Columbus, Ohio is a city with great energy and a cool, artsy vibe. The look and feel of the city is quite different from Cleveland and Cincinnati. Here are our ten favorite things to do in Columbus. You will find that C-bus has a ton of events and fun things to do. So whether you're an Ohio native or are visiting for a short time, here's what we recommend doing.
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Make The Most Of Your Time In Columbus With These 10 Fun Things To Do
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1. Explore German Village
One of the most historic neighborhoods in Columbus, German Village was originally developed between the late 1800s and early 1900s after German immigrants settled there in the 1800s. The village faced the threat of demolition in the 1950s, but was saved when Frank Fetch and a group of residents came together to promote preservation of the area. It has since been restored and well-preserved, just as Fetch intended, and is a quaint neighborhood to explore. Check out Schmidt’s for some truly authentic German bratwursts and jumbo cream puffs. Stroll through the brick-lined streets and take in the historic buildings, or walk through the gorgeous Schiller Park and enjoy the scenery.
2. Red, White, and BOOM
The Fourth of July is a magical time in Columbus, as the city comes together to celebrate Independence Day. On July 3rd, a huge crowd of more than 400,000 people gather to enjoy the largest firework display in Ohio. In addition to the fireworks, which start at 10 p.m., local bars and restaurants open their doors to welcome visitors and locals alike as they set out to enjoy their day. Alcohol stands are set up throughout the designated event area, and live music takes place on four different stages. Red, White, and BOOM is such a great experience for anyone visiting or living in Columbus.
3. Franklin Park Conservatory
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is set on 88-acres of land and is a cultural attraction with plant collections and rotating nature exhibits. Visit anytime between May and September and you’ll have the chance to walk through the Blooms and Butterflies exhibit, a tropical plant collection that plays home to hundreds of exotic butterflies. Stroll through the outdoor gardens and take in the art sculptures as you walk on the one-mile walking loop around the conservatory. There’s even a collection of glass works done by the renowned Dale Chihuly. This place is definitely worth a visit!
4. COSI Columbus
If you’re looking for something to do with the kids, look no further than COSI. This Center of Science and Industry was named America’s #1 science center for families by Parent Magazine in 2008, so you know everyone is bound to enjoy it. Interactive science exhibits are the heart of COSI, and they ranging from space and astronomy-related to ocean and gadgets-focused. You’ll have a hard time getting the kids to leave this place, so get ready for a full day of fun.
5. Ohio State Football Game
For sports lovers, there aren’t many things better than a college football game on a Saturday afternoon. In Columbus, you might be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t an Ohio State fan. Going to Ohio Stadium and watching the Buckeyes take on an opponent is the thing to do on a Saturday in the fall, so wake up early, hit the bars, and make your way to The Shoe to enjoy the game. Or, join the tailgaters as they make their way to the stadium before dawn and set up their tents, grills, and pour a beverage before the game gets underway.
6. Columbus Arts Festival
Every year in June, the Columbus Arts Festival takes over the gorgeous downtown Riverfront. More than 300 nationally acclaimed artists come from across the country to display and sell their work. The festival also features food stands, live music, dance and theater performances, film screenings, and much more. Don’t miss the Emerging Artists program which always features upcoming local artists and their work.
This annual event takes place in the Short North district’s Goodale Park, a sprawling green space that transforms into a meeting place for many of the neighborhoods residents. This event has been taking place since 1972, and is free to the public. Live music, arts and crafts booths, and beer tents (some selling local brew!) are just a few of the things you can expect to enjoy at ComFest. Food trucks and stalls also set up for this three-day event, so come hungry and get some grub. Rain or shine, this festival will take place.
8. Stroll Through North Market
Open seven days a week, this large, indoor market houses some of Columbus’ best food vendors. More than 30 specialty merchants fill this place with craft beer, baked goods, locally roasted coffee, and authentic Italian food. If that’s not enough, there’s also Jeni’s Ice Cream, which originated in Columbus but has since made a name for itself in places like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Stop by Katzinger’s Little Deli for a tasty sandwich and eat it outside on the outdoor patio area.
9. Stop by a Local Brewery
With more than 15 local breweries to choose from in the Columbus area, having a tasty beer should be on your list of things to do here. Try North High Brewing, a recent addition to the Short North district of the city; their rotating tap list of over 10 beers will keep you busy for a while. If you’re looking for something with outdoor seating, check out Lineage Brewing. Their local beers are best enjoyed on their outdoor patio on a warm, sunny day. Want a behind the scenes look at a brewery? Stop by Wolf’s Ridge Brewing on Sunday and get a free tour of their setup. They also serve up some great food, so take a peek at their menu while you’re gulping down their brew.
10. Bike Along the Scioto River
The Scioto Greenway Trail runs 10.5 miles along the banks of the Scioto River and snakes through nearly the entire city of Columbus. On any given day, you’ll find locals jogging, biking, or simply walking along the water on this gorgeous path. You’ll get breathtaking views of Downtown, as well as easy on and off access to Bicentennial Park and Battelle Riverfront Park and many other hotspots. If you want to get a little exercise and enjoy the day, take a trip to the Greenway and get a view of the city from the outside.
This article was written by Julianne Aiello.