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Need a break from pandemic stress? Celebrate the season with these fun ideas

Need a break from pandemic stress? Celebrate the season with these fun ideas

614now Staff

We know we haven’t even had our turkey yet, but–blame it on the pandemic–we could really use some winter wonderland vibes right about now. 

If you’re itching for some seasonal excuses to get out of the house too, check out our list of ways to get some holiday spirit in and around Columbus. We ho-ho-hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we do. Now if you’ll excuse us, we have some holiday fun waiting…

Take a carriage ride through Easton Town Center

What is more magical in the wintertime than a horse-drawn carriage? Easton’s carriage rides are a special tradition, and the goal this year was to ensure guests could continue to enjoy them in a safe way during the pandemic, said Jennifer Peterson, chief executive at Easton. 

“Between hearing the sound of the horse’s hooves on the streets, holiday music filling the air, the smell of delicious food coming from all of the restaurants and then being able to see nearly two million lights twinkling around Easton, it’s something you really won’t forget,” Peterson said. 

Look for the rides 6-9 p.m. Saturdays and 3-7 p.m. Sundays from Nov. 21 through Dec. 20 outside Zara on Gramercy Street in the North District. Additional rides are available 6-9 p.m. Nov. 20 and Dec. 21. 


Dine in an igloo at VASO

In what may be this season’s most festive way to practice social distancing, VASO is again offering its temperature-controlled private igloos. You and up to seven friends can enjoy a comfortable rooftop dinner with an online reservation. 

Wander in the Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Starting Nov. 20, the Zoo’s annual lights display will be up through Jan. 3 and can be viewed between 5 and 9 p.m. Take a ride on the Polar Bear Express, eat some s’mores and don’t forget to pay Santa a visit! 

Skate your heart out at OhioHealth Chiller Ice Rinks

You don’t have to wait for the pond to freeze over to enjoy that crisp air whipping past your face. And with four locations, you’re sure to find a spot near you. 

Explore a winter dream world at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

From 5 to 9 p.m. through Jan. 10, the Conservatory is transformed into a brilliant winter spectacle. While the rainbow tunnel and ornament trees have returned, make sure to check out the new Candyland scene with a life-size gingerbread house. 

Visit the North Pole at Baker’s Village’s Annual Christmas Shoppe

Every winter, Baker’s Village Garden Center and Gift Shoppe in Powell transforms for the holidays, featuring fairy lights and Christmas trees. If you’re in search of that special ornament for your own tree or for a friend’s, pay this shop a visit. 

Get dazzled by your downtown at Columbus Commons.

Starting Nov. 20, over 400,000 LED lights are on display here nightly from 5 to 10 p.m. through Jan. 3. After you’re through, you can either grab a bite downtown or head over to see the holiday lights at the Scioto Mile, also on display through Jan. 3. 

Build your own gingerbread house, courtesy of Mrs. Turbo’s Cookies

Feeling like a cozy night in? These gingerbread house kits can be purchased online. Grab a cup of hot cocoa and get to decorating!  

Drive through a winter wonderland, courtesy of the Chanukah Winter Wonderland Drive-Thru Carnival

From 4 to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Lori Schottenstein Chabad Center, you can watch a firetruck Dreidel drop, light the Menorah with a stilt walker, and spin the world’s first flying Dreidel Drone. 

Drive through a lights display at Butch Bando’s Fantasy of Lights

Beginning Nov. 20 through Jan. 3 at the Alum Creek State Park Campgrounds, you can enjoy this three-mile holiday light show from the comfort of your vehicle. Perfect for those of us who’d rather do winter without the chill.  

Watch a Menorah lighting courtesy of Maccabee Landing

At 2 p.m. Dec. 13 at Bevelhymer Park, a Chanukah hero will descend from a helicopter to light the Menorah, followed by an epic flying Menorah performance.

Find your favorite nutcracker at The Red Stable

This German Village gift shop is the best place to get a vintage nutcracker and a bit of whimsy. While you’re there, check out the Christmas pyramids and cuckoo clocks.

Drive through a lights display at Flying Horse Farms.

Starting Nov. 27, Flying Horse Farms will “Light Up Camp,” with a seasonal drive-through lights display. It’s open on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas. 

Did we miss your favorite holiday activity in Columbus? Share it in the comments!


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