Annual Holiday Events & Christmas Guide to Columbus - 2022

Regardless of the holidays you celebrate, there’s plenty of merry celebration to be had in Columbus. There's so much to do, it may be hard to decide. That’s why we’ve curated a list of holiday events and activities for you!

a tree and building decorated with lights for the holidays
Greater Columbus Area
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681 High St, Worthington, OH 43085
(614) 888-7400
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Greater Columbus Area


Lani Redinger


Jan 21, 2021

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It’s beginning to look a lot like the most wonderful time of year in Columbus, Ohio. As the days grow colder and the year comes to an end, regardless of the holidays you celebrate there’s plenty of merry celebrations to be had in Columbus.


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In fact, there is so much to do, it may be hard to decide, especially while trying to prepare for holiday guests, shopping, and decorating.  That’s why we’ve curated a list of holiday events and activities for you!

Beautiful Outdoor Holiday Lights

No matter what part of Columbus you reside in there’s plenty to do, and if you’re looking for a new home to bring in the new year, check out homes available in Columbus now.

Christmas lights are a hallmark of the season, and the perfect activity to get you feeling festive. From season kick-off Lighting Ceremonies, to ongoing display, here’s our picks for an illuminated holiday.

Light Up Events

lights on large christmas tree for light up night

Lighting Ceremonies are a magical tradition to share with your family, marking the beginning of the holiday season. Fortunately there are plenty of “Light Up” celebrations in and around Columbus!

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Cabela’s Tree Lighting and Arrival of Santa

1650 Gemini Pl, Columbus, OH 43240

Magical tree lighting, Unveiling of Santa’s Wonderland, with FREE cookies and hot chocolate, and stocking decorating.

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Light up Easton

160 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219

Enjoy the beautiful majestic tree, carriage rides, live music performances and the lighting ceremony includes a parade, a fireworks show, a visit from Santa and more!

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Gahanna Holiday Lights Celebration

117 Mill St. Gahanna, OH 43230

This magical holiday celebration features family friendly activities and hours of fun wrapped up in one UNFORGETTABLE holiday event. From carollers to camel rides and a visit from Santa, it’s everything you need to kick off the holiday season!

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Worthington Holiday Open House and Tree Lighting

High St, Worthington, OH 43085

Enjoy carriage rides, iceless ice rink, live music, and Santa in Downtown Worthington. Head to the Village Green for carolers and the annual tree lighting at dusk.

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City of Dublin Annual Christmas Tree Lighting

5600 Emerald Parkway, Dublin, OH 43016

Santa, music and more.

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Christmas at the Coffman Homestead

9 South High Street, Dublin, OH 43017

Come see the historic Coffman House and homestead, and enjoy the Tree Lighting ceremony in conjunction with the city of Dublin. The Coffman House will be decorated with a Victorian Christmas theme by the Muirfield Village Garden Club. On both days, the barn will be open with a gaily-decorated sleigh offering a perfect spot for a photo.

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Upper Arlington Winter Festival and Tree Lighting

2096 Upper Arlington Ave, Upper Arlington, OH 43221

Caroling, carriage rides, bonfire with s’mores, visits with Santa and the tree lighting ceremony.

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First Friday and Holiday Tree Lighting in Delaware

20 E. Winter St, Delaware, OH 43015

Featuring caroling, carriage rides, the Tree Lighting and more. Holiday Open House, Santa House, and the parade will be happening during the weekend too!

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Grove City Christmas Celebration and Mistletoe Market

Broadway, Route 62, Grove City, OH 43123

This family-friendly festival features photos with Santa, live reindeer, Mistletoe Market and Secret Santa shop, carols, a parade, Grove City tree lighting and more.

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Downtown Lancaster Winter Fest

109 N. Broad St, Lancaster, OH 43130

Free carriage rides, photos with Santa at the Santa House, kids crafts in the businesses, elf scavenger hunt, holiday music, and much more!  The downtown tree lighting is at 5 pm.

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Christmas in Zoar

198 Main St

Zoar, Ohio 44697

Experience all the joy and cheer of the season during Christmas in Zoar. enjoy musical entertainment, a juried craft show, tour the village, and more. While in Zoar, make sure to visit Belsnickel, Santa, and Kristkind, and take a horse-drawn wagon ride around the village. On Saturday evening, attend a candlelight church service at the Historic Zoar Meeting House (Zoar United Church of Christ), followed by a tree lighting ceremony in the Historic Zoar Garden.

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Ohio Statehouse Tree Lighting and Holiday Festival

Free, family-friendly holiday festival including Santa and Mrs. Claus, the lighting of the Statehouse and trees, and more!

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Old Pickerington Village Holiday

15 E. Columbus St, Pickerington, OH 43147

Strolling carolers, cookie decorating, storytelling, crafts, horse-drawn carriage rides, indoor Holiday gift market, hop on/off trolley, Gingerbread House contest, visit with Santa, lighting of the pantry lights, and lighting of Pickerington’s Christmas Tree.

