10 Fun Things to Do in Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio, ranks in the top 10 in the United States for craft beer production. Residents and tourists love sports in this city, as there are more than 172,000 stadium seats in the Ohio Stadium. Residents also love to create art in the city. Columbus is not only home to the first junior high in the United States, but it is also one of the most literate. If you are a resident or planning a visit very soon, then there are many fun things to do in Columbus Ohio. Check out our list, and choose your favorite Columbus attractions to visit with your partner, family, or children.

1. Get Creative at 400 West Rich Street

Up to 100 artists create a variety of art at 400 West Rich Street. The artists host an open house on the second Friday of each month, making it one of the most fun things to do in Columbus Ohio. The facility operated by the Ohio Art League is also a great place to take a class. Join the Bob Ross Painting Classes taught by Kathy Kelly, or participate in the Group Ukulele Sessions at Strings Attaches. Check their calendar for popular festivals held throughout the year including the Independence Day festival. Help create street murals during Urban Scrawl held in late August.

  • Best for: Adults and families
  • Season: Open year round
  • Address: 400 West Rich Street, Columbus, Ohio 43212

2. Explore Science at the Center for Science and Industry

The Center for Science and Industry (COSI) is among the fun things to do in Columbus Ohio with kids, or during the weekend. Over 34 million people have learned more about science inside this building designed by Arata Isozaki. Toddlers enjoy exploring Little Kidspace with its water wheels, bells, and ramps. Girl and Boy Scouts love earning badges while staying in the museum all night. On the first Thursday of each month, adults enjoy a night all on their own at the center with special activities and a cash bar. Get creative in the 360-degree dome on the last Wednesday of each month, learn about the stars in the planetarium, or watch a science flick on the big screen.

  • Best for: Adults and Families
  • Season: Open year round
  • Address: 333 W Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215

3. See a Show at Shadowbox Live

Unique productions are often on stage at Shadowbox Live. This theater company is one of the largest in the United States. The company regularly hires over 60 actors and actresses. Since producing The Dawn of Infinite Dreams in 1988, this group performs shows each week of the year in the Brewery District, making it one of the best things to do in Columbus Ohio at night. Choose the show that best meets your interests, from rock operas to sketch comedies and period-piece musicals. Many stand-up comedians have gotten their start here. Shows often sell out, so make sure to buy your tickets very early. Believing in contributing to the community, Shadowbox Live often gives 50 percent of ticket prices to local organizations, making it one of the most worthwhile things to do in Columbus Ohio.

  • Best for: Adults and families
  • Season: Open all year/Check calendar
  • Address: 503 South Front Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215

4. Find a Great Book at the Book Loft

One of the largest bookstores in the world is the Book Loft, one of the best Columbus attractions, located in the German Village. The wide variety of books available here is organized in 32 rooms by category. The architecturally interesting building was constructed before the Civil War, and it has served as a general store, saloon, and cinema, with many features remaining from each of those periods. This store is one of the best places to find bargain books with a regional flair. Book signings are a regular event at this meeting spot. Visitors can also find a variety of merchandise including card sets, clothing, and tote bags. Open every day of the week from 10 AM to 11 PM, the Book Loft is one of the best things to do in Columbus Ohio this weekend or in the evening.

  • Best for: Adults and families
  • Season: Open all year
  • Address: 631 South Third Street, Columbus, Ohio, 43206

5. Stroll Around the Franklin Park Conservatory

The 83,000 square foot Franklin Park Conservatory houses more than 400 plant species. The climate-controlled building is divided into different temperature zones. Smell the fragrant Star Jasmine when it blooms each June in the Himalayan Mountain Biome. Talk to the resident macaws in the Rainforest Biome. While the winter weather in Columbus may be bitter, seeing the succulents bloom in the Desert Biome provides a ray of hope that spring is on its way. Watch butterflies take flight at the Pacific Island Water Garden during the Blooms & Butterflies Festival each year. Enjoy the nature-inspired art located throughout the facility. A walk in this urban paradise may be one of the most romantic things to do in Ohio Columbus.

