23 Things to Do in Columbus

By Janet Benoir – October 20, 2023

As an experienced visitor of Columbus, the capital city of Ohio, it’s evident that this vibrant location offers far more than its renowned affiliation with the Ohio State Buckeyes. Delve deeper into this city and uncover an array of museums, breathtaking green spaces, and captivating cultural centers that rightfully position Columbus as one of the top places to visit in Ohio.

Immerse yourself in the richness and fascinating history that Columbus has to offer. With proper guidance and exploration, you’ll soon discover why this destination is more than a lively sports town, and appreciate the myriad of attractions that cater to various interests, further confirming its worth as a premier travel destination.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

When exploring Columbus, make sure to visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. This popular attraction offers a memorable experience for visitors of all ages. You’ll be amazed by the diverse wildlife from around the world, including polar bears, tigers, gorillas, and many more fascinating species. Observe the animals up close, take part in interactive exhibits, and don’t forget to catch one of the educational shows to learn more about the wildlife.

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In addition to the impressive animal exhibits, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium also boasts beautiful gardens and a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. You can venture out on a scenic boat ride, indulge in a thrilling ride on the carousel, or unwind with a leisurely stroll while admiring the stunning landscape. Spending a day at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is definitely one activity that should be on your to-do list while in Columbus.

Center of Science and Industry (COSI)

While in Columbus, you should definitely visit the Center of Science and Industry (COSI). This interactive science center allows you to explore various exhibits and hands-on activities that cater to all ages and interests. Be amazed as you participate in live shows, view captivating documentaries in the Giant Screen Theater, and unravel the mysteries of the universe at the Planetarium.

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In addition to the permanent exhibits, COSI regularly hosts special events and traveling exhibitions, making it an ever-changing learning landscape. You can also take part in science programs and workshops tailored to different age groups, including camps and clubs for kids, as well as educator resources for teachers.

Ohio Stadium

Visiting Ohio Stadium is a must when looking for things to do in Columbus. As the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team, this historical site offers a thrilling atmosphere for sports enthusiasts. Its impressive capacity allows for over 100,000 fans to enjoy the energy and excitement of each game.

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While you explore Columbus, consider attending a concert or special event held at the Ohio Stadium. Its versatile facilities have hosted a wide array of events, including international soccer matches, concerts by world-famous artists, and high-profile public gatherings.

Short North Arts District

In the heart of Columbus, you’ll find the vibrant Short North Arts District, a perfect destination to experience rich culture and exciting events. As you stroll down the bustling streets lined with unique galleries, boutiques, and eateries, every turn offers an opportunity to discover local talent.

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Art lovers will be captivated by the eclectic mix of galleries showcasing works from renowned and emerging artists. Make sure to visit on the first Saturday of each month for the Gallery Hop, when the district comes alive with art openings and special performances. Indulge your taste buds in the diverse range of eateries, from delicious street food to award-winning restaurants.

German Village

When visiting Columbus, you should definitely check out German Village. This historic area offers a glimpse into the city’s rich German heritage, with beautifully preserved brick houses and meticulously maintained gardens. As you stroll through the cobblestone streets, you will find various shops, galleries, and restaurants that serve authentic German cuisine.

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Apart from its culinary offerings, German Village is also home to a variety of cultural attractions. Make sure to stop by the Book Loft, a famous 32-room bookstore filled with an immense collection of titles. Additionally, you can explore Schiller Park with its beautiful gardens, walking paths, and outdoor theater performances during summer months.

Easton Town Center

When visiting Columbus, make sure to explore the Easton Town Center, a premier shopping and entertainment destination. You’ll find a wide variety of shops, from popular retail outlets to specialty boutiques, as well as a diverse range of restaurants and cafes. Catch the latest blockbuster at the AMC movie theater or test your skills at the escape room.

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In addition to shopping and dining, Easton Town Center regularly hosts events and entertainment options. Enjoy live music and family-friendly activities during the warmer months, or lace up your skates and glide over the seasonal ice rink. No matter your interests, Easton Town Center offers something for everyone to enjoy during their stay in Columbus.

Scioto Mile

Columbus offers a wealth of activities for its visitors, and one must-see destination is the Scioto Mile. Located in the heart of the city, this urban oasis stretches along the Scioto River and boasts various attractions and recreational spaces. Visiting the Mile is an excellent way to spend a leisurely day exploring the city and taking in the breathtaking scenery.

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As you stroll through the Scioto Mile, you’ll encounter numerous parks, art installations, and interactive fountains perfect for cooling off on a hot day. The Bicentennial Park is an ideal spot to relax, catch live performances at the amphitheater, or enjoy a meal overlooking the beautiful river. Don’t forget to take advantage of the numerous walkways and bicycle paths that connect the parks, allowing you to fully immerse in the beauty and charm of Columbus.

