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What Should We Do This Weekend? Columbus, Ohio, December 1-3, 2023

Looking for something fun to do this weekend in Columbus? Try out one of these family-friendly Columbus and Ohiobased events and activities!

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

Family Friendly Things to do in Columbus, Ohio This Weekend:

1. Complete the Elf Trail in the Short North

Kids under 12 can look for elves on the shelves of participating businesses and turn their Elf Trail card in to receive a free hot drink at Northstar Cafe or Roaming Goat Coffee. Pick up a card at participating businesses or print one at home! This activity will be available from November 24 – December 31, 2023.

2. Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory

Conservatory Aglow opens on Saturday at 5:00 PM and runs through January 7, 2024. Hours are 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM Sunday through Thursday, and until 10:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. Enjoy holiday light displays, outdoor games, dancing, festive igloos, a life-size gingerbread house, the Paul Busse Garden Railway and more! Reservations are strongly encouraged.

3. Gently Used Toy Drive with Seeds of Caring

Join Seeds of Caring to help local families bring joy to their children this holiday season: Donate 5 of your best gently used toys (or purchase new ones) to be distributed by The Open Shelter during its annual Holiday Shop. Families and groups can participate any time through Dec. 10 to brighten the holidays for loving families in Columbus!

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4. Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

This event at the Columbus Zoo includes millions of LED lights, musical light shows, Rudloph in 4D, meet and greet with characters, reindeer and more! Hours are Sunday – Thursday: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM and Friday and Saturday: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM.

5. Butch Bandos Fantasy of Lights

Butch Bandos Fantasy of Lights is open nightly through January 1, 2024. This drive-through light show is open every day including holidays. Sunday through Thursday hours are: 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM and Friday and Saturday hours are: 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM. Tickets are available online and at the gate.

6. Think Outside the Brick at Columbus Museum of Art

Visit Think Outside The Brick, the annual LEGO display at Columbus Museum of Art by Ohio LEGO Users’s Group. There will be a museum-wide scavenger hunt, a LEGO brick building zone and more! This exhibit is included in admission. Weekend hours are 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Sundays are free!

7. GalaxyCon Columbus at Columbus Convention Center

Galaxy Con takes place at the Greater Columbus Convention Center on Friday, Saturday and Sunday! This event includes celebrities, artists, entertainers, panels, an exhibit hall, cosplay contests and more! Tickets are available online.

8. Festive Fridays at Columbus Commons – CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER

On Friday night at Columbus Commons from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM enjoy free hot chocolate and carousel rides, live music, a roaming Photo Booth, and more!

9. Reynolsburg Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Reynoldsburg Senior Center

The Reynoldsburg Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place on Friday from 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM and includes musical performances, an arrival from Santa, food trucks, fun activities for kids and more!

10. Holiday Carriage Rides at Easton Town Center

Holiday Carriage Rides will be available at Easton Town Center on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Rides are $10/person. Cash only. Children under 15 are free if they ride with a paying adult. Check the link for daily times.

11. Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting in Westerville

Westerville’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting will take place on Friday from 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM and it includes a Parade of Lights, strolling entertainment, holiday vendors, a visit from Santa and the tree lighting!

12. Mr. Scrooge with Columbus Children’s Theatre

Mr. Scrooge the Musical will take place from December 1-23, 2023! The show is a one-act musical without intermission and it lasts 60 minutes. This is a family-friendly performance that is held at the Riffe Center!

13. Annie Jr. at Big Walnut High School

Sunbury Performing Arts makes their debut with Annie Jr at Big Walnut High School this weekend! Shows will take place on Friday at 7:00 PM and Saturday at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Bring a donation of new bed items for the Bed Brigade and receive a raffle ticket.

14. Heart of Grove City Christmas Parade

The Grove City Christmas Parade takes place on Friday night at 7:00 PM and winds through Grove City Town Center. The tree lighting will follow the parade at Park Street and Broadway.

15. Holiday Pops at Ohio Theatre

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday enjoy Holiday Pops, a performance by the Columbus Symphony Chorus and Columbus Children’s Choir featuring holiday songs and carols. Tickets are available online.

