Columbus, conveniently located in central Ohio, is an easy destination for all Ohio residents to visit during the holidays. Tons of holiday events in Columbus give parents and kids an excuse to get out of the house and soak up the spirit of the season.
Looking for fun spots to take the kids this holiday season? We have a list of tried and true, kid-approved holiday events like breakfast with Santa that are guaranteed to warm your hearts! Come check out the top Christmas events in Columbus, Ohio that are worth sharing with the entire family. Updated for 2020!
Christmas Events in Columbus, Ohio
WinterFest at Bicentennial Park
Note: Winterfest has been cancelled for 2020 due to Covid-19.
The Scioto Mile is a network of parks and promenades connecting downtown Columbus to the Scioto River. Each year, it lights up magnificently with thousands of twinkling lights for the entire holiday season.
WinterFest takes place in early December in Bicentennial Park along this urban oasis. It’s an annual festival that invites families to come out and celebrate the spirit of giving with live music and local food trucks. A portion of all food and drink sales goes to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.
This event has been cancelled for 2020 due to Covid-19.
Follow over 10,000 luminaries that line the historic streets of Columbus’ German Village during Village Lights. Shop to your heart’s content with special deals, discounts, and treats.
Carolers, live music, and an authentic Striezelmarkt are sure to make the evening feel extra special. Don’t forget to bundle up, as most of the fun is outside!
Breakfast with Santa
Note: Many traditional events at the Franklin Park Conservatory have been adjusted due to Covid-19. Check their website for an amended schedule.
On select weekends in December, Franklin Park Conservatory hosts Breakfast with Santa. At this festive event, families enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast surrounded by poinsettia trees in the Grand Atrium. Santa stops by each table for a personal visit before making his way to pose for pictures with the kids. After eating, kids can visit the craft table to write letters to Santa.
The Conservatory also hosts various kid-friendly events such as gingerbread house building, cookie decorating, carol performances by local choirs, science demonstrations, and more throughout the month of December.
Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo
Can you imagine what one million twinkling lights would look like? How about three million? Families can get wild in winter with Columbus Zoo and Aquarium‘s Wildlights! It is one of the most popular Christmas events in Columbus, Ohio.
A nighttime spectacular filled with three million Christmas lights, the zoo illuminates everything that stands still using energy-saving LED lights. Rudolph, Santa, and several animated light shows will have your wee one’s eyes all aglow.
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Jingle Bell Run/Walk
Dress up in as much Christmas garb as you can, tie on a few jingle bells, and help support a great cause while feeling healthier about yourself and your family. Every year, the Jingle Bell Run/Walk at Genoa Park helps support a great cause, The Arthritis Foundation.
Kids and adults can choose whether to walk or run, and children 10 and under can participate in the Kids Snowflake Dash. Note: This event will be a virtual event in 2020 due to Covid-19.
Dickens of a Christmas
Note: Dickens of a Christmas at Ohio Village will be a drive-thru event in 2020 due to Covid-19. Advance tickets are available for purchase.
Ohio Village turns into an eighteenth-century town filled with shows, activities, and crafts geared toward families and kids of all ages for the holiday season. From Christmas Carol Puppets in the School House to a visit with St. Nicholas in the Church, Dickens of a Christmas treats families to fun holiday traditions in a festive setting.
In the Farm House, parents and kids can stop in and grab a tasty treat and check out the daily holiday meal. Meet Santa, say hello to Jacob Marley, and learn how the residents of Ohio Village celebrate Christmas. Make sure to dress warmly as many of the events, including carolers and other actors, are outside.
Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival
Note: This event has been cancelled for 2020 due to Covid-19 but there will be holiday ornaments from the past displayed in the Ohio Statehouse Map Room and the 2020 Ohio State ornament available for purchase.
The Ohio Statehouse hosts an annual holiday festival and tree lighting ceremony at the beginning of December. Enjoy carolers, refreshments, and historical figures.
Then throughout the month, free holiday performances by local musical groups give families a great reason to visit midday. Santa and Mrs. Claus have even been known to make an appearance, so keep your eyes peeled for the jolly old elf.
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