Downtown Concierge

Holiday Lights and Urban Sights


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A Downtown HolidayAs you recover from too much turkey and pie, turn your attention to the season of sparkle. And, nowhere sparkles brighter than downtown during the holiday season. With an early Thanksgiving, some lighting displays flipped the switch already. But others will come online in the coming week. Read on for details on all the brightest spots to hit before Christmas comes and goes. Plus, find family-friendly fun events on tap too.

Main Library Holiday Fun

CML hosts their holiday open house on Wednesday, November 28 from 6-8 p.m. Train lovers young and old won’t want to miss the launch of the Huntington Holiday Train. Plus, celebrate with sing-along carols, hands-on activities and yummy treats. Then, head over to Topiary Park where lights sparkle and visit with live reindeer. Oh, and there will be a special guest on hand sure to make your littles’ feet tippy tap.

Holidays at Columbus Commons

The more than 320,000 twinkling multi-color lights have lit up the night since November 21. Come stroll through Columbus Commons through January 2 each night from 5-11 p.m. Plus, on Fridays December 7, 14 and 21, enjoy holiday carolers and free hot chocolate. Oh, and don’t miss the holiday window displays in the Lazarus Building windows all season long.

And, this Saturday, December 1, bring the family for the Free Lazarus Santa Workshop from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Longtime Columbus residents will remember the magic of Christmas at the downtown Lazarus. So, head to the Lazarus Building across High Street from Columbus Commons for a day of holiday fun. Meet Santa at the galleria on Town Street, and you take your own pictures with the big guy. Then, head into the OSU Urban Arts Space for some fun free crafts. Plus, back over at Columbus Commons enjoy free face painting until 5 p.m., free hot chocolate while supplies last, and free music and carousel rides until 9 p.m. Make special memories of holiday cheer. 

Scioto Mile

The stunning light display along Scioto Mile will sparkle all season long. Walk along the mile and rest a minute on the swings to enjoy the lights’ luminescence off the river. With more than 250,000 lights lighting the night from Bicentennial Park to Broad Street, you can walk off some holiday treats while savoring the beauty. Then stop in for a warm-up drink at Milestone 229 and enjoy the view in toasty comfort.

Plus on December 1 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. enjoy WinterFest at Bicentennial Park. With local and national musical acts, food trucks and seasonal ales from hometown breweries, you'll feel like it's summer festival season with thermostat dialed down. Good stuff. Plus, a portion of food truck and beer sales will be donated to Mid-Ohio Foodbank, so you're doing good.

State Auto Christmas Corner

A holiday tradition since the 1930s, State Auto’s Annual Christmas Corner marries beautiful lights with an amazing, life-size nativity scene. For many, no holiday season is complete without a stroll through the nativity. Each hand-painted piece brings the Christmas story to life. The official lighting takes place Tuesday, December 4 at 5:30. And, the Columbus Children’s Choir will perform. The display will be lit each day through January 2. Plus, enjoy choir performances each Friday and Saturday evening through Christmas.

Ohio Statehouse Holiday

Celebrate the holidays at Capitol Square with the Ohio Statehouse Tree Lighting and Holiday Festival on Thursday, December 6 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. This free event offers tons of family fun with Santa and Mrs. Claus on hand to greet the little ones. Start off outside for the spectacular tree lighting. Then, head inside for food and drink, arts and crafts, games and choral performances. And, line the family up for a free photo with the bearded guy and Mrs. Claus.

Obviously, you need to make downtown part of your holiday festivities. Come for the special events or make your own evening of fun. Grab dinner and drinks before or after your tour of holiday splendor. Make it an urban Christmas.