10 Things to do in Columbus OH – 2024 Ultimate Guide

things to do in columbus

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Welcome to Columbus, Ohio – a vibrant city bursting with a diverse array of things to do in Columbus OH. From its rich history and thriving arts scene to its delicious culinary offerings and beautiful parks, Columbus is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking a unique and memorable experience. Whether you’re exploring the charming neighborhoods, discovering world-class museums, or enjoying the lively entertainment options, there is no shortage of things to do in Columbus that will captivate and inspire you. Join us on a journey through this dynamic city, where every corner holds a new adventure waiting to be explored.

Popular Experiences and Attractions

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens:

Essential Information

– Address: 1777 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43203
– Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily
– Fee: $19 for adults, $12 for children
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, families, and botanical enthusiasts


Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio, is a must-see destination for those seeking a tranquil escape into the beauty of nature. With its diverse collection of plant species from around the world, this botanical paradise offers a unique opportunity to explore different ecosystems under one roof. From the vibrant colors of tropical blooms to the serene atmosphere of the desert garden, visitors are treated to a sensory experience like no other.

The conservatory’s stunning glasshouse architecture provides the perfect backdrop for the lush greenery and colorful flowers that fill its interior. Whether you’re a seasoned botanist or simply appreciate the wonders of the natural world, a visit to Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens promises to inspire and delight. Don’t miss the chance to wander through the enchanting gardens, learn about sustainable practices, and connect with nature in the heart of Columbus.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium:

Essential Information

– Address: 4850 W Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065
– Opening Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM daily
– Fee: Adults $25, Children $20
– Visit Duration: 3-4 hours
– Ideal for: Families, animal lovers


The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio, is a must-see destination for families and animal enthusiasts alike. With over 10,000 animals representing over 600 species, this renowned zoo offers a unique opportunity to observe wildlife up close. From playful penguins to majestic lions, visitors can explore diverse habitats and learn about conservation efforts to protect endangered species.

One of the highlights of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is its innovative exhibits, such as the Heart of Africa and Asia Quest, which provide immersive experiences that transport visitors to different parts of the world. The zoo’s commitment to education and conservation is evident throughout, making it not only an entertaining attraction but also a valuable learning experience for all ages.

Whether you’re seeking a fun day out with the family or a chance to connect with nature, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium promises a memorable visit filled with fascinating encounters and valuable insights into the animal kingdom. Plan your trip today and discover the wonders of the natural world at this exceptional zoo and aquarium.

Ohio Statehouse:

Essential Information

– Address: 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215
– Opening Hours: Monday-Friday 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Saturday-Sunday 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: History buffs, architecture enthusiasts


The Ohio Statehouse stands as a historic landmark in the heart of Columbus, Ohio, offering visitors a glimpse into the state’s rich political past. With its striking Greek Revival architecture and iconic cupola, the Statehouse is a must-see destination for those interested in American history and government. Step inside to explore the beautifully preserved chambers where legislative decisions have shaped Ohio’s future for over a century.

As you wander through the corridors, you’ll encounter fascinating exhibits detailing the state’s political evolution and key moments in its history. From the grand Senate and House of Representatives chambers to the impressive Rotunda, every corner of the Statehouse exudes a sense of grandeur and significance. Whether you’re admiring the intricate details of the building’s design or learning about the state’s legislative process, a visit to the Ohio Statehouse promises a captivating experience for all who walk through its doors.

COSI (Center of Science and Industry):

Essential Information

– Address: 333 W Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215
– Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm
– Fee: Adults $25, Children (2-12) $20
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Families, Science enthusiasts


COSI (Center of Science and Industry) in Columbus, Ohio is a must-see destination for families and science enthusiasts alike. With its interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, COSI offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages. From exploring the wonders of outer space in the planetarium to conducting experiments in the interactive labs, there is something for everyone to enjoy at COSI.

One of the highlights of a visit to COSI is the Ocean exhibit, where visitors can learn about marine life and conservation efforts. The Dinosaur Gallery is another popular attraction, showcasing life-sized dinosaur replicas and providing insight into the prehistoric world. Additionally, the Adventure exhibition offers thrilling challenges and simulations that will test your skills and knowledge.

Whether you’re interested in technology, biology, or physics, COSI has something to offer everyone. Plan a visit to COSI for a day of discovery and exploration that will leave you inspired and informed.

German Village:

Essential Information

– Address: Columbus, OH
– Opening Hours: Varies by establishment
– Fee: Free to explore
– Visit Duration: Half-day to full day
– Ideal for: History buffs, foodies, architecture enthusiasts


German Village in Columbus, OH, is a must-see destination for those seeking a glimpse into the city’s rich history and vibrant culture. This charming neighborhood, known for its well-preserved brick houses and cobblestone streets, offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern amenities. Visitors can wander through the quaint streets lined with historic homes, boutique shops, and cozy cafes, immersing themselves in the area’s German heritage.

