Columbus, Ohio — known as The Discovery City — boasts plenty of opportunities for residents to explore museums, art galleries, theaters, restaurants, parks, and more. However, there are certain occasions when you might want to get away from the big city for an adventure with your sweetheart. Immerse yourselves in nature in West Virginia; live it up in Pennsylvania’s Steel City; or experience the great Buckeye State outside of Columbus. After settling into your Columbus vacation rental, spend an afternoon exploring the city, then venture out to one of these top seven getaway spots from Columbus.
1. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Just over three hours to the north of Columbus, Ann Arbor offers something for any interest. The University of Michigan makes its home here, so sports fans can catch the Michigan Wolverines in action during football season. Spend an afternoon at the tranquil Matthaei Botanical Gardens, which offer 300 acres of outdoor floral displays and nature trails for walking. History buffs head to the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, and science lovers can while away a few hours at the Leslie Science Center. Feed the ducks at Gallup Park, then take in an evening performance at Michigan Theater. Lace up your skates for some fun on the ice at Yost Ice Arena, and enjoy a cozy dinner for two on the balcony at Gratzi Ann Arbor.
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2. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Whisk your love away to Pittsburgh, a three-hour drive to the east in the Keystone State, for an exciting weekend for two. If you’re both sports fans, catch an NFL game at Heinz Field, home of the Steelers. Visit the polar bears and other animals at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, explore the 456 acres of trails and wooded areas at Schenley Park, or feel like a kid again when you spend the day at Kennywood, Pittsburgh’s most popular amusement park. The Andy Warhol Museum is ideal for art enthusiasts. If you both love seafood, dinner at the upscale Monterey Bay Fish Grotto is a must, or try Casbah for Mediterranean fare in a modern setting.
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3. Seneca Rocks, West Virginia
Make a trip four hours and 45 minutes southeast of Columbus to Seneca Rocks in the Mountain State, an ideal vacation destination for a couple who love the great outdoors. Bring your hiking boots to explore Seneca Rocks State Park, which boasts challenging trails with rewarding mountain views. If you’re interested in scaling the mountains, check out Seneca Rocks Climbing School. Sign up for a tour of Smoke Hole Caverns, then spend the afternoon on a riding tour with Yokum’s Seneca Rocks Stables. For a laid-back meal, try Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint, or have an upscale dinner at The Forks Restaurant & Inn.
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4. Louisville, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky, is situated three hours and 10 minutes to the southwest of Columbus. Known as Derby City, Louisville is the home of Churchill Downs, so you can catch the Kentucky Derby if you’re visiting in early May. If you share a love of baseball, visit the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. Walk hand-in-hand through the scenic Cherokee Park, or take a bike ride through the well-manicured Beckley Creek Park. Make reservations for a tour of Angel’s Envy Distillery, where you can learn about the brand and sample the whiskey. Spend an afternoon browsing the unique wares at the Derby City Antique Mall, then treat that special someone to dinner at RIVUE Restaurant and Lounge, a revolving restaurant with unbelievable views of Louisville and the Ohio River.
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5. Indianapolis, Indiana
A two-hour and 45-minute ride to the west lets you settle into an Indianapolis vacation rental for an exciting weekend away with your sweetheart. Watch a race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, or visit the penguins, monkeys, and tigers at the Indianapolis Zoo, which houses more than 2,000 animals and the largest aquarium in the state. Monument Circle has it all, from shopping and restaurants to museums and theaters, and this place really lights up in the winter, when you can treat your love to a horse-drawn carriage ride. For upscale Italian food in a romantic setting, try Mama Carolla’s or Iozzo’s Garden of Italy for dinner.
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6. Cleveland, Ohio
You don’t even have to leave the Buckeye State to reconnect with your significant other. It only takes two hours and 15 minutes to drive northeast to Cleveland, The Forest City. For arts and culture, visit the Cleveland Museum of Art or the Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall. If you’re into the music scene, the 150,000-square-foot Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a great place to spend the afternoon. To cook your own dinner for two back at your vacation rental, find all the ingredients you need at the West Side Market. A Christmas Story House thrills fans of the iconic movie, so stop in for a tour, and be sure to visit the museum next door to see actual props and costumes.
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7. Cincinnati, Ohio
Travel an hour and 40 minutes to the southwest to spend your weekend discovering The Fountain City. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has an exciting manatee exhibit, as well as white tigers, polar bears, and an insect house. Take your sweetheart out to the ballgame when you see the Cincinnati Reds play at the Great American Ball Park. Share a sunset stroll along the four-mile Riverwalk, which crosses into Kentucky and offers incredible views of Cincinnati’s skyline. Grab a low-key lunch at one of the food trucks in Washington Park, spread out a blanket, and have an impromptu picnic beneath the trees. The American Sign Museum is a fun outing, and Sotto is an ideal option for Italian fare in a cozy atmosphere.
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