Beyond the dynamic downtown, enjoy cultural experiences in trendy communities that exude charm and personality.
Visitors will be amazed by the variety of things to see and do in Columbus, Ohio, a progressive state capital featuring intriguing attractions and The Ohio State University’s college vibe. Feed your soul with artistic pursuits, satisfy your appetite with farm-to-table fare and savor the warm welcome while meeting an array of open-minded people. Discover this fascinating metropolitan city’s beautiful places, lively entertainment and LGBTQ-friendly establishments.
3 Can’t-Miss Attractions in Columbus
Venture downtown to the Columbus Museum of Art, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. View late 19th- and early 20th-century American and European art – including works by Mary Cassatt, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Norman Rockwell – in addition to quality pieces by local artists. Outdoors, admire the sculpture garden and patio, then take a five-minute drive to the museum’s nearby Pizzuti Collection building to see a collection of contemporary art. At another popular destination, the Center of Science and Industry, known as COSI, tour more than 300 innovative and interactive exhibits. See a life-size T. rex and model of an oviraptor in the impressive Dinosaur Gallery, and go on a star safari in the planetarium. Expect to see beautiful blooms, butterflies and the glass stylings of artist Dale Chihuly at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Admire the manicured grounds, stroll through the 1895 Victorian glass house and marvel at the produce growing in the community garden.
Family viewing a colorful piece on display at the Columbus Museum of Art
Hip and Trendy Neighborhoods
After a day spent enjoying downtown’s cultural diversions, don’t miss the welcoming neighborhoods surrounding the city. The eclectic Short North Arts District is lined with art galleries, impressive building murals and independent boutiques. Go to Gallery Hop the first Saturday of each month, or take the Short North Food Tour & Walking Tour for an introduction to its culinary offerings. Next, head to German Village, a historic neighborhood known for its German heritage, coffee shops and free theater performances on the Schiller Park Amphitheatre Stage. Stroll along the brick sidewalks, stopping in shops, bistros and art studios; none of the 1800s buildings are more than three stories tall. Reserve some of your shopping money for a visit to Easton, an entertainment and retail paradise with more than 300 stores, from local shops to international brands. Dining options include Turkish, Italian, Brazilian, Mexican and Mediterranean restaurants. At night, hear live music or laugh at a comedy show.
"The Journey," a mural painted by Ryan Sarfati and Eric Skotnes that covers the side of The Graduate Hotel in the Short North Arts District
Drink Artisanal Spirits and Eat Farm-to-Table Fare
From food trucks and restaurants serving casual fare to fine-dining establishments featuring award-winning chefs, Columbus’ bourgeoning culinary scene is worth exploring. Dozens of artisanal distilleries with Ohio River Valley roots are creating distinctive gins, whiskeys and bourbons. Many of the distilleries offer behind-the-scenes tours that show visitors the spirit-making process. Among the places to sample spirits and craft cocktails paired with seasonal, farm-to-table cuisine are Middle West Spirits, Watershed Distillery and High Bank Distillery. Another place to taste the great variety of local cuisine is the North Market, a food hall and farmers market operating since 1876. Visit its merchants for tasty, ready-to-eat food and fresh items from the region’s farmers.
A bartender at Watershed Distillery, a local distillery that’s especially known for its gin
Fly in to John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH), which is about 10 kilometers east of downtown Columbus. Rent a car at the airport or get to your accommodations via taxi, ride-hailing service or AirConnect bus. Columbus is a convenient place to visit; it’s a one-day drive or one-hour flight to major cities such as Chicago, Illinois, and Detroit, Michigan.
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