21 Essential Columbus Holiday Events You Should Mark on Your Calendar - Cutler Blog
November 16, 2018 |

21 Essential Columbus Holiday Events You Should Mark on Your Calendar

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time to break out the holiday decorations and start planning out your itinerary. This time of year, Columbus is bursting with festive events all perfect for getting you and your family into the holiday spirit!

We’ve rounded up 21-holiday events in Columbus that we are most looking forward to this year! From watching breathtaking ballerinas perform to viewing awe-inspiring light displays — we’re sure you’ll find something to be jolly about this holiday season!

Holiday Hoopla

Where: Shadowbox Live

When: November 15 – December 29, Times Vary

Called the “granddaddy of all holiday shows”, this hilarious holiday performance mixes sketch comedy with seasonal music and features the send-up The Santa Babies. This is Shadowbox Live’s longest running show and has been entertaining audiences for a quarter of a century! You don’t want to miss it!


Where: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

When: November 16 – January 6, Sunday – Thursday 5-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5-10 p.m.

This is an event you won’t want to miss out on! This family tradition is continuing for its 30th year — come out and see beautiful light displays along with your favorite animals. There will also be animated light shows, a visit from Rudolph and his friends, the Polar Bear Express, Camel Rides and more!

Picture an Old-Fashioned Christmas

Where: Hanby House Historic Site

When: November 17, 12-4:30 p.m.

Have a unique photo taken in the decorated parlor of the Hanby House! Wear your own festive clothing, or use the Civil War era costumes provided. It will be perfect for your holiday card or just for fun!

Conservatory Aglow

Where: Franklin Park Conservatory at Botanical Gardens, the Conservatory

When: November 17 – January 2, Times Vary

The biggest and brightest holiday show at the Franklin Park Conservatory returns again! Artfully placed light installations highlight the lush horticulture displays within the interior biomes and courtyards. The Paul Busse model railway, hand blown glass ornament trees and poinsettia trees provide the perfect backdrop for photo opportunities. They will also be offering adult libations and seasonal food to help get you in the holiday spirit!

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”

Where: The Ohio Theatre

When: November 23-25, Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

A Christmas Carol

Photo courtesy of Omaha Community Playhouse

This celebrated Charles Jones adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, brought to you by the Nebraska Theatre Caravan, features thrilling ensemble music, beautiful new arrangements and moving renditions of holiday songs that people of all ages will enjoy!

The Legendary Lights of Historic Clifton Mill

Where: The Historic Clifton Mill

When: November 23 – December 31, Everyday 5-9 p.m. Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve 5-8 p.m.

Featured in Midwest Living and Ohio Magazine, The Legendary Lights of Clifton Mill is one of the finest light displays in the country! With over 3.5 million lights illuminating the mill, gorge, riverbanks, trees and bridges it truly is a legendary sight! There is even a 100-foot “waterfall” of twinkling lights. Don’t miss this incredible sight!

Dragon Lights — Columbus Illuminates the Holiday Season

Where: Ohio State Fairgrounds

When: November 23 – January 6, Tuesdays – Sundays 5:30-10 p.m.

Dragon Lights

Photo courtesy of Tianyu Arts & Culture

See the Ohio State Fairgrounds in a whole new light this year! With over 40 larger-than-life handmade lanterns covered with hand painted silk, you’ll be able to witness a light show created by more than 20,000 twinkling LED lights! It’s a display unlike any other! 

Illuminating Shopping

Where: Historic Old Worthington

When: November 29, 6-9 p.m.

Enjoy a festive evening with family and friends while shopping and dining in historic Old Worthington! Local retailers will be open late and offering specials on their products. Plan to make this long-standing tradition a part of your 2018 holiday schedule!

Home for the Holidays Columbus Jazz Orchestra

Where: Southern Theatre

When: November 29 – December 2, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.

Holiday Events in Columbus

The Columbus Jazz Orchestra promises an evening of festive music to get you in the holiday spirit, and a good time for the whole family!

