22 Best Things To Do In Columbus, Ohio (2024 Guide)

Looking for the best things to do in Columbus, Ohio? We’ve got you covered with all the city’s top attractions and activities!

Columbus, Ohio’s largest city and state capital, is one of the best cities to visit in the Midwest.

The city is home to the famous Ohio State University, bringing a diverse and youthful energy to the city. Columbus also has lots of unique neighborhoods that offer a variety of experiences for travelers, from the historic German Village with its brick-lined streets to the trendy Short North Arts District.

With a vibrant culinary scene, cultural festivals, and a thriving sports culture, Columbus has become a destination that seamlessly balances a high quality of life with a forward-thinking vision. Don’t overlook this incredible city while exploring the Midwest of the USA!

Catch a show at the Ohio Theater or go shopping at Easton Town Center. See a professional sports game, visit a museum, or explore a green space. Columbus, OH, is full of amazing things to do! We’ve narrowed it down to 22 of the best things to do in Columbus, Ohio to make it easier for travelers planning their visit.

Columbus Ohio City At Sunrise
Columbus is full of amazing things to do for travelers of all ages.

22 Best Things To Do In Columbus, Ohio

From touring the iconic Columbus Museum of Art, to watching the Columbus Clippers play at Huntington Park, here are the best things to do in Columbus, Ohio.

You can get around the city via public transport, but it’s always more convenient to have your own car while exploring US cities. There are plenty of places to rent a vehicle for your trip to Columbius!

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

1. Tour the Columbus Museum of Art

Situated in the city center of Columbus, the Columbus Museum of Art features works by renowned artists such as Monet, Picasso, and O’Keeffe, as well as a strong focus on regional and contemporary art. The diverse exhibitions and galleries at the Columbus Museum of Art showcase a wide range of artistic expressions, from classic paintings to modern works.

The museum’s commitment to accessibility and inclusivity is evident in its educational programs, community outreach initiatives, and efforts to create an inviting atmosphere for art lovers of all backgrounds.

One of the distinctive features of the Columbus Museum of Art is the Pizzuti Collection, housed within the museum and showcasing contemporary art from the private collection of Ron and Ann Pizzuti. This collection features works by emerging and established artists from around the world which is amazing to see.

The Columbus Museum of Art is a vibrant cultural hub in Columbus, encouraging visitors to explore, learn, and be inspired by the power of artistic expression.

2. Catch an Ohio State football game at Ohio Stadium

Ohio Stadium, affectionately known as “The Horseshoe,” stands as a colossal symbol of Buckeye pride and college football tradition.

Located on the Ohio State University campus in Columbus, this iconic venue is a testament to the fervent spirit and unwavering loyalty of the Buckeye Nation.

With a seating capacity that rivals small cities, Ohio Stadium becomes a sea of scarlet and gray on game days, creating an electric atmosphere that resonates with the echoes of countless cheers from generations of passionate fans.

Home to the Ohio State Buckeyes football team, the stadium is not merely a sports arena but a hallowed ground where victories are celebrated, traditions are upheld, and the roar of the crowd becomes an integral part of the Buckeye experience.

The history, the rituals, and the sheer magnitude of Ohio Stadium make it a revered destination. Even if you’re not the biggest sports fan, catching a game here is an unmatched American experience!

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3. Appreciate those who served at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum serves as a tribute to the men and women who have served in the United States military. Opened in 2018, this institution provides a space for reflection, remembrance, and appreciation for the sacrifices made by veterans throughout the nation’s history.

The museum features immersive exhibits that chronicle the personal stories, struggles, and triumphs of veterans, creating a profound narrative of service and resilience.

With its interactive displays, artifacts, and engaging multimedia presentations, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum honors the bravery and dedication of military personnel. It’s a great place to visit during your stay if you want to learn a little about history.

4. Visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is another one of the best things to do in Columbus Ohio. Nestled in the heart of Ohio, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a world-renowned destination that captivates visitors with its array of wildlife and commitment to conservation.

Providing a home to over 10,000 animals representing over 600 species, the center is known for its innovative and spacious habitats that prioritize the well-being of the animals.

From the expansive Heart of Africa exhibit, featuring lions and giraffes, to the North America region with native species like bears and bald eagles, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium offers an immersive experience that educates and entertains all visitors.

