Candlelight Concert at the Ohio Statehouse

candlelight concert in downtown columbus

Marina and I love visiting historic sites around Ohio. When we first heard about the Candlelight Concerts series, we immediately bought our tickets.

We were so excited to see the Ohio Statehouse lit only by candles and enjoy the concert. Since it was early October at the time, we chose a concert that leaned in heavily to scary movie soundtracks.

The Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus lit up red and green for the holiday season.
The Ohio Statehouse all lit up for the holidays.

We anxiously awaited our concert. Then the day before our concert date I got a call from Marina. She (and her husband) tested positive for COVID. The concert would have to wait.  I reached out to the promoters and, while they couldn’t give me a refund, they were happy to credit our tickets to a future date.

We chose a December date and selected a program that featured music from the Nutcracker as well as some Christmas classics. We circled the date on our calendars and the waiting began again.

Dinner Downtown Columbus: Milestone 229

Our evening started with a dinner downtown. In our unfortunate fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants style, we neglected to make any reservations. That was on a Friday night, in December. Big mistake.

We walked a few blocks over and found a spot at the bar at Milestone 229 on the Scioto Mile. This is usually a beautiful spot overlooking the fountains and the lights of the riverside. That area was under construction, but it was still a lovely spot for dinner.

On the left the sign for the restaurant Milestone 229 in downtown Columbus. On the right is a banana pudding with whipped cream topping served in a glass mason jar.

We started the meal with the pretzel bread, which came with a dipping mustard. This was delicious and honestly set the bar pretty high against any pretzel I’ve ever had.

Then for dinner, Marina’s husband Jeff (who had joined us for dinner) and I had the shaved prime rib sandwich. It was delicious, substantial and came with both au jus and a side of fries. We were both pretty happy with our choice, although I did save half of mine in order to leave room for dessert. Marina ordered the steak frites, which came with a side of truffle fries. She was equally satisfied with her choice.

For dessert, I ordered the banana pudding. It was served in a large glass mug and was at least three times the size of any banana pudding I’ve ever been served. It was yummy and I almost finished it. Marina ordered the chocolate tort. It was a lot of chocolate and was topped with a luxado cherry. I still don’t know what a luxado cherry is, but I do know that she was very happy with the tort.

Ohio Statehouse

After dinner, we were a bit early for our 9 pm concert time so we wandered into the Columbus Commons to see the lights and part ways with Jeff. Still quite full and still a little early, we then walked around the Statehouse. It was a fairly warm December evening, and we were just enjoying the downtown Columbus ambiance.

An arched passageway in the basement of the Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus.
We passed through the basement on our way to the concert. Oddly enough this is one of my favorite spots in the Statehouse.

We then entered the Statehouse through the basement, which is honestly one of my favorite sections. After jumping around for a few minutes like school kids on the county map of Ohio, we headed for the venue.

We followed the Candlelight Concert signs through the Statehouse and into the Atrium. There, the entire Atrium was aglow with candles (battery operated ones, probably to keep the fire marshall happy). It was quite beautiful and a giant Christmas tree also occupied one corner of the space.

Candlelight Concert

The musicians (and I do apologize for not remembering their names) introduced themselves and impressed us with their credentials. The first violin has an upcoming performance at Carnegie Hall. His wife was the second violin. The quartet was rounded out with, of course, a cello and viola. Some were members of the Columbus Symphony and others were players with local Promusica Chamber Orchestra.

Picture of candlelit Ohio Statehouse atrium on the left and large Christmas tree on the right during a Candlelight Concert in downtown Columbus.
The concert was held in the Atrium and the entire space was elegant and festive.

I enjoyed the music and the environment, to a point. I hate to admit this, but I found it difficult to stay relaxed and into the music. There is so much research into the brain changes caused by our modern society and I can totally agree with this.

I wanted so badly to just stay immersed in the beautiful music and environment, but my mind wanted to wander. As I fought to stay in the moment, my brain was making to do lists and desperately seeking additional input. Some of the blame is on our phones and this electronic world. My work, too, is a hectic, information filled environment and I fear my brain has learned to run at that speed.

A staircase in the Ohio Statehouse that is decorated with greenery and bows for the holidays.
The Statehouse was decorated for the holidays.

I would still recommend the experience. I was not at all disappointed by the venue or the music. My only disappointment was in my failure to lose myself in the offering. I have made it a goal to practice being still so that I can more enjoy experiences like this in the future.


Thanks for FindingOhio with us today. If you are considering a Candlelight Concert, they are offered in a number of cities including several in Ohio. Information can be found on their website: Candlelight Experience.

While you won’t find many concerts on our site, there are so many Ohio locations to explore. If you enjoy the arts, consider a visit to the Columbus Museum of Art in downtown Columbus. If you’re in the Cincinnati area, you might visit the Mercantile which is a private library, but with a great appreciation for the arts.

No matter your tastes, Ohio is rich with a number of activities to keep you occupied. Stop back often as we add a little something at least once a week. Thanks for exploring with us and, as always, we appreciate you sharing our content to you social media. We want everyone to know that Ohio is and amazing place to be!