Columbus, OH Travel Guide

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Free Things To Do in Columbus, OH

If you have extra time, The Scioto Mile is worthwhile.
  • #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.

  • #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.

  • #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.

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