Passionate About Columbus
and the Moms Who Live Here

Free and Inexpensive Christmas Activities in Columbus {2017}

Save money this holiday season and check out these affordable and free Christmas activities! Be sure to take a look at the Ultimate Holiday Guide on Columbus Moms Blog for tons of additional holiday ideas in many categories.

Daily Free Christmas Activities

State Auto’s Christmas Corner: A life Sized Nativity Scene can be found at State Auto Headquarters. The display is lighted daily from December 5th, 2017 through January 2nd, 2017. On weekends through December 23rd, 2017, local choirs will offer free performances on Friday and Saturday evenings. 

Huntington Holiday Train at the Main Library: The beloved Huntington Holiday Train will be back on display at the Main Library this year. Check the library website for operating hours.

Easton Town Center Trolley: (Wednesday- Saturday: 1:00-8:00 pm, Sunday: noon- 6:00 pm) Take a fun trolley ride around the beautifully decorated Easton Town Center grounds to take in the sights and sounds of the season. Rides are free, but tips are welcome to benefit charity.

Santa Mailboxes: Write a letter to Santa and drop it off at one of Santa’s mailboxes around town.

Santa's mailboxes12 Elves of Dublin Scavenger Hunt: Pick up a scavenger card at one of the 12 participating businesses in Historic Dublin and search for the hidden elf.  At each location, you will receive a small treat for finding the elf. Runs daily through December 20th during business hours.

Easton Photos with Santa: The first 5×7 is only $5.  Reserve your spot in the virtual line by checking in with one of Santa’s Helpers. Click here to see a list of Photos with Santa locations in Columbus.

WildLights is free with a Columbus Zoo Membership.  Click here to see a full list of Holiday Light Displays

Christmas Light Finder: Type your zip code into this website and it will show you the houses with amazing displays near you.  It’s fun to grab some hot chocolate, bundle into the car and cruise around looking at lights.

Reoccurring Weekday Events

Ohio Statehouse Holiday Choir Performances: Enjoy lunchtime concerts from 12:00-1:00 pm on weekdays from December 11-21st at the Crypt of the Ohio Statehouse.

Weekend Events

Oakland Nurseries: Each location has different events on Saturdays and Sundays from November 25- December 17th, 2017.  Come see Santa too! 

Calendar of Events

November 27, 2017

Uptown Christmas Walk & Tree Lighting Ceremony in Marysville: Come by and see Santa, a few of his reindeer, listen to music, make crafts and watch the tree lighting.  5:00-8:00 pm- FREE

Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Reynoldsburg: Sing carols, drink hot chocolate and watch the tree lighting ceremony at the Reynoldsburg City Hall. 7:00 pm- FREE

Christmas Open House at John and Annie Glenn in New Concord: Visit on the evening of the New Concord Christmas parade and enjoy hot chocolate, cookies, the Lionel train and beautiful holiday tree, like the trees that astronaut and Ohio Senator John Glenn likely enjoyed when he was growing up in the village in the 1930s and 1940s.  5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. 

November 29, 2017

Main Library Holiday Open House: Crafts, sing-along carols,  Meet Santa, see the Huntington Train leave the station, enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, make crafts, and watch the BIG tree light after a reading of the holiday classic, A Night Before Christmas! 6:00-8:00 pm- FREE

November 30th, 2017 

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in Dublin: At this event, there will be live reindeer, complimentary hot chocolate and donuts, opportunities for pictures with Christmas characters and prizes for children.  At 6:30 pm, Santa makes his appearance. 5:00-7:00 pm- FREE

Night in Bethlehem: Experience a Night in Bethlehem at Westerville Christian Church and have a hands-on family experience. Pre-Registration is encouraged.  5:30-8:30 pm on November 30th and December 1st- FREE

Illuminating Shopping in Worthington: Stroll the streets of historic Old Worthington and experience live music, luminaries lining the streets and special sales from the retailers that stay open late. 6:00-9:00 pm – FREE

December 1, 2017

Old Pickerington Village Holiday: Strolling carolers, cookie decorating, storytelling, crafts, horse-drawn carriage rides, indoor Holiday gift market, hop on/off trolley, Gingerbread House contest, visit with Santa, lighting of the pantry lights and lighting of Pickerington’s Christmas Tree.  The shops, restaurants and Historical Museum are also open. 5:00-8:30 pm- FREE

Night in Bethlehem: Experience a Night in Bethlehem at Westerville Christian Church and have a hands-on family experience. Pre-Registration is encouraged.  5:30-8:30 pm on November 30th and December 1st- FREE

Delaware Tree Lighting and Santa House: Free horse-drawn carriage ride, Santa House, carolers and tree lighting ceremony at 7 pm. 6:00-9:00 pm- FREE