One of the highlights of a visit to German Village is sampling authentic German cuisine at the local restaurants and bakeries. From hearty sausages and schnitzels to decadent pastries and cakes, the culinary offerings here are sure to delight foodies of all kinds. In addition to its gastronomic delights, German Village also boasts a thriving arts scene, with galleries showcasing the work of local artists and craftsmen.

Whether you’re strolling along the tree-lined streets, admiring the architecture, or indulging in a delicious meal, German Village offers a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. With its rich history, welcoming atmosphere, and diverse attractions, this historic neighborhood is a hidden gem waiting to be explored.

Columbus Museum of Art:

Essential Information

– Address: 480 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215
– Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm, Closed on Mondays
– Fee: Adults $18, Seniors $9, Students $5, Children under 5 free
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Art enthusiasts, families, history buffs


The Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio, is a must-see destination for art lovers and history enthusiasts alike. With a diverse collection spanning from classical to contemporary art, this museum offers a unique cultural experience for visitors of all ages. The museum’s impressive exhibits showcase works by renowned artists such as Picasso, Warhol, and O’Keeffe, providing a comprehensive overview of art history.

One of the highlights of the Columbus Museum of Art is its emphasis on American art, featuring pieces that capture the essence of the country’s rich artistic heritage. From traditional landscapes to modern abstract compositions, the museum’s collection offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of American art over the centuries. Additionally, the museum regularly hosts special exhibitions and events, ensuring that there is always something new and exciting to discover.

Whether you’re a seasoned art aficionado or simply looking to explore something new, the Columbus Museum of Art is a cultural gem that should not be missed. Plan a visit to this vibrant institution and immerse yourself in the beauty and creativity of the artistic world.

Scioto Mile:

Essential Information

– Address: 233 S Civic Center Dr, Columbus, OH 43215
– Opening Hours: 6:30 am – 11:00 pm
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Families, nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts


Situated in the heart of Columbus, Ohio, Scioto Mile is a picturesque urban oasis that offers a perfect blend of nature and city life. Spanning along the Scioto River, this scenic park features lush green spaces, stunning river views, and a variety of recreational activities for visitors of all ages.

One of the main highlights of Scioto Mile is the Scioto Mile Promenade, a scenic walking and biking path that stretches for over 1.5 miles, providing a perfect opportunity for a leisurely stroll or a refreshing jog. The park also boasts beautifully landscaped gardens, interactive fountains, and public art installations that add to its charm.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy a peaceful picnic by the river, take a relaxing boat ride, or simply unwind amidst nature, Scioto Mile offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. With its vibrant atmosphere and stunning views, Scioto Mile is truly a must-see destination for anyone visiting Columbus, Ohio.

North Market:

Essential Information

– Address: 59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH 43215
– Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 10am-5pm
– Fee: Free entry, prices vary for food and goods
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Foodies, families, and anyone looking for local flavors


North Market in Columbus, Ohio is a bustling hub of culinary delights that attracts locals and visitors alike. This historic market offers a vibrant mix of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and diverse dining options that showcase the best of Ohio’s food scene. From farm-fresh fruits and vegetables to gourmet cheeses and handcrafted chocolates, North Market is a paradise for food enthusiasts looking to savor local flavors.

One of the main reasons why North Market is a must-see place is its rich heritage and commitment to supporting small businesses. The market has been a beloved institution in Columbus for over a century, providing a platform for local farmers, bakers, and chefs to showcase their talents and creations. Whether you’re craving a hearty meal, a sweet treat, or a unique souvenir to take home, North Market offers a wide array of options to satisfy every palate.

Visitors to North Market can immerse themselves in a lively atmosphere filled with the aromas of freshly baked bread, sizzling meats, and aromatic spices. The market’s friendly vendors are always ready to share their passion for food and provide recommendations to help you discover new culinary delights. Whether you’re exploring the market solo, with family, or with friends, a visit to North Market promises a memorable experience that celebrates the vibrant food culture of Columbus, Ohio.

Nationwide Arena:

Essential Information

– Address: 200 W Nationwide Blvd, Columbus, OH 43215
– Opening Hours: Varies depending on events
– Fee: Ticket prices vary
– Visit Duration: 2-3 hours
– Ideal for: Sports fans and concert enthusiasts


Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, stands as a premier entertainment venue in the heart of the city. Home to the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, this state-of-the-art arena offers an unforgettable experience for sports fans and concert-goers alike. The arena’s modern design and top-notch facilities make it a must-see destination for those seeking live entertainment in Columbus.

