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)
| 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.
| 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.
| 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!
| 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.
| 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!
| 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)
| 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.
| 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.
| 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!
| 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)
| 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.
| 8:45pm – 1am | $10
Music by Davey Crocketts Ghost, Undergrads, Cotter, and We Are the Movies.
| 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.
| 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!
| 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.
| 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!
| 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.
| 8pm-1am | $75
The all-Inclusive evening includes drinks, tapas buffet, champagne toast, party favors, and Live music by The Fabulous Johnson Brothers!
| 8pm-1am | $40
BYOB, Food Provided, Party Favors, and New Year's Champagne Toast. Music provided by Toledo's own DJ J Roc!!
| 8pm – 2am | $20
A “dress to impress” event.
| 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!
| 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.
| 9pm – 2am | $130 - $190
A “Dress to Impress” event with a champagne toast and premium open bar.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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+.
| 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!
| 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.
| 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.
| 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!
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| 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."
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.
| 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.
View events & specials above
| 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.