Make your holiday season merry and bright! There are dozens of things to do around Central Ohio in December, and many of them are easy on the budget, or even free. Take a look at some ideas below, and see if any of these events fits your family’s interests and budget. Happy Holidays!
Every Night – for All – Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. They’ve decked the halls, trees, and everything but the animals with gorgeous lights!
Price of Admission, or free to members: Best enjoyed at dusk or later. Closed Dec 24 & 25
- Every Night – for All – Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights (was called Alum Creek Fantasy of Lights) at Alum Creek State Park: 1.5 mile drive featuring over 1 million lights and 100 displays. A portion of the proceeds go to a charity called Recreation Unlimited, to support recreation activities for disabled youth and adults.
Sunday-Thursday 5:30pm – 9:30pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30pm – 10:30pm , Monday to Thursday $20/car. Friday to Sunday $30/car. Limos, motor coaches, and extra large vans are $40. 3615 S. Old State Rd, Delaware 43015
Every Night – for All – Holiday Lights Celebration at Creekside Park. Delightful lights and displays
6-11pm Creekside Park and Plaza, 123 Mill Street, Gahanna OH. Opens Nov. 19th. Free!
Every Night – for Teens and Adults – Holiday Segway Tours: Tour the holiday lights and decorations of our beautiful city, and listen to holiday music. At 6pm and 8:15pm daily. Tours are 1.5 hours long, including training. Through Scioto Mile & much of downtown. $49 per rider. Note: the link goes to their 2016 info but you can make Holiday Tour reservations for 2017 dates and get detailed info on the reservation page.
Every Day – for All – Merry & Bright: Holidays at the Franklin Park Conservatory
Celebrate the holidays, enjoy the scenes and lights, and the gingerbread competition. Candlelight nights featuring live music and special programs on Weds evenings. Holiday cooking and fine art classes are also available this month.
1777 E. Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43203
Free with regular admission: $14 adult, $11 Senior, and $7 child. Free for Members.
Every Day – for All – Photos with Santa: Easton Town Center, Columbus OH
This is the best Santa photo op ANYWHERE! There is NO physical line with anxious, tired kids and frazzled parents. Sign in with Santa’s helpers and you’ll be on a virtual line. 10 minutes before your time with Santa, you’ll receive a text to meet with the Jolly Old Elf himself! A genius idea for parents and children, you’ll love enjoying the lights, shopping, or even a carriage ride at Easton while you “wait” for your turn with Santa.
Mon–Sat: 10:00am – 9pm, Breaks: 1– 1:45pm and 4:45 – 5:30pmSun: 11am – 7pm, Breaks: 3:00 – 4:00pm
Note: Please double check times with the venue as 2017 hours hadn’t been finalized yet.
Every Weekend – for 5 and Up – Holiday Hoopla at Shadowbox Live Theater
Select Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are typically $20-25 per ticket, but check the website for current dates and show prices.
503 S. Front St, Suite 260, Columbus, 43215
Every Weekend Night – for All – Carriage Rides at Easton Town Center. From 6-10 Friday and Saturday, and 3-7 pm on Sundays. Admission is $10, and children under 15 ride free with paying adult!
160 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH
- Sundays – Christmas at the Orange Johnson House. Christmas music and the historic Orange Johnson House decorated for Christmas. Call for reservations. 956 High Street in Worthington 614-885-1247
Nov 30 – for All – Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Historic Dublin. Includes photos with Santa, live Reindeer, music and dance performances, hot cocoa and more. Free!
- Dec 1 – for All – Winter Festival and Tree Lighting in Upper Arlington. Free, some activities have small fee. Holiday music, caroling, ice sculpture, reindeer, carriage rides, bonfire, and cocoa. 6:00-8:30pm Mallway Park, Arlington Avenue, UA
- Dec 1 – for All – Westerville Christmas Tree Lighting: Civic Green of Westerville City Hall. 7:00-9:00pm Free, holiday music, candle lighting, and Santa.
Dec 1-3 – for All – Holiday Pops Concert by the CSC. Tickets $20 to $68. Ohio Theater, 55 East State Street, Columbus OH
Dec 1-3 – for All – Columbus Winterfair: Juried fair of fine art and fine craft by over 400 artists from across the country, featuring ceramics, glass, wearable art, jewelry, sculpture, painting, photography++. Multi-purpose Bldg., Ohio Expo Center, Columbus.
Dec 2 – for All – Holiday Festival in Powell: Santa, trolley rides, and more! FREE! 2 – 5:30 at the Village Green Park and Municipal Bdg, Downtown Powell. Tree lighting at 6pm
- Dec 2 – for Adults – Jingle Bell Run/Walk 2017: Raising money for Arthritis Foundation, click link to register. Genoa Park start, race day registration, 8am, run begins at 10am.
- Dec 2 – for Adults – Holiday Gallery Hop: Take part in the Gallery Hop experience, holiday style! From 4-10pm, in the Short North of Columbus
Dec 3 – for All – City Tree Lighting Ceremony in Hilliard. 5-7:30 pm in Hilliard Station Park, at the corner of Center and Main Streets, in Hilliard.
- Dec 7 – for All – Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival & Tree Lighting. The holiday season opens in Ohio with the annual holiday Statehouse event. Holiday activities include: carolers, refreshments, & community mascots. Historical characters and modern dignitaries will be on hand to greet guests. Expect to see Santa
Dec 8&9, 15&16 – for All – Dickens of a Christmas: Ohio Village features a Victorian Christmas, crafts, and entertainment. 5:30-9pm Fri-Sat, Noon-5pm Sun. Tickets required. Tickets $12/adult and $10/OHS member, $9/youth and $7/OHS youth member and FREE for the 5 and under tots call 800-686-1541 These tickets go FAST!
Dec 8&9, 15&16 – for All – Dickens of a Dinner: American House Hotel features a Victorian dinner, and entertainment. 5:30pm-9pm. Reservations required. Tickets $65/adult and $55/OHS member call 800-686-1541 Tickets go FAST!
Dec 9 – for All – Century Village Open House and Trolley Tour. 4:00pm-8:00pm Free to all but requesting donations for the Grove City food pantry. An evening of old fashioned Holiday fun!
Dec 8-24 – for All – The Nutcracker by Ballet Met. This Tchaikovsky ballet is a holiday tradition for many families. Tickets go fast, buy early to get your seating section of choice. Group pricing available. Behind the scenes and Ballet School Youth performances also available. Check link for dates and times. Tickets range from $49-93, depending on the seat.
Please note: All dates and times were correct at time of publishing, but weather and local issues can cause changes. Please click the link or check with the venue directly before making your plans.