Best Things To Do In Columbus, Ohio: A Comprehensive Guide
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best things to do in Columbus, providing you with a curated list of must-visit places and experiences. So, let’s dive in and discover the hidden gems of this bustling city.
Columbus, Ohio, situated in the heartland of the state, offers a vibrant and diverse array of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy.
Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, art enthusiast, or thrill-seeker, there’s something for everyone in this bustling Midwest destination. From exploring world-class museums to indulging in delicious food and drinks, Columbus offers a plethora of experiences that are sure to leave a lasting impression. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the unique and exciting things to do in Columbus, Ohio, ensuring you have an unforgettable trip.
Unique and Exciting Things to Do in Columbus, Ohio
Discover the Wonders of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Start your Columbus adventure with a visit to the renowned Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Located about 20 miles north of downtown, this sprawling zoo is home to over 10,000 animals representing more than 500 species. From lions in the Heart of Africa exhibit to playful dolphins in the Shores region, the Columbus Zoo offers an up-close and personal experience with wildlife from around the world.
One of the highlights of the zoo is Jack Hanna’s Animal Encounters Village, where visitors can interact with and learn about various animals through hands-on experiences. Additionally, the zoo is adjacent to the 10,000-acre “Wilds” conservation centre, the Zoombezi Bay water park, and the Safari Golf Course, providing even more entertainment options for visitors of all ages.
Indulge in Culinary Delights at North Market Farmer’s Market
For a true taste of Columbus, head to the lively North Market Farmer’s Market. With a history spanning nearly 150 years, this bustling market is a food lover’s paradise, offering a wide range of fresh produce, artisanal foods, and unique crafts. Located on Spruce Street, just a short walk from downtown, the market is a hub of activity and a perfect place to sample local Flavors.
Open seven days a week, the North Market is a treasure trove of culinary delights. Browse through the stalls and indulge in everything from freshly baked bread and pastries to gourmet cheeses, locally sourced meats, and international cuisine. The market also hosts numerous events and workshops, making it a vibrant and vibrant spot for people-watching and soaking up the lively atmosphere.
Immerse Yourself in Buckeye Fever at Ohio Stadium
No visit to Columbus is complete without experiencing the electric atmosphere of a football game at Ohio Stadium. Home to the Ohio State Buckeyes football team, this iconic stadium is often packed with passionate fans, creating an unforgettable atmosphere. The tradition, pageantry, and sheer size of the stadium make it a must-visit destination for sports enthusiasts and college football fans.
Arrive early to soak in the tailgate action and immerse yourself in the pre-game festivities. Once inside the stadium, join the sea of scarlet and gray as you cheer on the Buckeyes and witness the roar of the crowd. Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or simply looking to experience the thrill of a college game, Ohio Stadium is an essential stop on your Columbus itinerary.
Step into a World of Fantasy at Otherworld
Prepare to be transported to another realm at Otherworld, a unique art exhibition and interactive playground. Created by over 40 artists, this 32,000-square-foot space is a surreal and immersive experience that delights both children and adults. Explore more than 40 different installations and rooms, each designed to transport you into a different dimension.
From magical colouring books and giant fuzzy monsters to mind-bending optical illusions, Otherworld offers a truly one-of-a-kind adventure. Lose yourself in the vibrant colours, intricate details, and whimsical creations as you wander through this fantastical world. Make sure to bring your sense of wonder and prepare for an unforgettable journey.
Explore the Beauty of Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Escape into a world of natural beauty at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Spanning 88 acres, this outdoor oasis is a haven for plant enthusiasts and nature lovers. Take a leisurely stroll along the pathways lined with vibrant flowers, lush greenery, and stunning Dale Chihuly glasswork.
The conservatory offers a variety of interactive workshops and activities, allowing visitors to learn about gardening, sustainable practices, and the importance of conservation. Don’t miss the enchanting children’s garden, where kids of all ages can explore and engage with nature in a fun and educational way. If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the whimsical Paul Busse Garden Railway, a miniature train that weaves through themed areas inspired by the Wild West, Europe, and fairy tales.