Polar Express Pajama Storytime: Come dressed in your pajamas to the Easton Barnes & Noble and listen to the Polar Express story.  7:00 pm- FREE

Upper Arlington Tree Lighting and Winter Festival: Activities include the lighting of the Holiday tree, holiday music and caroling by the high school choir, live reindeer, carriage rides, bonfire with s’mores, giveaways, and coffee and hot chocolate. 6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – FREE 

December 2, 2017

Winter Fest at Scioto Mile: A celebration of giving featuring local and national musical acts, seasonal ales from hometown breweries and favorite dishes from Columbus food trucks. A portion of food truck and beer sales will be donated to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. (The lights will be aglow starting November 17.)  11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – FREE

Holiday Open House in Delaware: Main Street Delaware’s annual Holiday Open House features specials and free community events for all! Come downtown and enjoy our local shops, see Santa and much more. Stores will be open their regular business hours all day.There is also a Dash for Dancer event from 11-1 to look for Santa’s reindeer! 

Kids Workshops at Home Depot: Make a Wooden Gingerbread House.  Pre-registration is required.  9 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. FREE

Christmas Prelude at The GRAND of Dublin: Various activities are scheduled throughout the day including Breakfast with Santa at 9 am, musical performances, crafts and a Secret Santa Shop. 9 am – 4 pm- FREE  

Holly Days in Dublin: Visit Historic Dublin from 11 am – 7 pm for a day full of fun.  FREE activities includes 12 Elves of Dublin Hunt, kids crafts, live music, hot chocolate from Starbucks and more.

Free Crafts for Kids: From 11 am – 3 pm kids can make a free frosty friend bookmark  at Lakeshore (2148 Polaris Parkway, Columbus, OH 43240)

Made LOCAL Marketplace Holiday Show: Shop from local vendors at Bridgewater Banquet Center – 10561 Sawmill Parkway Powell, OH 43065.  9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

Grove City Christmas Celebration: This family-friendly festival will feature live music, Santa visits, ice sculpting, reindeer, traditional carols, a parade, and the official Grove City tree lighting. 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Rocky’s Olde Fashioned Christmas Party: Visit with Rocky the Therapy Horse at Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Sciences (600 N. Spring Road, Westerville Ohio) from 12:00-2:00 pm.  You’ll find crafts, snacks and “Rocky’s Santa Shoppe”. FREE

Downtown Lancaster Winterfest: Free carriage rides, photos with Santa at the Santa House, kids crafts in the businesses, elf scavenger hunt, holiday music, and much more!  12:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. The downtown tree lighting is at 5 pm.

Climb with Santa: Kids can climb, get their photo with Santa, eat snacks and make crafts. Vertical Adventures Youth Programming (6295 Busch Blvd, Columbus, Ohio 43229) – 11:00-1:00 pm- FREE

Christmas is Coming: Step back in time and help decorate the Victorian farmhouse at Slate Run Farm. 1:00-3:00 pm – FREE

Granville Candlelight Walking Tour:  The day will feature over 70 activities, events, and performances to enjoy. 1:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m. 

Holiday Nature Crafts: Enjoy a fun-filled afternoon making crafts and sipping hot chocolate at Highbanks Metro Park. 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. – FREE 

Holidays in Powell: Powell will turn into the “North Powell” where guests can visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, take a ride on a horse-drawn carriage, and enjoy storytime and crafts in the Municipal Building.  Stroll the streets of Powell for various activities offered by the businesses from 2:00-5:30 pm.  The event concludes with the tree lighting ceremony at 6:00. – FREE

Holiday Hop: Stroll the streets in the Short North and look at the decorated window displays, watch street performers, shop at the businesses that stay open later. Holiday Hop takes place from 4:00 – 10:00 pm.  FREE

Winter Slime Experiments: Come to The Old Worthington Library to make slime and take it home! 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. 

Christmas on the Square in Sunbury: Watch a lighted parade at 5:30, participate in festivities such as craft making, visit with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and much more! 4:00-8:00 pm- FREE

A Holiday Evening on the Farm: Experience the holiday spirit of the 1930’s and roast chestnuts, listen to live music and make holiday decorations.  Gallant Farm: 3:00-8:00 pm- FREE

Christmas Under the Clock in Plain City: Tree Lighting Ceremony with entertainment at 5:00 p.m. After the tree lighting, activities include craft vendors, wagon rides to photos with Santa at Yoder’s True Value, live music, ice sculpting, drawings and prizes. 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. – FREE 

December 3rd, 2017

Holiday Hop in Hilliard and Tree Lighting: Musical selections will be performed by children, visit from Santa, ice sculpting demonstrations, cookie decorating, balloon artist, reindeer, wagon rides and hot chocolate. Be sure to stroll down to the Historical Village in Weaver Park to get a glimpse of life in the past as you visit the authentic buildings. 5:00-7:30 pm – FREE

HolidayVille in Clintonville: Jolly trolleys take riders to Clintonville area businesses for free and discounted goodies. The fun continues at Mozarts, the event headquarters, with hot cocoa, cookies, activities and visit from Santa himself. – 12:00- 4:00 pm – FREE

Christmas Parade in Downtown in Delaware: The parade wraps up their holiday weekend and will take place at 3:00 p.m. 