The Columbus Zoo is not just a place for entertainment; it is a global leader in wildlife conservation efforts. Partnering with conservation organizations worldwide, the zoo actively participates in breeding programs for endangered species, conducts research to better understand animal behavior, and engages in community outreach to promote environmental awareness.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is one of the best places to bring your family when you visit Columbus! Save money on this and other local attractions with a Columbus pass!

5. Step into the past at Ohio History Center

The best place for history buffs to go when visiting Ohio is the Ohio History Center. This expansive museum and research facility, operated by the Ohio History Connection, provides a captivating journey through Ohio’s past, spanning from its indigenous cultures to the present day.

With an extensive collection of artifacts, documents, and exhibits, travelers can learn about the stories of Ohio’s people, industries, and innovations. Check out exhibits about the ancient Native American civilizations that once inhabited the region or the Industrial Revolution and the development of Ohio’s cities and communities.

The Ohio History Center also houses an impressive archive and library, offering a wealth of information for those who want it. Its commitment to education is further exemplified through engaging programs, workshops, and events that cater to visitors of all ages.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, a student, or someone seeking to connect with Ohio’s past, the Ohio History Center is a beloved institution in the city.

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6. Admire the Columbus Park of Roses

The Columbus Park of Roses, located in Clintonville, is a botanical haven and a cherished destination for nature enthusiasts and romantics alike.

Spanning over 13 acres, this meticulously landscaped park has a stunning collection of over 12,000 rose bushes representing more than 400 varieties. It’s a beautiful place for a stroll, picnic, or photo-op!

Visitors can meander through the well-designed pathways, each lined with different rose varieties, and explore themed gardens like the Heritage Rose Garden and the Earth-Kind Rose Garden.

Beyond the roses, the park features serene water fountains, pergolas, and ample green spaces perfect for picnics and quiet reflection. The Columbus Park of Roses is one of the largest public rose gardens in central Ohio.

7. Go shopping and sightseeing in the Easton Town Center

Easton Town Center is the best place to go for shopping, dining, and entertainment while visiting Columbus. Designed as a pedestrian-friendly “urban village,” Easton combines a mix of retail shops, upscale boutiques, and popular national brands.

The center’s charming streets are complemented by a variety of public spaces, outdoor art installations, and seasonal events, making it not just a shopping destination but a lively community hub.

Easton Town Center also highlights sustainability and community engagement. The complex incorporates green building practices, energy-efficient features, and a focus on walkability, contributing to its eco-friendly design.

Whether strolling along the cobblestone streets, enjoying al fresco dining in the Town Square, or catching a movie at the state-of-the-art AMC Easton 30, visitors can immerse themselves in the city’s culture at Easton Town Center.

8. See a performance at the Ohio Theatre

Kick off your adventures in Columbus, OH with a visit to the beautiful Ohio Theatre. This timeless architectural gem opened its doors in 1928, and is a gorgeous example of Spanish-Baroque architecture. Visitors love the intricate carvings and breathtaking ceiling adorned with twinkling stars.

Home to the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, the Ohio Theatre always hosts amazing performances, from Broadway shows and classical concerts to film screenings and special events. The famous Columbus Symphony Orchestra also calls this theater home.

Beyond its opulent interior and world-class acoustics, the theatre’s significance lies in its role as a cherished venue that has brought generations of Ohioans together to celebrate the performing arts. Every visit to the Ohio Theatre is a memorable experience!

Ohio Theatre Entryway
The Ohio Theatre is one of the city’s most prominent landmarks.

9. Visit the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, located on the campus of Ohio State University, is a mecca for comic art enthusiasts and scholars alike.

Named after the renowned Columbus Dispatch editorial cartoonist Billy Ireland, the library houses one of the world’s largest collections of cartoon and comic art materials.

With an extensive archive of over 300,000 original cartoons, 45,000 books, and countless manuscripts, the museum is a treasure trove that spans the entire spectrum of the medium—from comic strips and editorial cartoons to graphic novels and manga. Visitors can explore the rich history and cultural impact of cartoons, with exhibitions that showcase the work of iconic artists and delve into the evolution of this dynamic art form.

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is a dynamic space that celebrates the creativity, diversity, and storytelling power of cartoons. It’s a valuable resource for researchers and is one of the most fun things to do in Columbus, Ohio!

