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Fun and Festive Ideas for Winter Break in Columbus 2022

Whether you have kids off of school, extra vacation days, family in town or just want to squeeze in as much holiday festivity as possible, this list will keep you busy over Winter Break!

This list begins with holiday events and things you can do any time during Winter Break and then ends with one time events and family-friendly New Year’s Eve parties in Columbus! There will not be a separate What Should We Do This Weekend? list this week.

Things to do in Columbus Any Time During Winter Break:

Drive Through Holiday Lights Displays Around Columbus

Click the link above for a list of 15 drive through holiday lights displays near Columbus! Pick one or ten and have a festive night out!

Butch Bandos Fantasy of Lights

 Photos With Santa 2022 At Polaris Fashion Place

November 11th through December 23rd visit with Santa at Polaris Fashion Place. Take your own photo or purchase an optional photo. See link for times and reservations.

Related: 7 of the Most Festive Things You Can Do This Holiday Season in Columbus

Wildlights At Columbus Zoo And Aquarium

November 18th through January 1st visit Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for one of Central Ohio’s favorite holiday traditions. Millions of lights, holiday music and some of your favorite holiday characters are all here! See link for tickets, times and pricing. 

Butch Bando’s Fantasy Of Lights

November 18th through January 1st take a ride through Butch Bando’s Fantasy Of Lights! This locally owned and family operated drive through light show has it all! Beautiful lights, radio station to tune into while enjoying the lights and the comfort of your vehicle while enjoying the display. Perfect for those cold winter days! See link for tickets and pricing!

Read More: 15 Drive Through Christmas Light Displays Near Columbus

WonderLight’s Christmas In Ohio At Hartford Fairgrounds

November 11th through January 1st load up the car and head out for a majestic ride through WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio! 1 million LED lights synchronized to Christmas music and open every night including holidays! See link for tickets and pricing!

Related: WonderLight’s Christmas Glows with Over One Million LED Lights!

Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory

Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory

Conservatory Aglow offers special holiday decorations, performances and evening hours at Franklin Park Conservatory through January 8, 2023. Throughout the season live music and special events are scheduled and the Conservatory is decorated for the holidays. Also, make sure not to miss the gingerbread competition beginning December 1 and the Paul Busse Garden Railway! Hours are 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM each night and advanced reservations are recommended.

Holiday Train at Main Library

Huntington Holiday Train Display In Downtown Main Columbus Metropolitan Library

November 21st through January 8th visit the main library in downtown Columbus to see the Huntington Holiday Train Display. This is a must see for all train lovers during the holiday season! 

The Nutcracker at Ohio Theatre

Watch The Nutcracker at Ohio Theatre December 8-24. Multiple performance times are available throughout the weekend. See link for tickets (and coloring pages!).

Winter Reading Challenge Celebration Week at Main Library

Enjoy winter-themed activities and celebrate the Winter Reading Challenge during the week of Monday, December 19-23, 2022. Pick up your Winter Reading Challenge incentives when you visit!

12 Elves of Dublin Scavenger Hunt

Search Historic Dublin for the 12 Elves and get a small prize at each stop! Return your completed Scavenger Hunt card at any participating business before December 23rd to be entered to win the grand prize basket.

Twinkling Lights at Inniswood Metro Garden

Twinkling Lights at Select Metro Parks

Enjoy the twinkling lights displays at Battelle Darby Creek, Blacklick Woods, Highbanks, Homestead and Inniswood Metro Gardens from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM each night in December. Check each location individually for special activities.

 Photos With Santa At Easton Town Center

November 19th through December 24th visit with Santa at Easton Town Center. Take a photo with your own camera or purchase one on the spot. See link for tickets times and pricing of event.

Holiday Carriage Rides At Easton Town Center

Beginning November 19th through December 23rd visit Easton Town Center for holiday carriage rides Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the season. See link for times and pricing.

