Christmas Events in Columbus, Ohio: Your Guide to the Holidays

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Columbus’s central location makes it an easy destination for Ohio residents to visit during the holidays. Both weekend and weekday activities give parents and kids an excuse to get out of the house and feel the joy that the holiday season brings. Looking for fun spots to take the kids this holiday season? We have a list of tried and true, kid-approved places that are guaranteed to get both you and yours in the holiday spirit! Come check out the top Christmas events in Columbus, Ohio that are worth sharing with the entire family.

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WinterFest at Bicentennial Park

Photo by Kevin Payravi, Wikimedia Commons

Each year, the Scioto Mile lights up for the holiday season. Thousands of twinkling lights illuminate downtown Columbus. But on one night, early in December, Bicentennial Park hosts WinterFest. This annual festival celebrates the spirit of giving. Music entertainment fills the air while families sample food and drink from local food trucks. A portion of all food and drink sales goes to Mid-Ohio Food Bank.

German Village

Photo by flickr/Mike King

Follow over 10,000 luminaries that line the walkways in Columbus’ German Village during Village Lights. Find shops filled with fun gift ideas and presents as well as restaurants that are perfect for heading into for a snack and some hot chocolate. German Village caters to families during the holidays. You may just come upon carolers and live music, so feel free to sing along with the Christmas songs you hear. Don’t forget to bundle up, as most of the fun is outside!

Franklin Park Conservatory

Photo by flickr/photojc123

Select weekend 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 the Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse to pose for pictures. After eating, kids an visit the craft table to write letters to Santa.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Photo by flickr/Sam Howzit

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! 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

Photo by flickr/Andy Karmy

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.

North Market

Photo by flickr/WalrusWaltz

Since 1876, North Market in Columbus has been providing locals with fresh meat and produce. Come find amazing food for your holiday feast, while enjoying extras including special deals, children’s crafts and activities, and even live entertainment provides for a festive atmosphere. If your kids want to let Santa in on their Christmas list, he’ll be strolling through the market with Mrs. Claus ready to listen. On special weekends during the holiday season, live reindeer visit the outdoor pavilion.

Ohio History Center

Christmas events in Columbus Ohio Village

Ohio Village in Columbus turns into an eighteenth-century town filled with shows, activities, and crafts geared toward families and kids of all ages. From Christmas Carol Puppets in the School House to a visit with St. Nicholas in the Church, Dickens of a Christmas has treated families to holiday traditions in a festive setting. In the Farm House, parents and kids can stop in a grab a tasty treat and check out the daily holiday meal. Make sure to dress warmly as many of the events including carolers and other actors are outside.

Ohio Statehouse

Photo by Ohio Statehouse Archives

The Ohio Statehouse hosts a 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 at noon 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.


Photo by flickr/Steven Saus

Do your kids love watching The Polar Express on television during the holidays? How about watching it on a giant screen at COSIOn a select weekend in December, COSI plays The Polar Express on its National Geographic Giant Screen Theater. Pre-show activities include games and surprises. When the kids find out that they can have hot cocoa and cookies during the movie, no doubt they will ask to watch the holiday movie on the big screen every year. Don’t worry about dressing the wee one up; pajamas are encouraged.

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Christmas and holiday fun in Columbus Ohio

Featured photo by: Shutterstock


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About the author

Tiffany Vaughn is the one of Trekaroo's Travel Experts located in Arizona. She is also an avid explorer of local and remote destinations. She and her five kids enjoy tagging along with Dad on business trips to find new adventures. She believes that there are always new experiences to discover, even in your home town.

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