free Christmas events Columbus, Ohio - Christmas activities in Columbus

Free Christmas Events near Columbus, Ohio

Columbus is the perfect place to enjoy the holiday season with your family. There’s nothing like the cool air, falling snow, and twinkling lights to put you in the Christmas spirit! After a 2020 hiatus due to the pandemic, these Columbus Christmas events are back up and running for the 2021 holiday season – and better yet, they are free! Here is my list of 5 free Christmas events in Columbus, Ohio!

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Free Holiday Events in Columbus 2021

Scioto Mile Lights and WinterFest

The Scioto Mile is a great place to chill in the heat of summer, but now you can enjoy it during the holiday season. The lights go on at Bicentennial Park on November 21st, but the inaugural celebration for 2019 will be a WinterFest event taking place Saturday, December 4th. WinterFest includes a free concert of various local and national performers from 11 am- 4 pm. Food trucks and beer vendors will also be present.

If you can’t make it, the lights stay up until January 3rd, so swing by after that holiday party or business meeting.

Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting

The lights turn on December 2nd at the family-friendly Holiday Festival.  However, there’s a chance to see the Victorian-era decorations the entire month. Located in downtown Columbus, you won’t want to miss the beauty of Christmas at the Statehouse. A visit is also a great way to sneak some education into a two-week Christmas break. The Statehouse is closed on Christmas Day.

Suggested stay: Spend a dreamy night at the Hotel LeVeque or the nearby Hyatt.

5 Free Christmas events near Columbus Ohio - Christmas things to do in Columbus
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State Auto’s Christmas Corner

Bob Pein, State Auto’s Founder, began decorating the company’s downtown headquarters building in 1932 as a Christmas gift to the community. The present-day, life-sized Nativity scene, has become a destination for locals and travelers alike.

This Christmas display will open Wednesday, December 1 through New Years Day. The lights turn on each evening at 5:00 pm and weekends are filled with the sounds of local performers. This may just be your newest Christmas tradition- and it’s absolutely FREE. Check their website for special choir performances.

Village Lights in Historic German Village

Bundle up the kids and give them a taste of yesteryear as you begin the holiday season in German Village. German Village is a FREE destination year-round, but when you add luminarias, a Christmas market, and warm beverages, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported from Columbus, Ohio to Munich, Germany.

The Village Lights Festival is December 5th from 5-9 pm. Not only is the event free, but the parking is free as well, with a free shuttle running from 2 local parking lots.

Granville Christmas Candlelight Walking Tour

A 30-minute drive from downtown Columbus: Granville, Ohio is like stepping foot into a small, New England town. Granville’s Christmas Candlelight Tour is completely free, yet you may want to pack a little cash (along with the kids) so you can enjoy a holiday beverage at a restaurant. Horse-drawn carriage rides are also available.

Luminaries and lighted Christmas trees will line the streets making for a Winter Wonderland as you pop in and out of local churches to hear Christmas music. The Granville Candlelight Walking Tour takes place December 4th from 1-9 pm.

Book a romantic night at the Granville Inn or stay at the newly renovated Cherry Valley Lodge.

Want to spend more time viewing Christmas lights? Check out my list of the best Christmas lights in Mansfield, Ohio.


5 Free Christmas Events near Columbus, Ohio. Take the family and enjoy a night out around the city- from a life-sized Nativity Scene to a Christmas Market or a WinterFest with music. You'll find it all in Central Ohio.
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