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

If you’re looking for things to do in Columbus, a visit to Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a must. This incredible destination offers a stunning collection of plants, art installations, and architecture to explore. As you wander through the various biomes, you’ll discover a lush and diverse array of flora and fauna, with plenty of interactive and educational exhibits along the way.

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During your visit, make sure to check out the stunning Palm House, featuring a tropical rainforest environment filled with vibrant flowers and exotic plants. Don’t forget to explore the outdoor gardens, where you’ll find beautifully designed landscapes, picturesque water features, and serene pathways.

Columbus Park of Roses

Are you looking for a beautiful and tranquil destination in Columbus? Make sure to visit the Columbus Park of Roses. This stunning park features over 12,000 rose bushes, offering a breathtaking display of colors and fragrances throughout the blooming season. Stroll through the park and admire the wide variety of rose species, including hybrid teas, grandifloras, floribundas, and miniature roses.

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While you’re there, take time to explore the herb garden and perennial garden, which showcase additional splashes of color and texture. As you wander the park’s winding paths, enjoy the serene atmosphere provided by lush green lawns, lovely fountains, and charming gazebos. If you’re visiting with family, the Columbus Park of Roses also offers a nearby playground to keep the kids entertained.

Topiary Park

While visiting Columbus, a must-see attraction is the enchanting Topiary Park. This one-of-a-kind park features charming topiary sculptures that represent the figures found in Georges Seurat’s famous painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte”.

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Topiary Park is an ideal destination for visitors of all ages who appreciate nature and art. You’ll find great spots for picnics, leisurely strolls, and photography, making it a perfect stop during your Columbus adventure. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this distinctive gem in the heart of the city.

Columbus Museum of Art

If you’re looking for a culturally enriching experience in Columbus, consider visiting the Columbus Museum of Art. This museum offers a diverse collection of artworks spanning various periods and styles, providing you with a broad understanding of the creative world. Exhibits at the museum include both contemporary and historical pieces, ensuring there’s something for every art lover.

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As you explore the museum, you’ll encounter various pieces from renowned artists such as Monet, Picasso, and Warhol, as well as local Ohio artists. The museum also offers engaging educational programs and events that help you gain a deeper appreciation of the art on display.

Cultural Arts Center

The Cultural Arts Center in Columbus offers you a rich experience with a diverse range of artistic expressions. As you explore this venue, you’ll find various workshops and classes, including painting, ceramics, and textiles. Additionally, there are innovative plays, musical performances, and dance programs, allowing you to get immersed in the local art scene.

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When planning your visit, be sure to check their event calendar, as the Cultural Arts Center hosts rotating exhibits showcasing works from regional and national artists. Taking part in these cultural events will surely enrich your experience in Columbus and leave you with an appreciation for the unique artistic community they have cultivated.

Ohio Theatre

If you’re looking for a cultural experience in Columbus, a visit to the Ohio Theatre is an essential addition to your itinerary. This historic landmark has been captivating audiences since 1928 with its splendid architecture and diverse performances. Today, the theatre hosts a variety of events, including Broadway shows, ballet, concerts, and family-friendly programs.

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During your visit, you’ll be enchanted by the Spanish Baroque architectural style that defines the theater’s interior and exterior design. Additionally, the Mighty Morton theatre organ offers an unforgettable auditory experience, accompanying silent movies and various events. So, be sure to set some time aside in your Columbus travels to appreciate the artistry and performances at the Ohio Theatre.

Nationwide Arena

When visiting Columbus, one of the top destinations to consider is the Nationwide Arena. This modern and spacious venue hosts a variety of events, such as sports competitions, concerts, and family-friendly shows. As the home to the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, you can experience the excitement of a fast-paced hockey game during the season.

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Apart from hockey games, the Nationwide Arena welcomes popular artists and world-class performers within its impressive structure. Its convenient location in the heart of the city makes it easy to explore nearby restaurants, bars, and shops before or after an event. Attending an event at this iconic location is sure to create memorable moments during your stay in Columbus.

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

A must-visit attraction in Columbus is the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum. Located on the main campus of Ohio State University, this unique museum houses the world’s largest collection of comic and cartoon-related content. As you explore its vast archives, you’ll find newspaper comic strips, graphic novels, editorial cartoons, and other animation-related materials.

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Each of the museum’s exhibits offers a captivating display of creativity, humor, and artistic talent that speaks to everyone. Engage in the rich cultural tapestry of comic art through its rotating and permanent exhibitions. Whether you’re an enthusiast or simply interested in a delightful experience, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum promises an unforgettable outing in Columbus.

Ohio Statehouse

When looking for things to do in Columbus, visiting the Ohio Statehouse should definitely be on your list. The Statehouse is a prime example of Greek Revival architecture and stands as a symbol of the state’s rich history. As you tour the impressive building, you’ll marvel at the intricate details and breathtaking art that adorns its walls.

