57 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 57 events and things to do Thanksgiving week in Columbus!

Disclaimer: Franklin County is currently under a Stay At Home Advisory. Many events are being cancelled or going virtual. Please check links before making your plans and use your best judgement when deciding to attend an in-person event. Stay safe, Columbus!

57 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 and Weekend:

Light Tunnel at Conservatory Aglow

Tunnel of Light at Franklin Park Conservatory.

1. Conservatory Aglow is happening at Franklin Park Conservatory! Tickets must be purchased in advance.

2. Wildlights is in full swing all weekend at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium! Tickets must be purchased in advance.

3. Visit LEGOLAND Columbus Discovery Center at Easton Town Center. LEGOLAND is closed on Tuesday and Wednesday this year. Purchase tickets online.

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. This event begins on Friday, November 27th.

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 3, 2020. 5:30 PM – 9:30. Ticket booth closes at 9:00 PM.

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

8. 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!

9. On Saturday and Sunday you can take a Holiday Carriage Ride at Easton Town Center!

10. Pick up a Family Gingerbread House Decorating kit from Young Chefs Academy of Gahanna.

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

12. Take photos with Santa at Polaris Fashion Place. Check the link for times. Reservations encouraged.

13. Run the Chase Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot when it’s convenient for you! – use the code “esff” for $6 off your registration!

14. Drive through Light Up Camp at Flying Horse Farms beginning November 27.

15. Dazzling Christmas Lights in Westerville begin on November 27!

16. Take a trip to Cleveland for the Wild Winter Lights Drive Through in Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

17. Visit the Lucy Depp Park Light Show in Powell beginning November 27!

18. Visit the Holiday Lights at Columbus Commons! They will be lit every night from 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM until January 3.


A BIG thanks to WonderLight’s Christmas for sponsoring this post!

Santa’s not the only one coming to town!! “WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio”, a drive-through Christmas light show, is back this year at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio! This family-friendly event features 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 crowd favorite) enchanting tunnels of lights 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 is open rain or shine every evening, including holidays, from November 13 to January 3! The cost of admission is super affordable at $7 per person and children 3 years old and under are FREE! OR, you can purchase a Carload Pass for vehicles with up to seven passengers for just $30! Learn more at www.wonderlightschristmas.com!


Holiday Lights in Bicentennial Park, Columbus, Ohio

Holiday Lights in downtown Columbus, Ohio.

Monday, November 23, 2020:

19. Register for and attend Friendsgiving Open Play at We Rock the Spectrum – Columbus

20. Watch Songs for the Community, a free virtual concert presented by The Columbus Foundation by Talisha Holmes. 

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

Lights at WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020:

21. Attend the North Market Tuesday Before Thanksgiving Market for all your Thanksgiving needs!

22. Pick up a Weekly Take & Make Craft at Grandview Heights Public Library.

23. Pick up some food from SmokeOut BBQ & Catering in Whitehall Community Park during Heartland Bank Food Truck Days.

24. Pick up a free from Works@Home STEM Mini-Kit Giveaway at Mary E Babcock Library from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM. First come, first served.

hanging holiday decor at Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio

Holiday Decor at Franklin Park Conservatory.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020: 

25. Go skating during Schools Out Skate at Skate Zone 71.

26. Attend Songs for the Community, a free virtual concert presented by The Columbus Foundation by Popgun.

27. Skate for $5 at the Thanksgiving Eve Glow Skate at Skate Zone 71.

28. Skate for $5 at the Thanksgiving Eve Family Skate at United Skates of America.

Blendon Woods Metro Park, Columbus, Ohio

Blendon Woods Metro Park

Thursday, November 26, 2020, THANKSGIVING DAY:

Happy Thanksgiving!

29. Enjoy a Thanksgiving Skate at Skate Zone 71.

Trees at Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Friday, November 27, 2020:

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

30. Shop Black Friday Record Store Day at Spoonful Records.

31. Attend BLACK FRIDAY Record Store Day 2020 at Used Kids Records.

32. Play Grandview Heights-OPOLY by visiting stores and shops in Grandview Heights.

33. Another chance to shop Black Friday – Record Store Day at Lost Weekend Records

34. Pick up a Take & Make Kit: Leaf Garland at either branch of Southwest Public Libraries!

35. Shop Black Friday Weekend at Discount Fashion Warehouse.

36. Support Black owned businesses at Black Out Weekend at The Filipinos Centre.

37. Attend the BLACK FRIDAY MOMS RETREAT at AR Workshop Grove City for lunch, snacks, prizes, drinks and more while you complete a regular sign of your choice, 8 Christmas ornaments and a mini tray.

38. Get your skates on for Black Friday Roller Skating at Skate Zone 

39. Sign up for the Hootie Christmas Family Friendly Paint Class at Pinot’s Palette.

40. Shop Holidaze 2020 in the barn at Blystone Farm LLC.

41. Eat and skate at the FREE Dinner Skate at Skate Zone 71!

42. Join Poppy, Branch & DJ Suk at Troll Pizza Skate at Skate Zone 71!

43. Take a break from the kids and skate at Thanksgiving Break Adult Night at United Skates of America!

Christmas Trees at HTH Farm Market, Columbus, Ohio

HTH Farm Market

Saturday, November 28, 2020:

44. Shop in your jammies during the NYMCM + BrewDog Holiday Virtual Craft Market!

45. Pick up a Take & Make Kit: Comfort Me with Coloring Pages at either branch of Southwest Public Libraries!

46. Shop for fresh produce at the Franklinton Farm Stand.

47. Get out your skates for $5.00 Skating at Skate Zone 71.

48. Support Black owned businesses at Black Out Weekend at The Filipinos Centre.

49. Start your holiday shopping at the Handmade Market in Powell at Nocterra Brewing Co.

50. Attend a Bird of Prey Presentation at Mohican State Park Lodge.

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

Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights

Sunday, November 29, 2020:

51. Support Black owned businesses at Black Out Weekend at The Filipinos Centre.

52. Sing, Dance and More at Mommy, Me and Mrs Claus with Paulettes Princess Parties.

53. Shop and visit with Santa at the New Albany Oakland Nursery Holiday Event with Cousins Maine Lobster.

54. Attend the Holiday Open House in Worthington which includes horse-drawn carriage rides, live music, photos with Santa and a tree lighting each half hour beginning at 6:00 PM. 

55. Sign up for Mr. & Mrs. Claus Zoom Visits on Sunday!

56. Attend the Granville Village Tree Lighting.

57. Adults only can skate at Skate Zone 71 Sundays!

Need more ideas? Try 100 Fun Things to do in Columbus, Ohio


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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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How to Get Free Jeni’s Ice Cream on Your Birthday!

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Birthday freebies
abound but it’s hard to beat a free trio sized ice cream at your local Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams on your birthday!

This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure here.

Salty Caramel and Dark Chocolate in a cone at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams in Grandview

My go to: Salty Caramel and Dark Chocolate.

Some people keep a list of all of the birthday freebies and make a point of hitting them all up within the given timeframe. But there is only ONE birthday freebie my family goes out of its way to claim and that’s your free birthday ice cream at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams!

How do you get your free birthday ice cream at Jeni’s?

It’s pretty easy to get your free ice cream BUT it does require a few specific steps! So read on to find out how to enjoy this extra special birthday freebie!

ice cream cone at Jeni's Ice Cream in Columbus, Ohio

Salty Caramel and Dark Chocolate makes another appearance.

1. Show up ON your birthday.

This isn’t one of those birthday freebies that lasts a month or even a week. It must be your EXACT birthday! And yes, you must show proof which leads us to step number two.

2. Show your ID.

In order to prove it is your birthday, you must show an ID with your birthdate! (Otherwise, every day would be my birthday. wink wink.) But “what about the kids?” you ask! Parents can vouch for their children on their birthday. 

That’s it, just two steps and you’re on your way to getting your free birthday ice cream at Jeni’s!

Jeni's Ice Cream in a waffle cone.

For a real treat try the Buttercrisp Waffle Cone – made fresh in shops daily!

What size ice cream can you get on your birthday?

On your birthday you can get a free single, standard or trio sized ice cream in a cup or a cone. Who wouldn’t get the trio?? Seriously, I can’t think of one reason not to! As you can see below, my husband sure did!

man pointing at his free Jeni's ice cream on his birthday in Columbus, Ohio

Oh yeah! He went for the trio.

Where are Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Scoop Shops Located?

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams are in 14 cities and counting, but Columbus, Ohio is the home of Jeni’s and we are proud of it!

a bowl of Jeni's Ice Cream at Columbus Commons

Columbus Commons is one of my favorite Jeni’s locations in Columbus!

Jeni’s Ice Cream Scoop Shop locations in Columbus include:

  • North Market (home of the first Jeni’s) – 59 Spruce St., Columbus, OH 43215
  • Grandview Heights – 1281 Grandview Ave., Columbus, OH 43212
  • Short North – 714 N. High St., Columbus, OH 43215
  • Dublin – 1 W. Bridge St., Dublin, OH 43017
  • Clintonville – 4247 N. High St., Clintonville, OH 43214
  • German Village – 900 Mohawk St., Columbus, OH 43206
  • Columbus Commons – 160 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215
  • Easton – 3998 Gramercy St., Columbus, OH 43219

And now indulge me for some of my favorite Jeni’s memories like . . .

two women holding ice cream at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Scoop Shop

That time I ran into my friend and birthday twin Erin, (aka the Spiffy Cookie) getting our free birthday ice cream!

Jeni Britton Bauer and Julie Miller at This Week News

And oh yeah, that one time I did a podcast with Jeni herself about ice cream. What?! And yes, I was freaking out inside. You can listen to that podcast here on The Great Food Debate.

