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Holiday Season Magic: Exploring Columbus, OH

NOV 17th, 2023


In the heart of Ohio, Columbus beckons travelers year-round with its charming city, delightful eateries, and scenic rivers. But for those seeking an extra dash of magic, there's no better time to visit than during the vibrant holiday season. During my recent trip to Columbus, I had the incredible opportunity to witness the capitol of Ohio in all its glory, the city buzzed with activity, beautiful lights wrapped around the trees, and the air was filled with the scent of bonfires and hot coco.

Columbus, Ohio during the holiday season is adorned with festive lights, vibrant decorations, and a cheerful atmosphere. Residents and visitors alike can enjoy the festive cuisines, holiday markets, and the stunning lights at Columbus Commons. The city comes alive with seasonal performances, ice skating, and a sense of community warmth. In this blog, we'll explore a delightful accommodation, holiday shops, and culinary hotspots that left me with unforgettable memories. Allow me to guide you through the best places to stay, sip, and savor in Columbus, ensuring your holiday trip is nothing short of remarkable.


If you're looking to splurge on a little "treat-your-self" holiday, one of my absolute favorite chains, Le Méridien, resides here and is 100% worth a visit. This luxury hotel is located in the vibrant Short North Arts District of Columbus, Ohio. Known for its contemporary elegance and artistic flair, The Joseph offers upscale accommodations, fine dining at The Guild House, and relaxing spa suites you can enjoy. With its commitment to the arts, the hotel showcases an impressive collection of contemporary artwork, making it a unique and cultural experience for guests.

Le Méridien hotels often prioritize the comfort and well-being of their pet guests. The Joseph offers pet-friendly amenities such as plush bedding, water bowls, and even special treats upon arrival. My pups were greeted with a welcome treat and absolutely treated like VIP's (Very Important Pup.) The Joseph prepped little cookies for them made by a local pet bakery. We love a pet friendly hotel that knows how to make both you and your pets feel right at home.

The Joseph often has seasonal add-on packages for their guests. I was lucky to experience their La Fête package, a stylish celebration of the art of entertaining filling your travels with surprises. Drawing inspiration from the timeless glamour of European holiday traditions and the enchantment of Alpine resorts, I absolutely loved creating memorable moments in the midst of winter's charm!

The Guild House, nestled within Le Méridien The Joseph in Columbus, Ohio, is an exquisite dining experience that combines modern elegance with culinary excellence. This restaurant offers a sophisticated atmosphere, and its menu showcases a diverse array of locally inspired dishes crafted with precision and creativity. From brunch to dinner, The Guild House is a culinary haven, inviting guests to indulge in a captivating blend of flavors, impeccable service, and a tasteful ambiance that complements the artistic spirit of The Joseph.


Columbus boasts a dynamic shopping scene that caters to diverse tastes. From the chic boutiques in the Short North Arts District to the extensive options at Easton Town Center, the city offers a range of shopping experiences. Explore the local flair at boutiques like Pivot or immerse yourself in major retail brands. Whether you're into unique, locally crafted goods or high-end fashion, Columbus has a shopping scene that invites you to discover both the well-known and hidden gems.

The Short North Arts District in Columbus is renowned for its eclectic shops, and Common Thread is a standout gem. Common Thread is a new fashion district within this vibrant community, offering a curated selection of unique, locally-made goods and fashion pieces. As you explore the diverse shops in the Short North, Common Thread stands out as a destination for those seeking one-of-a-kind treasures. It's a place where the local community converges with creativity, providing a delightful shopping experience in the heart of Columbus. High end fashion and statement pieces are born from this district. Making this the newest hotspot in the city for the fashion loving visitors.

Sip & Savor

Columbus has emerged as a rising culinary city, garnering attention for its diverse and innovative food scene. From trendy eateries in the Short North to hidden gems in German Village, the city's culinary landscape reflects a mix of cultures and flavors. Renowned chefs are making their mark, and a focus on farm-to-table practices is evident in many establishments. With an array of dining options that cater to various palates, Columbus is increasingly recognized as a destination where culinary creativity thrives, making it a must-visit for food enthusiasts. Here are some of my favorites:

Celebrated for its meticulous approach to every culinary creation, Watershed Kitchen + Bar reflects their passion for culinary excellence. Housing one of the most inventive cocktail programs in Columbus, this establishment takes pride in crafting unique and memorable drink experiences. As a proud participant in the Columbus Distillery Trail, Watershed was among the pioneers in the local distillery scene, earning a cherished place in the hearts of Columbus locals for several years.

Step into the world of Hiraeth, where their goal is to craft an unparalleled and globally-inspired experience for their guests. Guiding this culinary journey is the accomplished chef, James Beard nominee BJ Lieberman, ensuring each visit is a testament to exceptional dining. You can enjoy a culinary show at their Chef's Counter as you witness each dish you order cooked in front of you on open flames and wooden grills. Making this an evening that is both delicious and eventful.

Brass Eye is located on the roof of The Junto Hotel and is has a brunch that elevates your morning with a delightful array of flavors and innovative dishes. From delectable breakfast classics to inventive creations, the brunch menu caters to diverse tastes. Whether you're a local exploring new flavors or a visitor seeking a memorable dining experience, Brass Eye's brunch invites you to savor each moment in a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere.

Columbus' very own speakeasy, step into the enchanting world of Ginger Rabbit Jazz Lounge, where the ambiance is as soulful as the music. This sophisticated venue invites you to indulge in a unique blend of live jazz performances and a carefully curated atmosphere. With its stylish decor and a cocktail menu that echoes creativity, Ginger Rabbit Jazz Lounge promises an unforgettable evening where the magic of jazz intertwines seamlessly with a refined lite bites experience.

Step into the heart of culinary diversity at North Market Columbus. This iconic marketplace is a vibrant haven for food enthusiasts, offering an extensive array of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and international flavors. From the bustling energy of local vendors to the aroma of diverse cuisines, North Market is a sensory journey that beckons you to savor, explore, and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Columbus' culinary scene.


And lastly, experience the enchantment of Columbus Common Lights, where the cityscape transforms into a dazzling spectacle. Illuminating the heart of Columbus with a vibrant display, Common Lights invites you to immerse yourself in the festive glow. You can visit in the morning as well!

How to travel to Columbus

Columbus is one of the best road-trip destinations in the Midwest and is a great destination. Easily accessible by car and rated one of the best weekend trips of the mid-west, here are a couple destinations that can easily drive to Columbus.


8.5 Hours - NYC

5.5 Hours - Chicago

5.5 Hours - Nashville

7.5 Hours - Atlanta

7.5 Hours - DC

3.0 Hours - Pittsburg

It’s also an easy direct flight from many cities around the states, especially when you fly with Experience Columbus' preferred airline partner, Delta. Whether you’re here for the vibes, the food, or the experiences, there’s something here for everyone.

Visiting Columbus during holidau season was a truly remarkable experience. It allowed me to witness the beauty of the festive city , to taste the essence of the land, and to connect with the people who pour their passion into creating beautiful experiences for their residents and visitors. If you have the chance to plan a trip to Columbus during this magical time, I wholeheartedly recommend it. The memories I made and the beauty of Columbus will stay with you long after your journey ends.

I hope this itinerary helps you to get started on planning your trip to Columbus. If you'd like more details on my trip, follow along on my journeys through my Instagram @chennytien

#CelebrateCBUS and follow along for more happenings through the official Columbus, Ohio tourism board websites and social media.


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