By Taylor Meredith
As the end of the year grows near, the light you see at the end of the tunnel is made by brightly shining holiday lights! After last year’s significantly altered holiday season, make this year extra special and get in the holiday spirit in Columbus. Ohio’s capital is a delightful place to visit during the holidays, offering millions of lights sparkling through the city as well as plenty of shopping opportunities to take care of gifts for your whole list.
Light Up the Night — The city’s top attractions feature glowing light displays across the city that brighten the skies nightly throughout the holiday season. Central Ohio’s favorite family holiday tradition, Wildlights! at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium began with just a few strands of lights and a few trays of cookies, and the show has grown to millions of LED lights, animated musical light shows, Santa, reindeer and other holiday festivities, offering a whole new way to experience Jack Hanna’s home zoo.
The annual Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will illuminate winter nights with thousands of lights that twinkle and glow in stunning displays. Accompanying the lights are familiar holiday favorites such as the rainbow tunnel, ornament trees, gingerbread competition and more.
Don’t forget to explore the light displays and holiday scenes that pepper downtown on a guided tour, either from the comfort of a Columbus City Adventures van or on a special SegAway tour. See how holiday displays come to life on the Scioto Mile, Columbus Commons and various businesses throughout the city.
Shop ‘til You Drop — Whether its big-name brands or boutique experiences you seek, Columbus has you covered. With more than 240 best-in-class businesses that call it home, Easton is one of the city’s premier shopping, dining and entertainment destinations. Easton’s unique village-like setting offers a broad assortment of big-name retailers like Apple,
Nordstrom and American Girl that are a fashion virtuoso’s dream. COVID-19 hasn’t slowed this lifestyle center down, adding 16 new acres, including the state’s first RH Gallery, over the past two years. It’s easy to see why Chain Store Age Magazine named Easton the best retail experience center in the country in both 2019 and 2020. Take a holiday carriage ride and stop by to see Santa while you’re on site as well.
USA Today named High Street in the Short North Arts District among “10 great American shopping streets” stating, “There’s nothing else like it in the United States.” Filled with one-of-a-kind shops, from homegrown stores that have gained national recognition – like Homage – to specialty outlets favored by locals, there’s something for everyone in the Short North.
The neighborhood’s monthly Gallery Hop, the first Saturday of each month, turns into a Holiday Hop in December with extended hours and specials to help make headway on holiday gift lists.
Known as one of the most atmospheric neighborhoods in the country, the already-idyllic German Village is even more charming at the holidays. Paper lanterns and strings of lights line the streets and lead the way to a variety of shops, including one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores – The Book Loft – with 32 rooms of books for every reader on your list. Pair this with a visit to their annual Village Lights event for an extra special experience.
Additional outlying neighborhoods offer a plethora of additional options for everyone on your list. Don’t miss the thrift stores in Grandview, antique shops in Clintonville or ample minority-owned businesses in Olde Towne East.
Plus, the holiday season comes with a plethora of maker’s markets, including the Columbus College of Art & Design’s Art Fair & Marketplace, Not Your Mama’s Craft Market, Craftin’ Outlaws and 400 West Rich’s Festivus shopping extravaganza to gather some truly one-of-a-kind gifts.
There’s so much to do, you’ll need more than a day trip to fit everything in.
When you book a two night stay directly at experiencecolumbus.com, you’re guaranteed the lowest price available and will receive added benefits like Lyft credit or attraction passes.
When shopping or staying in Columbus, know that you can feel safe doing so thanks to the Live Forward Pledge taken by hundreds of businesses in the community. Look for the orange window decal on your visit for a visual representation of which businesses have put the health and safety of their patrons at the forefront of reopening amidst the coronavirus pandemic and learn more at experiencecolumbus.com/liveforwardpledge.
See all that Columbus has to offer eager holiday travelers at experiencecolumbus.com/holidays.
Holiday Happenings in Columbus