The 17 Best Things to Do in Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio, is a vibrant city that blends culture, history, and innovation, offering a diverse array of activities for everyone. From its renowned art institutions and lush parks to its dynamic culinary scene and lively festivals, Columbus invites you to explore its many treasures.

Art & Culture Enthusiasts

Columbus Museum of Art

The Columbus Museum of Art champions the art of storytelling through its impressive collection of American and European art. The museum is not only a haven for art lovers but also a space for fostering creativity, offering various programs and workshops for all ages.

Address: 480 E Broad St. Columbus, OH 43215

Short North Arts District

Stroll through the Short North Arts District to experience Columbus’s art scene at its most vibrant. This neighborhood is dotted with galleries, murals, and street art that reflect the city’s cultural diversity. The monthly Gallery Hop is a must-attend event, allowing visitors to explore local art, music, and cuisine in a festive atmosphere.

Address: Short North Arts District

Wexner Center for the Arts

Located on the Ohio State University campus, the Wexner Center for the Arts is a hub for contemporary art, film, and performances. This architecturally striking facility hosts international exhibitions, film screenings, and performances, making it a critical venue for experiencing cutting-edge art and cultural dialogue.

Address: 1871 N High St. Columbus, OH 43210

Ohio Theatre

The Ohio Theatre, a beautifully restored historic theater downtown, offers a grand setting for Broadway shows, ballets, and symphonies. Its lavish interior with Spanish-Baroque architecture and a breathtaking 21-foot chandelier provide a majestic backdrop for enjoying high-quality performances and cultural events.

Address: 39 E State St. Columbus, OH 43215

COSI (Center of Science and Industry)

COSI brings science to life with interactive exhibits, live shows, and hands-on activities that are fun for the whole family. It’s a place where visitors can learn about the planetarium’s universe, experience the ocean’s wonders in the Aquarium, and engage with technology and innovation in a way that is both educational and entertaining.

Address: 333 W Broad St. Columbus, OH 43215

Embrace the Outdoors

Scioto Mile

The Scioto Mile is a premier urban oasis stretching along the riverfront in downtown Columbus, offering lush parks, picturesque promenades, and a network of trails. It’s an ideal spot for outdoor activities like jogging, biking, or simply enjoying the scenic views of the city skyline and the Scioto River.

Address: 233 S Civic Center Dr. Columbus, OH 43215

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a world-renowned conservation center that offers a unique glimpse into the lives of over 10,000 animals from across the globe. Visitors can explore different regions, such as the African savanna and the Arctic tundra, making for an educational and immersive experience that highlights the importance of wildlife conservation.

Address: 4850 W Powell Rd. Powell, OH 43065

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

This botanical landmark features exotic plant collections, seasonal art exhibitions, and a historic 1895 conservatory. The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens provide a tranquil escape with its beautifully landscaped grounds and interactive exhibits, including a butterfly garden and a children’s garden, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers and families.

Address: 1777 E Broad St. Columbus, OH 43203

Hocking Hills State Park (Day Trip)

Just a short drive from Columbus, Hocking Hills State Park offers breathtaking natural beauty with its waterfalls, caves, and forested trails. It’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering activities such as hiking, rock climbing, and zip-lining, ensuring an adventurous escape into nature. There are seemingly endless trails to hike and explore in Hocking Hills. The most popular trail, and the one worth doing if you only have time for one, is Old Man’s Cave.

Olentangy Caverns

Explore the depths of Ohio’s natural history at the Olentangy Caverns. These ancient caverns offer guided tours that delve into the geology and history of the area, including the Native American artifacts found within. It’s an adventurous outing for families and history buffs alike, offering a cool respite on hot summer days.

Address: 1779 Home Rd. Delaware, OH 43015

Culinary Delights and Spirited Nightlife

North Market

North Market is a food lover’s paradise, featuring a wide array of vendors selling everything from fresh produce and artisanal cheeses to international cuisines. This historic market is a lively spot where locals and visitors alike can explore the flavors of Columbus, attend cooking classes, and enjoy seasonal festivals.

Address: 59 Spruce St. Columbus, OH 43215

Brewery District

Columbus’s Brewery District is a testament to the city’s rich brewing history, offering a chance to sample craft beers directly from the source. Visitors can embark on brewery tours to learn about the brewing process, meet the brewers, and taste a variety of unique brews in a neighborhood known for its historic architecture and vibrant nightlife.

Address: Brewery District, Columbus, Ohio

German Village

Step into the charming streets of German Village, where brick-lined roads and restored homes tell the story of the city’s German heritage. This historic neighborhood is famous for its quaint bookshops, cozy cafes, and authentic German eateries, providing a picturesque setting for a leisurely stroll or a romantic dinner. If you’re into photography, you have to check out German Village and take some pictures of the historic architecture!

Address: German Village, Columbus, Ohio

Easton Town Center

Easton Town Center combines upscale shopping with fine dining and entertainment in an open-air mall setting. With its beautifully designed streetscapes, this shopping destination offers a diverse range of stores, restaurants, and entertainment options, including a movie theater and live music events, making it a popular gathering place for both locals and visitors.

Address: 160 Easton Town Ctr. Columbus, OH 43219

The Short North Food Tour

The Short North Food Tour offers a culinary adventure through one of Columbus’s most vibrant neighborhoods. Participants can savor dishes from Columbus’s top restaurants, learn about the local food scene, and discover the stories behind the establishments that have shaped the culinary landscape of the Short North.

Address: 201 W Hubbard Ave. Columbus, OH 43215

Festive Spirit: Events and Celebrations

Ohio State Fair

The Ohio State Fair is a beloved summer tradition, featuring a rich array of agricultural exhibits, live music, arts, and mouth-watering food. This annual event draws visitors from all over to celebrate Ohio’s diverse culture and heritage, offering fun and entertainment for people of all ages.

Address: 717 E 17th Ave. Columbus, OH 43211

Columbus Arts Festival

Set against the scenic backdrop of the riverfront, the Columbus Arts Festival is a vibrant celebration of visual, performing, and culinary arts. With hundreds of artists from around the world, live performances, and interactive activities, the festival is a highlight of the city’s cultural calendar, drawing art lovers and families for a weekend of creativity and inspiration.


In Columbus, Ohio, adventure and discovery await at every corner. With its rich tapestry of cultural attractions, outdoor beauty, culinary delights, and festive events, the city offers endless opportunities for exploration and enjoyment. Whether visiting for the first time or rediscovering the city, Columbus welcomes you with open arms and promises of memorable experiences.

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