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During your visit, you can join a guided tour or explore the Ohio Statehouse on your own. Be sure to check out the Ohio Statehouse Museum, which offers a wealth of information about the state’s political history. And don’t forget to visit the outdoor monuments and the beautiful Capitol Square grounds.

Kelton House Museum & Garden

Columbus offers a variety of activities for your enjoyment, and one such destination is the Kelton House Museum & Garden. This historic site allows you to step back in time as you explore 19th-century life in the city. The house, built in 1852, serves as a fine example of Greek Revival architecture and showcases the Kelton family’s legacy as influential members of Columbus society.

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While visiting the Kelton House, you’ll have the opportunity to wander through the beautifully maintained gardens, which provide a tranquil escape from the bustling city. Inside the home, you can explore the exquisite furnishings and artifacts that tell the story of the family’s history. Engage in the tours and programs to learn about their roles in the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, and much more.

Ohio History Center

Planning a trip to Columbus? Be sure to include the Ohio History Center on your list of must-see attractions. This impressive museum showcases the rich history of Ohio, offering you an enlightening journey through time. Wander through captivating exhibits that cover various periods and events, such as the ancient Adena and Hopewell cultures, the Ohio Frontier during the late 1700s, and the state’s involvement in major wars.

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The Ohio History Center has something for everyone, with engaging, interactive displays and hands-on activities for younger visitors. Don’t miss the impressive collection of historic vehicles and antique artifacts that tell the story of Ohio’s industrial, agricultural, and transportation development. Make your way to this essential Columbus destination and embrace the opportunity to deepen your understanding of the Buckeye State’s fascinating past.

National Veterans Memorial and Museum

While exploring Columbus, make sure to visit the National Veterans Memorial and Museum. This remarkable site honors the men and women who bravely served in the United States Armed Forces throughout history. Through interactive exhibits, you’ll gain an appreciation for the sacrifices made by these individuals.

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During your visit, explore the various displays, personal artifacts, and thought-provoking stories that showcase the lives of our nation’s heroes. The National Veterans Memorial and Museum offers a unique perspective into military history, while acknowledging the resilience of service members and their families. Make sure not to miss this important and educational stop during your time in Columbus.

Orton Geological Museum

When visiting Columbus, make sure to explore the Orton Geological Museum. It’s a fascinating place where you can learn about geology, fossils, and minerals. When entering the museum, you will be greeted by the gigantic skeleton of a prehistoric giant ground sloth. The exhibition showcases a vast collection of rocks, minerals, and fossils from Ohio and around the world.

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In addition to the amazing displays, the Orton Geological Museum also offers educational programs and activities for all ages. Participate in hands-on activities such as interactive exhibits that let you simulate a real archaeological dig and identify various minerals using specialized equipment. By the end of your visit, you’ll undoubtedly have gained a greater appreciation for the wonders of the earth and the history hidden beneath its surface.

Ohio Craft Museum

Looking for a unique and creative experience in Columbus? The Ohio Craft Museum should be on your list. This museum, nestled in the city’s vibrant Grandview Heights neighborhood, showcases an impressive collection of contemporary American craft artworks.

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While visiting the Ohio Craft Museum, you can attend one of their many workshops or events. These programs are designed to spark your creativity and provide insight into different art-making techniques. Whether you’re a seasoned artist or just beginning your creative journey, this charming, intimate museum offers an inspiring and engaging atmosphere that’s perfect for exploring the diverse world of contemporary crafts.

Central Ohio Fire Museum

While in Columbus, be sure to visit the Central Ohio Fire Museum. This unique attraction showcases the history of firefighting in the area, offering hands-on exhibits and fascinating displays. You’ll have the chance to explore vintage fire trucks, learn about the evolution of firefighting equipment, and discover the heroic efforts of Columbus firefighters throughout history.

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Immerse yourself in the world of firefighting by participating in interactive simulations, try on authentic firefighting gear, and learn valuable fire safety tips. The Central Ohio Fire Museum is an excellent and engaging experience for both children and adults, as it brings to life the significance of firefighting as a profession and serves as a testament to the bravery and sacrifices made by those who put their lives on the line to protect others.

Huntington Park

Huntington Park, located in Columbus, is a great place to spend your day. As a modern and welcoming ballpark, it offers an exceptional experience, whether you’re a baseball fan or just looking for a fun outing. Catch a game of the home team, the Columbus Clippers, Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians, and enjoy the thrill of live sports.

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In addition to attending baseball games, Huntington Park offers various events and activities throughout the year. These may include concerts, community gatherings, and charity fundraisers, making it a versatile venue for all sorts of entertainment. With its comfortable seating options, stunning views of the Columbus skyline, and unique features like a picnic terrace, there is always something to enjoy at Huntington Park.