Ultimate Guide to Holiday Events Around Columbia

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While the weather outside is still trying to figure itself out, the holiday season in the Midlands is warming up. From holiday parades to tree lightings, craft fairs and more – expect to find many opportunities to make holiday memories.

Here’s a glimpse at some of the festive fun coming up in the weeks to come.

The Christmas Classic

Dates: November 11-13, 2022

Time: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (Fri), 10-6 p.m. (Sat), 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (Sun)

Location: SC State Fairgrounds, 1200 Rosewood Dr, Columbia, SC 29201

Cost: Adults $9; Children ages 6-12 tickets are $1; children under 6 are free. Enjoy all three days with a free return 0ass.

Details: The Craftsmen’s Christmas Classic Art & Craft Festival returns to the SC State Fairgrounds! Enjoy aisles full of handcrafted treasures – pottery, jewelry, fine art, home decor, glasswork, furniture, clothing, specialty foods, and so much more! Hundreds of talented artisans, with unique finds for every style, taste, and budget. Treat yourself to something special and come celebrate the season with us!


Christmas Craft Show and Holiday Market

Dates: November 12-13, 2022

Time: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (Sat), Noon-4 p.m. (Sun)

Location: South Carolina State Farmers Market, 3483 Charleston Hwy West Columbia, SC 29172

Cost: Free admission and free parking

Details: Over 150 Vendors and Crafters are gathering for one of the Midlands’ largest craft shows!


Christmas Lights in the Vista

Dates: November 17, 2022

Location: Vista Community, Downtown Columbia

Details: Join us for the 37th Annual Vista Lights! This is the neighborhood’s signature open house which has ushered in the holidays in Columbia for more than 30 years.

More than 60 galleries, shops, and restaurants will safely open their doors to showcase their holiday treasures and delicious dishes. Make your plans and reservations now! COVID-19 protocols are in place. Please social distance from others and wear a mask when necessary.

The Vista Guild is also organizing live entertainment and performances to get attendees in the holiday spirit as we light the Vista’s tree at the corner of Gervais and Lincoln Streets. Visit the Vista stage outside River Runner Outdoor Center at 6pm for live performances by local groups. Then help us light the Vista tree at 7pm and stay to enjoy music from Prettier Than Matt and the Soda City Brass Band.

Please help us support Toys for Tots and bring a new, unwrapped toy to the Dumpster Mule dumpster on Lincoln Street!


Lights Before Christmas at Riverbanks Zoo

Dates: Select dates between November 19-December 30, 2022

Time: 5-9 p.m.

Location: Riverbanks Zoo, 500 Wildlife Parkway, Columbia 29210

Cost: If you have a membership, your first visit is free. Otherwise, tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for kids ages 2-12. Children younger than two are free.

Details: Enjoy a dazzling display of more than one million twinkling lights, an animated story tree, Jingle Bell Bonfire, and more.


Fireflies Holiday Lights

Dates: November 19-December 31, 2022

Time: 6 p.m.-9 p.m. (Sun-Thur) | 6 p.m.-10p.m. (Fri-Sat & Holidays)

Location: Segra Park, 1640 Freed Street, Columbia 29201

Cost: November 19-December 16, $9-$14 | December 17-31, $12-$16

Details: We’re starting a new holiday tradition in the Midlands at Segra Park. This year, we’ll have the most fantastic lights display you’ve seen in a ballpark, and we’ll send you over the top with vendors who will help you finish your Christmas shopping, holiday-themed drinks and food items and incredible promotional experiences including scavenger hunts and kids crafts!


Governor’s Carolighting at the State House

Date: November 20, 2022

Time: 6 p.m.

Location: SC State House, 1100 Gervais Street, Columbia 29201

Cost: Free 

Details: This year marks the 56th annual Governor’s Carolighting at the State House. This special event heralds the official start of South Carolina’s yuletide season with the lighting of the State’s Christmas Tree. The program features performances from artists from across South Carolina, the Governor’s seasonal message and more!


Sleigh Bell Trot

Date: November 21, 2022

Time: 7 p.m.-9 p.m.

Location: Saluda Shoals Park East, 6071 St. Andrews Road, Columbia 29212

Cost: Trot Early Bird by November 11: $30 per person | November 12-20: $35 per person | November 23: $40 per person (Military discounts are available)

Details: See the lights at the Sleigh Bell Trot! Join us for this unique, nighttime four-mile timed run taking place amid the festive light displays of Holiday Lights on the River!


