Every year people unpack bundles of wires and plugs, climb ladders, and dress up their homes with festive holiday lights. But then there are the professional displays—those special places that attract spectators like moths to flames. Grab the family, climb into the car, and hit up these spectacular displays of Christmas lights in the Columbia, Ohio, area.
Columbus Commons and Scioto Mile Promenade give you a reason to head downtown, and never more than during the holiday season when the area literally glows with festivity.
City Hall is the first spot the kids will want to hit because there they can drop off their letters to Santa. At Columbus Commons, lighted displays are featured. As you leave, take a stroll along the lighted Scioto Mile Promenade, lit by 250,000 LED lights on more than 100 trees, to Bicentennial Park where penguins, snowmen, and Santa welcome visitors. The lights on Scioto Mile and in Bicentennial Park stay on until mid-January.
There's a fantastic light show at the Scioto Mile Fountain in Bicentennial Park using the fountain’s hundreds of LED lights that offer more than 16 million color variations, video projections, and illuminated spheres.
Columbus Commons features hundreds of thousands of multicolored lights, a holiday tree on the Grand Lawn, and a 15-foot fountain of light at the High Street entrance.
Parking is available at nearby garages; those might be your best bet because downtown has notoriously efficient parking meter officers. That little orange tag on the windshield can absolutely ruin a great holiday outing.
One of the best places to see Christmas lights in Columbus is at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. You'll see decked out halls, trees, bushes—everything but the animals—powered by millions of energy-efficient LED lights.
Besides lights, the zoo features music, Mrs. Claus' kitchen, camel rides, a carousel, and more. Plus you can take a ride on the Polar Bear Express train for some extra fun.
The event runs November 17 to January 1 from 5 to 9 p.m. (open until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.
The Creekside Park in Gahanna is already beautiful, but at Christmas it is magical. Lights are all over the park, bringing a festive spirit to nature. There are also great activities from November through December.
Columbus' outdoor mall works hard to get you in the holiday mood. The gigantic Christmas tree in the center square is just the beginning. Thousands of lights throughout the property twinkle, dance, and excite. Holiday activities such as carriage rides, an outdoor train display, visits with Santa, a parade, and live music also make the event great.
An old-fashioned Christmas awaits at Roscoe Village. The candle-lighting ceremony is beautiful for those who'd like to relive Christmas of yesteryear. The candle lighting only happens a few nights during the holiday season, so be sure to plan ahead so you don't miss it! Check the website for the current dates.
Located at the Alum Creek State Park, the Fantasy of Lights is a spectacular drive-through light show with a Santa House offering free cookies and hot chocolate. This is a great place to see Christmas lights in the Columbus area.