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Fun and Festive Ideas for Winter Break in Columbus

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 for the next two weeks!

This is a general list of holiday events and things you can do during Winter Break in Columbus! There will not be a separate What Should We Do This Weekend? list this week.

Butch Bandos Fantasy of Lights

1. 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!

2. Photos with Santa at Polaris Fashion Place

Get your kids photo with Santa at Polaris Fashion Place. The visit is free, there is a charge if you want to purchase photos. You can also schedule a time in advance. Visit times will be available November 12 – December 23, 2021.

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

3. Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Wildlights runs from November 19, 2021 – January 2, 2022 and begins at 5:00 PM. Walk through the zoo and enjoy millions of LED lights, animated light shows, Rudolph and Friends, Santa, a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer 4-D theater short and much more! This event is included in regular admission and free for members!

4. Sponsor a Child Entering Foster Care with Seeds of Caring

Families and groups, we need your help assembling first-night care bags for toddlers that are entering foster care, giving them something to call their own! Their partner, My Comfy Kits, works with local agencies to help ease kids’ pain of transition during the first hours in an unfamiliar place. Holiday breaks are coming soon, providing lots of time for this Anywhere project. They are collecting bags through 1/4/22!

5. Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights

Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights is an annual holiday 3 mile drive thru light show, with over 140 LED brilliant light displays you can see in the comfort of your own car. The show runs November 19, 2021 – January 2, 2022. Hours are Sunday – Thursday: 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM, Friday and Saturday: 5:30 PM – 10:00 PM

Read More: 15 Drive Through Christmas Light Displays Near Columbus

6. WonderLight’s Christmas at Hartford Fairgrounds

This holiday lights drive through features over 1 million LED lights synchronized to Christmas music. The show runs November 12, 2021 – January 9, 2022 and is open every night of the week beginning at 5:30 PM. Reservations required.

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

Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory

7. Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory

Conservatory Aglow offers special holiday decorations, performances and evening hours at Franklin Park Conservatory through January 9th. Special engagement rates apply.

Holiday Train at Main Library

8. Huntington Holiday Train at Main Library

Visit this incredible model train set up in the main lobby of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Main Library downtown. It will be on display through January 8, 2022.

9. The Nutcracker at Ohio Theatre

See this holiday classic performed by BalletMet at Ohio Theatre December 10-26, 2021. Several performance times are available each week.

I’m excited to share an exclusive discount code for 2021 with my readers! This discount is for $7 off each ticket! To purchase tickets, go to, and enter the promo code SNOW in the box at the top right to see available tickets with your discount. Discount is good for all performances. Not valid on previously purchased tickets or in conjunction with other offers. Taxes and fees still apply.

10. The 12 Elves of Dublin

From December 1-23, 2021 you can visit participating businesses in Historic Dublin to look for 12 hidden elves! When you find an elf, have your card signed and return it for a chance to win a Grand Prize Basket!

Twinkling Lights at Inniswood Metro Garden

11. Twinkling Lights at Select Columbus Metro Parks

In December there will be twinkling lights lit each night at Battelle Darby Creek, Blacklick Woods, Highbanks, Homestead and Inniswood Metro Parks when it gets dark. On Sundays from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM at these parks there will be hot chocolate served.

12. Photos with Santa at Easton Town Center

Photos with Santa will take place on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday through December 24th in Easton’s North District. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Take your own photo or purchase a 5×7 for $5.

Columbus Commons

13. Holiday Lights at Columbus Commons

Columbus Commons is lit with Holiday Lights every day from dusk until 11:00 PM! Make sure to head across the street to see the window display at the Lazarus Building and to Bicentennial Park for more lights!

14. Riverside Crossing Park Ice Rink in Dublin

A brand-new, temporary ice rink is open at Riverside Crossing Park. Admission is $10 per person and includes skate rental. Check the link for special holiday hours through January 1, 2022.

 15. State Auto’s Christmas Corner

Visit the life-sized nativity display at the State Auto building in downtown Columbus! Their Christmas Eve service takes place at 3:00 PM.

Related: 10 of our Favorite Columbus Christmas Traditions

16. Merry on Main – Ice Skating at Partners Park

Head to Marysville for iceless ice skating December 11-January 2. Hours are 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM this weekend. This is a free activity. Rink capacity is 80 skaters at a time.

17. Marvel Universe of Super Heroes at COSI

Visit this exclusive Marvel Super Hero exhibit that will be on display through May. For Winter Break only, COSI will be open every day and until 7:00 PM! (Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.)

18. Winter Art Breaks at Columbus Museum of Art

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of both weeks, the Columbus Museum of Art will offer Winter Art Breaks – a drop in opportunity between 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM where there will be creative activities for families and teens.

Winter Wonderland at Blendon Woods Metro Park

19. Winter Wonderland at Blendon Woods Metro Park

Walk through the Winter Wonderland at the Nature Center at Blendon Woods Metro Park to see trees, forest animals and special activities! It will be on display through January 2, 2022.

20. Polar Express Drop in Activities at Columbus Metropolitan Library, Hilliard Branch

Monday December 20-23 there will be Polar Express-themed activities at the Hilliard Branch of Columbus Library available all day. The following week, December 27-30 there will be Winter-themed activities available.

Play: CBUS

21. Spend a Family Friendly New Year’s Eve at Play: CBUS

This family-friendly NYE Party takes place on New Year’s Eve from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM and includes food, drinks, a zip line balloon drop and games! Use my exclusive code for 10% off your tickets! Code: WSWDT10

22. Take a New Year’s Hike at Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks

Looking to party outside for New Year’s Eve? Columbus Metro Parks is hosting several hikes on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day! The link above takes you to their program listing. Examples include Blendon Ravines, Highbanks and Clear Creek.

23. Winter Break Roller Skating at Skate Zone 71

You can skate every day for the next two weeks if your heart so desires! Opportunities include a Winter Break Carnival, Friday Night Pizza Skate on Christmas Eve, A Family Skate Mock Countdown on New Year’s Eve and A New Year’s Day Free Lunch Skate.

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!*