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10. Check out the street art and galleries at the Short North Arts District

The Short North Arts District in Columbus, Ohio, is a vibrant and eclectic neighborhood known for its street art, boutiques, art galleries, and entertainment venues. Stretching along High Street, visitors to Short North can check out the vibrant murals adorning building facades and the unique public art installations.

The district’s eclectic energy is fueled by a mix of established and emerging artists from all around the area. It’s like a melting pot of visual, performing, and culinary arts here!

The Short North Arts District also hosts fun events throughout the year. The monthly Gallery Hop, a signature event, attracts thousands of visitors who explore the myriad galleries, enjoy street performances, and savor the diverse food options.

With a rich history and a commitment to artistic expression, touring the Short North Arts District is one of the best things to do in Columbus, Ohio!

11. Attend a baseball game at Huntington Park in the Arena District

Serving as the home field for the Columbus Clippers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians, Huntington Park is renowned for its state-of-the-art facilities and fan-friendly atmosphere. The stadium’s design has modern amenities but also retains baseball’s nostalgic charm

Huntington Park also offers panoramic views of the Columbus skyline and has a variety of entertainment options, from family-friendly activities to themed events that engage fans of all ages.

Located in the Arena District, a bustling entertainment district, Huntington Park is conveniently next to restaurants, bars, and shops to explore before or after a game.

Huntington Park has become a beloved fixture in the city center, and catching a baseball game here is one of the most fun things to do in Columbus, Ohio.

12. Tour the Ohio Statehouse

The Ohio Statehouse, situated in downtown Columbus, is a historic and iconic symbol of the state’s governance and political legacy. Completed in 1861, this Greek Revival-style architectural masterpiece has served as the seat of Ohio’s government for over a century and a half.

The majestic structure features elegant architecture that really stands out at Capitol Square and makes it an unmissable landmark.

Visitors to the Ohio Statehouse are welcomed into a meticulously preserved interior, where they can explore the legislative chambers, the Governor’s ceremonial office, the meeting place for the Ohio General Assembly, and the remarkable Rotunda.

Guided tours of the Ohio Statehouse offer insight into the state’s political history and the legislative process. Visitors can witness the inner workings of government and gain a deeper understanding of Ohio’s role in shaping the nation’s destiny.

The Statehouse grounds, with statues and monuments honoring prominent Ohioans, invite reflection on the state’s contributions to American history. The Ohio Statehouse stands as a cherished landmark in Columbus, Ohio.

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13. Eat, drink, and sightsee in German Village in Central Ohio

Located just south of downtown Columbus, Ohio, the German Village is a charming and historic neighborhood that transports visitors to another era with its cobblestone streets, well-preserved brick homes, and enchanting gardens.

Originally settled by German immigrants in the 19th century, the neighborhood in Central Ohio has retained its Old World charm while evolving into a vibrant and eclectic community.

The architecture of German Village shows off its heritage, with carefully restored 19th-century homes lining the streets, many adorned with wrought-iron fences and colorful flower boxes.

The neighborhood also has a welcoming atmosphere where local businesses, cafes, and boutiques line the brick-paved streets, creating a picturesque and walkable destination.

German Village is also a cultural and culinary haven. Visitors can explore the German Village Society’s Meeting Haus, offering insights into the neighborhood’s history, or indulge in authentic German cuisine at one of the many charming eateries.

The annual German Village Haus und Garten Tour showcases the neighborhood’s architectural gems and lush gardens, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the unique charm and heritage of this beloved Columbus community.

14. Explore the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

A highlight of Columbus, Ohio is the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, an enchanting destination that combines nature, art, and beauty.

Spanning 88 acres, this botanical oasis is a haven for plant enthusiasts, art lovers, and anyone seeking a serene escape. The Franklin Park Conservatory features a stunning collection of plant species from around the world, housed in a variety of distinct biomes, including tropical rainforests, arid deserts, and lush gardens. Visitors can meander through the lush greenery, marvel at exotic flowers, and explore themed gardens that showcase the diversity of plant life.

What sets Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens apart is its commitment to the intersection of art and nature. The grounds are filled with captivating sculptures, installations, and seasonal exhibitions that transform the space into a living canvas.

The iconic Glasshouse, an architectural masterpiece designed by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly, adds an element of modern art to the gardens. With educational programs, events, and a focus on sustainability, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are one of the top attractions in the city.

