Things to do in Columbus, Ohio

Wherever you’re staying in Columbus, you’re going to have a great trip. The world-class Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a delight any time of year. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens brings horticulture and art together with a spectacular glasshouse, a stunning community garden campus and sculpture sprinkled throughout. 

The brand new Scott’s Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden focuses on introducing and connecting children to the natural world. The Columbus Museum of Art offers sunny galleries with rotating exhibits and an outdoor sculpture garden. COSI mixes science and fun for kids and adults. Don’t miss the new American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery. Parks like the Scioto Mile connect the city to nature, and dozens of miles of multi-use trails span Columbus.


Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Easton Town Center
Center of Science and Industry (COSI)

If you’re more of a sporty type, you’ll find professional and collegiate games and matches all year long. From Columbus Crew SC to the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets to the MLB AAA Columbus Clippers, you’re going to find something to cheer for. Find great brand-name shopping at Easton Town Center and Polaris Fashion Place or peruse the boutiques of the Short North Arts District, Grandview and German Village. 

With a cultural scene to rival any in the nation, you have your pick of live music, art exhibitions, concerts and theater. And be sure to grab a cup of coffee, because you’re going to want to stay out late.



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It’s not hard to find things to do in Columbus. In fact, with so many top-ranked attractions, one of the hardest parts about any trip is deciding which activity will have to wait until the next visit.

Shop at the North Market’s more than 30 merchants and the Short North Arts District’s galleries and boutiques. Tour the beautifully restored Ohio Statehouse and explore the shops in historic German Village. Hang out in the Heart of Africa at “Jungle” Jack Hanna’s home zoo, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium or get hands-on at COSI, a top-rated science center featuring more than 300 interactive exhibits, including the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery. Check out Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, displaying the world’s largest collection of Dale Chihuly’s glass artwork in a botanical garden, then hit Easton, the Midwest’s premier shopping destination and home to LEGOLAND Discovery Center, billed as the ultimate indoor LEGO playground. Visit the one-of-a-kind National Veterans Memorial and Museum on downtown’s Scioto Mile. Let loose a little at Eldorado Scioto Downs or Hollywood Casino Columbus.

The Scioto Mile in downtown Columbus features miles of multi-use trails stretching from Bicentennial Plaza in the south to North Bank Park in the North and is a great spot to take a stroll and enjoy both the city and nature. Bicentennial Park hosts free concerts on summer weekends, and a huge set of fountains create a fun environment for kids to play in during the daylight hours. By night, sip a local cocktail or grab a burger at Milestone 229 and watch the fountain displays change through the evening. A trail leading south from Bicentennial Plaza leads you to the largest free climbing wall in the nation and the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, an important birding area with a nature center and lots of natural areas to explore. Even though it’s in the heart of downtown, the Scioto Mile is a great place to enjoy nature. Waterfowl abound, and paddling is encouraged.


While the Zoo closed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, they were still able to put the finishing touches on a 4-acre, $40 million new exhibit, Adventure Cove to be ready for visitors when they reopened in June. The exhibit features three tanks, totaling 375,000 gallons of water and houses California sea lions and harbor seals, the first time the Zoo has had these animals on display since the 1970s. Check out the 60-foot-long acrylic tunnel offering 360-degree views taking visitors underwater as the playful pinnipeds swim above and below and head to the 250-seat amphitheater showing demonstrations with aquatic animals. 


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