Columbus Commons

Holiday Lights At Columbus Commons

November 18th through January 1st visit Columbus Commons from 5pm-11pm for Holiday Lights! This dazzling display of holiday lights is a must see for the season! See link for special events at Columbus Commons during the holiday season.

Riverside Crossing Park Ice Rink

This temporary ice rink is right near the Dublin Link pedestrian bridge and will be open for skating on Friday nights and on Saturday and Sunday!

State Auto’s Christmas Corner

Visit this larger than life nativity scene on E. Broad St. The scene will be lit December 7 through January 3 from 6:00 AM – 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM – 11:30 PM and until 12:30 AM on Fridays and Saturdays. Check the link for live performance times on Fridays and Saturdays.

Related: 10 of our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

Make the Holidays Brighter for a Teen Entering Foster Care

Entering foster care can be a scary experience, but your family can help ease the transition. Help kids feel more at home with a first night care bag filled with pajamas, a blanket, book, and other essentials—plus a handwritten cheer card to show you care. Porch-drop your donation Dec. 30-Jan. 2 at a Seeds of Caring volunteer’s home. 

Merry on Main – Ice Skating at Partners Park

Head to Marysville for iceless ice skating December 10-January 2. Hours are:

  • Weekends (December 10th-January 1st) – 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm [Closed December 25th]
  • Weekdays (December 12th-16th) – 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
  • Weekdays (December 19th-January 2nd) – 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Holiday Train at Ohio History Center

Holiday train at Ohio History Center, on display in December in Columbus, Ohio.

Visit this holiday train display at Ohio History Center that features a Polar Express Train and various holiday scenes. You can see this train display during regular business hours. The rest of the building is decorated for the holidays, too, including the Lustron House! Please note that Ohio History Center will be closed on Dec. 24, 25, 26 & 27.

Winter Art Breaks at Columbus Museum of Art

The Columbus Museum of Art will offer Winter Art Breaks on December 21, 22, 28 and 29 – a drop in opportunity between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM where there will be creative activities for families and teens. These are included with admission!

Kwanzaa 614 Celebration

This is a 7 day celebration of family, community and culture hosted by Ohio History Connection and Tawi Family Village. There are celebrations taking place between December 26 and January 1 at various locations around Columbus!

Winter Wonderland at Blendon Woods Metro Park

Winter Wonderland Forest at Blendon Woods Metro Park

Take a walk through the magical forest of lighted trees inside Blendon Woods Metro Park Nature Center through January 2, 2023!

Family-Friendly Things to do on Christmas Eve in Columbus

Christmas Eve Walk/Run In Dayton At Up And Running Dayton

Saturday December 24th at 8am visit Up And Running Dayton for a brisk morning of walking and running, followed by breakfast treats!

Christmas Eve Bird Count At Blendon Woods Metro Park

Saturday December 24th at 9:30am visit Blendon Woods Metro Park for a Christmas Eve Bird Count! Meet in the Blendon Woods Nature Center.

Holiday Entertainment At North Market

On Saturday December 24th from 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM, visit the North Market in Downtown Columbus for a festive day filled with live holiday music, last minute shopping and taking in all of the festive sights this time of year!

Christmas Eve Skate with Frosty, Rudolph and Gingy at Skate Zone 71

Get a free glow stick and skate with some of your favorite holiday characters from 1:30 PM – 4:00 PM. Additionally, there is a Christmas Eve Skate Party at 5:00 PM.

Annual Christmas Eve Ceremony at State Auto Christmas Corner

Attend the annual ceremony at this larger than life nativity scene in downtown Columbus at 3:00 PM! This ceremony includes a live musical performance.

Family-Friendly Things to do on Christmas Day in Columbus

Christmas Day Skate at Skate Zone 71

This Christmas Day Skate takes place from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM and is $7/person.

Family-Friendly Events on Friday, December 30, 2022

For Kids: New Year’s Open House Party At Sharon Woods Metro Park

Friday December 30th at 10am visit Sharon Woods Metro Park for a kids New Year’s Eve open house! This event will feature games, crafts and a ball drop.