Village Lights in German Village: Follow luminaries from shops, restaurants and businesses that have stayed open late with discounts and holiday treats.  There are surprises on each corner including live music, carolers and carriage rides.  5:00-9:00 pm- FREE

December 5, 2017

Holiday Tree Lighting in Grandview: Enjoy carol singing sung by the Grandview Heights High School singers and refreshments and annual tree lighting.  6:30-8:00 pm- FREE

December 7, 2017

Santa Arrives at the Township: See Dublin’s first fire truck, a 1937 REO Speedwagon, take a picture with Santa, enjoy a treat and make a craft.  6200 Eiterman Road, Dublin OH- 6-8 pm- FREE (but monetary donations are being accepted as well as new, unwrapped toys to benefit the Firefighters for Kids Toy Drive)

Ohio Statehouse Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting: Visit with Santa and other historical characters and modern dignitaries at the annual holiday Statehouse event.  You’ll also find model trains, carolers and refreshments. 5:30-7:30 pm- FREE

December 8, 2017

Gingerbread Jam Holiday Party: Head to the Worthington Community Center for family dance time with a DJ, photo booth, arts and crafts, and pictures with Santa. 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. 

December 9, 2017

Breakfast with Santa at Rusty Bucket: Call to make a reservation.  Breakfast is $5 per person, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Toys for Tots. Guests are also encouraged to donate new or gently used coats which will be given to the Salvation Army.

Ginger Bread House Party Come to the Whetstone Library for stories, activities and to create your own gingerbread house. Ages 6-11- FREE. 

Santa Visit at the Grandview Heights Public Library: Santa will arrive on a firetruck at the library and will be available for photos, so remember your camera!  Tickets are free but must be picked up prior to the event. (New this year) 11:00 am -12:00 pm- FREE

Deck the Stalls: Face painting, Christmas bulb decorating, photos with Santa ($5 donation and free for military families), pony rides ($3 donation or 2 for $5), refreshments and more. Stockhands Horses For Healing 11 am – 3 pm (3788 Olentangy River Rd, Delaware, Ohio 43015)

Free Crafts for Kids: From 11:00 am – 3:00 pm kids can make a free frosty mask at Lakeshore (2148 Polaris Parkway, Columbus, OH 43240) FREE

Discovery District Holiday Trolley Hop: Ride the complimentary trolley through the popular Discovery District as it stops for shopping, crafts, tours and activities. 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm – FREE

Christmas in Ash Cave: Bundle up and head to Ash Cave in Hocking Hills for an outdoor adventure.  5:00-7:00 pm

December 10, 2017

Santa in the Caboose: Enter the red caboose to interact and take photos with Santa in his suit from the 1800s. Historical Village will also be open with live music, art projects, refreshments and more. Location: Hilliard Ohio Historical Society – 3:00-6:00 pm – FREE

December 15th, 2017 

4th Annual Ice Sculpture Tour: Beginning at 5 pm on Friday night and continuing all weekend (weather permitting) illuminated ice sculptures are set up on display outside of Uptown Westerville Merchants. FREE

December 16, 2017

Free Crafts for Kids: From 11 am – 3 pm kids can make a free winter headband craft at Lakeshore (2148 Polaris Parkway, Columbus, OH 43240)

‘Tis the Season: String popcorn, make an ornament and stroll around the farm. Slate Run Farm: 1:00-3:00 pm- FREE

Christmas Evening: Make decorations, string popcorn and enjoy other seasonal 1880s activities on a special lamplit evening. 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. 

 December 17, 2017

‘Tis the Season: String popcorn, make an ornament and stroll around the farm. Slate Run Farm: 1:00-3:00 pm- FREE

Annual Golden Spike Open House at The Depot: Tour the train cars decorated for the season, take a ride on the Scioto Railway through the decorated light display, enjoy light refreshments, work on a craft and watch a holiday movie.  Admission is a coat for the needy (hats, gloves and scarves are welcome) or 1 unwrapped gift per person for the benefit of Firefighters For Kids Toy Drive and TriVillage Chamber Coat Drive. 4:00-7:00 pm

 December 28, 2017

Christmas with the Critters: Meet animals, make crafts, watch a puppet show and visit with Santa at the Ohio Wildlife Center. 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. $5 a person

Do you know of any other free and inexpensive Christmas activities that we missed?  Comment below with additional ideas!

, , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply