Columbus, OH Travel Guide

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Best Things To Do in Columbus, OH

Columbus offers a good mix of things to do. For instance the Arena District, as well as The Ohio State University area, are filled with bars ideal for a night on the town. You can also kill at least a couple hours in German Village eating bratwurst and lazing in its parks. If you want to shop, Easton Town Center is the place to go. And for kids, a ballgame at Huntington Park or an afternoon at the Center of Science and Industry are worthy pursuits.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated June 23, 2016

  • #1
    Things to do in Columbus, OH
    View all Photos
    #1 in Columbus, OH
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Ohio's only public market is in Columbus and certainly worth a walk through. North Market was first established in 1876 and is home to more than 30 vendors selling a range of products, including fresh meat, produce, baked goods, cheese and flowers. On select Saturdays, a portion of the market is set up outside, and on Sundays in June to October local artwork, furniture, jewelry and more is also on display.

    Visitors say this market provides a wonderful food selection at affordable prices. Many were impressed with the sheer variety of cuisine types represented at this small market, and say there's something for everyone here. A few warn that the market gets quite congested on the weekends, so it's best to arrive early or visit on a weekday to beat the crowds.

  • #2
    Huntington Park
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    #2 in Columbus, OH
    Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Enjoying a baseball game at Huntington Park is one of recent travelers' favorite things to do. The homegrown Columbus Clippers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians and visitors appreciate the views, the atmosphere and the affordability of games at this ballpark. The park can accommodate 10,000 but most say it's rarely crowded, allowing for visitors to walk around and explore different parts of the stadium. Recent travelers added there's not a bad seat in the house.

    Single game tickets cost between $7 and $20 for adults and between $4 and $7 for children younger than 12 and seniors, depending on the seat. Several concessions vendors are spread throughout the stadium for food and drink needs. You'll find the stadium downtown in the Arena District; parking is available on-site for a small fee. For more information on game times and tickets, visit the website.

  • #3
    German Village
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    #3 in Columbus, OH
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    This village earned its name from the German immigrants who settled here in the early 19th century. Much of the neighborhood has retained its Germanic roots, evident in the architecture and cuisine found here. For delectable sausage, schnitzel and cream puffs, Schmidt's Restaurant and Sausage Haus is the place to go. There's also an annual Haus und Garten Tour and German Village Oktoberfest. And don't worry: You can walk off all that food with a stroll in nearby Schiller Park, named for German poet Friedrich Schiller. The European aesthetic of the neighborhood, as well as its local shops and restaurants (The Book Loft and the Golden Hobby Shop, for instance) make it one of the most charming places in Columbus.

    Visitors love this quaint neighborhood, citing its authentic feel and charming shops as the perfect atmosphere for an afternoon stroll. However, a handful of travelers warn that other than eating and walking around, there's not much else to do here.

  • #4
    Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
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    #4 in Columbus, OH
    Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is filled with flowers, greenery and even Chihuly glass. The attraction's greenhouses are home to more than 400 species of plants found in various climates and regions, including the Himalayas, the Pacific, the rainforest and the desert. Several exhibitions are also scheduled throughout the year, and these range in theme from "Blooms and Butterflies" to "Origami in the Gardens."

    Previous visitors had plenty of praise for the conservatory and gardens. Many appreciated the variety of exotic, colorful and verdant plants and flowers on display. Families with children also said the butterfly exhibit was a hit with the kids.

  • #5
    The Scioto Mile
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    #5 in Columbus, OH
    Parks and Gardens, Sports, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Sports, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    After years of organization and environmental rehabilitation, the Scioto Mile opened in 2015 and comprises several acres of parkland. Miles of trails snake along the Scioto River – perfect for strolling, jogging or biking – and the 15,000-square-foot interactive fountain (and its water spouts) at Bicentennial Park attracts young ones while the park's free summer concert series appeals to the adult crowd. The area is also home to a free outdoor climbing wall and the environmental- and conservation-focused Audubon Center. Recent visitors said a visit here can make for a romantic evening, a fun-filled family day or a place for solo reflection and admiration of the city. Travelers add the sunset views are spectacular and that you should remember to bring your camera to capture the moment.

    You'll find the Scioto Mile in downtown Columbus, along the banks of the Scioto River stretching from Broad Street to Rich Street. It's free to access and open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily; parking is available nearby. For a list of events and festivals, or more info about the Scioto Mile, visit its website.

  • #6
    Easton Town Center
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    #6 in Columbus, OH
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    You'll find the open-air shopping district, Easton Town Center, about a 10 miles northeast of downtown Columbus, up I-670 E. Hosting stores like Nordstrom, Coach and Crate and Barrel, the district also welcomes a farmers market on Thursdays from June to August. The complex is home to a number of restaurants as well, which range from fast and casual (Panera Bread and Cosi) to more upscale establishments like Smith & Wollensky and Mitchell's Ocean Club. Come summertime, Easton Town Center hosts several events, including art shows, yoga classes, movie screenings and concerts.

    Travelers say this is a great place to shop, grab a meal and people-watch. However, some say that it's best to visit this shopping complex during the day as lately the nighttime crowd has become a little rough.

  • #7
    Center of Science and Industry
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    #7 in Columbus, OH
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    This museum is geared toward kids, but adults don't seem bored by its interactive exhibits either. From a science park and computer simulators to the energy explorers interactive laboratory and live science shows, the Center of Science and Industry (or COSI) is jam-packed with interesting things to do and see. Museumgoers can ride in a space capsule, learn more about ocean exploration technology and "order" science exhibits to work on as a group (three particular traveler favorites). Meanwhile, the COSI Planetarium treats visitors to a presentation on the planets, stars and universe, while the National Geographic Giant Screen Theater shows films on the national parks, Africa's terrain and creatures, and more. 

    Travelers agree this is an enjoyable museum to visit with the kids, citing the interactive exhibits as informative and engaging. Some were disappointed with the high cost of admission though.

  • #8
    Columbus Museum of Art
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    #8 in Columbus, OH
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Even though this museum is not particularly large, visitors say its artwork and exhibits are fascinating. The Columbus Museum of Art introduced a new wing in 2015 with additional gallery space for permanent collections and rotating exhibits. Speaking of traveling exhibits, museumgoers said they appreciated the different collections highlighted, adding that the rotating schedule means new art is showcased every few months. Another perk according to past visitors: the Wonder Room, aimed at engaging children with hands-on activities designed to teach them about art.

    Situated downtown, the museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on Thursday until 9 p.m. It's closed on Mondays. Admission costs $14 for adults, $8 for seniors and students and $5 for kids ages 6 to 17. (Admission is free on Sundays.) Find out more information on the Columbus Museum of Art website.

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