Butterfly On A Flower At Franklin Park Columbus
You can immerse yourself in nature at this beautiful Columbus attraction.

15. See the unique landscaping at Topiary Park

Another gem of downtown Columbus, OH is Topiary Park, an enchanting green space that brings the art of landscaping to life. Inspired by Georges Seurat’s famous painting “A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte,” the park features meticulously sculpted topiaries that mimic the characters portrayed in the 19th-century masterpiece.

The park’s centerpiece is a living recreation of the painting, with over 50 larger-than-life topiary figures, including people, animals, and boats, set against a backdrop of carefully manicured shrubs.

This living sculpture garden transforms Seurat’s serene scene into a three-dimensional, immersive experience, inviting visitors to stroll through the landscaped area and witness the harmony of art and nature.

Visitors can enjoy peaceful walks along meandering paths or relax on shaded benches in Topiary Park. Whether one seeks artistic inspiration or simply a peaceful escape, Topiary Park stands as a testament to the power of creativity within the heart of Columbus, OH.

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16. Bring the kids to Legoland Discovery Center Columbus

Another one of the most fun things to do in Columbus, Ohio is visit the Legoland Discovery Center Columbus. Located in the Easton Town Center, this indoor attraction provides a world of creativity and fun, featuring a plethora of interactive exhibits, rides, and play zones centered around the beloved Lego bricks.

From a miniature recreation of Columbus landmarks built entirely from Lego bricks to exciting attractions like the Kingdom Quest laser ride and 4D Cinema, visitors embark on a journey where imagination takes over. The center also hosts workshops led by Master Model Builders, allowing guests to hone their building skills and participate in collaborative projects.

With its vibrant atmosphere and dedication to the iconic Lego brand, Legoland Discovery Center Columbus is a haven where families and Lego enthusiasts can come together to celebrate the joy of and creativity.

17. Go to a concert or game at Nationwide Arena

Nationwide Arena, situated in the vibrant Arena District of Columbus, Ohio, is an important part of the city. Home to the Columbus Blue Jackets, the city’s professional hockey team, Nationwide Arena is an amazing facility that offers an immersive fan experience.

Catching a Columbus Blue Jackets hockey game at Nationwide Arena is a classic Columbus, Ohio experience! The venue also hosts concerts for popular music acts.

The venue’s versatility extends beyond sports and music. You can also find family shows, ice shows, and community gatherings here, so there is truly something for everyone.

Nationwide Arena’s location in the Arena District ensures that visitors have access to an array of dining, shopping, and entertainment options within walking distance. The vibrant atmosphere has helped Nationwide Arena become an iconic symbol of Columbus!

18. Hang out at the Scioto Mile and stroll along the Scioto River

The Scioto Mile is a stunning urban park in downtown Columbus, Ohio that offers a picturesque waterfront area along the Scioto River.

The park spans over 175 acres and is meticulously designed with well-maintained walking and biking trails, lush green spaces, and captivating fountains.

The centerpiece of Scioto Mile is the Scioto Mile Fountain, a dazzling water feature that combines choreographed water jets, vibrant LED lighting, and music to create a captivating and interactive spectacle. As visitors stroll along the riverfront, they can enjoy panoramic views of the downtown skyline, making Scioto Mile a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.

Scioto Mile is also a venue for a variety of cultural events and festivals. The park hosts concerts, art installations, and family-friendly activities throughout the year. Spending time at this beautiful place in downtown Columbus is one of the best things to do in Ohio’s capital city.

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19. Taste some local culinary delights at North Market

Another one of the best Columbus attractions is North Market, a hub for foodies and an iconic landmark that has thrived since 1876. The historic North Market is a vibrant melting pot of flavors, aromas, and cultures, featuring a diverse array of local vendors, artisans, and chefs.

Visitors can taste a huge range of culinary delights, from fresh produce and artisanal cheeses to international cuisines and sweet treats.

The bustling atmosphere and communal dining spaces at North Market create an inviting environment for foodies and families alike, fostering a sense of community around the shared joy of exceptional food.

North Market showcases the best of Columbus’s gastronomic scene and celebrating the artistry of local food producers and entrepreneurs.

20. Attend a show or just stroll around Columbus Commons

One of the most popular green spaces in downtown, Columbus Commons consists of 6 acres and provides a respite from the city hustle with its lush green lawns, gardens, and scenic pathways.

