:

Happy Thanksgiving! Lots of chances to burn off that extra piece of pie (not that you need to …..)

41. Run the Chase Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in Upper Arlington – use the code “esff” for $6 off your registration!

42. Turkey Trot! in Blendon Woods Metro Park.

43. Another chance for Thanksgiving Adult Skates at Skate Zone 71.

44. Family Thanksgiving Skate at United Skates of America – Refugee Rd.

Trees at Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Friday, November 29, 2019:

Black Friday doesn’t have to mean shopping! Check out these fun things to do!

45. Visit Christmas at the Market at Lynd Fruit Farm.

46. Take a Black Friday Hike at Clear Creek Metro Park (this one is a bit intense).

47. Run around at Toddler Open Gym at Thompson Recreation Center.

48. Go Black Friday Rollerskating at Skate Zone 71. (3 different times today!)

49. Learn about Ohioans in sports at Thanksgiving Family Friday at Ohio History Center.

50. Drop off the kids for Kids Sew, Parents Go! at The Sewing Hive!

51. Opt Outside: Hike at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

52. Attend Toddler Time with Fine Motor Friday at We Rock the Spectrum – Columbus.

53. Enjoy Indoor Amusements at Slate Run Metro Park and Living Historical Farm!

54. Find your tree at the Annual Christmas Tree Sale at Saint Mary School German Village.

55. Black Friday Rollerskating again at Skate Zone 71.

56. Check out the Dazzling Christmas Lights First Night in Westerville.

57. See the 71st Annual Lighting of The Licking County Courthouse.

58. Pizza Skate with the Trolls at Skate Zone 71.

59. Watch the Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins at Nationwide Arena.

60. See the 2nd Annual LDP Lighting Event! at Lucy Depp Park, a drive through light experience!

61. Tired of turkey? How about Friday Nights Unlimited Pizza Skate at Skate Zone 71?

62. Have Hot Cocoa with Queen Elsa! at Susie’s Bistro & Bakery.

Christmas Trees at HTH Farm Market, Columbus, Ohio

HTH Farm Market

Saturday, November 30, 2019:

63. Take a Fall Bird Walk at Deer Haven Park.

62. Shop Small Business Saturday in Grove City

63. Santa is Coming to Sunny Street Cafe!

64. Run the Columbus Hungry Turkey 5k/10k in Genoa Park.

65. Shop Small Business Saturday at Gramercy Books!

66. Take part in Moonlight Madness at Tanger Outlets.

67. Attend a Sensory Friendly Storytime at Barnes & Noble – Easton.

68. Check out the Annual Christmas Tree Sale at Saint Mary School German Village.

69. Attend Christmas at the Market at Lynd Fruit Farm.

70. Shop Small Business Saturday with Natterdoodle!

71. Attend a Saturday Storytime at Barnes & Noble – Dublin.

72. Get Free MEALS for KIDS! at Hilltop YMCA.

73. Shop the Holiday Bazaar at Vertical Adventures.

74. Do Gingerbread House Decorating with Mrs. Turbo’s Cookies.

75. Enjoy Indoor Amusements at Slate Run Metro Park and Living Historical Farm

76. Take part in Family Turkey Talk at Blendon Woods Metro Park

77. Watch Ohio Roller Derby’s Halloween vs. Christmas game: The Skatemare Before Christmas in the Lausche Building!

78. Head south for the Ashville Christmas Parade!

The word "Rejoice" in lights at Butch Bando's Fantasy of Lights in Columbus, Ohio

Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights

Sunday, December 1, 2019:

79. Take the kids to Toddler Time! at Get Air Pickerington.

80. Relax with Kids Yoga & Storytime – GoYoga + Cover to Cover at Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers

81. Another chance for the Annual Christmas Tree Sale at Saint Mary School German Village.

82. Celebrate Christmas in the Gardens at Hoover Gardens & Gift Center.

83. Shop Christmas at the Market at Lynd Fruit Farm.

84. Shop Moonlight Madness at Tanger Outlets.

85. Attend the Holiday Bazaar & Tree Lighting in the Short North Arts District.

86. Create Holiday Stack-ables at Creative Art Bar Hilliard.

87. Visit the 10th-Annual HolidayVille in Clintonville.

88. Shop the Holiday Artisan Market at 3060 ARTWORKS.

89. Attend the Holiday Open House in Old Worthington!

90. Send Letters to Santa in Hilliard!

91. Visit Seldom Seen Glaciers in Battelle Darby Metro Park (ages 13 and up!).

92. Attend a Disney Junior Holiday Party! at the Palace Theatre.

93. Watch the Hilliard Tree Lighting in Hilliard’s Station Park.


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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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93 Things to do Thanksgiving Week in Columbus, Ohio


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10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

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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

Village Lights, German Village, Columbus, Ohio

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

2. Wildlights

wild lights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

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 16 , 2018 – January 6, 2019 (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) (Wildlights begins at 5:00 PM)
Where: 4850 Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065

Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

3. Conservatory Aglow (Formerly Merry and Bright)

conservatory aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory, 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 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!

