Great Things In and Around Columbus for All Ages
Columbus, Ohio is a wonderful place to live, spend a weekend, or even vacation. If you’re lucky enough to live nearby, or you’re planning a trip soon, there’s plenty to see and do. Whether you’re staying in downtown Columbus, or you’re planning a vacation in Central Ohio, we’ve put together a handy guide of things to do in and around Columbus to help you plan your itinerary.
Things to do in Columbus, OH
If you’re planning to visit Columbus, OH, here’s a list of sights, attractions and experiences you won’t want to miss:
1. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
A tranquil oasis just a hop, skip and jump away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Columbus and Broad St, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens provides a blissful day out for adults and children. Founded in 1895, this beautiful Columbus park is adorned with acres of plants and flowers and it also offers a spectacular backdrop for artistic displays and exhibitions. The park is open every day and tickets can be purchased in advance.
2. Columbus Zoo and Zoombezi Bay
One of the city’s most popular attractions, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium comprises six different regions, taking visitors on a voyage around the world. There is a great collection of 10,000 animals here and visitors can enjoy incredible tours and experiences, including giraffe and stingray feeding and interactive activities at the petting zoo. As well as seeing incredible creatures, kids will love the newest region, Adventure Cove, which is home to a variety of diverse species, including 10 California sea lions and four harbor seals.
Located right next to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, is Zoombezi Bay, a 22.7-acre water park which is a great place to cool off and splash around in the summer months.
3. Easton Town Center
Easton Town Center is an 1.7 million square feet outdoor shopping complex that is famed for its entertainment venues, shopping and dining facilities. The main buildings at Easton Town Center have been constructed to look like early 20th century American cities and towns. If you love to indulge in retail therapy, or you’re keen to watch a movie, go duckpin bowling, then this is the place to be. There are more than 200 retailers here, as well as fun events, stunning gardens and parks, a movie theater and a host of restaurants and cafés. They have also added some night movies and free concerts during the summer months.
4. Columbus Museum of Art
The Columbus Museum of Art is a must for art lovers and those eager to add a bit of culture to their itinerary. If you have a day or two to explore downtown Columbus, this art museum showcases a diverse range, from contemporary art to the more traditional styles. The museum includes local artists, such as George Bellows and Elijah Pierce, as well as greats from the US and Europe. This is a great family-friendly place, as the lower levels have interactive features for all ages to enjoy. One of the best art galleries in Ohio, the collection spans the 19th and 20th centuries. Look out for details of new exhibitions and events online.
If you enjoy going to art galleries, or you love creative activities, why not time your visit to coincide with the Columbus Arts Festival in summer? It’s also worth visiting Short North Arts District, the heartbeat of the city’s artistic scene. The Short North Gallery Hop is a local tradition, which celebrates art on the first Saturday of every month. If you are a collector, or you love to shop for unique items, check out Columbus Architectural Salvage.
Otherworld, an immersive art experience, with several different rooms that all have a theme to them. Mirror, creatures, dreams, black light spider room (don’t worry they aren’t alive), and space, this place has a little bit to offer anyone and is another must-see for art fans.
5. Sporting Events
If you’re looking to catch a game while staying in Columbus, Ohio, why not watch the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Ohio State Buckeyes or the Columbus Clippers in action?
Columbus, Ohio is HOME to The Ohio State Buckeyes. If you are able to get tickets to any Ohio State game, go. Even in the off season there are tours that you can take to learn more about Ohio Stadium, or as the locals know it, “The Horseshoe”. Go to ground level and see the field from the players point of view, then see it from the press box. Club and suite level as well as the Steinbrenner Band Center and the Recruit Room.
The Nationwide Arena on Nationwide Blvd has been home to the Columbus Blue Jackets, Ohio’s professional ice hockey team, and a member of the National Hockey League. Nationwide Arena is famed for having an ice rink – one used as a practice arena for the Blue Jackets, youth hockey games, and public skating – and was the first NHL arena to have an on-site practice facility. Visitors come to the arena for an array of events and hang around in the surrounding Arena District to take advantage of the many bars, clubs, and theaters.
