My 6 Favorite Fall and Winter Activities in Columbus, OH

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Travel is great (obviously!) but I am not a full time traveler. Even when I have lots of trips going on, the truth is, I am still home most of the time. But, home is great too, and I am so excited to share with you some of my favorite fall and winter activities in Columbus, Ohio! 

There are so many things to do here all year round and I am trying to make it a point to get out and try everything I can.  But, for now I wanted to share some of my tried and true favorites for this time of year.

For even more ideas plus festivals, check out my detailed guides:

Fall and winter activities in Columbus, OH (USA)

1. Picking Apples at Lynd Fruit Farm

There is something about apple picking that screams fall!  I look forward to this activity every year as it’s one of my favorites.  My favorite place to pick is at Lynd Fruit Farm in Pataskala, OH.  They offer tons of varieties of apples to pick (and other fruit throughout the year), however each variety is only available for a limited time.

My favorite is Honeycrisp and it is always a busy weekend at the farm since it is one of their most popular types of apples.  After you are done picking, stop by the market for all sorts of goodies – this year we came home with some pumpkins, apple cider and cinnamon pear jam.  Market hours and U Pick schedule varies so check their website for up to date information.

Fall and winter activities in Columbus, OH (USA) | Apple Picking at Lynd's Fruit Farm
Apple Picking at Lynd Fruit Farm

Fall and winter activities in Columbus, OH (USA) | Apple Picking at Lynd's Fruit Farm


Pumpkin Donuts at Jacquemin Farms

Let’s talk donuts!  While waiting in line last year to pay for our pumpkins (and it was a looong line), I noticed everyone was ordering these fresh, warm donuts.  Well, we were starving and curious, so we got some…and OMG it was pumpkin donut heaven!

I seriously have been thinking about these donuts all year and am counting down the days till I get one!  Fall and winter activities in Columbus, OH (USA) | Jacquemin Farms Pumpkin Patch | Plain City, OH

Looking to get away for a day or 2? Check out these great day trips from Columbus — all within a 2 hour drive!

Columbus Zoo Wildlights

Seeing Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo each year around Christmas has sort of turned into a family tradition.  It’s festive and fun for the whole family – adults and children will love it.  In addition to the lights strung throughout the zoo there are a couple of indoor displays as well.

Bundle up and grab some hot chocolate because it can get cold in December…but it’s worth it (and that’s coming from a girl who hates the cold!)  Wildlights is open mid-November through early January at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Powell, OH.

Fall and winter activities in Columbus, OH (USA) | Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Wildlights at the Zoo!


COSI is a kids science museum located in downtown Columbus.  It can be a savior in the winter when you are going stir crazy.  My 3.5 year old loves the Little Kidspace play area.  It’s a large area just for little kids (up to 2nd grade) to play and includes water activities, an art studio, large building blocks and several areas for creative role playing.

There are some great exhibits for the big kids too as well as a planetarium and National Geographic giant screen theater. (Be sure to check out Cosi’s Dinosaur Exhibit — it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser!)


Fall and winter activities in Columbus, OH (USA) | COSI Kids Science Museum
COSI is the perfect winter day activity with kids.

Fall and winter activities in Columbus, OH (USA) | COSI Kids Science Museum

Refectory Restaurant

Ok, so really The Refectory is good any time of year…but let’s be real, this place is not cheap.  But, it’s so damn good, it’s worth it.  We love going to their Jazz Club Dinners and have been making it a winter date night the last couple of years.  The menus for the jazz dinners are set but if you have dietary restrictions or just plain don’t like something on the menu, you can call ahead to make arrangements with no problem.

They are incredibly accommodating.  The Jazz Dinners are held in a private room that holds maybe 40 or so guests.  In addition to dinner, you get to experience an up close and personal concert while you dine.   Pro Tip – get the wine pairings instead of trying to choose your own…they are always spot on!   We have been to the Jazz dinner twice and eaten in the restaurant numerous other times and it was outstanding every time.


Fall and winter activities in Columbus, OH (USA) | Refectory Restaurant
I love the Jazz Dinners at Refectory
Fall and winter activities in Columbus, OH (USA) | Refectory Restaurant
Refectory Restaurant


Winterfair is a neat wintertime art show held at the Multipurpose Building at the Ohio Expo Center. The show features over 400 artists from across the country selling everything from food and clothes to jewelry, ceramics and glass.  It’s a great place to do some Christmas shopping while supporting artists and other small business owners.

Fall and winter activities in Columbus, OH (USA) | Winterfair at the Ohio Expo Center

Have you ever tried any of these fall and winter activities in Columbus?  What are your favorite things to do when it’s cold?

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Fall and winter activities in Columbus, OH (USA) | Ohio Travel | USA Travel | Things To Do In Columbus





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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Malini

    The jazz dinner at the Refectory sounds like so much fun!

    1. Katie @ ZenLifeandTravel

      It’s incredible! You should definitely try it!

  2. Kim

    Some of our favorite things! I haven’t made it to winterfair yet, but it’s definitely on my list for this year!

  3. Shannon

    Great list! How much is the refectory dinner?

    1. Katie @ ZenLifeandTravel

      It’s $75 per person not including tips or wine. I don’t remember how much the wine pairing is off the top of my head but I think it ends up being $250-$300 total for 2 people.

  4. Julie

    Those are some of our favorites, too!! 🙂 Though I’ve never been to the Refectory! It’s on my bucket list!

  5. Melissa

    I can’t wait for the zoo lights!

  6. Columbus For Kids

    I need to check out Lynds and Jacquemin Farms. My daughters love these fall activities!

  7. Helen

    I love the idea of getting your Christmas shopping done at the winter fair! And tha jazz night at the refectory sounds like an awesome date night!

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