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 – cancelled for 2020

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 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

Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

3. Conservatory Aglow

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

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

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! 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

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 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

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 (Unconfirmed for 2020.)
Where: 96 S. Grant Ave. Columbus, OH 43215

Holiday Train at Main Library in Columbus, Ohio

7. Holiday Train at Ohio History Center – cancelled for 2020

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!

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

Holiday Train at Ohio History Center

8. Think Outside the Brick– delayed until spring of 2021

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 (Unconfirmed for 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 20, 2020.

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! 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!

wiseman at State Auto Christmas Corner in Downtown Columbus

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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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

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

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Celebrating 1 Year: See Our Favorite Memories and Read Our Top 10!

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This week, I’m celebrating the 1 year anniversary of What Should We Do Today? January 28, 2016 is when I first “went public” with my blog on Facebook, basically begging my local friends to invite their local friends to like my Facebook page. 😬 A friend recently asked if I could go back and tell myself something when I was just starting out, what would it be? My answer was “to keep going because it’s worth it!”

It’s been a great year! We got to do some really fun things, meet some talented and creative people and keep exploring Columbus together as a family!

Because I’m reminiscing today, I’m going to share with you my top 3 personal favorite experiences from the year and then my top 10 most viewed blog posts from the year!

1. Hands down, my number one experience this year was taking a hard hat tour of the new Main Library. For me this was such an honor. I had only been blogging for 3 months and it meant SO much to me to be invited – plus, my family loved that library and couldn’t wait for it to reopen, so to get a sneak peak was really exciting AND I got to do it on my birthday! Pretty hard to beat that!

This is my “I can’t believe it!” face.

2. Another top favorite experience was being invited to Abigail Wexner’s horse barn to learn about the activities and mission of the New Albany Classic. Being invited to anyone Wexner’s personal anything was pretty crazy! 😉 I honestly had no idea what the New Albany Classic was (well, the ideas I did have were wrong) and it was very touching to hear Abigail Wexner talk about her heart for the Center for Family Safety and Healing. To be able to catch the vision first hand for what the day is all about was a special and memorable experience.

Wexner Horse Barn

3. Writing for Columbus Moms Blog has been a big part of this past year! While my own blog is primarily about things to do with your kids in Columbus, I’ve been able to do some other kinds of writing for CMB. For me those articles are almost more personal than what I post here and some of have been shared on other City Moms Blog networks across the nation! I really want to encourage moms with what I post there (as well as share fun things to do in Columbus) and I’ve been so thankful for that opportunity! Not only has the writing been great, but I’ve met some really funny, supportive and amazing co-writers that I am happy to call my friends!

One of my first CMB posts. Click on the picture to read.

And now here is the countdown of the top 10 most viewed posts this year!

10. Indoor Programs for Toddlers and Preschoolers in Columbus: Winter 2017

9. 26 Things to Do Thanksgiving Weekend in Columbus

8. What Should We Do This Weekend? October 27-31, 2016 Halloween Edition

7. 12 Columbus Parks to Try This Summer

6. Cheap Family Outings in Columbus for Every Day of the Week

5. Columbus Christmas Staycation 2016

4. 6 Columbus Area Parks for Toddlers

3. 10 of Our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

2. 10 Things to be Excited About at New Main Library!

And surpassing #2 by more than 1000 views (!) . . .

1. 20 Free Indoor Play Areas in Columbus

If you’ve read this far, what I most want to say is THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR READING! Your reading, sharing and commenting has kept me going! You guys rock! I also have to say a big thank you to my husband, Eric, because without his encouragement (and his web design skills) I would have given up a bajillion times by now! 😉

Keep exploring Columbus with your kids! Our city is awesome!


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What Should We Do This Weekend? January 13-16, 2017 MLK Jr. Day Edition

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Please visit What Should We Do This Weekend? for MLK Jr. Weekend 2019 by clicking here!

We’re heading into a 3-day weekend for many people and there are several ways to celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. throughout the weekend! Here are 16 things you can do with your kids in and around Columbus! Enjoy!

1. Snow White at Columbus Children’s Theatre

When: Thursday – Sunday, January 12-15, 2017
Time: Thursday and Friday: 7:30 PM, Saturday: 1:00 PM, 3:00 PM and 5:00 PM, Sunday: 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM
Location: Park Street Theatre, 512 Park Street, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-224-6672

This 1-act adaptation of Snow White includes audience participation and is recommended for ages 3 and up!

2. PBJ & Jazz at Lincoln Theatre

When: Saturday, January 14, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Location: 769 E Long St’, Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-294-5400

The Sean Carney Band is featured at your choice of two jazz concerts (10:00 AM and 11:30 AM) and each child receives a PBJ sandwich, juice and a cookie! Cost is $5 per person with a family max of $20.