Sleigh Bell Stroll

Date: November 22, 2022

Time: 6 p.m.-8 p.m.

Location: Saluda Shoals Park East, 6071 St. Andrews Road, Columbia 29212

Cost: $5/Per Person, 2 and under free

Details: Join us for a fun and festive four-mile family fun walk amid the sparkling light displays of Holiday Lights on the River!


Ann Brodie’s The Nutcracker

Date: November 23-27, 2022

Time: November 23, 10 a.m. | November 25, 7:30 p.m. | November 27, 3 p.m.

Location: Township Auditorium, 1703 Taylor Street, Columbia 29201

Cost: $37-$134

Details: Join Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet for the magical performance of “The Nutcracker.”  Watch this glittering holiday classic come to life with spectacular talent and special guest artists.  As the only Ballet Company in the Midlands with a full live orchestra and chorus, it is the perfect way to kick off your holiday season!  Excitement for all ages.  See the stars of tomorrow with the stars of today on The Township stage in this magnificent production!


Holiday Lights on the River at Saluda Shoals Park

Dates: November 23-December 31, 2022

Time: 6-10 p.m.

Location: Saluda Shoals Park East, 6071 St. Andrews Road, Columbia 29212

Cost: $25/car | $50/12–15 Passenger Van, Trucks w/ Trailers & Limos | $75/Bus with 16+ Passengers (3% fee for credit card transactions)

Details: The Lights at Saluda Shoals is a nightly drive-thru event that features more than three miles of Christmas lights. Enjoy other holiday light activities included in admissions like hayrides and the winter wonder tube slide.

Santa’s Clause’s Gift Shop will be open for holiday shopping. Concession, beer, and wine will be available for purchase. Santa will be visiting and be available for professional photos November 25-27, December 2-3, and December 9-23.


Kids Holiday Terrarium Workshop

Date: November 27, 2022

Time: 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

Location: PlantHouse, 702 Cross Hill Road #400B, Columbia 29205

Cost: $26

Details: Celebrate the season with our Kids Holiday Terrarium workshop. Our crew will provide terrarium assembly and plant care tips to guests. Add seasonal touches like gingerbread houses, ornaments, candy canes, and more!

Workshop recommended for ages 6+. Parent supervision is required. Tickets only required for guests building a terrarium. Guests supervising are not required to purchase a ticket. Project sharing, outside food/drink and outside vessels/plants are not permitted.


Country Christmas Celebration

Date: November 27, 2022

Time: Noon-4 p.m.

Location: South Carolina State Farmers Market, 3483 Charleston Hwy West Columbia, SC 29172

Cost: Free

Details: Come out and celebrate a country Christmas by shopping our local holiday décor and craft vendors and our selection of live Christmas trees!  Children will also have the opportunity to write letters to Santa, take photos with Santa Claus, and create some DIY crafts. Our Christmas tunes will be on, and food trucks will also be there to serve you.


Holiday Planetarium Lighting

Dates: December 1, 2022

Time: 5-7 p.m.

Location: SC State Museum, 301 Gervais Street, Columbia 29201

Cost: Museum members receive free general admission. We are leaving it up to our non-member guests to set their own general admission price for this evening! $1, $5, $10 or free – it is your choice. General admission includes access to all four floors of exhibition space. 4D and Planetarium shows will carry a set ticket price of $5 each ($4 for members).

Details: Kick off the holiday season with this special evening event at the State Museum! In addition to extended hours at the museum, guests can enjoy holiday shows, a holiday craft for the kids, extra time to shop at the store, a visit with Santa and more.

Be sure to stick around, as at the end of the evening we will be officially “lighting” the planetarium dome with a special holiday display courtesy of our friends at Ambient Media!


Christmas in Cayce Drive Through

Dates: December 1, 2022

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Location: Cayce City Hall Complex, 1800 12th Street, Cayce 29033

Cost: Free

Details: Experience thousands of lights, music of local performers and a visit from Santa – all from the warmth of your car, December 1st from 6-8 pm at Cayce City Hall, 1800 12th Street. The event is sponsored by The Woman’s Club of Cayce, who will be collecting canned goods and non-perishable foods for the 20th Annual Cayce Cares project, benefitting God’s Helping Hands and the Scooter Scott Project.


Christmas Craft Fair

Dates: December 1-2, 2022

Time: 4-8 p.m.

