From Kwanzaa to Christmas to New Year's Eve, there are tons of creative and fun ways to recognize the holidays this year - whether you're at home and need a bedtime-friendly way to celebrate NYE, or you're searching for unique festivities with friends or older children. The list below includes restaurants, activities, film showings, and more. Have a ball browsing for ideas, and we wish you a very happy new year!
For Experience Columbus' COVID-19 information and recommendations, click here.
(Please note that the events listed below may be subject to change or cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Event/venue links below remain the most reliable sources of information for the events listed.)
Week of 12/19 (Sun 12/19 - Sat 12/25)
A Christmas Story: The Musical | Now – Dec 23 | Lincoln Theatre
| Time varies | $17 - $52
Set in 1940s Indiana, this musical based on the movie classic follows 9-year-old Ralphie and his quest for the Holy Grail of Christmas gifts – a Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot Range Model air rifle.
A Very Special Holiday | Dec 22-23, 29-30 | MadLab Theater
| 6:30pm | $10
Three short plays for the whole family to enjoy.
The Secret Life of Santa & Mrs. Claus: By Lynnix M. Price, (Premier). While the Claus family are on vacation, the Easter Bunny takes over the factory.
Quey's Stuffy Puppy Nose Day: By Julie Whitney-Scott. (Premier). Quey learns that it is a big responsibility taking care of a pet. His best friend learns that you can love more than one friend.)
That Special Joy: By Julie Whitney-Scott. Kids in a group home all learn about loss, grief, and love.
Gifts of the Craftsmen Holiday Exhibition & Sale | Present – Dec 23 | Ohio Craft Museum
| Time varies
The annual Gifts of the Craftsmen holiday exhibition and sale, November 7 through December 23, will feature beautiful jewelry, functional pottery, art glass, wood cutting boards, whimsical puppets and animals, sparkling glass ornaments and more, by over 125 fine craft artists.
Holiday Hoopla | Now – Dec 23 | Shadowbox Live
| 7:30pm | $60 - $360
Shadowbox Live's most popular sketch comedy & music show celebrates the hustle, bustle, and fun of the season with an evening of unforgettable live entertainment that has become a Columbus holiday tradition!
Photos with Santa at Easton | Now – Dec 24 | Easton
| Time varies | $0 - $5
Santa will be taking photos with families and spreading holiday cheer at the North Pole, located in Easton’s North District next to Tiffany & Co. Your family’s first 5×7 is only $5, or take a candid photo with your own camera. Photos begin after the Grand Illumination.
The Nutcracker | Dec 15 – Dec 26 | Ohio Theatre
| Time varies | $37 - $106
Journey from reality to fantasy, and back again, in one enchanting night! Watch sparkling snow, charming characters, and wonderful surprises come to life as Clara and her Nutcracker Prince take you on a magical journey that you and yours won't soon forget. This holiday classic production, co-created by Gerard Charles and Robert Post, is rounded out with the invigorating orchestral music of Tchaikovsky. Renew your holiday traditions this season with BalletMet's The Nutcracker!
White Christmas Movie Screening | Dec 25 | Gateway Film Center
| 1:30pm | $12
‘Tis the season to see the classics as they were meant to be seen—on the big screen with friends and family. Reconnect with iconic stories from our curated collection of Hollywood’s Golden Age alongside modern favorites, many presented on 35mm film. Whether starting a new tradition or continuing an old favorite, we are happy to host you and your loved ones this holiday season.
Week of 12/16 (Sun 12/26 - Sat 01/01)
Kwanzaa Celebration | Dec 26 | Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
| 11am & 2pm | $19 for non-member adults (included with general admission)
Tony West and the Imani dancers will celebrate the first day and principal of Kwanzaa: Umoja, meaning unity. Their performance will feature the vibrant style of West African drumming and dance.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra | Dec 26 | Nationwide Arena
| 3pm & 8pm | $47 - $198
“Christmas Eve and Other Stories” is based on the triple-platinum album of the same name and follows a story by TSO’s late founder/composer/lyricist Paul O’Neill. In keeping with the classic line “If You Want To Arrange It, This World You Can Change It,” the story is set on Christmas Eve when a young angel is sent to Earth to bring back what is best representative of humanity.