Challenge Your Mind at COSI (Centre of Science and Industry)
Unleash your inner scientist and embark on a hands-on adventure at COSI, the Centre of Science and Industry. Spread over 300,000 square feet, this interactive science museum is a paradise for curious minds of all ages. With hundreds of exhibits, live demonstrations, and immersive experiences, COSI offers a captivating exploration of the world of science.
From racing cars and laser shows to exhibits on space exploration and the human body, there’s something to pique every interest. Experience the thrill of discovery as you engage with interactive displays, conduct experiments, and learn about the wonders of the universe. COSI has been recognized as America’s #1 Science Museum, and a visit here is sure to spark your curiosity and ignite your passion for learning.
Test Your Skills in an Escape Room Adventure
Put your problem-solving skills to the test and embark on an exhilarating escape room adventure. The Escape Game in Columbus offers a range of immersive experiences where you and your team can work together to solve puzzles, find hidden clues, and complete a mission within a set time limit.
Choose from a variety of themes and difficulty levels, from spy missions to heists and thrilling adventures. Each escape room is designed to be challenging yet exciting, ensuring a memorable and adrenaline-pumping experience. Whether you’re a seasoned escape room enthusiast or a first-time player, The Escape Game is sure to provide an unforgettable and immersive adventure.
Enjoy the Scenic Beauty of the Scioto Mile
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Scioto Mile. This urban oasis stretches along the Scioto River, offering a picturesque riverwalk, beautifully landscaped parklands, and a range of activities for visitors to enjoy.
Take a leisurely walk or bike ride along the scenic trails, and marvel at the stunning fountains and sculptures that dot the landscape. Bicentennial Park, located within the Scioto Mile, hosts free concerts during the summer weekends, providing a perfect opportunity to relax and enjoy live music in a stunning outdoor setting.
For those looking to get active, both the Scioto Trail and the Olentangy Trail offer opportunities for jogging, walking, and biking. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an active adventure, the Scioto Mile is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and enjoy the beauty of Columbus.
Indulge in the Thriving Microbrewery Scene
Columbus may not be as well-known as some of its coastal counterparts, but it boasts a thriving microbrewery scene that is not to be missed. With over a dozen microbreweries operating within the city limits, Columbus has become a hotbed for beer enthusiasts and those looking to explore the world of craft brewing.
Embark on a brewery tour and get a behind-the-scenes look at the beer-making process. Sample a wide variety of unique and flavourful brews and learn about the artistry and science behind brewing. Whether you’re a beer connoisseur or simply looking to expand your palate, Columbus’s microbreweries offer a taste of the city’s vibrant and innovative culinary scene.
Immerse Yourself in the Colours and Aromas of the Columbus Park of Roses
Escape into a world of beauty and tranquillity at the Columbus Park of Roses. Nestled within the larger Whetstone Park, this picturesque park is home to thousands of rose bushes, boasting over 350 varieties and a stunning display of colours and fragrances.
From May to September, the park comes alive with the vibrant blooms of roses, creating a breathtaking sight for visitors to behold. Take a leisurely stroll through the park’s pathways and immerse yourself in the intoxicating aromas and stunning vistas. The park also hosts the annual Spring Rose Show, a highly esteemed event that showcases the best and most beautiful roses in Ohio.
If you’re feeling creative, you can participate in various workshops and activities, such as floral arranging or photography sessions. Whether you’re a nature lover or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, the Columbus Park of Roses offers a serene and enchanting experience.
Marvel at the Artistic Masterpieces of the Columbus Museum of Art
Art enthusiasts will delight in a visit to the Columbus Museum of Art. Located in downtown Columbus, this world-class museum is home to an impressive collection of artworks spanning various periods and styles. From ancient to contemporary art, the museum offers a comprehensive exploration of the artistic world.
Take your time to wander through the galleries and admire masterpieces by renowned artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, and Warhol. The museum’s permanent collection is complemented by rotating exhibitions that showcase a diverse range of artistic mediums and perspectives.
Make sure to stop by the museum’s cafe and gift shop, where you can find unique souvenirs and enjoy a bite to eat. If you’re visiting on a Sunday, admission to the museum is free, making it an accessible and enriching experience for all.
Shop ’til You Drop at Easton Town Centre
If you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, look no further than Easton Town Centre. Dubbed the “Rodeo Drive of the Midwest,” this upscale shopping centre offers a wide range of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.
With close to 300 establishments, including popular brands like Ikea, the Cheesecake Factory, and a variety of high-end boutiques, Easton Town Centre is a shopper’s paradise. Take your time to explore the diverse range of stores, from luxury fashion to unique local boutiques, and find the perfect item to add to your wardrobe or home.
After a day of shopping, you can catch a movie at the AMC theatre complex or indulge in a delicious meal at one of the many dining options available. Easton Town Centre is a one-stop destination for all your shopping and entertainment needs.
Step into a Living Work of Art at the Topiary Garden
Experience art come to life at the Topiary Garden in Columbus. This unique green space is not your typical park; it is a living representation of the famous post-Impressionist painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat. The park features expertly manicured hedges shaped into the forms of the painting’s characters, boats, and animals.
As you wander through the park, you’ll be immersed in a fusion of art and nature, with 54 different figures beautifully sculpted from greenery. Take a moment to appreciate the intricate details and craftsmanship that went into recreating this iconic painting in a three-dimensional form.
The Topiary Garden also offers a peaceful picnic spot, where you can relax and enjoy the serene surroundings. It’s a perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and appreciate the beauty of nature intertwined with art.
Attend a Thrilling Hockey Game at Nationwide Arena
Cheer on the Columbus Blue Jackets, the city’s beloved hockey team, at Nationwide Arena. This state-of-the-art arena is not only a premier sports venue but also a versatile entertainment space that hosts a variety of events, from concerts to ice shows.
Immerse yourself in the electric atmosphere as you join thousands of passionate fans in cheering on the home team. Whether you’re a die-hard hockey fan or simply looking for a fun night out, a visit to Nationwide Arena promises excitement, camaraderie, and a memorable experience.
If you’re interested in getting a behind-the-scenes look at the arena, consider taking a guided stadium tour. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the locker rooms, learn about the history of the arena, and see what goes on behind closed doors. It’s a unique opportunity to gain insights into the world of professional sports and the inner workings of a major arena.
Soak in Nature’s Beauty at Inniswood Metro Gardens
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of Inniswood Metro Gardens. Located just 15 minutes from downtown Columbus, this 122-acre nature preserve is a haven for plant lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Wander through the meticulously landscaped gardens, featuring thousands of plant species and a variety of wildlife. From vibrant flowers and lush greenery to tranquil ponds and meandering pathways, Inniswood Metro Gardens offers a peaceful retreat from the urban landscape.
The park also hosts regular tours and workshops, providing opportunities to learn about gardening, horticulture, and environmental conservation. It’s a perfect place to reconnect with nature, enjoy a leisurely walk, or simply find a quiet spot to relax and rejuvenate.
Experience the Thrill of Zip Lining at ZipZone Outdoor Adventures
For adrenaline junkies and adventure seekers, a visit to ZipZone Outdoor Adventures is a must. Located within easy driving distance of downtown Columbus, this outdoor adventure park offers a range of thrilling activities for the whole family.
Test your courage and zip through the treetops on canopy-top zip lines or challenge yourself on the high rope’s courses and obstacle challenges. With over 60 different elements to conquer, ZipZone provides an exhilarating experience for adventurers of all ages.
The highlight of the park is the guided multi-zipline tour, which offers a bird’s-eye view of the beautiful Ohio treetops. Soar through the air and feel the rush of adrenaline as you take in the stunning natural surroundings. ZipZone Outdoor Adventures is the perfect destination for those seeking an action-packed and memorable outdoor adventure.
Unleash Your Creativity at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Columbus
Let your imagination run wild at the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Columbus. Located in Easton Town Centre, this 30,000-square-foot centre is a paradise for LEGO enthusiasts of all ages. Step into a world made of over 1.5 million LEGO bricks and immerse yourself in a variety of hands-on activities and exhibits.