Location: Icehouse Amphitheater, 107 West Main Street, Lexington 29072

Cost: Free

Details: Join us at the Icehouse Amphitheater Pavilion for a Christmas Craft Fair featuring fresh produce, unique gifts, local vendors, food, and more!


Columbia Classical Ballet presents The Nutcracker

Date: December 1-3, 2022

Time: 10 a.m. (Thur-Fri) | 7:30 p.m. (Fri-Sat) | 2 p.m. (Sat-Sun)

Location: Koger Center for the Arts, 501 Greene Street, Columbia 29201

Cost: Tickets range from $6 to $18.

Details: The Nutcracker Ballet is a worldwide Christmas favorite.


Carols Along the Riverwalk

Dates: December 2, 2022

Time: 6-8 p.m.

Location: Cayce Riverwalk, 201 N Avenue at the intersection of Axtell and N Avenue

Cost: Free

Details: Stroll along the Riverwalk with hot chocolate while listening to holiday music during this beloved caroling event. Parking is available at Brookland-Cayce High School and includes a free trolley ride to and from the Riverwalk entry.


Carolighting Ceremony

Dates: December 2, 2022

Time: 6:30-10 p.m.

Location: Icehouse Amphitheater, 107 West Main Street, Lexington 29072

Cost: Free

Details: Join the Town of Lexington as we sing Christmas carols, light the tree, & take pictures with Santa at Icehouse Amphitheater.


Polar Express Movie Night

Dates: December 2, 2022

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Icehouse Amphitheater, 107 West Main Street, Lexington 29072

Cost: Free

Details: Join us at the Icehouse Amphitheater for the Polar Express (G).


Santa’s Swingin’ Christmas Party

Date: December 3, 10, 17 & 19, 2022

Time: 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. (December 3, 10 & 17) | 10 a.m. (December 19)

Location: Columbia Marionette Theatre, 401 Laurel Street, Columbia 29201

Cost: $7

Details: Join Tinkle and Winkle, two of Santa’s elves, as they plan a party at the North Pole while he is delivering presents around the world! But when a storm appears out of nowhere, Santa is delayed. Will he make it to the party? Two puppeteers and a jazz quartet really bring the swing in this musical celebration!


Snowball Festival Carnival & Movie

Date: December 3, 2022

Time: 1-5 p.m.

Location: Icehouse Amphitheater, 107 West Main Street, Lexington 29072

Cost: Free

Details: Join the Town of Lexington for this year’s Snowball Festival Carnival at the Icehouse Amphitheater featuring face painting, balloon artists, letters to Santa, rides + more! Make sure to stay and watch Elf (PG) which will begin at 6 p.m.


Christmas Traditions Open House

Dates: December 3, 2022

Time: 6-9 p.m.

Location: Cayce Historical Museum, 1800 12th St, Cayce, SC 29033

Cost: Free

Details: The sights, sounds, and tastes of Christmas abound at the Cayce Historical Museum’s Annual Christmas Traditions Holiday Open House, December 3rd from 6-9 pm at the Cayce Historical Museum, 1800 12th Street. Each room will be decorated with trees and crafts from the 18th century to the present. The event will also feature live entertainment, docents dressed in period attire, and light refreshments.


Santa Train

Date: December 3, 10, and 17, 2022

Time:10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m.

Location:110 Industrial Park Road Winnsboro, SC 29180

Cost: $15 – $20 (children under age 3 are considered lap infants and do not need tickets unless they need their own seat)

Details: Ride the train with our favorite visitor from the North Pole. Enjoy the scenery as Santa walks the length of the train talking to families and posing for pictures. The train does not return until Santa has talked to everyone on the train.


Carolina Lights

Dates: December 3-26, 2022 (Closed Christmas Day)

Time: 6-9 p.m. (Sun-Thu), 6-10 p.m. (Fri-Sat)

Location: SC State Fairgrounds, 1200 Rosewood Drive, Columbia 29201

Cost: Pay at the gate with cash or a credit card (Visa or Mastercard). It is $20 per car, $35 for a mini bus (9-24 passengers) and $70 for vehicles over 25 passengers. 

Details: This year is the 4th annual drive-thru light show at the state fairgrounds. You can enter at Gate 6 on George Rogers Boulevard. Chocolate chip cookies and milk will be available for purchase. As you drive through the light show, tune your radio to 88.9 FM and enjoy holiday music sync’d with the lights! Patrons are asked to always stay inside your vehicles. Be considerate and turn off your lights while driving through Carolina Lights.  But remember to turn them back on as you leave the fair park!