If for some sad reason you do not live near a Jeni’s Scoop Shop, you can order online and have it shipped nationwide OR you get one of her recipe books (I have this one) and make it at home! (Yes, you will need an ice cream machine like this adorable pink one.) My parents bought me Jeni’s first book and an ice cream maker for Christmas one year. It was a great gift idea!

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Now you know all you need to know so that you don’t miss out on your free birthday ice cream! Happy Birthday to you!

Exploring Columbus with Your Kids

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How to get free Jeni's Ice Cream on your birthday!

 


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25 Free Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio this Winter

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This list of free things to do in Columbus, Ohio will keep you and the kids busy and cabin-fever free this Winter!

Winter is tough with kids. I’m sure some of you die hards will disagree, but for me it takes so much more effort to get out of the house: coats, gloves, hats, taking off coats for carseats, defrosting the car. And the list goes on. But I’ve put together a list of free kid-friendly things to do around Columbus that will make all the effort worth it! Good luck! 🙂

25 Free Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio this Winter:

boys watching planes take off at Ohio State University Airport

1. Watch planes take off at Ohio State University Airport

kid getting buckeye candy at Anthony Thomas Candy Factory in Columbus, OH

2. Tour Anthony Thomas Chocolate Factory. Tours take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the winter. (I consider this free because at the end you get to use your admission price ($2 for adults and $1 for kids) towards a purchase of candy in the gift shop! 😉 ).

3. Play at The Naz indoor play area in Grove City. This one’s open until 8:00 PM or 9:00 PM on weekdays!

4. See the Living Stream at Battelle Darby Metro Park.

5. Look for the bison at Battelle Darby Metro Park. (A brisk .5 mile walk from the Nature Center!)

6. Attend a story time at Grange Insurance Audubon Center. Story times are typically Thursday and Saturday mornings at 10:00 AM. Afterwards play in the free indoor play area!

7. Check out a free “culture pass” to Franklin Park Conseratory, Wexner Center for the Arts and Ohio History Center at a participating Columbus Metropolitan Library branch for free access. Participating libraries include Driving Park, Martin Luther King, Shepard, Karl Road, Linden, Northern Lights, Northside and Whetstone. Call 614-645-2275 to check for availability.

The Wonder Room at Columbus Museum of Art

8. Go to Columbus Museum of Art on a Sunday. Admission is free on Sundays from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

9. Visit Franklin Park Conservatory on Community Days (the first Sunday of each month). Residents of Franklin County and the City of Columbus get in free with valid ID during regular operating hours (10:00 AM – 5:00 PM).

cookie and cup of coffee at Sassafras Bakery

10. Get a free cup of coffee or glass of milk when you buy a cookie at Sassafras Bakery during Milk and Cookie Happy Hour.

11. Play in the kids area at Coffee Connections in Hilliard. (After you buy a cup of coffee, of course!)

Story Garden in Worthington Library

12. Visit the totally cute Story Garden at Northwest Library in Worthington.

13. Play in Småland, the awesome indoor childcare area for free for one hour at IKEA. IKEA Family Members (rewards card holders) get an extra half hour (and free coffee)! Kids must be between the ages of 4 and 10 and potty trained!

14. Watch for birds at the Blacklick Woods Metro Park Nature Center.

play area at Westerville Christian Church15. Play at Central Park at Westerville Christian Church. Check the link for hours because they are very specific!

16. Attend KidX at Polaris Fashion Place! This monthly event features free activities for kids!

17. Participate in the Winter Reading Challenge at Columbus Library. Kids get a pencil and bookmark just for signing up!

18. Look for fairies on the Dublin Irish Fairy Door Trail.

19. Play free arcade games at Old North Arcade (with the purchase of a drink or food)! Old North Arcade is kid-friendly until 8:00 PM. (You might want to cover their eyes to avoid seeing some of the writing inside the bathroom stalls – don’t say I didn’t warn you.) 

pizzuti collection free sundays columbus ohio

20. Look at art at Pizzuti Collection on Sundays – Pizzuti Collection is now part of Columbus Museum of Art, meaning admission is also free here on Sundays as well! The details have changed a bit, but you can get an idea of what to expect from our visit a few years ago.

21. Attend one of these story times. The Cheryl’s Cookies story time includes a free mini cookie!

22. Read 5 books and get a free kid’s meal at Rusty Bucket. (Check the link for a whole list of Kids Eat Free options!)

23. Go on a Winter Hike with Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks. Hot drinks and food provided afterwards!

dinosaur bones at Orton Hall

24. Visit the dinosaur at Orton Hall. Click the link for a list of things to do with your kids on the campus of The Ohio State University!

25. Visit the fish (and other interesting sea creatures) at Aquarium Adventure in Hilliard! There’s even a hands-on pool!

Need more ideas? Try 100 Fun Things to do in Columbus, Ohio

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25 Free Things to do with Kids in Columbus, Ohio this Winter

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*Please be aware,  information is gathered from multiple community sources.  Times, dates and locations are subject to change. Please call ahead or check links to confirm activities.  Enjoy what you do today!*

ICYMI: Story Times for Kids in Columbus, Ohio


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