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Ongoing Light Displays

Stunning Holiday Lights on Trees

Beyond official lighting ceremonies, there are plenty of lights aglow around Columbus to get you in the holiday spirit and inspire wonder in folks young and old:

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Wildlights at the Zoo

4850 Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065

In its 29th year Wildlight decks the zoo with millions of LED lights. The 8 minute light show  has new songs and elements and 25 animated trees. Guests can also visit Santa and Mrs. Clas getting photos and decorating cookies in the Holiday Village. Check the 2022 Columbus Zoo schedule here for more information.

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Conservatory Aglow

1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203

Conservatory Aglow returns for the biggest and brightest holiday show in the history of the Conservatory. Artfully placed light installations highlight the lush horticulture displays within the interior biomes and courtyards, while the classic poinsettia plant floods the Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse with rich holiday colors. The Paul Busse model railway, hand-blown glass ornament trees, and family-favorite poinsettia trees provide the perfect backdrop for photo opportunities.

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Downtown Holiday Lights and Events

Downtown Columbus exudes holiday magic with several holiday displays throughout the season.

Columbus Commons display begins Nov 20th and features 320,000 dazzling lights in the park. Fridays will be extra festive with free hot chocolate, carousel rides, and roaming carolers.

The Lazarus Building will feature charming holiday window displays along Town and High Streets, and a Santa’s Workshop event Sat, Dec 1 from 11am-5pm. Grab your own cell phone photos and decorate crafts as well.  

The Scioto Mile, from Bicentennial Park to Broad Street, the riverfront will be decked out in 250,000 sparkling lights beginning November 25th. Also enjoy the Winter Fest at Bicentennial Park featuring live music, seasonal brews and food truck fare.

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Butch Bandos Fantasy of Lights

331 South Old State Road Delaware, OH 43051

Enjoy a 3 mile drive thru light display featuring 145 + scenes, you can feel festive in the cozy warmth of your vehicle. They’re open every day, even holidays, no matter the weather. Rates are $22.37 for cars on weekdays, $33.87 on weekends.

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Winterfest at Kings Island

6300 Kings Island Drive Mason, OH 45040

With something for everyone, you can enjoy ice skating in the Royal Fountain, marvel at the Eiffel Tower transformed into a 314 foot Christmas tree, take in live shows, rides, holiday treats and millions of lights alongside holiday characters like Jack Frost and the Sugar Plum fairy.

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Christmas Corner Lighting of State Auto Christmas Display and Life-Sized Nativity

518 E. Broad Street Columbus, Ohio 43215

The beloved central Ohio tradition, will be lit nightly at State Auto Downtown through the season, with choir performances on Fridays and Saturdays. This life-sized Nativity is a family favorite!

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The Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Hills

75 Water St. Clifton, OH 45316

One of the country’s finest light displays, take in over 3.5 million lights illuminating the mill, gorge, riverbanks, bridges and trees, with a 100 foot “waterfall” of twinkling lights. With indoor and outdoor displays, this winter wonderland features a miniature village, Santa Claus Museum, toy collection, and synchronized light and music show. Admission is $10. Children 3 and under get in completely free!

Holiday Activities

woman riding holiday carriage in the snow

There are plenty of holiday happenings and activities beyond the traditional light displays to enjoy this season. Here’s our picks for unique holiday events and activities to try around Columbus:

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Easton Holiday Carriage Rides

160 Easton Town Center Columbus, OH 43219

Travel back in time with an old fashioned horse and carriage ride, and rest assured the horse knows the way!

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The Christmas Ranch

3205 S. Waynesville Road Morrow, OH 45152

If you’re looking for a truly old fashioned holiday family experience, head to the Christmas Ranch to enjoy over 1 million lights synchronized to Christmas music. Admission is $20/ car.

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Christmas at Lynd Fruit Farm

9399 Marse Rd SW Pataskala, OH 43062

The Christmas Shoppe will be open and they will be selling Christmas trees. Step inside the giant Giant Snow Globe for an awesome picture. 

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Christmas at Kingwood Center

50 N. Trimble Rd. Mansfield, Ohio 44906

Kingwood Center in Mansfield offers a variety of activities such as live music, dozens of uniquely trimmed themed Christmas trees in rooms throughout the hall, a beautifully decorated Greenhouse, and outdoor light displays.  Admission is $5, ages 6 and under free.

Holiday Performances

holiday soldiers dance in front of christmas tree for holiday performance

Taking in a holiday performance is a fun family tradition, and Columbus has classic favorites and fun new options to enjoy throughout the season!