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

New in 2019, decorations will 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 16, 2019 – January 5, 2020: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM
Where: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203

Rotating railroad at Franklin Park Conservatory

4. Bicentennial Park

christmas lights on the scioto mile, bicentennial park, columbus, Ohio

Throughout the holiday season, the Scioto Mile is awash in light – Christmas lights, that is! Taking place on Saturday, December 7, 2019, is WinterFest. it will include live performances and food trucks, as well as seasonal ales and cocktails. The park will be full of lights beginning November 21st!

When: November 21, 2019 through Early January 2020
Where: 233 S. Civic Center Dr., Columbus, OH 43215

Christmas lights at Bicentennial Park on the Scioto Mile

5. Columbus Commons and the Lazarus Windows

Christmas Lights at Columbus Commons

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! On December 7, 2019 there will be a free Santa’s Workshop at the Lazarus Building!

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

Huntington Train at Main Library, Columbus, Ohio

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
Where: 96 S. Grant Ave. Columbus, OH 43215

Holiday Train at Main Library in Columbus, Ohio

7. Holiday Train at Ohio History Center

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! F

or 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

Holiday Train at Ohio History Center

8. Think Outside the Brick

Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio

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
Where: 480 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

Think Outside the Brick LEGO exhibit at Columbus Museum of Art

9. Easton

Christmas Tree at Easton Town Center

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 22, 2019 beginning at 6:30 PM and includes a parade, a fireworks show, a visit from Santa and more!

Nativity at Easton Town Center

When: beginning November 16, 2018
Where: 160 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219

10. State Auto Christmas Corner

State Auto Christmas Corner Nativity Display, Downtown Columbus, Ohio

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 3, 2019 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!

wiseman at State Auto Christmas Corner in Downtown Columbus

When: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 through Christmas Day when baby Jesus is placed in the manger.
Where: 518 E Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215

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10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

I hope that whatever you chose to do, you have a special season with your family!

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Top 10 Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio

ICYMI: Top 10 Things to do with Your Kids in Columbus, Ohio


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Franklin Park Conservatory’s Children’s Garden is Unlike Anything Else in Columbus

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The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory will be one of the top family-friendly attractions in Columbus!

Today Mayson and I got a sneak peek of the new Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden at Franklin Park Conservatory! There is nothing else like this in the city! I walked away from the tour in awe!

The Children’s Garden is going to be a full-fledged attraction in itself, but it comes at no additional cost to visitors of the Franklin Park Conservatory! Access to the Children’s Garden is included with admission or membership and can only be entered through the Conservatory. On Community Days, the first Sunday of each month, residents of Franklin County and the City of Columbus can enter the Conservatory for free with your valid ID from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM!

A special thanks to Franklin Park Conservatory and CEO, Bruce Harkey for giving us this special tour!

Here are some of the many highlights:

A kids only entrance made of willows!

The Sunshine Celebration Arch, featuring stained glass rainbows!

The Rainbow Welcome Terrace is where you  can orient yourself and peruse the map to decide where to go first!

Larger than life topiaries throughout the park!

Misting Boulders – kids can run around in the mist, which will also create rainbows in the air!

The Flower Kaleidoscope!

Take the road less travelled!

Explore the Sensory Garden full of instruments to play!

Give or watch a puppet show!

This playhouse is made of bamboo and straw bales  wrapped in mud and clay and is the largest natural children’s playhouse in the world!

The Sunrise Lawn for rolling and running and the Boulder Scramble for rock climbing!

The Fairy Garden.

The Whispering Wall – whisper at one end and your partner can hear on the other end of this curved bench!

The Reading Garden – grab a book and enjoy this peaceful area!

The Word Garden – make your own inspirational sentences!

In an area called, My Ohio Woods, This Sandstone Bluff is modeled after Hocking Hills! Water will cascade down the bluff and will fill this creek area for children to explore! (yes, they will get wet!)

The Wetland Explore includes a boardwalk and Floating Path. In this rain garden area, water will rise and fall with the rain. The area also includes a Pollywog Pool where kids can watch for tadpoles!

The Green Man!

This Floating Frame will be a spot for floating art! Drop in floating objects to create a moving piece of artwork within a stone frame!

A gardening and cooking area!

A Nature Play Zone that includes a Stump Jump, Sand Box and Web Climb!

An amazing Canopy Walk that gives you a bird’s eye view of the entire garden!

The Hammock Lounge, which is 12 feet off the ground, may look scary, but it can literally hold 7 elephants!

A Cork Tree Rope Walk – swaying bridges that allow you to walk through the heights.

Cardinal Corner – a life sized bird’s nest!

The Children’s Garden also has a Learning Pavilion where events will be held. In this building there are also family restrooms and hand washing stations.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden opens to the public on Saturday, May 19, 2018. There will be a brief ceremony at 9:30 AM. However, members can RSVP for a preview on May 18, by clicking here!

Know Before You Go:

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
1777 E. Broad Street Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000
Open Daily: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

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ICYMI:  The Unofficial West Side Ice Cream Trail


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