New Cheers Eve | Dec 28 | Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
| 7-10pm | $100
Raise a glass to 2021! Dress in your best to pop the bubbly to celebrate New Year’s Eve. A multicourse dinner with perfectly paired Cooper’s Hawk wines is a fabulous way to end the year!
Kwanzaa Celebration | Dec 26 – Jan 1 | Ohio History Center
| 4-8 pm | Free
Kwanzaa, meaning first fruits or harvest in Swahili, is a celebration honoring African heritage in African American culture. Based on seven basic values or principles called the Nguzo Saba, this nightly celebration will showcase high energy and engaging performances of African drumming, dance, poetry, theatre and storytelling.
New Year’s Eve Celebrations (Dec 31)
Damn Girl: Solid Gold New Year’s Eve | Dec 31 | Seventh Son Brewing Co.
| 9pm | $10
Join Seventh Son for a SOLID GOLD New Year's Eve featuring the DJs from Damn Girl! Dress in your finest gold threads.
Jet Black New Years: An Emo New Years Party | Dec 31 | Summit Music Hall
| 8:45pm – 1am | $10
Music by Davey Crocketts Ghost, Undergrads, Cotter, and We Are the Movies.
Latin NYE Party | Dec 31 | Granero Lounge
| 7pm – 2:30am | $120 - $1,100
Granero Lounge is bringing the Las Vegas vibes to the largest Latin New Years Eve Party in Columbus. Ring in 2022 with VIP Bottle service or experience a variety of unique cocktails. Multiple DJs will be rocking the dance floors. Tickets include an open bar from 9pm till midnight with General Admission, ball drop watch party, premium bar package, party favors and so much more.
Noon Year Celebration | Dec 31 | Virtual
| 11:30am – 12:30pm | Free
Join us for this bedtime-friendly New Year’s Eve virtual celebration – Noon Year! Instead of midnight, we will ring in the new year at noon.
Participate in child-focused activities and show your best moves at our dance party. This fast-paced, virtual party will be the perfect send-off to 2021!
Balloons, decorations and festive attire are encouraged!
Noon-Lite Madness | Dec 31 | Westerville Community Center
| 11am – 1pm | $10
Celebrate New Year's Eve preschool style with crafts, finger foods and music as we count down to celebrate the new year.
NYE Ball Drop Package (Bowling) | Dec 31 | AMF Lanes
| 9pm - 1am | $46
Get a deal on a New Year's package that includes four hours of unlimited bowling, selections from our signature menu, and bubbly celebratory drinks!
NYE Bash | Dec 31 | Park Street Cantina
| 7pm – 2:30am | $120 - $6,500
Park Street Cantina is bringing the Las Vegas vibes to the largest New Year's Eve Party in Columbus. Ring in 2022 with VIP Bottle service or experience a variety of unique cocktails. DJ Samurai will be rocking the dance floors. Tickets include an open bar from 9pm till midnight with General Admission, and so much more.
NYE Bash | Dec 31 | Park Street Tavern
| 8pm-1am | $75
The all-Inclusive evening includes drinks, tapas buffet, champagne toast, party favors, and Live music by The Fabulous Johnson Brothers!
NYE Cabaret | Dec 31 | SJCC Event Center
| 8pm-1am | $40
BYOB, Food Provided, Party Favors, and New Year's Champagne Toast. Music provided by Toledo's own DJ J Roc!!
NYE Celebration | Dec 31 | BBR
| 8pm – 2am | $20
A “dress to impress” event.
NYE Celebration | Dec 31 | Bristol Republic
| 6pm – 2:30am | $600 - $2,1000 (VIP table reservations)
Ring in 2022 at this New Year's Eve celebration in the Short North! Live music by Yours For The Taking, party favors and a memorable countdown that will start the year off right!
NYE Celebration | Dec 31 | Fireproof
| 10pm – 2am | $125
Experience an unforgettable New Year's celebration featuring a premium open bar, a special NYE menu with a champagne toast, and sounds by DJ Noha.
NYE Celebration | Dec 31 | Galla Park Steak
| 9pm – 2am | $130 - $190
A “Dress to Impress” event with a champagne toast and premium open bar.