Holiday Pops

Where: The Ohio Theatre

When: November 30 – December 2, Times Vary

A great annual tradition continues as Ronald J. Jenkins leads the Columbus Symphony and Chorus in some of the season’s most-loved holiday songs and carols. Rumor has it that Santa will also be making an appearance!

Columbus Winterfair

Where: Ohio State Fairground, Bricker Building


When: November 30 – December 2, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Get your holiday shopping done early this year! Browse the holiday artists’ market and find unique handcrafted items. Artists from across the nation will be showcasing their traditional and contemporary crafts including ceramics, woods, glass, painting and more!

BYOB Holiday Lights Trolley

Where: Westies Tavern

When: November 30 – December 30, Everyday except for Christmas Eve and Christmas at 5:30 p.m.

This adult holiday event is perfect for those who want to see all of the beautiful Columbus light displays in one night! Start off at Westies Tavern for a check in and enjoy a small appetizer, then get whisked off on a four-hour tour that includes stops like the Columbus Zoo Wildlights, towns such as Dublin and Upper Arlington, a drive through downtown Columbus and more! Tickets are required.


Where: Bicentennial Park

When: December 1, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

WinterFest is a celebration of giving featuring local and national musical acts, seasonal ales from hometown breweries and favorite dishes from Columbus food trucks! Artist Rayland Baxter will be headlining the event! Volunteers will be selling hand-crafted bowls as part of the Empty Bowls initiative which supports the Mid-Ohio Foodbank!

DIY Festive Holiday Wreath Making

Where: Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, The Wells Barn

When: December 1, 1-3 p.m.

Learn how to create a festive wreath, perfect for your front door throughout the holiday season. A varied selection of greenery, cones, berries and other plant material will be available for you to make your unique holiday decoration! Registration is required.

Village Lights

Where: Historic German Village

When: December 2, 5-9 p.m.

Visit the historic streets of German Village to discover a world of lights and holiday magic! Follow luminaries from shop to shop and start checking off your holiday gift list. Businesses will be open late with holiday specials. At StriezelMarkt on the Platz, you’ll find vendors, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, ice carvings, live music and more! Plus, the holiday lights display will be breathtaking!

The Piano Guys

Where: The Palace Theatre

When: December 6, 7:30 p.m.

The Piano Guys became an internet sensation in 2011 by way of their immensely successful series of original music videos, featuring a blend of classical and pop music. On December 6, The Piano Guys will be playing select songs from their 2017 album “Christmas Together” at the Palace Theatre. It’s sure to be a wonderful time for the whole family!

Statehouse Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting

Where: Ohio Statehouse

When: December 6, 5:30 p.m.

Kick off the holiday season with this annual Statehouse event! This family-friendly celebration will feature a tree lighting, carolers, refreshments, community mascots and a visit from Santa himself!

The Nutcracker

Where: The Ohio Theatre

When: December 7-23, Times Vary

Photo by Jennifer Zmunda, courtesy of BalletMet

BalletMet’s Nutcracker is the perfect way to take a break from the hectic holiday season. Gorgeous costumes and sets, along with magnificent dancing will make this performance one you won’t soon forget!

Holiday Lights Tour

Where: Columbus City Adventures

When: December 7-27, Times Vary

Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit with Columbus City Aventures, as you take a two-hour bus tour through Columbus to see all of the fantastic light displays! Stops include the Grand Illumination along the Scioto Mile, the Festival Lights at Columbus Commons and a special stop to stroll through Christmas Corner!

Santa in the Caboose

Where: Hillard Historical Village

When: December 9, 3-6 p.m.

Columbus Holiday Events

This kid-friendly holiday event features a horse-drawn carriage ride, live music, refreshments, beautiful lights and the opportunity to get your photo taken with Santa from the 1800’s! This historical take on Christmas will provide your family with endless fun and memories!

John Legend – A Legendary Christmas

Where: The Palace Theatre

When: December 9, 8 p.m.

Come out and see John Legend live in concert where he’ll perform classic holiday songs such as “Silver Bells”, “Christmas Time is Here” and “By Christmas Eve” from his new album “A Legendary Christmas”.


Happy Holidays!

Did we miss your favorite Columbus holiday event? Let us know in the comments!


Cutler Marketing Team

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