  • Best for: Adults and families
  • Season: Open all year
  • Address: 1777 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43203

6. Dine in the German Village

Many of Columbus’ most iconic restaurants are located in the German Village. If you are looking for good places to eat in Columbus Ohio, you may dine on sausage at Schmidt’s Restaurant und Sausage Haus or choose from the surf ‘n’ turf menu at Lindey’s. Eat a hearty lunch of smoked fish and matzo ball soup at Katzinger’s Delicatessen. Enjoy a great hamburger and a beer at Thurman’s. Eating the Spanish small plates at Barcelona is among the most delicious things to do in Columbus Ohio.

After your meal, enjoy a stroll in Frank Fetch Park with its lush plants, one of the best things to do in Columbus Ohio with pets. Taking your dog for a run in the park is a great way to work off the calories. End your day with a cup of signature coffee at Pistacia Vera, a piece of cake at Kittie’s Cakes, or an ice cream cone at Jeni’s.

  • Best for: Adults and families
  • Season: Open all year
  • Address: 588 South 3rd Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215

7. Buy Art at the Gallery Hop

The Short North district of Columbus is home to the Gallery Hop. Over 20 galleries and hundreds of non-traditional art venues showcase emerging local artists during this event held the first Saturday of each month, from 4 PM to 10 PM, one of the most fun things to do in Columbus Ohio. Listen to the lively street performers. Make sure to bring your camera to capture unforgettable moments with saxophonists, singers, dance troupes, stilt walkers and stage characters. Stroll through the district to see the street murals. View the paintings at the Marcia Evans Gallery. See the American crafts at the PM Gallery. Play with the toys at Rivet. Choose pieces for your home from the juried collection at Studios on High Gallery.

  • Best for: Adults and families
  • Season: First Saturday of each month
  • Address: 21 East 5th Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43201

8. Connect with Nature at Topiary Park

Originally planned by local sculptor James T. Mason and his wife, the Topiary Park contains 54 human figures, eight boats, three dogs, a monkey and a cat created out of plants. Stand on the eastern-most hill to view the living interpretation of Georges Seurat’s Post-Impressionist painting titled A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte. This park contains more than 220 trees from 25 diverse species, making it one of the best Columbus Ohio attractions to connect with nature. Stroll along the maintained path to enjoy the beautiful Columbus weather. This historic site is officially called Old Deaf School Park.

  • Best for: Adults and families
  • Season: Open all year/Consider the weather
  • Address: 480 East Town Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215

9. See a Game at the Ohio Stadium

With a capacity of 104,944 seats, the impressive Ohio Stadium is one of the landmarks of Columbus. Built in 1922, the Stadium has a unique horseshoe design, that is both intimate and impressive. Buying a ticket to a game on Saturday may be one of the most rewarding things to do in Columbus Ohio this weekend. The atmosphere is just special, as this has become a weekend ritual for many sports fans in Ohio. While the lines may be a bit too long, and the foods and drinks a bit pricey, the whole experience will be well worth it. The stadium is one of the best places in Columbus Ohio to see a football game or a concert.

  • Best for: Adults and families
  • Season: Open all year
  • Address: 410 Woody Hayes Dr., Columbus Ohio

10. Experience an LGBT-Friendly Columbus

Did you know that Columbus is home of one of the largest Pride parades that happen in the Midwest? Annualy, the parade gathers approximately 700,000 people. The city is pretty open-minded when it comes to LGBT+ inclusivity, which is why there are a lot of things to do in Columbus Ohio as a member or ally of the LGBT community, or simply if you’re interested in the topic. In terms of LGBT+ nightlife, the friendliest neighbourhoods are the German Village, the Short North Arts District, and the Ohio State University’s campus, where you can find many nightclubs and bars. Attend a hockey game of the Columbus Blue Jackets, or a baseball game of the Columbus Clippers at Huntington Park. They are LGBT-friendly events.

  • Best for: LGBT community members and allies
  • Season: All year round
  • Address: The German Village, the Ohio State University campus, the Short North Arts District, etc.

Conclusion

There are so many fun things to do in Columbus Ohio, that you will need to pick wisely to make the most of your visit. Choose between creating your own art at 400 West Rich Street or buying art at the Gallery Hop. Smell the fragrant plants at the Franklin Park Conservatory before watching the butterflies take flight. Relax with a great book from the Book Loft. Make sure to leave in time to dine in the German Village. After your first visit, you will want to come back often to this capital city.

Bonus read: 7 Wonderful Things to Do in Cleveland Ohio

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