Want to see a baseball game? Also located in the Arena District is Huntington Park, home to the Columbus Clippers Minor League baseball team. The state-of-the-art facility has two Triple-A National Champion wins behind it and is affiliated with the Cleveland Guardians. Huntington Park has three levels featuring a Hall of Fame, a club bar, a rooftop bar, homerun terraces, and a club-level patio. What makes this stadium park unique is that it has 1,200 specialty seating positions, including a family lawn area with a fountain, lawn seating, and a tree-canopied main concourse.
For major league soccer fans, check out a Columbus Crew match at Lower.com Field for an unforgettable experience. The soccer venue is complete with a beer garden, fan terraces, Nordecke supporters stand and enhanced seating.
Take in the atmosphere, enjoy the thrills and spills of live sports and cheer on your team! If you love sports, this is one of the most fun things to do in the city.
6. Explore Columbus’ Parks and Green Spaces
For a breath of fresh air, Columbus, Ohio boasts an array of beautiful parks and green spaces. If you’re looking for a kids’ park or you want to locate picnic tables to enjoy an al fresco feast, there’s no shortage of places to visit. Popular choices include Hayden Falls Park, which is home to a 35-ft waterfall, Topiary Park and Bicentennial Park. You’ll find green spaces within walking distance of the city center. Visit local food trucks, take your own picnic or grab a takeout en route. Kids will also go crazy for the treasure hunt maze at Olentangy Indian Caverns. To get the best views of the Columbus skyline, visit Genoa Park, Main Street Bridge or North Bank Park.
7. Legoland Discovery Center
Legoland Discovery Center Columbus, Ohio located in Easton Town Center is fun for the whole family. A treasure trove of brightly-colored building blocks, Legoland offers a huge range of activities. Build and race your own Lego car, explore Miniland, or set your pulses racing on the rides. There’s also a Lego-themed cafe and gift shop on-site.
After your exciting time at the Discovery Center why not peruse the lego store, which has everything you would ever need to build whatever your imagination can think of. Of course they have the box sets of Lego designs, but they also have a wall full of bricks in any color you would need. Want to make your own Lego Mini, no problem here. Want to get accessories? Yep, they have those too. They even carry some of the limited edition and hard- to-find box sets here.
8. Center of Science and Industry
The Center of Science and Industry (COSI) is a popular choice for a Columbus native, as well as visitors. A leading science center based in Central Ohio, COSI was established almost 60 years ago. This facility focuses on STEM subjects, providing access to fascinating exhibitions, engaging events and educational activities for the whole family. There are more than 300 interactive displays to entertain adults and children alike. Here, they believe learning can be done with fun activities
For those who love museums, a trip to the National Veterans Memorial and Museum comes highly recommended. Ohio History Center is another highlight. If you’re a history fan, it’s also worth visiting Ohio Village, and Kelton House Museum and Garden, an historic house that was once a stop on the famous Underground Railroad.
Both COSI and the National Veterans Memorial and Museum are right across from what is called the Scioto Mile. A mile-long pathway that is part of the riverfront area, connecting Battelle Riverfront Park and Bicentennial Park.
9. Celebrate Music, Food and Ohio Theater
Columbus is a cultural hub, which offers all kinds of experiences. Sample delicious cuisine at the Columbus Food Truck Festival, discover the history and beauty of the oldest Ohio theatre, the iconic Southern Theatre, search online for free live concerts, or check what’s on at Columbus Commons. Bridge Park is also worth a visit. Home to the Dublin Market, this lively neighborhood also hosts events.
10. The North Market
Just before you get into the heart of The Short North, is The North Market. One of Ohios’ largest farmer’s markets and the oldest. For more than 145 years running strong, guests have been showing up to support local merchants, farmers and artisans. Offering live entertainment, dining options with great food and one of Columbus’ many historic places, The Short North is an amazing place to experience downtown Columbus.
Columbus, OH is a fabulous city, which has so many great things to see and do. If you live nearby, or you’re planning a day trip or a vacation, there are endless fun things to do in and around Columbus. You can easily take a trip to the zoo, or picnic at the Columbus Commons park while watching live music. Take in a Broadway show at one of the city’s beautifully restored historic theaters, and wander around galleries and museums. Even sports fans can get in on the action, whether it be at an OSU football game, or an NHL game watching the Blue Jackets. Better even is watching the Crew, Columbus’ own MLS team, in their brand new amazing looking stadium.
So you see, there’s fun things to do for everyone. Don’t forget to check out this handy list next time you’re going to Columbus, Ohio.