Columbus, Ohio, is home to over 800,000 people as of 2019, and the greater metropolitan area has more than 2 million permanent residents. With an exciting arts culture, theaters, sports, and top-notch institutions, you can always find something to excite you in this city. It is modern, youthful, trendy, quirky, and fun. It has lots of unique things to do and see. We should point this out in the start that if you are visiting in the winters, you will need to watch for the snowy weather.
Top 10+ attractions in Columbus, Ohio
However, do not let that deter you from having fun. Rest assured, there will be plenty of amazing days during your visit. So, here is the list of the top 10 attractions in Columbus, Ohio.
1. Franklin Park Conservatory And Botanical Gardens
This conservatory and botanical garden is not only a botanical site but also a plant and glass museum where you can find all sorts of botanical art, contemporary vegetation techniques, exquisite plant life and much more. This gives the Franklin Park Conservatory And Botanical Gardens its unique distinction. The conservatory is easily accessible and is situated just a few miles away from the center of the city. Finding this botanical heaven right next to the most populous city in Ohio is really incredible.
As soon as you enter the facility, you will notice that this garden is not like anything else. It really is a special place for anyone who even has a mild interest in plants or greenery. Apart from just displaying different species of plants in all their glory, this institution is also credited with a lot of cutting edge research in this world of photosynthetic creatures. The Franklin Park Conservatory And Botanical Gardens has also played a major role in the conservation of endangered plant species all over the world. The gardens are spread over more than 90 acres of land, and you cannot see all of them in a single visit. Still, you will be able to take in most of the key attractions. Guided tours of every garden as well as the conservatory are also available. In these tours, you will be on the receiving end of first-hand knowledge from curators of these majestic and impressive gardens. Make sure to book your tickets in advance since this place can be really loaded with visitors sometimes.
2. Columbus Zoo And Aquarium
This is a completely non-profit facility situated in the center of Delaware County. If you are on a visit to Columbus, Ohio, then Columbus Zoo And Aquarium is definitely one of the must-visit places. The access to the zoo is remarkably easy, and you can visit it on any day of the week. The Columbus Zoo And Aquarium is known for its endeavors to support and sustain wildlife and marine life. It has repeatedly been named as the best zoo in the United States. The zoo hosts around seven thousand animals belonging to more than 700 species. This vast library of animal species at the Columbus Zoo And Aquarium attracts more than 2 million visitors every year.
Apart from conventional attractions at a zoo, there is also a Safari Golf Club with an eighteen-hole golf course. The conservation program run by the Columbus Zoo And Aquariums is surely the most extensive program of its nature. The exhibits at the zoo are divided into 8 different regions of the world, representing animals from those geographical territories. You can see animals and fish from Australian islands, African deserts, Asian mountains, North American planes, and Polar caps. The Zoombezi Bay Water Park and Rides At Adventure Cove are also fun and quite enjoyable for people of all ages.
3. Ohio Theater
The Ohio Theater is also located in downtown Columbus. The New Ohio Theater commissions, develops, and presents new work by New York’s finest, independent theater companies. It is a performing arts center and is also known as the Official Theater of the State of Ohio. The building itself has been completely restored, as it was originally built in 1928. Considering its rich history, this place is a must-see not only because of the artistic performances, but also its historical significance.
When it was opened in 1928, this theater served as a silent house movie, which were quite famous at that time. It was designed by Thomas Lamb, a Scottish architect, and was called to be the theater for the average man. The Ohio Theater was the only air-conditioned facility in all of Columbus at that time. After serving for almost 40 years, the theater was eventually closed in 1969. However, a committee was formed subsequently, which focused on raising funds in order to save restore the theater. Since the time of recommission, the Ohio Theater is the center of all major performance, functions, and events all over Columbus.
There is also an African Corner in the lower lounge of the theater, which is home to plenty of artifacts and artworks from all over the African continent. It holds the essence of art and culture of the city of Columbus within its walls. It being a centerpiece, the people of Columbus really take pride in this crown jewel. This is what makes it a really interesting place to visit during your trip.