3. Winter Movie Series: Frozen at COSI

When: Saturday & Sunday, January 14 & 15, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM both days
Location: 333 West Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-228-2674

Watch the movie Frozen on the big screen at COSI!

4. First Responders Night with Ohio State Hockey

When: Saturday, January 14, 2017
Time: OSU game starts at 2:00 PM, First Responders at 4:30 PM
Location: Schottenstein Center, 555 Borror Dr, Columbus, OH 43210

This annual hockey face-off between the Columbus Police Department and the Columbus Fire Department raises money to support first responders in Columbus and throughout Ohio! Your ticket includes 2 hockey games (including OSU), a performance by the Columbus Police & Fire Pipes & Drums, an interactive emergency vehicle display, the opportunity to see K9 and horse mounted patrol and more! Tickets available online!

5. Happy Birthday Martin! at Martin Luther King Branch, Columbus Metropolitan Library

When: Saturday January 14, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM – 2:45 PM
Location: 1600 E. Long St., Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-645-2275

Kids age 3-11 are invited to this event to celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. There will be stories, a craft and more!

6. LEGO Club at Grove City Library

When: Saturday, January 14, 2017
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: 3959 Broadway, Grove City, OH 43123
Phone: 614-875-6716

There is a LEGO challenge and theme that will be revealed at the program! Kids can join together in teams or complete the building challenge individually!

7. Peter and the Wolf at Columbus Symphony

When: Sunday, January 15, 2017
Time: 3:00 PM
Location: Davidson Theatre in the Vern Riffe Center, 55 E. State St., Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: 614-228-9600

This concert is geared toward children and the story of Peter and the Wolf is told through different instruments! Arrive early (2:00 PM) for crafts, instruments to see and play, musical tattoos and more! Children are encouraged to dress as their favorite animal!

8. MLK Skate Weekend at Skate Zone 71

When: Monday, January 16, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
Location: 4900 Evanswood Dr., Columbus, OH 43229
Phone: 614-846-5626

All ages are welcome at this family day skate! If you arrive before 11:30 AM your admission is only $.99!

9. Open Play at SuperGames

When: Monday, January 16, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Location: 535 Lakeview Plaza Blvd Ste A, Worthington, OH 43085
Phone: 614-846-8946 ext. 306

Check out the special hours of open play at SuperGames! Availability is limited to the first 150 children so arrive early!

10. Free Admission to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

When: Monday, January 16, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Location: 4850 Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is offering free admission on MLK Jr. Day! Parking is $10 per car.

11. $5/Child Play Day at Brick of Dreams

When: Monday, January 16, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location: 6190 Shamrock Ct, Ste C., Dublin, OH 43016
Phone: 614-766-0000

A special price of $5/hour per kid is being offered Monday only at Brick of Dreams!

12. Power of Words in Stories at Martin Luther King Branch, Columbus Metropolitan Library

When: Monday January 16, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM
Location: 1600 E. Long St., Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-645-2275

This special Ready for Kindergarten Storytime celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a special story and activities! Appropriate for ages 3-6 years.

13. Community Celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day at Worthington United Methodist Church

When: Monday, January 16, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: 600 High St., Worthington, OH 43085

Worthington’s community celebration will include speaker Reginald Dwayne Betts and performances by Capriccio adult and youth choirs!

14. The Bubble Lady at Franklin Park Conservatory

When: Monday January 16, 2017
Time: 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM
Location: 1777 E Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-715-8000

See The Bubble Lady blow amazing bubble creations!

15. MLK Day Open House at The King Arts Complex

When: Monday, January 16, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location: 867 Mt. Vernon Ave., Columbus, OH 43203
Phone: 614-645-5464

This free community event is open to adults and children to experience musical and live theater performances, learn about the civil rights movement, see an art exhibition and do art activities!

16. No School Craft Day at Canvas Creations for You

When: Monday, January 16, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: 325 S. Sandusky St #206, Delaware, OH
Phone: 614-450-2239

Come in for canvas painting and special prices on string art and stencil art! (Bring a hammer for string art!)

17. MLK Celebration and March at East High School

When: Monday, January 16, 2017
Time: 4:00 PM
Location: 1500 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43205

The Annual City of Columbus Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. march takes place on Monday at 4:00 PM and  will feature a program with Keynote Speaker Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie. RSVP online!

18. Happy Birthday Martin! at Shepard Branch, Columbus Metropolitan Library

When: Monday January 16, 2017
Time: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: 850 N. Nelson Rd., Columbus, OH 43219
Phone: 614-645-2275

Families are invited to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. with a read aloud, craft and literacy activity! There will be refreshments served.


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ICYMI: Indoor Programs for Toddlers and Preschoolers in Columbus: Winter 2017

*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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