NYE Celebration | Dec 31| The Savoy Club
| 7pm – 2am | $40
Come out for the Very First New Year's Celebration at The Savoy Club.
Quan Howell will be the entertainment, and D.J. Smoove will be the D.J. for the evening. He will start spinning at 7 pm, and the party will go on until 2 am. Includes buffet and champagne toast.
Dresses and suits are appropriate - we all need something to celebrate, so wear your finest.
NYE Celebration | Dec 31 | VASO Rooftop Lounge
| 5 pm – 1 am | Price varies
Ring in the New Year with famous VASO views and exceptional cocktails and tapas. This year, VASO will be hosting a ticketed event. Reserving your ticket grants you a pre-paid spending credit to use the night of and a complimentary cava toast at midnight. There will be live music and party favors alongside incredible dinner and cocktail specials. Various tickets/packages available.
NYE Family Package (Bowling) | Dec 31 – Jan 1 | AMF Lanes
| Time varies | $26
Get the best deal on this New Year's package that includes 2 hours of unlimited bowling and selections from the signature menu.
NYE Package | Dec 31 | AC Hotel
| Overnight | $537
Package includes a 1-night stay in a Standard King or 2 Queen Guest Room plus Valet Parking, as well as 2 reserved seating tickets to Lumin Sky Bar & Kitchen’s New Year’s Eve event from 8 pm – 2 am.
NYE Paint & Karaoke | Dec 31 | Brush Crazy
| 3pm – 12:30am |$10+
Bring in the New Year with Paint and Karaoke! Have fun painting and singing or listening to others sing! We will be staying open until 12:30 am to ring in the New Year, so come in when it is convenient for you and bring your favorite beverage & snacks! When you get to the studio, you will choose your paint project. Projects range from $10 to $100+.
NYE Party | Dec 31 | Big Bang Columbus
| 8pm – 2am | $25 - $600
The Big Bang Columbus is THE place to be on New Year's Eve. In this new location, you can party with an all-request Dueling Pianos show that will have you singing, laughing, and dancing all night long. Table reservations will sell out, so get your tickets early!
NYE Party | Dec 31 | Callahan’s
| 7pm - 2:30am | $120 - $6,000
Callahan's is bringing the Las Vegas vibes to the largest New Year's Eve Party in Columbus. Ring in 2022 with VIP Bottle service or experience a variety of unique cocktails. DJ Scholar and DJ Nick James will be rocking the dance floors. Tickets include an open bar from 9 pm till midnight with General Admission, ball drop watch party, premium bar package, party favors and so much more.
NYE Party | Dec 31 | Grandview Café
| 9pm – 2am | $100
Ring in 2022 with Grandview Café and Cafe's Round II! Your ticket includes DJ entertainment, drink tickets, appetizers, buffet dinner, and a midnight champagne toast.
NYE Party | Dec 31 | Hollywood Casino Columbus
| 12pm – 2am
Ring in the New Year at Hollywood Casino Columbus to party all day and all night! From 1 PM - 6 PM we'll giveaway tons of Free SlotPlay plus a grand prize 2022 Chevy Camaro! Then, join in the H Lounge for Lt. Dan's New Legs from 9:30 PM - 1 AM. Final Cut Steak & Seafood will feature a special menu and so much more!
NYE Party | Dec 31 | Howl at the Moon Columbus
| 9pm – 2am | $50
Are you ready to have the best New Year’s Eve Party to date? Then book a New Year’s Eve package with Howl at the Moon Columbus! Our fabulous NYE party packages offer everything you need to kiss 2021 goodbye and start the New Year having a blast.
NYE Party | Dec 31 | Short North Julep
| 8pm – 2:30am | $120 - $500
Short North Julep is bringing the Las Vegas vibes to the largest New Year's Eve Party in Columbus. Ring in 2022 with VIP Bottle service or experience a variety of unique cocktails. DJ Brut and dance floor. Open bar from 9-midnight included with General Admission, and so much more. Check out their various drink packages.
NYE Party | Dec 31 | Truth Studios
| 9pm | $30
Truth Studios presents a New Year’s Eve Party! Food, drinks, alcohol, and entertainment provided. There will also be raffles to win a free session at Truth Studios along with other prizes.
