It's officially sweatshirt weather at night which means its time to pull out those pumpkins and plan your fall festivities. There are so many things to do in Columbus in the fall and we've rounded up our favorite fall activities that guarantee fun for the whole family.
Boo at the Zoo
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium's signature fall event, Boo at the Zoo, promises “merry-not-scary” fun for the whole family. The Zoo’s various regions get dressed up for the spooky-kooky Halloween event of heroic proportions. Taking place all five weekends in October, visitors can expect a trick-or-treat trail, Halloween train ride, costumed characters and more. Halloween costumes are encouraged for all guests and the best part is, there is no cost beyond regular zoo admission.
The 90-acre Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is especially lovely in the fall, when their annual Harvest Blooms exhibit transforms the grounds into an otherworldly autumn landscape of hundreds of pumpkins, heirloom gourds, colorful mums and various foliage cascading throughout the gardens beginning Sept. 25. The vibrant sea of color makes the perfect backdrop for jack-o-lanterns and many special events take place each year to help kids experience the magic created by numerous pumpkin displays.
Late October evenings light up with special event Pumpkins Aglow! This special event involves glowing jack-o-lanterns and themed light displays surrounding the fall horticulture displays. This event is open to all ages, but consider leaving the kids at home and turning this into a fun fall date night.
All Hallows' Eve
From 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. every Saturday in October, Ohio Village at the Ohio History Center invites the community to enjoy an evening of 1890s-style family fun. Per tradition, a retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow will take place by a bonfire, along with pumpkin carving and Victorian-era entertainment like fortune telling, crafts and more. New this year, guests can explore a straw maze, a haunted pathway programs on fashions that kill and characters from Ohio lore.
Oktoberfest is an annual German celebration that originally marked the marriage of two royals in the early 1800s. The event, traditionally held in September and now celebrated around the world, involves plenty of drinking, dancing and all-around frivolity, as you would expect from a wedding celebration. It should come as no surprise that with Columbus' ample Germanic heritage, there are a number of options to observe this fall holiday.
The Schmidt's Columbus Oktoberfest is taking place at the Ohio Expo Center and State Fairgrounds from Sept. 10-12. In addition to incredible food, drinks and entertainment, there is also a large Kinderplatz (Children's area) and Marketplatz featuring artisan goods. Admission is free, though parking is $10, and new in 2021 the event is a completely cashless experience. Come rain or shine as this event takes place in a covered, open-sided space! Kick off the ceremonial activities with the official keg tapping of Hofbrauhaus' Oktoberfest beer on Sept. 9, then enjoy two weekends of fun in the spacious Columbus bier garten!
Celebrated Sept. 18, the first weekend of Hispanic Heritage Month, Festival Latino will take place in a new, one-time format at the Columbus Commons. With concerts taking place throughout the evening, guests are invited to enjoy on-site food trucks while enjoying performances. This event is free, but tickets are required to ensure distancing is maintained.
Columbus Italian Festival
From Oct. 8-10, the Columbus Italian Festival will take place at St. John The Baptist Church in the city's Italian Village to celebrate its Italian heritage. Showcasing the finest in food, entertainment and Italian culture, this is an event not to be missed.
Check out all the fun events taking place this fall, like the All American Quarter Horse Congress, here: