While we may be mourning the end of summer and fall months, the Christmas season always gives us something to look forward to. From shopping, baking, and nesting, the holiday season always comes with a good dose of nostalgia, even more so when we are blessed with a white Christmas! For us, nothing kicks off the holiday season more than the lights going up all over town. From private homes that go all out on decorations to businesses and villages, there are some pretty fantastic Christmas light displays in Ohio. For those of you in Central Ohio, we’ve gathered a list of the best Columbus Ohio Christmas lights displays in 2021 so you can start planning!
Want to view Christmas lights from the comfort of your vehicle? Read Enchanting Drive Through Christmas Lights In Ohio!
The Best Columbus Ohio Christmas Lights Displays
Wildlights at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Wildlights
For over 30 years, Columbus-area families have been flocking to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium for Wildlights.
Running nightly from November 19 through January 2, with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, this is one of the best Christmas light displays in Columbus! More than three million twinkling holiday lights are just the beginning of this fantastic festive event! You’ll also love the coordinated light and sound displays, photos with Santa Claus, carousel rides, camel rides, s’mores, and ice skating!
When: November 19, 2021 – January 2, 2022; Sunday – Thursday 5-9pm, Friday & Saturday 5-10pm (Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)
Where: Columbus Zoo & Aquarium – 4850 Powell Road, Powell, OH 43065
Admission: $21.99 Ages 10-59; $16.99 Ages 3-9, 60+; Children under 3 are free
Columbus Commons Holiday Lights
Columbus Commons Holiday Lights
This is one of the best free Columbus holiday light displays. Head to the heart of downtown Columbus any night between November 19 and January 2 to see over 400,000 LED lights on display. Spread across six acres and in close proximity to some of the best restaurants in Columbus, this is a great way to kick off a night out on the town, or end a fun day of holiday shopping!
When: November 20, 2021 – January 2, 2022; Nightly 5-9pm
Where: Columbus Commons – 160 S High Street, Columbus, OH 43215
Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory
Conservatory Aglow at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Each November, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are transformed into a magical twinkling landscape. In addition to thousands of lights, visitors also have access to Holiday Blooms, a seasonal horticulture display poinsettias, evergreens, and holiday decorations. On select evenings, entertainers and musicians add to the festive feel of the conservatory. December visitors will also get to see dozens of entries in the 15th annual Gingerbread Competition.
When: November 20, 2021 – January 9, 2022; Nightly 5-9pm
Where: Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens – 1777 E. Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43203
Admission: $22.00 Ages 12-59; $19.00 Ages 60+; $12.00 Ages 3-12; Children under are free
Scioto Mile Holiday Lights
Just steps from Columbus Commons, you’ll find another fun Christmas light display. The Scioto Mile is a highlight of any trip to Columbus any time of year. With 175 acres of riverfront property contain eight individual parks along the route. Each night between November 25 and January 3, the Scioto Mile lights up from dusk to dawn. Don’t miss this free holiday display in downtown Columbus!
When: November 24, 2021 – January 3, 2022; Nightly from Dusk to Dawn
Where: Scioto Mile – 233 S. Civic Center Drive, Columbus, OH 43215
Holiday Lights at Easton Town Center
For a festive holiday light display on the outskirts of Columbus, head straight to Easton Town Center in northeast Columbus. More than just an ordinary shopping center, Easton Town Center is an entertainment destination that includes open-air squares, parks, and fountains. Kicking off November 19 with Easton’s Grand Illumination, the Holiday Lights include two million twinkling lights and a 50-foot Christmas tree in the center of Town Square. Other squares also put up a festive tree, as well as Holiday Carriage Rides and photos with Santa Claus.
When: November 19, 2021 – January 3, 2022; Nightly from Dusk to Dawn
Where: Easton Town Center – 160 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219
Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights
For the best drive-through Columbus Ohio Christmas Lights, head to Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights in Delaware, Ohio. Just 20 miles from downtown Columbus, this 22-year tradition transforms the Alum Creek State Park Campground into a drive-through fairytale of twinkling lights. With three miles of lights, you can enjoy the festive holiday atmosphere from the warmth of your car. Just down the road, check out Santa’s House at Cross Creek Camping Resort. Get your holiday photos with Santa, plus holiday gifts, toys, and treats!
When: November 19, 2021 – January 2, 2022; Sunday – Thursday 5:30-9:30pm, Friday & Saturday 5:30-10:00pm
Where: Alum Creek State Park Campground – 3311 South Old State Road, Delaware, OH 43015
Admission: $20 per vehicle Monday-Thursday; $30 per vehicle Friday-Sunday
WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio
Another amazing drive-through Christmas display near Columbus is the WonderLight’s Christmas in Ohio at the Hartford Fairgrounds. Located 30 miles northeast of Columbus, this drive-through event features over one million LED lights synchronized to contemporary and classic Christmas tunes along a two-mile track. Reservations are required to secure a two-hour window to drive through, and you can pay per person or per carload, whichever is cheaper!
When: November 12, 2021 – January 9, 2022; Monday – Thursday 5:30-10:00pm, Friday – Sunday 5:30-11:00pm
Where: Hartford County Fairgrounds – 14028 Fairgrounds Road, Croton, OH 43013
Admission: $30 per vehicle, online reservations required
Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks
For a more low-key Christmas light experience in and around Columbus, head to one of several Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks to explore the holiday lights. Various hiking trails and public areas are lit up with twinkling lights, allowing visitors to enjoy the parks after dark and get into the holiday spirit. Several of the parks also participate in the Metro Parks Winter Hike Series. Some of the participating parks include Blacklick Woods Metro Park, Highbanks Metro Park, Homestead Metro Park, and Scioto Grove Metro Park. No matter which part of Columbus you’re in, there’s sure to be a park near you that’s lit up for the holidays!
When: Nightly December 2021
Where: Blacklick Woods Metro Park, Highbanks Metro Park, Homestead Metro Park, and Scioto Grove Metro Park
Looking for the best places to visit for Christmas in Ohio? Read Magical Christmas Towns in Ohio.