16. Breakfast with Santa at Scene 75

Breakfast with Santa takes place at Scene75 on Saturday from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM and includes a breakfast buffet, meet and greet with Santa, a free DIY photo station and unlimited attractions and rides for 1.5 hours. Tickets are available online.

17. Pictures with Santa at KSM Sports and Fitness

Register online for this free event that features Pictures with Santa, face painting, story tie, hot chocolate and coffee, crafts, play and more! You can pick a 1-hour time slot between the hours of 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM on either Saturday or Sunday.

18. Birding For Kids at Blendon Woods Nature Center

Go on a walk to look for birds and make your own bird feeder at Blendon Woods Nature Center on Saturday at 10:00 AM.

19. Downtown HoliDAY in Downtown Columbus

Celebrate the holidays all day Saturday in Downtown Columbus with holiday light shows, markets, a free Santa Extravaganza and more. Click the link for all the details!

20. WinterFest at Dorrian Green

This annual celebration of winter features seasonal craft beers and cocktails, live music, food trucks and free activities like a giant snow globe, corn hole, mechanical reindeer and more! This event takes place at Dorrian Green on Saturday from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

21. Christmas in the Gardens at Hoover Gardens and Gift Center

Every weekend from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM kids can enjoy ornament painting, visits with The Grinch and writing letters to Santa! There will also be hot chocolate and cookies and discounts on indoor Christmas items!

22. Holiday Hop in the Short North

Holiday Hop takes place on Saturday from 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM in the Short North Arts District! There will be a pedestrian-only district on High Street for this special holiday event featuring the High Street Holiday Market. Print out a Holiday Trail or Elf Trail card and explore the Short North!

23. Holidays in Powell

On Saturday beginning at 12:00 PM at Village Green Park enjoy a holiday market, strolling entertainment, horse-drawn carriage rides, a community bonfire and a tree lighting ceremony at 6:00 PM.

24. Country Christmas at 22 Acres Farm

Country Christmas takes place at 22 Acres Farm in Newark from 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM on Saturday and features a decorated barn, visits with Santa, hay rides, a Photo Booth and live animals! There will also be local vendors and a beverage trailer! Cost is $5/person and ages 2 and under are free.

25. Downtown Holiday Trolley Hop

The annual Downtown Holiday Hop takes place on Saturday from 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM and includes 16 stops! Each stop has free activities for families like arts and crafts, face painting, holiday displays and more!

26. Step by Step Release Party and Author Spotlight at the Whitehall Branch of CML

Celebrate the release of Step by Step: How the Lincoln School Marchers Blazed a Trail to Justice, by Carlotta Penn and Debbie Rigaud. There will be a read aloud of the book, cookies, activities and the first 25 families to arrive will receive a free signed book! This event takes place on Saturday at 3:00 PM and you can register online.

27. Sundaes with Santa at The Yard Milkshake Bar

Visit with Santa at this special event at The Yard Milkshake Bar on Sunday between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Each ticket includes a specialty bowl, visit with Santa and a commemorative holiday ornament. Tickets available online.

28. 12 Days of Bridge Park

12 Days of Bridge Park begins on Thursday night with a “December Eve” celebration from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM featuring festive activities! This weekend’s event, Santa in the Park, will take place on Sunday from 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM and feature free photos with Santa and live music! More events will continue throughout the month!

29. Columbus Children’s Theatre – A Christmas Carol Performance at Main Library

Enjoy a free performance of Columbus Children’s Theatre – A Christmas Carol in the CML Main Library Reading Room on Sunday at 2:00 PM.

30. Hilliard Tree Lighting

Hilliard’s Tree Lighting will take place on Sunday from 4:00 PM – 6:30 PM. Enjoy choir performances, and tons of fun activities in downtown Hilliard and Hilliard Historical Society.

31. Village Lights in German Village

Explore German Village on a trail lit by glowing luminaries. Local businesses and restaurants will stay open late and offer festive activities on Sunday from 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM.

things to do this weekend 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. Inclusion of an event on this list is not considered an endorsement. Please use your best judgement when attending public events and consult your doctor if you have questions regarding the safety level of a public event. Read my disclaimer here. Enjoy what you do today!*