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What Should We Do This Weekend? Columbus, Ohio, December 15-17, 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. 12 Elves of Dublin

Hunt for the 12 elves hiding amongst local shops in Historic Dublin. Fill out your elf card and return it to win a grand prize! This event can be done anytime businesses are open through December 23, 2023.

2. 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.

3. The Nutcracker at Ohio Theatre

Watch The Nutcracker performed by BalletMet from December 7-23 at Ohio Theatre. There are 5 performances this weekend and seating is limited!

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 4. Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory

Enjoy holiday light displays, outdoor games, dancing, festive igloos, a life-size gingerbread house, the Paul Busse Garden Railway and more! Conservatory Aglow 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. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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!

8. The Santa Experience at Easton Town Center

Make a reservation or walk up to visit Santa at Easton’s North District. Reservations are encouraged. Photos will be for sale or you can take your own photo with your own camera. Check the link for times and break times.

9. 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!

10. Hot Cocoa & Twinkling Lights at Highbanks Nature Center

Visit the Nature Center at Highbanks Metro Park for hot cocoa, activities for kids and a holiday themed scavenger hunt. Take a 1/4 mile hike through the twinkling lights trail around the Nature Center! This event takes place on Friday from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

11. Campfire & Hot Cocoa at Blacklick Woods

Take a half mile hike on the Buttonbush Trail under twinkling lights at Blacklick Woods Metro Park then stop by the Nature Center for hot cocoa and a campfire on Friday night from 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM.

12. Festive Fridays at Columbus Commons

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!

13. Uptown Westerville Ice Sculpture Tour

Visit Uptown Westerville to see over 30 holiday-themed ice sculptures beginning on Friday, December 15th at 5:00 PM until they melt!

14. Dinner with Santa at Chick-fil-a in Hilliard

Have dinner with Santa on Friday night from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM at the Chick-fil-A in Hilliard.

15. 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.

16. Winter Wonders Walk at Dawes Arboretum

On Friday and Saturday from 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM take a walk through The Dawes Arboretum to enjoy illuminated trees, music, coffee and food trucks! There will also be a visit from Santa each night. Pre-purchased tickets are required.

17. Grinch and Friends Skate Party at Skate Zone 71

Skate with the Grinch and his friends from 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM on Friday. Wear your Whoville Holiday Best for a free glow stick!

18. Santa Parade in Minerva Park

Enjoy a Santa Parade through the neighborhoods of Clinton Township beginning Saturday at 9:00 AM.

19. Veterans Family Holiday Party at National Veterans Memorial and Museum

The Columbus VAs Veterans Family Holiday Party takes place on Saturday from 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM and a Military or Veteran ID is required. The party will feature crafts, face painting, pictures with Santa and more!

20. December In-Store Build at Bedlam Bricks

Build a Christmas Train or Snowman out of LEGO bricks at Bedlam Bricks on Saturday from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

21. Meet Santa at The Union Bank Company

Enjoy free photos with Santa, live reindeer, cookies, hot chocolate and more at The Union Bank Company in Delaware on Saturday from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

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

Every Saturday and Sunday through December 17th, 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!

23. Holiday Celebration at North Market Downtown

North Market’s annual Holiday Celebration will take place on Saturday from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM and include a DJ, face painting, selfies with Santa, and of course shopping and food!

24. Magic of the Holiday at Northside Library

Enjoy a magic show by Erica Carlson and Sedgie the Hedge on Saturday from 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

25. Santa & The Symphony at the McCoy Center

This sensory-friendly performance of the New Albany Symphony Orchestra and Chorus takes place on Saturday at 11:30 AM and includes a special visitor from the North Pole! $10 tickets are available online.

26. 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.

27. Central Ohio Model Railroad Club Open House

This Holiday Open House takes place from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM on Saturday and Sunday and features model train layouts, a Thomas Train that kids can operate and more! Admission is free.

28. Christmas at Kuhlwein’s with Horse-N-Round Fun

Enjoy pony rides, a petting zoo, carriage rides, the Grinch, Santa and Mrs. Claus and more at Kuhlwein’s Farm Market on Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM. $8/per participant, $2 for spectating adults.

29. Music of the Columbus Koto Ensemble at the Gahanna Library

Enjoy the music of the Columbus Koto Ensemble playing traditional Japanese stringed instruments at the Gahanna Library on Saturday from 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM.

30. Drop-In Activities Winter Holiday Wonders at the Hilltop Library

Enjoy hands-on holiday-themed activities at the Hilltop Library between 2:00 PM and 4:00 PM on Saturday.

31. Saturday Morning Cartoons Holiday Edition at Gateway Film Center

Saturday Morning Cartoons will take place on Saturday at 2:00 PM at Gateway Film Center and will feature holiday cartoons and commercials on the big screen! Admission is $5 and includes a complimentary pastry!

32. Dickens Of A Christmas At Ohio Village

Explore Ohio Village during Dickens Of A Christmas on the weekends in December! This event features a Charles Dickens vision of Christmas coming to life! There will be 19th century celebrations and activities. Meet characters from this time period too! Timed tickets are required for either Saturday from 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM or Sunday between 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM.

33. La Posada at Ohio History Center

This event on Sunday from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM celebrates La Posada, a Mexican festival with dances, musical performances, an indoor piñata, and a holiday market! It’s included in admission or membership to Ohio History Connection.

34. Visit with Santa at Family Room Coffee and Bakeshop

Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM on Sunday at Family Room in Westerville.

35. Last Chance: Kid-Friendly Activities to Teach Gratitude with Seeds of Caring

The holidays are the perfect time to slow down and think about everything we are grateful for. Use our Gratitude & Giving guide to help kids learn about gratitude through conversation cards, a guided discussion about philanthropy, gratitude list-making, and the option to donate to a community cause of your choice. Do this Anywhere Project at home, school, or wherever you are through Dec. 17.

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!*