Top 10 Things To Do In Columbus, Ohio

Coliumbus
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Columbus, Ohio is a popular place for people to visit in the state of Ohio. As the capital of Ohio, it has a lot going for it, and you’ll find a variety of things to do when you stay in town. First of all, it’s home to The Ohio State University, which is much more than just a football school. It also contains one of the few veterinary schools in the United States.

 

Columbus, Ohio also has other Ohio attractions. It has a great park system, which you can visit by traveling down the Scioto Mile. Its a section of the city with parks on either side of the Scioto River.

 

You’ll find an exciting nightlife in Ohio, as well as plenty of things to do with your family, such as visiting the Columbus Zoo. If you’re in the mood for a culinary delight, there are breweries, a market, a ton of restaurants for you to enjoy, and of course shopping.

 

1.

Be Amazed By Columbus Museum of Art

Columbus, OH
Image by Wikicommons

 

The Columbus Museum of Art is one of the many structures you’ll find in Downtown Columbus, Ohio. Also known as the CMA, the museum celebrates the artist inside of every person. There are a variety of collections in the museum, including American modern art, German Expressionism, and photography.

 

The Columbus Museum of Art also features the JPMorgan Chase Center for Creativity. This center contains exhibitions to promote creative thinking.

 

The museum also contains a store and the Schokko Cafe, where you can grab a drink and something to nibble on while you reflect on the pieces of art you just viewed. Younger children can enjoy activities, such as playing with some of the museum’s exhibits that feature LEGO toys.

 

2.

Visit The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Zoo/Aquarium Ohio
Image by Allison Grimes from Pixabay

 

Visiting the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is another must-do when you’re in town. The zoo was ranked as the number one zoo in all of the United States by the USA Travel Guide, and it contains more than just animals in cages. Learn about the conservation efforts being undertaken around the world while you “meet” the world-renowned gorilla family that calls the zoo home or check out the elephants that live there.

 

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium houses more than 650 species of animals, with more than 9,000 animal inhabitants. While you should come for the education, you can stay for the fun. The zoo also contains a 22-acre water park known as Zoombezi Bay, as well as an 18 hole miniature golf course.

 

3.

Explore The City Of COSI

Museum
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

 

COSI is another museum that calls Downtown Columbus, Ohio home. The Center of Science and Industry has been around since 1964. It is home to more than 300 hands-on exhibits that are designed to educate children and adults about the wonders of science.

 

It also contains the largest planetarium in Ohio, as well as the Giant Screen Theater. Live shows are also performed at COSI. Designed with children in mind, the entire first floor of the COSI building is aimed at children ranging from “Birth to First Grade,” with other areas of the museum geared towards children of all ages.

 

Inside the museum, you can experience the Dinosaur Gallery, where you can encounter a full-sized cast of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, as well as check out fossilized amber that is more than 100 million years old. After your day of learning at COSI, you can take the family to enjoy a relatively new park a short distance from the museum that includes a playground and splash pad.

 

4.

Visit The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Image by WikiCommons

 

The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a short distance away from downtown Columbus, Ohio. It features 88 acres of pristine landscaped grounds with both indoor and outdoor gardens, as well as exhibitions and a variety of artwork. A beautiful nature park, you can experience the conservatory any time of year; in fact, you’ll get a different experience if you check it out throughout the year. During spring, hundreds of bulbs bloom, while winter features an evergreen tree display and winter foliage.

 

Exotic plants from around the world are featured in the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, with glass-enclosed gardens protecting the specimens. From bonsai to cacti and everything in between, you can find it at the Franklin Park Conservatory.

 

Botanic
Image by Capri23auto from Pixabay

 

Outside, there’s the Grand Mallway, as well as edible gardens and landscaping. There are also butterflies in the gardens and a fish pond that children may enjoy seeing. The glass artwork in the collection has been placed with the plants under natural lighting for best viewing.

 

Classes and crafts are offered regularly at the Conservatory, allowing visitors to learn more about gardening, wellness, and cooking. There’s a cafe you can enjoy daily, as well as a gift shop with unique gifts for the people in your life.

 

5.

Drop By The German Village In Columbus, Ohio

German Village USA
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The German Village is a premier downtown neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio. It’s one of the top things to do and see when you come to Columbus. So-named because of the large influx of German immigrants who arrived in Columbus during the mid-19th century, the neighborhood has a distinct flavor. It is one of the most renowned historic districts found within the United States featuring a great deal of history. The area was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

 

Ohio
Image by Dr Bob Hall on flickr

 

Also, it is a little more than 230 acres and is a residential district that features everything from historic buildings to coffee shops. (Make sure to check out the coffee shops, some of which are part of the “Columbus Coffee Trail.”) There’s a variety of shopping options and dining options in this hamlet.

 

When you come to German Village, there’s a Visitor Center that offers information about the settlement of the area. It also has typical tourist information such as maps and a gift shop. One of the top shops to visit in the neighborhood is “The Book Loft,”.

 

This shop features 32 rooms of books, posters, music, and DVDs all at bargain prices. There are benches outside where you can enjoy going through the bargains you just picked up and enjoy the atmosphere in German Village.

 

6.

