Free family Thanksgiving events in Columbus 2017
NtwProductionsNow YouTube

The season of Thanksgiving will be a time for gatherings of family and friends in Columbus, Ohio. There will be free holiday displays and fun for the family during the week of Thanksgiving in 2017. Check out all the family-friendly events to enjoy with loved ones this season.

 Holiday Lighting Ceremony & Holidays in Easton
Nov. 17 @ 6:30 p.m.
160 Easton Town Center, Easton, OH 43219

The holidays will be kicked off with the Holiday Lighting ceremony on the weekend before Thanksgiving. Santa Claus will be the special guest at the Christmas tree as it is illuminated with sparkling lights. Easton Town Center will present music and festive events through the holiday season. Horse-drawn-carriage rides will begin after the lighting ceremony and run through Dec. 23, for a fee of $10/person (Children under 15 will ride free with paying adult).  Santa photos will be available until Christmas Eve.

Howliday Bazaar at Franklin County Dog Shelter & Adoption Center
Nov. 18 @ 10 a.m.
4340 Tamarack Blvd., Columbus, OH 43229

The Howliday Bazaar, hosted by Friends of the Shelter, will be a fundraiser on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. This would be a great time to get your dog’s photo taken with Santa Claus.

Holiday Lights Celebration
Nov. 19 @ 2 p.m.
Creekside District,117 Mill St., Gahanna, OH 43230

Gahanna will host a day of fun, featuring over 100 family-friendly activities, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Take the family to enjoy entertainment, ice sculpture demonstrations, horse-drawn carriage rides, crafts, and more. Santa will arrive at 6 p.m., followed by a Candlelight Walk through Creekside Park. Admission will be free.

Holiday Lights at Columbus Commons
Nov. 23-Jan 2 @ Dusk
Columbus Commons, Columbus, OH 43215

Columbus Commons will be illuminated on Thanksgiving evening and will sparkle brightly through the holidays. Take the family for a walk through the free holiday haven to see the outdoor display of festive lights and enjoy the holiday spirit.


Wildlights at Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
Nov. 17-Jan 1 @ 5 p.m.
Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, 4840 W. Powell St., Powell, OH 43065

The entire family will enjoy the festive celebration of winter at the Columbus Zoo, which will be illuminated with more than three million sparkling lights. The zoo will feature activities and fun for children and Santa Claus at Holiday Village during the holiday season. Regular admission rates will apply, so check the zoo website for details. Nov. 17 will be Stuff a Truck Food Drive, so bring five cans of food per guest for free admission and parking on opening day.

Ohio State Chinese Lantern Festival
Nov. 17-Jan. 7 @ 5:30 p.m.
Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, 717 E. 17th Ave., Columbus, OH 43211

The Chinese Lantern Festival will a celebration of lights and culture, featuring entertainers and the works of artisans from China. Every evening, the Festival’s troupe’s will perform acrobatics and martial arts demonstrations to provide a glimpse of Chinese culture. Admission will be $10-$15.

Gardens Aglow
Nov. 18-Jan. 3 @ 10 a.m.
Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, OH 43203

The entire family will enjoy walking through the holiday exhibit at the Franklin Park Conservancy to see the elegant displays of poinsettias, seasonal foliage, and the twinkling holiday lights. The entries to the annual gingerbread competition will be on display, as well as a Paul Busse model garden railway. Gardens Aglow will be included with regular admission ($7-$14).

“Hayes Train Special” Model Train Display at Rutherford B. Hayes Museum
Nov. 24
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum, Spiegel Grove, Fremont, OH 43420

The “Hayes Train Special” is a popular holiday event at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museum. Model train enthusiasts design and layout the festive interactive train display. Admission is included with regular museum admission, so you can tour the museum on the same day.