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Ohio Theatre

39 E. State St. Columbus, Oh 43215

Experience the magic of a beloved holiday tradition. Follow Clara and her Nutcracker Prince to find the Sugar Plum Fairy set to Tchaikovsky’s extraordinary arrangement.

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Ohio Statehouse Holiday Choir Performances

1 Capitol Square Columbus, OH 43215

Take in free lunchtime holiday choir performances from local choirs in the Museum Room.

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Shadowbox Live: Holiday Hoopla

503 S. Front St. Columbus, OH 43215

Featuring a mash up of sketch comedy and seasonal music, it’s slightly raunchy Christmas Fun and Rock and Roll. Tickets are $25 and up.

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Holiday Lunchbox

503 S. Front St. Columbus, OH 43215

A 45 minute holiday show featuring music and sketch comedy from the Shadowbox holiday archives featuring holiday fun and antics with The Snow Bunnies! Tickets start at $5.



Image courtesy of Kevin Vance.

Whether you prefer exploring the intricate worlds of miniature train displays, or boarding a nostalgic train ride, little ones and the young at heart can make magical memories this holiday season, at the many train adventures around Columbus.

Model Trains

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Huntington Holiday Train

96 S. Grant Ave. Columbus, OH 43215

Transport to a miniature historic German village, castles and all, in this delightful model train exhibit at the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

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Holiday Train at Ohio History Center

800 E. 17th. Ave., Columbus OH 43211

This operating model train display runs through a Victorian holiday scene. Interactive buttons allow you to control aspects of the trains’ movements along the winding, multi-tiered, 12x24-foot layout.

Train rides

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Hocking Valley Santa Train

33 West Canal Street Nelsonville, Ohio 45764

This holiday tradition continues, with a roundtrip from Nelsonville depot to Easton. Santa gets on board the train and visits with each child as the train traverses the historic (and with any luck, snow-covered) Hocking River Valley. Each coach is decorated, heated, Christmas music plays throughout the train over the audio system, and after Santa’s visit, each child receives a special candy cane treat!

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LM&M Railroad North Pole Express

16 E South St, Lebanon, OH 45036

During the hour-long journey Santa and his elves will make their way through the train to visit with each family. Every child will receive a bell from Santa’s sleigh, hot chocolate mug and souvenir North Pole Express ticket. Prices begin at $22 and range to $50. 

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Northwest Ohio Railroad North Pole Express

2505 County Road 99 Findlay, OH  458400-60

All aboard this quarter scale locomotive! Tickets for the holiday wonderland are only $3 for adults and $2 for children.

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Cuyahoga Valley Polar Bear Express

Shop early for these tickets, they sell out fast! 


santa's arm holding cookies & hot chocolate

The man, the mystery, the legend, Santa Claus is the most magical of holiday traditions. There are so many ways to meet Santa and his helpers around Columbus this year!

Breakfasts & Cookies with Santa

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Franklin Park Conservatory Breakfast with Santa

The Conservatory Breakfast with Santa is back and better this holiday season! Visit with Santa and enjoy some delicious breakfast priced at $22 for adults and $16 for children.

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Breakfast with Santa & Toy Drive

The Old Blue Rooster Event Center LLC

Lithopolis, OH 43136

You can’t go wrong with a delicious holiday breakfast of pancakes and bacon with Santa. Help Santa fill up his sack as part of a toy drive to help children in need!  Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children.

Holiday Shopping

Holiday Presents in gift bags

The holidays are certainly about more than just presents, but finding the perfect something for your friends and family is certainly fulfilling! Here’s our picks for the best place to find great gifts and enjoy the Christmas spirit while you’re at it:

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German Village

The German Village in Columbus maintains an authentic 1800s German style and is home to dozens of unique shops, stores, and art galleries that are perfect for a holiday shopping trip. Afterward, you can stop at one of the many pubs, restaurants, or bakeries to grab a bite to eat!

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Easton Town Center

The Easton Town Center takes pride in being the most upscale, aspirational shopping destination in Columbus. Over the holidays, take a trip around the center in one of their horse-drawn carriages.

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The Shops on Lane Avenue - Upper Arlington, OH

Lane Avenue is an outdoor lifestyle center that showcases a unique mix of over 30 national and local retailers. Pick up some festive winter décor from one of their many Mom and Pop antique shops or pick up gifts for the techies, fashionistas, traditionalists, and everything in between in your family!

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The Short North

The Short North Arts District in Columbus features art, food, drinks, spas, live music, festivals, and shops of course! Whether your friends and families are on the cutting edge of the latest trends and styles, or they have an eye for traditional vintage treasures, you're sure to find something to put a smile on the face of anyone you know with the gifts you'll find at the Short North.

Holiday Crafts and decor

There’s so much to do this holiday season in Columbus, it will be hard to pick your favorite events, lights, and shopping trips! There’s no better place to be this time of year than Columbus, Ohio.


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November 16, 2022
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