The holiday season is here, and Columbus is the best spot in the state to take in millions of colorful lights.
In just downtown Columbus alone, you'll find three areas, all a short walk from one another that combine to make Ohio's Capital City the best spot in the state for holiday lights.
The beautiful Scioto Mile is lit from end to end, with a spectacular display at the southern terminus at Bicentennial Park. Take an extra stroll along the brand new Scioto Greenways, which adds 33 new acres of green space to downtown Columbus. The Broad Street, Main Street and Rich Street bridges all feature some outstanding lighting, and you may run into a few deer (not reindeer) among the whimsical statuary. The area is lit through Jan. 20. The Ohio Statehouse and its surrounding Capitol Square are adorned in thousands of outdoor lights, and just south, Columbus Commons is lit up in brilliant colors through Jan. 3.
For lights with a botanical spin, Merry and Bright at Franklin Park Conservatory is a special treat. Outdoors, light displays capture the spirit of the season and a John Terrell light installation illuminates the historic Palm House from the outside. Indoors, find thousands of poinsettias, gingerbread houses, a holiday train display and more.
Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium features millions of LED lights, 3 animated musical light shows, Santa, Mrs. Claus, reindeer and other holiday festivities - all set among the award-winning zoo's animal habitats. For a special treat, Polar Frontier's polar bears, reindeer, Arctic foxes and grizzly bears are a winter treat. The show runs through Jan. 3.
For atmospheric lights with a shopping twist, check out German Village's Village Lights on Sunday, Dec. 6. Shops in this historic neighborhood stay open until 9 p.m., carolers will serenade you, and the brick streets and sidewalks will be illuminated by thousands of candle-lit luminaria. The Short North's popular Gallery Hop gets a seasonal makeover as Holiday Hop on Saturday, Dec. 5. Art is everywhere, with galleries, restaurants and retail shops keep their doors open late for browsers and shoppers. Overhead, the neighborhood's iconic arches are lit with multi-colored LED lights.