The ReDO: NYE ‘22 | Dec 31 | Aura
| 9pm – 2am | $15 - $200
The ReDO wants to bring in 2022 with you and they're doing it big at Aura (formerly Avalon)! Five favorite DJs spinning nothing but vinyl to party into the new year.
Continuous Throughout December
A Victorian Christmas Exhibition | Now – Jan 2 (Closed 12/24, 12/25, 01/01) | Decorative Art Center of Ohio
| Wed-Fri 11am – 4pm; Sat & Sun 1-4pm | Free
The reign of Queen Victoria from 1839 to 1901 saw unprecedented political, social, military, and technological changes. It also marked the greatest transformation in the way Britons and Americans celebrated Christmas. In addition to rooms decorated with nativities, Santas, and Christmas cards from the era, this year’s Christmas displays will honor Victoria and Albert’s nine children by displaying eight decorated trees from differing time periods of the Victorian era and one very large Christmas Pyramid -- a German custom seldom seen in America. Visitors will also get a glimpse of what men and women may have worn to celebrate the holidays through the incorporation of costumes from the Paramount Pictures Archive, selected by Randall Thropp to showcase Victorian style.
Conservatory Aglow | Now – Jan 9 | Franklin Park and Botanical Gardens
| 5 – 9pm | $22 for non-member adults
The outdoor portion of Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will be twinkling, glowing, and magical thanks to thousands of lights presented in stunning displays. New this year is a Candyland scene complete with a life-size gingerbread house and the magical train display, Paul Busse Garden Railway. Accompanying the lights are familiar holiday favorites – such as the rainbow tunnel, ornament trees and more!
Roaming holiday entertainment and refreshments will be available on select evenings.
Holiday Artisan Market | Nov 5 – Dec 31| 3060 Gallery
| Fri & Sun 10am – 3pm; Sat 10am-5pm | Free
Find one-of-a-kind gifts this holiday season at our artisan market. A great way to shop local and find unique items including jewelry, ceramics, hand-dyed scarves and textile art, upcycled caftans, cards, ornaments, and more. Guest artisans include Flutter-bye Boutique, Anna Neely, Patricia Kohler Designs, Kat’s Clay Creations, Too Cool 4 Spool, Marie Cottrell, and Karin Weston Art.
Holiday Blooms | Now – Jan 9 | Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
| 10am – 4pm | $19 for non-member adults (included with general admission)
Spend the holidays amidst seasonal horticulture featuring poinsettias, evergreens, and decorations. Highlights this year are the famous poinsettia trees and two themed vignettes: Brilliant Blizzard and Joyful Comfort. Outdoors in the Grand Mallway and Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden, container gardens are creatively styled for the winter.
Gingerbread Display | Now – Dec 31 | Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
| 10am – 4pm | $19 for non-member adults (included in general admission)
Central Ohio’s culinary creativity is on display for the 15th Annual Gingerbread Competition. This year's theme is “there is no place like home for the holidays."
Holiday Miniature Show | Now – Dec 30 | 24 Lincoln St. Art Studios
24 Lincoln St. Art Studios presents their 3rd annual Holiday Miniature Show. Small paintings by Amy Adams, Lisa Parks Godfrey, Karen LaValley, and Tamar Rudavsky will be on view in the foyer gallery.
Scioto Mile Holiday Lights | Now – Jan 3 | Scioto Mile / Bicentennial Park
| Dusk – Dawn | Free
Looking to enjoy some beautiful outdoor lights during the holiday season? Don’t miss the Scioto Mile holiday lights! Thanks to support from the Scioto Mile Endowment Fund, the holiday lights will return to the downtown riverfront from Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, through Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, and will be visible every day from dusk until dawn.
Various Skating Events | Now – Ongoing | Skate Zone
View events & specials above
Wildlights | Now – Jan 2 (Closed 12/24, 12/25) | Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
| Sun-Thurs 5-9pm; Fri & Sat 5-10pm | $17 - $22 for adults (included with general admission)
Central Ohio's favorite family holiday tradition went from a few strands of lights and a few trays of cookies to millions of LED lights, animated musical light shows, Santa, reindeer and other holiday festivities that can only be found here at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. This year's event offers more holiday fun than ever before.