Have A Family Adventure In LEGOLAND Discovery Center

Ohio
Image by Bruno Glätsch from Pixabay

 

The LEGOLAND Discovery Center is considered the “ultimate indoor LEGO playground,”. It’s known as one of the most fun places in Columbus, Ohio to spend a day with the family. It features two rides, as well as numerous LEGO play areas with different themes. There’s also a 4-D cinema that you can experience with your family and other attractions, such as MINILAND Ohio which features major Columbus structures made out of LEGO.

 

When you come with your family to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus, you’ll have the opportunity to ride Merlin’s Apprentice. This is a ride where you pedal an enchanted cart to become his apprentice. There’s also the Kingdom Quest ride, where you fire lasers to save the kingdom’s princess.

 

Have fun building and racing LEGO racers with your family or let the kids expend some energy in the LEGO City Play Area. Younger children will enjoy the Duplo Village and Duplo Farm, while older children can enjoy the Earthquake Tables and LEGO Friends areas.

 

7.

Shop At The North Market

Columbus Market USA
Image by WikiCommons

 

The North Market is one of the largest and oldest farmer’s markets in central Ohio. It was originally constructed in 1876 after the cemetery known as the North Graveyard was moved from the site. It became one of four markets in Columbus, and it is the only one remaining in the city.

 

While the popularity of the market waned after World War II, the market remained operating. Eventually, in the 1980s, popularity resumed with the country’s movement towards public markets over supermarkets.

 

In addition to fresh produce, there are herbs and honey sold here. Retail stores have also been added to the market for people to purchase goods while they’re getting their consumables.

 

Other market stops include candy makers and restaurateurs selling delicious things to eat and drink from around the world. The market highlights the diversity of Columbus.

 

8.

Visit Scioto Mile

Sciioto Miles
Image by Wikicommons

 

The Scioto Mile is a selection of multiple nature parks; eight to be exact. Combined, they make up 145 acres of parkland. It has an integrated system that connects and lines the Scioto River, and it is a great place for residents and visitors alike to visit for a stroll, bike, or to just get a breath of fresh air.

The Scioto Mile features the Promenade, which stretches from the east bank of the river and connects Bicentennial Park with Battelle Riverfront Park. The former site was the Avenue of Flags.

 

OH
Image by Don O’Brien on flickr

 

However, today the Promenade features shaded swings and park benches where visitors can sit and relax. There are tables made for playing games such as chess, as well as gardens to get lost in. The Promenade also features a limestone balustrade that was built in the 1920s and has since been fully restored.

 

The Scioto Mile contains a 15,000 square-foot interactive fountain, which kids of all ages can enjoy playing and splashing in when the weather permits.

 

There’s also the largest outdoor climbing wall in the United States. You can also go birdwatching here, with the 120 acres Scioto Audubon. During the warmer months of the year, you can catch outdoor activities such as free concerts and picnics to enjoy the scenery.

 

9.

Head Down The Streets Of Short North Arts District

Short North
Image by Wikicommons

 

The Short North Arts District has been dubbed the “art and soul” of Columbus. It’s a major cultural and business district of the community. Also, it has a Gallery Hop held on the first Saturday of every month.

 

The district has a strong influence from The Ohio State University, and that is considered to make it a little out of the ordinary. Located directly north of downtown Columbus, Ohio, the Short North Arts District is a distinct mile and a half district; stretching from Nationwide Boulevard to King Avenue.

 

OHio
Image by VasenkaPhotography Follow on flickr

 

Iconic arches mark when you’ve reached the Short North Arts District. However, its public art also makes up some of its most recognizable landmarks. The Short North Gothic mural located on the side of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams that turns a classic painting upside down. You’ll also find the Mona Lisa mural, which turns this classic piece of da Vinci’s artwork on its side.

 

There are specialty shopping stops, breweries, and cafes to explore. Come back in the evening to enjoy the nightlife in the area, as well. The Garden Theater puts on performances all year round, including cabaret shows.

 

If that’s not enough for you, the Axis Nightclub features performances by the local drag queen phenom Nina West. Check out a performance after you’ve spent the day hitting boutique shops such as Ladybird and Happy Go Lucky Her.

 

10.

Visit The Ohio Statehouse

Ohio State House
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

 

The Ohio Statehouse is the capital building for the state of Ohio. It is one of the oldest statehouses that still retains its functional capacity in the United States. The building is an example of the Greek Revival style.  It was built on 10 acres that were donated by prominent Columbus landowners. The structure was built with foundations that were 18 feet deep, largely constructed by prison inmates sentenced to labor.

The statehouse functions as a legislative building but also as a museum. There are various artworks around the property, including a painting of the famous Ohio native Thomas Edison. Also, Abraham Lincoln had visited the building multiple times during his Presidency. The Ohio Statehouse Museum Education Center organizes tours and programs for visitors to explore the history and legacy of the building.

 

There are many things to do when you come to visit Columbus, Ohio, and you’re sure to have a good time. Make sure to bring the family and an appetite for education and adventure. In addition to these many attractions, there are exciting arenas for sports. For example, the Ohio Stadium is where the Ohio State University’s football team makes their appearances during football season. No matter where you go in town, you’re sure to find something to do that everyone in your group can enjoy. 


Devine Samantha
I have been a freelance writer for several years and have written on a variety of travel topics, from historic destinations to cities and national parks. I can write long-form and short-form articles and I enjoy writing on any topic.

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