4. Center Of Science And Industry
“Real Science, Real Possibilities”. That is the motto of the number one science center in the United States, according to parents magazine. It is none other than the Center Of Science And Industry (COSI) found right here in Columbus, Ohio. Here, you can enter a world of rockets and rovers, try your hand at operating the equipment of tomorrow, explore the space station, and learn how astronauts wash their hands in space. Submerge yourself in a submarine, try controlling an underwater robotic camera, and visit a mythical playground with fountains and water cannons.
You can defy gravity with the power of wind, launch a ball across the room into a huge maze of pipes, and even invent something yourself. Try traveling back through time to a Midwestern town, use an antique telephone, and walk the streets of 1898. You will see advanced technologies in use today, explore optical illusions, as well as many other exhibits on display. You can fly balloons, ride a unicycle high above the crowd below, and even view live science demonstrations.
These unique classes teach you about an ever-changing variety of topics, all in an easy to understand and very interesting format. Do not miss your chance to catch a movie on the largest screen in the entire state of Ohio. After a visit to COSI in Columbus, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been here before. The amazing and unique exhibits on display throughout this world-class science center are unmatched anywhere, and the knowledge you leave here with is absolutely priceless.
5. Easton Town Center
There’s something for everyone at the Easton Town Center. Whether you’re here on a shopping trip with a bunch of friends or having dinner with your spouse, spending a day with your children. There is so much to do for everyone. It is very nice and family oriented. This is a place which offers a bit of everything for everybody. This center has the only full-service Hilton. What makes it unique is it is located right in the town center. So, you have over 100 shops and restaurants right outside your front door.
There is a lot of outdoor dining in the summers, movie theaters, grocery stores, and more. They also have a jazz band that plays every Wednesday night, which is something really pleasant to experience. At the Brio Tuscan Grill, you can spend time dining, spend time drinking, and spend time experimenting with new ingredients or new foods that you wouldn’t normally get a chance to make at home. The Easton Town Center is just filled with activities. You have the AMC, the Shadowbox, the FunnyBone, and Ocean Club. There is also a paint your own pottery studio. It is such a unique store where both adults and children can have fun. They have over 200 pieces to select from, professional stencils, and all kinds of fun things to make. At the Easton Town Center, you can easily spend your entire day and just sort of get lost in all of your surroundings. It has the urban feel that many tourists are continuously looking for.
6. Scioto Mile
Lined by green space boulevards, bike ways, and pedestrian paths, the Scioto Mile is a nationally recognized, award-winning urban oasis. Visited by over 1 million people a year, it truly is a beloved civic asset. It plays host to festivals, concerts, and community events year round. But the Scioto River and its surroundings weren’t always the amenity they are today. Not long ago, it was a wide pool of sentiment laid in water. Atop its walled boundary stood Civic Center Drive, a five lane urban highway. So, in 2008 the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation was tasked with executing a transformative new vision for the riverfront.
After converting Civic Center Drive to a two-way street, CDDC led the design and construction of a new riverfront, promenade, and park. The promenade, which runs along the Eastern Bay, features stone pillars with shaded swings, fountains, and beautiful gardens. The southern end of the promenade is a completely redesigned Bicentennial Park. The park has been updated to include: an impressive fountain, a brand-new restaurant offering stunning views of the Columbus skyline, and an eye-catching open-air theater. With these elements in place, the riverfront has been completely transformed from its former lifeless state into a year-round destination.
CDDC didn’t stop here. During the construction of the Scioto Mile, attention shifted westward to the river itself and the Scioto Greenways Project was born. This project removed the dam and made space for the creation of 33 acres of active green space. The Scioto Greenways was officially opened for public in 2015. The Scioto Mile has served as a catalyst for the spectacular urban renaissance occurring in downtown Columbus. It is nothing but a riverfront transformed.
7. Ohio Stadium
If you have any interest in American football or architectural marvels, you should definitely go visit the Ohio Stadium. This gigantic stadium has a seating capacity of more than 100,000. This makes it the third-biggest football stadium in the entire country. Watching a football game here is nothing less than a treat on its own. This stadium is also known as “The Horseshoe” due to its unique shape with a pointy edge on one side and a flat wall on the other.
