Columbus is a thriving metropolis in the heart of the Midwest known for its friendly people, trendy fashion, growing economy and delicious restaurants. And those are just some of the reasons we think it’s one of the best places to call home in the world.
Columbus is a great place to be any time of the year, so whether you live here or are just passing through — there are plenty of things to do! The Buckeye City maintains an action-packed events calendar, from art festivals to spectacular fireworks displays, all year long.
So take a look at the many annual events in Columbus and see how many you can attend this year!
Photo courtesy of the T. So-Asian Festival
This free festival welcomes more than 100,000 visitors annually and continues to grow in popularity. Boasting sports, games, cultural exhibits, delicious food, shopping, martial arts and stunning performances — the festival showcases the best of Asian culture and promotes the importance of diversity. Don’t miss it!
The Memorial Tournament is a premier event on the PGA Tour held annually at the Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin. The tournament was founded with three goals in mind: to honor those who have distinguished themselves in the game of golf; to showcase the world’s best golfers competing on one of the most challenging courses in the world; and to benefit many greater Columbus charities. Proceeds from this popular event go to the Nicklaus Children’s Healthcare Foundation, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and numerous other local organizations.
The Columbus Arts Festival has been a must-see event for more than 50 years, and it’s no wonder why. It has been rated as one of the top festivals in the nation by several national publications and includes interactive activities, performances, food & beverages, and incredible work from local, national, and international artists alike. Catch it every June on the Scioto Mile.
With approximately 500,000 visitors each year, the Columbus PRIDE Festival is one of the largest pride events in the Midwest. The event usually includes a massive downtown parade along with 150+ vendors, two live music stages and a family area!
Red, White & BOOM! began in 1981 when 30,000 locals gathered in Bicentennial Park to watch a small fireworks display. Since then, it has grown into the largest Fourth of July event in Columbus and one of the most widely recognized fireworks displays in the entire Midwest!
Two words: jazz and ribs — need we say more? This highly anticipated summertime event offers a little something for both jazz and rib connoisseurs, providing the Columbus area with the best of both. Plus, this unique festival is held annually along the Scioto Mile, a revitalized downtown riverfront that provides the perfect location for hot ribs and cool jazz.
Agricultural exhibitions, a massive midway full of rides, and an incredible lineup of musical performances are just some of the fun festivities in store for you at the Ohio State Fair. The cherry on top is the gigantic helping of mouthwatering fair food — which will have you looking forward to this event every year!
Photo courtesy of the Dublin Irish Festival
The Dublin Irish Festival is the largest-three day Irish festival on the planet, offering a plethora of acts and performers each year. The event has been held on the first weekend in August for over 30 years and more than 100,000 guests attend each year!
Every summer on the Columbus riverfront, you can sample delicious food from more than 70 Ohio food trucks all on one extraordinary day! In addition to the massive amounts of food, there’s also always plenty of live music and arts & crafts for all ages.
Celebrate everything you love about Greek culture at this colorful annual festival! Featuring Greek song and dance, cathedral tours, traditional costumes, and delicious food and drink, this event truly provides an opportunity to experience Greek culture without the expensive plane ticket. Every summer, explore the shops, dance to live music, and enjoy a unique Greek tasting experience that whisks you away to another time and place.
This annual Labor Day arts festival draws more than 25,000 visitors each year and is considered Upper Arlington’s signature event! It takes place in the idyllic Northam Park and showcases the works of local, regional and national artists working with a variety of media. Additionally, there is always live performances, a family-friendly activities area, and a variety of food and beverage booths.
Photo courtesy of Spirit Photography via the Columbus Oktoberfest
Put on your lederhosen and raise your beer stein for Columbus Oktoberfest! This fun, annual celebration puts Columbus’ German heritage on display with plenty of beer, polka and delicious food. Even the kiddos are invited to hang out in the Kinderplatz while you enjoy beer-hall style dining with the adults. PROST!
This massive fair showcases hundreds of vendors from more than 25 states selling antiques, vintage items, handcrafted goods, arts, furniture, home decor, clothing, jewelry, specialty foods and so much more. Meet the editors of Country Living Magazine and HGTV superstars, attend seminars and how-tos, see artisan demonstrations, and shop the Harvest & Gourmet Market. There’s no better place or time in Columbus to get inspiration for your home decor!
Unbeknownst to many, Columbus is a fashion capital of the world. Don’t believe us? Attend the annual Fashion Week Columbus, which showcases couture from our best local designers, fashion icons and spots to shop for your next head-turning fashion look!
This annual Halloween festival is one you don’t want to miss! This event is free and appropriate for all ages with a number of kid-friendly activities, including live music, games, a haunted trail, escape rooms, character interactions, pumpkin painting, trick-or-treating with local organizations, and more.
Every year during Halloween time, head to the vibrant Short North Arts District for a Halloween party unlike any other! HighBall Halloween is considered one of the nation’s most elaborate costume parties, bridging runway style with the culture of this lively area. This festive weekend attracts over 40,000 costumed participants in a celebration of costumes and creativity.
For over 30 years, this family tradition has been a holiday must-see. Visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium during the holidays to see beautiful light displays along with your favorite animals. There are also fun animated light shows, a visit from Rudolph and his friends, the Polar Bear Express, Camel Rides and more!
Conservatory Aglow is the biggest and brightest holiday show at the Franklin Park Conservatory every year. 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 also offer adult libations and seasonal food to help get you in the holiday spirit!
WinterFest is a celebration of giving featuring local and national musical acts, seasonal ales from hometown breweries, and favorite dishes from Columbus food trucks! This event kicks off the dazzling illumination of lights along the Scioto Mile.
Visit the historic streets of German Village during the holiday season to discover a world of lights and magic! Follow luminaries from shop to shop and start checking off your holiday gift list as businesses are always 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 is one of the most breathtaking in the entire Columbus area!
This spectacular New Year’s Eve celebration is held in downtown Columbus and is a choose-your-own-adventure event packed full of fun every year. Check out a hands-on activity, enjoy live music, shows and of course, the fireworks finale. Perfect for families, First Night Columbus is the place to be when saying goodbye to the previous year!
See colorful butterflies take flight at the Franklin Park Conservatory! The exhibit is open from March until September, and patrons can visit at any time to see a diverse array of butterflies fluttering or resting on lush plants. Experts will be available to answer any questions you might have!
Spring marks the opening of local farmers’ markets! While there are several great options around town, we always look forward to the opening of the Pearl Market in downtown Columbus. Hit the market every Tuesday and Friday starting in early June to find locally grown produce, freshly baked goodies and hand-crafted trinkets.
Whether you’re getting ready to enjoy a massive Irish festival or a spectacular holiday fireworks display, we hope you have a great time! What annual events in Columbus do you look forward to every year?