Winter events happening in Columbus

Check out winter and holiday-themed events happening in and around Columbus in this seasonal guide.

Deer scioto mile

Don’t forget to see the decorated deer on the Scioto Mile bridge this holiday season. | Photo by @andyspessard

Table of Contents

Get your fuzzy socks and hot cocoa ready Columbus. From light displays to holiday performances and festive parties, winter is where CBUS thrives.

Gather the family and friends and celebrate what makes the holiday season special with this guide featuring 30 winter events happening between November and January.

Holiday performances 🩰

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas | Sunday, Nov. 27 | 7 p.m. | Palace Theatre | $29-$69 | The holiday classic comes to life on stage through song, dance, and learning the true meaning of Christmas.
  • Trans-Siberian Orchestra | Friday, Dec. 23. | 3 p.m. + 7:30 p.m. | Nationwide Arena | $52.50-$374 | The rock opera will perform classics like “O’ Come All Ye Faithful.”
  • The Nutcracker | Thursday, Dec. 8-Saturday, Dec. 24 | Times vary | Ohio Theatre | $38-$120 | Watch BalletMet’s take on “The Nutcracker” through costuming, sets, and choreography.
  • The Hip Hop Nutcracker | Sunday, Dec. 4 | 7 p.m. | Palace Theatre | $34-$64 | This re-imagined version of “The Nutcracker” mixes hip-hop and contemporary dancing with violins and a DJ.
  • Cirque Dreams Holidaze | Thursday, Dec. 1 + Friday, Dec. 2 | 7:30 p.m. | $33-103 | This Broadway-style production has circus arts, live singing, and holiday sets.
  • ELF the Musical | Tuesday, Dec. 13-Sunday, Dec. 18 | Times vary | Palace Theatre | $31-$144 | Be prepared to laugh with Buddy during this comedic musical.
  • White Christmas The Musical | Thursday, Dec. 1-Sunday, Jan. 1 | Short North Stage | $45-$55 | Times vary | Watch the holiday classic “White Christmas” come to life on stage.
ELF the musical

Add some humor to the holidays with “ELF The Musical.” | Photo by @elfmusicaltour

Festivals ❄️

  • WinterFest | Saturday, Dec. 3 | 11 a.m.-4 p.m. | The Scioto Mile — Bicentennial Park | Free | Enjoy live music, snow globe photo opportunities, seasonal drinks, and food trucks.
  • Westerville Winterfest | Sunday, Dec. 11 | 12-3 p.m. | Free-$15 | Clements Recreation Center, 180 Center St. | Take a sleigh ride, meet Santa, jump in the bounce park, and do some holiday shopping.
  • Chocolate, Wine & Whiskey Festival | Saturday, Jan. 28 | 7-11 p.m. | COSI | $50-$75 | Unlimited tastings of chocolate, spirits, and wine + boozy milkshakes and a s’mores bar.

Holiday celebrations 🎁

  • Short North Holiday Hop | Saturday, Dec. 3 | Business hours vary | Short North Arts District | Free | Browse local shops and galleries and enjoy a live ice sculpture artist, holiday musicians, and visits from Santa.
  • 12 Bars of Christmas Crawl | Saturday, Dec. 10 | 12-8 p.m. | Park Street Cantina, 491 Park St. | $12-$16 | Dress in holiday onesies, Santa suits, or ugly sweaters for discounted drinks at participating bars.
  • Holiday Hop & Tree Lighting | Thursday, Dec. 1 | 6 p.m. | TownHall Short North, 792 N. High St. | Free | Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in attendance for movies, Christmas cookies, hot chocolate + a live ice carving demonstration.
  • Holiday Soiree Columbus 2022 | Saturday, Dec. 10 | 6-11 p.m. | Embassy Suites by Hilton Columbus Airport, 2886 Airport Dr. | $65-$75 | Dress in festive attire for dinner, cocktails, and live music from hip-hop and jazz violinist Stephen Spottswood.
  • Village Lights | Sunday, Dec. 4 | 5-9 p.m. | German Village Neighborhood | Free | Local businesses will be open late with holiday specials + surprise vendors and live music.
  • Grove City Christmas Celebration | Friday, Dec. 2-Saturday, Dec. 3 | Times vary | Grove City Town Center, Park Street at Broadway | Free | Watch the annual Christmas parade and tree lighting.
  • Ugly Christmas Sweater Party | Saturday, Dec. 10 | 11 a.m.-10 p.m. | Zaftig Brewing Co., 7020-A Huntley Rd. | Free | Wear a festive sweater, sip on local brews, and listen to live music from Stella in the Can.
  • Run the Lights 2022 | Saturday, Dec. 17 | 4:40-7 a.m. | Alum Creek State Park, 3305 S. Old State Rd. | $42-$47 | Run a three or six mile race through Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights.
  • A Christmas Murder Mystery — Mrs. Claus Went Missing | Friday, Dec. 23 | 8-10 p.m. | Jury Room, 22 E. Mound St. | $40 | Cocktails are provided as you work together to solve the mystery.
winterfest-CBUS.png

The Scioto Mile holiday lighting will be visible from dusk until dawn each day. | Photo by Randall L. Schieber via @thesciotomile

NYE celebrations 🥂

Columbus Commons lights

The Columbus Commons lights have already begun illuminating downtown. | Photo by @markschultztv

Light displays 🎄

  • Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights | Friday, Nov. 18-Sunday, Jan. 1 | 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m. | Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds, 3311 S. Old State Rd. | $22.37-$32.87 | Drive for three miles through 300 seasonal light displays + find Mrs. Claus along the way to take your letters to Santa.
  • Wildlights | Friday, Nov. 18-Sunday, Jan. 1 | 5-9 p.m. | Columbus Zoo and Aquarium | $17+ | Millions of LED lights are synced to animated musical light shows + see reindeer, holiday characters, and ride the train.
  • Conservatory Aglow | Saturday, Nov. 19-Sunday, Jan. 8 | 5-9 p.m. | Franklin Park Conservatory | $25 | Enjoy themed light displays throughout the garden including ornament trees, a rainbow tunnel, and a larger-than-life gingerbread house.
  • Columbus Commons Holiday Lights | Friday, Nov. 18-Sunday, Jan. 1 | 5-11 p.m. | Columbus Commons | Free | Watch 400,000 LED lights sparkle and enjoy hot chocolate, carousel rides, and entertainment on select nights.
  • Magic of Lights | Wednesday, Nov. 23- Sunday Jan. 1 | 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m. | Historic Crew Stadium | $18-$60 | Drive through more than one million holiday lights — including a larger-than-life Barbie + monster truck display.
  • Holiday Lights | Wednesday, Nov. 23- Monday Jan. 2 | The Scioto Mile | Dawn-dusk | Free | Trees and displays along the river will be lit up with 250,000 vibrant holiday lights.
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