Columbus Commons also hosts a wide range of events, from outdoor concerts and fitness classes to food festivals and family-friendly activities.

The iconic outdoor amphitheater stands as a focal point, serving as a stage for live performances that draw diverse audiences to enjoy the arts against the backdrop of the city skyline. The historic carousel is also a cool landmark worth checking out, especially if visiting Columbus with kids!

Columbus Commons Carousel
The Columbus Commons Carousel is a great place to bring kids!

21. Take a day trip to Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park

Situated just outside Columbus, OH, Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park encompasses over 7,000 acres and is one of the largest Metro Parks in the nation.

The park is renowned for its unique features, including the Bison Area, home to a thriving herd of American bison that roams freely in a vast enclosure. Visitors can explore a network of hiking trails, revealing scenic landscapes ranging from lush woodlands to expansive prairies.

With over 20 miles of trails, including the popular Darby Creek Greenway Trail, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy activities like birdwatching, fishing, and horseback riding.

The park’s commitment to conservation, coupled with its expansive natural beauty, makes Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park a beautiful natural oasis in central Ohio. You’ll feel like you’ve really stepped outside the city and into the countryside here!

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22. Explore your creativity at the Ohio Craft Museum

The Ohio Craft Museum is another fun place to check out in Columbus.

Established in 1993, this museum provides a platform for artists working in a variety of media, including ceramics, glass, fiber, and metal. Visitors can explore thoughtfully curated exhibitions that highlight the diversity and innovation within the realm of contemporary craft.

In addition to its gallery spaces, the museum hosts educational programs, workshops, and events so you can get involved in the art making process. The Ohio Craft Museum stands as a testament to the skill and creativity of Ohio’s craft artists, and helps visitors have a hands-on artistic experience during their stay.

Where to Stay in Columbus, OH

If you’re looking for places to stay in downtown Columbus, OH, here are some top-rated options. There are affordable spots as well as luxury, upscale places, so you’re sure to find something that suits you!

Best Luxury Accommodation in Columbus, OH – Sonesta Columbus Downtown

The Sonesta Columbus Downtown is a modern and sophisticated haven in the heart of Columbus, Ohio. This upscale hotel combines contemporary design with exceptional hospitality.

The sleek and stylish accommodations cater to both business and leisure travelers, featuring spacious rooms, modern amenities, and panoramic views of the city skyline. With its central location, the Sonesta Columbus Downtown provides convenient access to popular attractions, dining, and entertainment options, making it an ideal choice for those exploring the city.

Best Mid-Range Accommodation in Columbus, OH – Drury Plaza Hotel

Housed in the meticulously restored 1927-era historic building that was once the Columbus City Center, the Drury Plaza Hotel seamlessly combines elegant architecture with modern amenities. Guests can expect spacious and well-appointed rooms, complimentary hot breakfast, and evening socials with complimentary snacks and drinks.

The rooftop pool and terrace provide a relaxing retreat with picturesque views of the city skyline. With its prime location near attractions like the Ohio Statehouse and Nationwide Arena, the Drury Plaza Hotel caters to both leisure and business travelers, providing a unique and welcoming experience in the heart of Columbus, OH.

Best Budget Accommodation in Columbus, OH – Comfort Suites

Columbus Suites offers a comfortable and convenient experience for travelers seeking a home away from home in Columbus, Ohio. The hotel’s central location allows guests easy access to the city’s attractions, business districts, and cultural hotspots.

With a focus on creating a welcoming atmosphere, Columbus Suites provides amenities like complimentary Wi-Fi, fitness facilities, and a business center. Whether visitors are in town for business, relocation, or leisure, Columbus Suites aims to provide a comfortable and flexible accommodation option.

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Alesha and Jarryd

Hey! We are Alesha and Jarryd, the award-winning writers and professional photographers behind this blog. We have been travelling the world together since 2008, with a passion for adventure travel and sustainable tourism. Through our stories and images we promote exciting off-the-beaten-path destinations and fascinating cultures as we go. As one of the world's leading travel journalists, our content and adventures have been featured by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, CNN, BBC, Forbes, Business Insider, Washington Post, Yahoo!, BuzzFeed, Channel 7, Channel 10, ABC, The Guardian, and plenty other publications. Follow our journey in real time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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