Rockin’ Pirate Magic Show At Franklin Park Conservatory

Friday December 30th at both 11am and 2pm visit Franklin Park Conservatory for a day filled with magical treasure hunting and Sedgie the hedgehog! This event is included with admission.

Wildlife Encounters With Ohio Wildlife Center At Highbanks Metro Park

Friday December 30th at 11am visit Highbanks Metro Park for a morning with Ohio Wildlife Center as they introduce animals from the center. This 45-minute program will feature Ohio native mammals, birds and reptiles.

Noon Year’s Eve At Delaware County District Library

Friday December 30th at 11:30am visit the Delaware County District Library for a day filled with ringing in the New Year! Crafts, hands-on activities and a countdown to New Year will be part of this fun and festive celebration!

Paint Your Pet At Kitty Bubble Cafe & Bar

Friday December 30th at 6pm visit Kitty Bubble Cafe & Bar for a paint your pet event that also benefits Colony Cats! This event includes 30-minutes of playtime with the cats and a 2-hour painting class. See link for tickets and pricing.

Family-Friendly Things to do on New Year’s Eve in Columbus

Powell’s Best Noon Year’s Eve 2023 At KSM Sports

Saturday December 31st at 10:30am visit KSM Sports and Fitness Indoor Facility for a morning of fun activities, bounce house, photo opportunities, singing, dancing and treats all to ring in the New Year! See link for tickets and pricing.

Noon Year’s Eve Celebration At COSI

Saturday December 31st at 10:30am at COSI there will be a dance party, special activities and celebratory countdown. See link for tickets and pricing.

Holiday Entertainment At North Market

On Saturday December 31st visit the North Market in Downtown Columbus for a festive day filled with live holiday music (between 12 PM and 3 PM) and taking in all of the festive sights this time of year!

Kwanzaa 614 At Ohio History Center

Visit Ohio History Center for Kwanzaa 614 between 1:00 PM and 8:00PM. This event will feature live music, drumming, storytelling, hands on activities and dance! See link for tickets, times and pricing.

Zoo Year’s Eve Celebration At Columbus Zoo And Aquarium 

Saturday December 31st starting at 11am for Zoo Year’s Eve Celebration! This event will feature character ambassadors, activities and countdown to New Year’s! See link for tickets and pricing.

Noon Year’s Eve At Franklin Park Conservatory

Saturday December 31st at 11am visit Franklin Park Conservatory for Noon Year’s Eve! Play some games, make a party hat and get ready to dance the New Year in with a bubble stomp!

Last Hike Of 2022 At Blendon Woods Metro Park

Saturday December 31st at 1pm visit Blendon Woods Metro Park for a 1.5 mile hike on the last day of the year!

New Year’s Eve I-Spy At Sharon Woods Metro Park

Saturday December 31st at 1pm visit Sharon Woods Metro Park for a fun I-Spy event in the natural play area. Find the missing clocks and earn a prize!

Play: CBUS

Family NYE Party at Play: CBUS

Enjoy all activities at Play: CBUS plus watch the ball drop in London at 7:00 PM. Event runs from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM and includes a champagne or sparkling juice toast.

New Year’s Eve Family Skate Party At United Skate Of America

Saturday December 31st at 7:30pm visit United Skates Of America for a family skate to ring in the new year! This event will feature games, prizes and noisemakers! See link for tickets and pricing.

Family-Friendly Things to do on New Year’s Day in Columbus

Visit Ohio History Center

The Ohio History Center will be open on Sunday, January 1 from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM!

January Community Day At Franklin Park Conservatory

Sunday January 1st visit Franklin Park Conservatory for Community Day! Must bring proper identification showing proof of Columbus or Franklin county residence. Take in the beauty that the conservatory has to offer on this first day of the new year!

First Hike Of 2023 At Blendon Woods Metro Park 

Sunday January 1st visit Blendon Woods Metro Park for a 7:30am sunrise hike to welcome the new year!

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!*