Christmas Parade

Date: December 4, 2022

Time: 4 p.m.

Location: Town of Lexington, 111 Maiden Lane, Lexington 29072

Cost: Free

Details: It’s a Christmas tradition you won’t want to miss! Join the Town of Lexington and the Lexington Jaycees for the annual Christmas Parade down Main Street! Get in the Christmas Spirit by watching an array of parade floats make their way through downtown!


Cirque Dreams Holidaze

Date: December 6, 2022

Time: 7:30 P.M.

Location: Koger Center for the Arts, 501 Greene Street, Columbia 29201

Cost: Tickets range from $39-$99

Details: CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE dazzles with a brilliant and whimsical family holiday spectacular. This annual tradition wraps a Broadway-style production around an infusion of contemporary circus arts. As lights dim and the music swells, audiences will have visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads as a fantastical cast of holiday storybook characters come to life. Broadway World exclaims, “Lose yourself for 90 minutes and go back to those wonderful dreams you had as a kid.”

Featuring an ensemble of aerial circus acts, sleight-of-hand jugglers, fun-loving skippers, breath-catching acrobatics, and much more, the Dayton Daily News proclaims, “A new set of eyes should be added to my Christmas list…there’s no way the stunts I witnessed onstage actually happened as most of them aren’t humanly possible.”

Imaginative and fun for the whole family, CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE features a world-renowned cast of performers accompanied by an original music score including new twists on seasonal favorites such as “Deck the Halls,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Singers, dancers, penguins, toy soldiers, and reindeer invoke the dreams behind a child’s eye on the most magical of nights. Amidst a backdrop of new sets, scenery, and storylines, this family-friendly production is sure to put a twinkle in your eye!


Family-Friendly Hope Kids Christmas!

Dates: December 10, 2022

Time: 10-11:30 a.m.

Location: Hope Lutheran Church, 1400 Kennerly Road, Irmo 29063

Cost: Free

Details: Bring the whole family to our special Christmas Hope Kids! Everyone is welcome and no need to register. We can’t wait to celebrate with you!


Holiday Parade of Lights

Dates: December 10, 2022

Time: 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Location: All along 12th St, Cayce, SC 29033

Cost: Free

Details: This annual event is one of the most anticipated holiday parades in the Midlands! This beloved night-time parade is hosted by the Greater Cayce West Columbia Chamber of Commerce. 


Columbia City Ballet Nutcracker

Date: December 10-11, 17-18, 2022

Time: 3 p.m. (Sat-Sun), 7:30 (Sat)

Location: Koger Center for the Arts, 501 Greene Street, Columbia 29201

Cost: Tickets range from $35 to $60.

Details: Nutcracker, Columbia’s holiday family tradition, has the distinction of being Koger Center for the Arts’ first Nutcracker production and longest consecutively running annual arts event.


Blythewood Christmas Parade

Date: December 11, 2022

Time: 2 p.m.

Location: Blythewood Town Hall, 141 Langford Road, Blythewood 29016

Cost: Free

Details: Join us in the annual Christmas Parade presented by the Blythewood Chamber of Commerce. There will also be a Christkindl market taking place during the parade and an Open-House presented by the Blythewood Historical Society & Museum following after the parade.


Movie Matinee

Date: December 16, 2022

Time: 3-5 p.m.

Location: Richland Library North Main, 5306 North Main Street, Columbia 29203

Cost: Free

Details: Join us for a special screening of How the Grinch Stole Christmas!


Nova Ballet Theatre presents The Christmas Angel

Date: December 16-18, 2022

Time: December 16, 11 a.m. | December 17, 7 p.m. | December 18, 3 p.m.

Location: Harbison Theatre, 7300 College Street, Irmo 29063

Cost: Adults $16.50 | Children (under 12), Seniors, Military $12.50 | For Friday’s performance Homeschoolers are $7 per person with association ID

Details: In its 22nd year of production, The Christmas Angel, an original Ballet, will take you and your family on a magical journey. With intriguing characters, a compelling storyline, beautiful scenery, stunning costumes, and splendid dancing, The Christmas Angel will captivate the hearts of the entire family. Come experience this remarkable performance and it will quickly become your new holiday tradition.

Know of an event not listed? Tell us about it and we’ll add it to the list! 

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