Whether you’re catching a thrilling hockey game or attending a sold-out concert, Nationwide Arena promises an exciting atmosphere that will leave you wanting more. With its central location and easy access to nearby dining and attractions, a visit to Nationwide Arena is a perfect addition to any Columbus itinerary. Experience the energy and excitement of live events at Nationwide Arena, where unforgettable memories are waiting to be made.

Topiary Park:

Essential Information

– Address: 480 E Town St, Columbus, OH 43215
– Opening Hours: Daily from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM
– Fee: Free
– Visit Duration: 1-2 hours
– Ideal for: Nature lovers, art enthusiasts, families


Topiary Park in Columbus, Ohio is a unique green space that offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The park is home to a collection of stunning topiaries, meticulously sculpted shrubs that resemble human figures. Visitors can stroll through the park and admire these intricate works of art, which include representations of famous paintings such as Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”

One of the main highlights of Topiary Park is the larger-than-life topiary interpretation of Georges Seurat’s iconic painting. This impressive display is a testament to the skill and creativity of the artists who maintain the park. The park’s serene atmosphere and beautiful greenery make it an ideal spot for a leisurely walk or a peaceful picnic.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an art enthusiast, or simply looking for a tranquil setting to relax, Topiary Park is a must-see destination in Columbus. Take a break from the urban landscape and immerse yourself in the beauty of these living sculptures.

Food and Cuisine

Ohio Buckeye Candy

Why is it so special:

Ohio Buckeye Candy is a beloved local treat that resembles the nut of the buckeye tree, the state tree of Ohio. This sweet confection features a creamy peanut butter center dipped in rich chocolate, creating a perfect balance of flavors. It is a popular dessert during holidays and special occasions, loved for its indulgent taste and nostalgic appeal.

Where to Try It:

For a taste of authentic Ohio Buckeye Candy, head to Anthony-Thomas Candy Company, a local favorite known for its high-quality chocolates. You can also find this delightful treat at Schmidt’s Fudge Haus, a charming shop offering a variety of handcrafted candies.

Thurmanator Burger

Why is it so special:

The Thurmanator Burger is a legendary dish in Columbus, known for its massive size and bold flavors. This towering burger features two 12-ounce beef patties, multiple types of cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions, and a special sauce, all sandwiched between two grilled cheese sandwiches. It is a hearty and indulgent meal that is sure to satisfy any burger enthusiast.

Where to Try It:

To experience the iconic Thurmanator Burger, visit The Thurman Cafe, the birthplace of this famous dish. This local institution has been serving up delicious burgers since 1942 and continues to attract visitors from near and far with its mouthwatering creations.

German Village Schnitzel

Why is it so special:

The German Village Schnitzel is a classic dish that pays homage to the German heritage of Columbus. This traditional dish features thinly pounded and breaded pork or veal cutlets that are fried to golden perfection. The schnitzel is typically served with a side of tangy German potato salad and a squeeze of lemon, creating a delightful combination of flavors and textures.

Where to Try It:

For an authentic taste of German Village Schnitzel, visit Schmidt’s Restaurant und Sausage Haus in the historic German Village neighborhood. This renowned eatery is known for its delicious German fare and cozy atmosphere, making it the perfect spot to savor this comforting and satisfying dish.

Events and Festivals

Ohio State Fair

The Ohio State Fair is a highly anticipated event in Columbus, OH, attracting visitors from all over the state. This annual event features a wide range of activities including live music performances, carnival rides, agricultural exhibits, and delicious food vendors. Tourists can enjoy exploring the various exhibits showcasing Ohio’s rich agricultural heritage and participate in fun competitions and contests. The fair usually takes place in late July to early August, so be sure to check the dates if you plan to attend.

Red, White & BOOM!

Red, White & BOOM! is one of the largest fireworks displays in the Midwest, held in downtown Columbus on the evening of July 3rd. This Independence Day celebration draws massive crowds and offers a spectacular show of fireworks lighting up the night sky. Visitors can enjoy live music, food trucks, and a festive atmosphere leading up to the grand fireworks display. It’s recommended to arrive early to secure a good viewing spot and be prepared for large crowds.

Asian Festival

The Asian Festival in Columbus is a vibrant cultural event that celebrates the diversity of Asian cultures through music, dance, food, and art. Held annually in May, this festival features performances from various Asian countries, traditional crafts, and a wide array of delicious Asian cuisine. Visitors can explore different cultural exhibits, shop for unique items, and immerse themselves in the rich heritage of Asia. The festival is a great opportunity to experience the sights, sounds, and flavors of Asia right in the heart of Columbus.

Interesting Facts

– Columbus, Ohio is home to the largest university campus in the United States, The Ohio State University, with over 60,000 students enrolled.
– The city is known for its diverse culinary scene, offering a wide range of international cuisines, from Ethiopian to Vietnamese.
– Columbus is a hub for fashion designers and retailers, hosting the annual Fashion Week Columbus event showcasing local talent.

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