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It's winter in Columbus. Do you remember how great that is? There are winter wonderlands abound, holiday lights come alive, and the city seems cheerful and bright. The time has never been better to come back home. Whether you just back in town to visit relatives for the day, or have more time to spend, we've come up with some top picks to do in the University District and beyond!

COSI

If you brought your family in town with you, COSI is not to be missed. It is Parents Magazine's #1 Science Museum in the country, and it won't take you long to find out why. Didn't bring the kids? Then check out COSI After Dark on December 4th, a special adults-only event where you grab a brew and geek out at the museum without the younger ones! This December’s After Dark event is a show of the brand new planetarium! Check it out here! Bonus: If your family has a membership at your local science museum, chances are that you can get in free with a reciprocal membership. Check into it! Cosi.org; 614-228-2674

Columbus Zoo
Yes, you've been there, and yes, it's spectacular, but if you've never seen WILDLIGHTS, it's time to go again. Starting November 17, see the three million twinkling lights that transform the zoo into a winter wonderland. Columbuszoo.org; 614-645-3400

German Village
Walk the brick sidewalks of German Village and shop, eat or just explore. Starting December 7 with their Village Lights event (information here), kick off the holiday season on those historic streets and follow luminaries from shops to businesses and restaurants open late with holiday treats, discounts and special offers. Festive surprises are at every corner including carolers, live holiday music and a horse-drawn carriage. Germanvillage.com; 614-221-8888

Short North
Check out Short North Arts District, the "art and soul" of the city, and enjoy a wide variety of art, dining, nightlife, fashion, home décor, and unique gifts. Try one of their many unique dining spots like Barrel 44 Whiskey Bar or the Melt Bar, which specializes in gourmet grilled cheese (save room for a Jeni's cone!). If you happen to be there on the first Saturday of the month, enjoy Gallery Hop, where thousands of visitors converge on High Street in the Short North Arts District. Celebrate art throughout the evening with new gallery exhibitions, street performers, special events, food, and drinks throughout the District. Gallery Hop starts at 4:00 p.m. and runs to 10:00 p.m., with restaurants and bars staying open considerably later. shortnorth.org; (614) 299-8050 

First Night Columbus
From 2 PM to Midnight on New Year’s Eve, First Night Columbus celebrates the outgoing year into the new year by holding a safe, affordable and fun night out for families. There is so much to do on New Year’s Eve at First Night! Make sure you check it out here

There is plenty of things to do this winter in Columbus! If you couldn’t make it back for homecoming, you should definitely try to make it to Columbus while it’s a holiday paradise! Check these places out!