Apart from official games, this stadium also hosts plenty of social events and concerts every year. However, if you are going to one of the games, you will want to dress in red, unless you want to stand out in the crowd. The grandeur of this stadium ensures that even if you are not a football fan, you will be able to enjoy your time. The feeling of being in this facility cannot be described by words, but only be experienced when you are actually there. Surely, you will get to know what we are talking about.
8. Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
This is a special collection library at Ohio State University, Columbus. It has actually been in existence since the 1970s. This started with a large donation that came from the cartoonist Milton Caniff. He was an Ohio State University Alumni and went on to become one of the most successful American cartoonists in history. He felt like he owed a lot of the success from his career to the education that he got at the university.
When he was beginning to retire in the 1970s, he decided to donate all of his materials. Now, especially at that time the cartoon art was not something that was viewed as worth archiving especially not at the institutional level, so when it arrived at the university, it actually went straight to the Journalism Department. The archive sat there in a couple of classrooms. Luckily, a librarian named Lucy Caswell who was working over there realized the importance of this material. Therefore, this library began in two converted classrooms in the Journalism Department. It was called the Milton Caniff Reading Room. Since then, it has expanded exponentially. They relocated over to the Wexner Center Complex in 1989. After outgrowing it as well, they opened up another space.
At the start, this library was about 6,800 square feet, and now they have over 30,000 square feet of space. It has the largest collection of comic art in the entire world. They collect everything including original art, newspaper comic strip clippings, tear sheets, memorabilia, actual graphic novels, and comic books. Manuscript materials are a huge part of their collection as well. These are all the paperwork corresponding to a cartoonist life and career. The museum gives guided tours around the facility as well. What makes this place great is that all services in this library and museum are completely free and open to the public.
9. The Candle Lab
The Candle Lab is one of the coolest place that you can visit in Columbus, Ohio. It is home to all kinds of candles that you can possibly imagine. As you walk in through the doors, you will immediately notice a plethora of scents and colors all around you. This Lab offers a distinctive collection of candles from all over the world.
If you are a person who loves to be around lovely aroma at all times, you will love this place. This place gets its name from a really exceptional experience of making a candle on your own. You can then take it home as well. The employees here can also tell you all there is to know about candles and the art of candle making. So, if you are looking for a fun little experience, make sure to add The Candle Lab on your list.
10. Park Of Roses
This beautiful Park Of Roses is located in Columbus’s Whetstone Park. It is completely free to visit and open year round from 7 AM to Dusk. You can visit their official website to get a downloadable rose list with commercial name, rose type, color, and location. This list is viewable on your smartphone as well. There is also an extensive map of the garden which is also available on site. The land where the park is situated was originally bought by the city for recreational use. Afterwards, in 1951, a committee was formed to establish a rose garden in Columbus. This committee awarded this land to the Park Of Roses, which was eventually established in 1953.
Currently, the American Rose Society is also headquartered right next to the park. However, the park itself is managed and maintained by a non-profit organization, Columbus Recreation & Parks Department. At the park, you will be able to enjoy scenery like nowhere else. Make sure to have your camera with you as it is one of the most beautiful and picturesque places in all of Columbus.
11. ZipZone Canopy Tours
If you are looking for some adventure, make sure to visit the ZipZone Canopy Tours. You will have such a great time and make great memories riding on the zip lines from one canopy to another. ZipZone Canopy Tours provide you with a unique opportunity to interact with Columbus’s natural beauty. Apart from just zip lines, you can also cross sky bridges and enjoy free falls. They have a tree top obstacle course, ground level kids park, an adventure park, guided tours, and more. It really is one of a kind, open-air experience located in the center of the city.
Columbus is also known as the Discovery City. Located in central Ohio, it is the capital city of Ohio and was named after Christopher Columbus. It is the 14th largest city in the United States and has several colleges and universities, meaning that there is a younger crowd around town. With multiple stadiums and being situated on the Columbus river, there is always something going on here, from art to live music. If you have ever wondered what there is to do in Columbus, Ohio, then this list has got you completely covered.