Marvel at the impressive replica of Columbus, constructed entirely from LEGO bricks, or catch a 4D movie in the LEGO cinema. Kids can unleash their creativity in the play areas, build and race LEGO cars, or embark on a LEGO-themed treasure hunt. The possibilities are endless at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Columbus.
While you’re there, don’t forget to visit the LEGO store for unique souvenirs and take a break at the LEGO Cafe. It’s a perfect family outing and a chance to rediscover the joy of building with LEGO bricks.
Step Back in Time at the Wagner-Hagans Auto Museum
For automobile enthusiasts, a visit to the Wagner-Hagans Auto Museum is a must. Located in the Schumacher Place neighbourhood, this hidden gem showcases a collection of vintage cars and memorabilia, with a particular focus on 1920s and 1930s models.
Wander through the museum and admire the immaculately restored vintage cars, including Packards, limousines, and other classic vehicles. The museum also houses a unique collection of license plates and other automotive artifacts, providing a glimpse into the rich history of the automobile industry.
What sets the Wagner-Hagans Auto Museum apart is the passion and expertise of its owner, Steve. A true motor enthusiast, Steve is always eager to share his knowledge and engage visitors in conversations about classic cars. It’s a hidden treasure that offers a glimpse into the golden age of automobiles and the artistry of automotive design.
Cool Off at Zoombezi Bay Water Park
Beat the summer heat and make a splash at Zoombezi Bay Water Park. Located next to the Columbus Zoo, this thrilling water park offers a unique blend of refreshing water attractions and spooky-themed experiences.
Zoombezi Bay features a variety of water slides, lazy rivers, and wave pools, providing endless hours of fun for visitors of all ages. The park also offers four haunted houses, two scare zones, and a hair-raising roller coaster for those seeking a thrill.
Indulge in Insta-worthy food and drink options, such as jello shots served in syringes, and capture unforgettable memories against the backdrop of exhilarating water attractions. Zoombezi Bay Water Park is the perfect place to cool off, have fun, and create lasting memories with family and friends.
Explore the Fascinating Caverns of Ohio
Nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike will be captivated by the fascinating caverns of Ohio. Ohio Caverns, located in the Salem Township, offers educational tours that take you deep beneath the surface to explore the dimly lit caverns and admire the intricate crystal formations that have formed over millions of years.
Recognized as “America’s most colourful caverns,” Ohio Caverns is a wonder of nature that showcases the beauty and geological history of the region. Take a guided tour and marvel at the stalagmites, stalactites, and other unique rock formations that adorn the cavern walls.
For a truly unique experience, visit Olentangy Caverns, where you can practice yoga in an ancient cave or embark on a self-guided tour through the seven natural rooms of the cavern. Each chamber offers a different perspective of the geological wonders hidden beneath the earth’s surface.
Exploring the caverns of Ohio is a thrilling adventure that allows you to witness the beauty and grandeur of nature up close.
Dive into History at the Ohio History Centre
History buffs, prepare to be immersed in the rich heritage of Ohio at the Ohio History Centre. This comprehensive museum and research centre offers a deep dive into the state’s past, presenting a range of exhibits and artifacts that highlight the diverse history and cultural significance of Ohio.
Explore the various galleries and learn about the state’s Native American heritage, early settlement, industrial development, and contributions to art and culture. The centre also houses an extensive archive that provides resources for genealogical research and an in-depth exploration of Ohio’s history.
Immerse yourself in the stories and narratives of the people who shaped Ohio’s past and gain a deeper understanding of the state’s unique identity. The Ohio History Centre is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking to uncover the fascinating history of the Buckeye State.
Join in the Festivities at the Columbus Commons
Looking for a place to relax, enjoy outdoor activities, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Columbus? Look no further than the Columbus Commons. This picturesque park, located in the heart of the city, offers a range of amenities and hosts over 250 events annually.
Take a leisurely walk through the beautifully landscaped gardens, enjoy a picnic on the grand lawn, or participate in one of the many events and festivals that take place throughout the year. The park is home to a carousel, providing a fun-filled experience for children and adults alike.
The Columbus Commons is the perfect place to unwind, connect with nature, and soak in the lively energy of the city. If you’re looking for accommodation, the Hyatt Regency and downtown Hilton are conveniently located nearby, ensuring easy access to a plethora of attractions and restaurants.
Step Inside the Kelton House Museum and Garden
Travel back in time and experience the Victorian era at the Kelton House Museum and Garden. This historic landmark, located in downtown Columbus, is a testament to the city’s rich heritage and architectural beauty. The house, built in Greek and Italianate styles, played a significant role in the Underground Railroad.
Book an educational tour and immerse yourself in the intricacies and history behind this remarkable house. Learn about the lives of the Kelton family, who were active abolitionists, and explore the preserved interiors that showcase the elegance and grandeur of the Victorian era.
The Kelton House Museum also hosts various events and programs that delve into the history and culture of Columbus, providing a deeper understanding of the city’s past. It’s a unique opportunity to step back in time and witness the legacy of the Kelton family and their contributions to the abolitionist movement.
North Market: A Culinary Delight
Located in the heart of Columbus, North Market is a historic marketplace that has been serving the community since the 1800s. With its charming atmosphere and diverse range of vendors, North Market is a culinary paradise. Explore the stalls and indulge in freshly baked pastries, local cheeses, and hand-cut flowers. Don’t miss the chance to try the delicious bagels at Black Radish Creamery and Fox’s. To avoid crowds, consider visiting early in the morning or just before closing time.
Other Things To Do Columbus, Ohio
German Village: Step into History
Take a stroll through German Village, one of Columbus’ most charming neighbourhoods. Immerse yourself in the Germanic roots of the city as you explore the picturesque streets lined with beautifully preserved historic buildings. Visit Schmidt’s Restaurant and Sausage Haus for authentic bratwurst, cream puffs, and schnitzel. If you time your visit right, you might even catch the German Village Oktoberfest or the Haus and Garden Tour. Don’t forget to check out The Book Loft, a unique bookstore with numerous rooms to explore.
Huntington Park: For Sports Enthusiasts
If you’re a sports fan, a visit to Huntington Park is a must. This expansive sports park is home to the Clippers and offers an incredible atmosphere for watching games. Grab a ticket and immerse yourself in the excitement. After the game, head over to Wario’s Beef and Pork for their mouthwatering sandwiches. Huntington Park is the perfect spot to satisfy your hunger and enjoy the vibrant sports culture of Columbus.
Ohio Theatre: A Cultural Hub
The Ohio Theatre is not only a magnificent architectural gem but also a cultural hub in Columbus. Attend live theatre productions, enjoy classic films, witness ballet performances, or listen to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. With a history spanning over a century, the Ohio Theatre is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks and a must-visit for art and culture enthusiasts.
Columbus Museum of Art: A Journey Through Art
For art lovers, a visit to the Columbus Museum of Art is a must. Explore the museum’s permanent exhibitions and collections, which showcase a diverse range of artistic styles and periods. Don’t miss the Wonder Room, a fun and interactive space for kids and families. Afterward, take a break at the Schokko Art Cafe, located near the museum, and enjoy a small bite. Consider getting the Columbus Attractions Pass to save money on your trip.
Wexner Centre for the Arts: Fuel Your Creativity
The Wexner Centre for the Arts is a public gallery dedicated to fostering creative expression. Explore the unique exhibits, films, and events that the centre offers. The Wexner Centre also hosts an artist residency program, showcasing a variety of exhibits throughout the year. Take advantage of the centre’s free admission on Thursdays after 4 pm and immerse yourself in the world of art.
Pizzuti Collection: Art in Goodale Park
Located near Goodale Park, the Pizzuti Collection is a hidden gem for art enthusiasts. Although smaller than its counterpart, the Columbus Museum of Art, the Pizzuti Collection offers a unique selection of exhibits spread across three floors. Take a moment to explore the beautiful garden outside the museum for a breath of fresh air. If you have a CMA membership or visit on Sundays, admission is free.
Columbus, Ohio, offers a plethora of exciting experiences for visitors to enjoy. From culinary delights to cultural landmarks, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. Plan your trip to Columbus and embark on a journey filled with unforgettable moments.
There are lots of things to do in Columbus, Ohio to have an amazing holiday