Columbus, Ohio is a popular place for conventions for many different professional industries and hobbies. But there’s much more to do in town than just browse vendor exhibits! This is a city worth exploring a bit further because of all its amazing restaurants, breweries, coffee shops, arts and cultural venues, outdoor spaces, and sporting events. Here are our top picks for things to do in Columbus!
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Easton Town Center (Nearby Hotels)
Anyone who loves to shop will enjoy taking a walk around the Easton Town Center. This mall area attracts over 25 million visitors each year, so come here to get the latest seasonal fashions This is a great place to browse stores, go out to eat, and even catch a comedy show or art fair. It’s an open-air market that’s a perfect way to spend a nice day out in Columbus. Ohio’s largest movie theater is also here!
Short North Arts District (Nearby Hotels)
It’s fun to take a stroll through the Short North Arts District in Columbus to experience the city’s vibrant arts and culture scene. This is a fun place to browse or shop for art, gifts, fashion, and home décor. It’s also a great area to go out to dinner and the local bars. The district is affectionately called the Art and Soul of Columbus and has over 300 businesses to explore. A majority of them are locally owned or headquartered, so shopping here helps boost the local economy too.
Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens (Nearby Hotels)
For a beautiful day out in Columbus, make sure to check out the Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. This is one of the top attractions in town and really lets you appreciate exotic plant life and artwork. You certainly don’t have to be a horticulturist to appreciate the seasonal exhibits and changing displays either. This attraction is open daily from 10am to 5pm and offers classes, workshops, and camps in the areas of cooking, fine art, wellness, and gardening. It’s also a popular place for special events and corporate gatherings.
Ohio Theatre (Nearby Hotels)
This historic theatre in Columbus was built in 1928 and is home to lots of diverse performances throughout the year. There are 2,791 seats in this theater and a beautiful 21-foot-high chandelier. You can’t help but be impressed with the Spanish-Baroque architecture in this theater, which is one of the busiest performing arts centers in the state. Yo-Yo Ma, Liza Minnelli, and John Denver have all taken the stage here. Check the theater’s schedule to see if any dance performances, orchestra shows, or theatrical events are taking place during your time in town.
German Village (Nearby Hotels)
The German Village is a historic downtown neighborhood in Columbus that is well worth a visit. German heritage is strong in Columbus, as around one-third of the city’s population was German immigrants back in the 1800s. One of the most popular places to visit here is called The Book Loft, which has so many rooms of books and more at great prices. Art galleries in the area include Franklin Art Glass and Keny Galleries. It’s also fun to spend your time in the nearby parks or take a food tour with Columbus Food Adventures. Lots of the German Village restaurants have outdoor seating to help you make the most of beautiful days, including Harvest Pizzeria, Hofbrauhaus Columbus, the Brown Bag Delicatessen, and Das Kaffee Haus.
Columbus Ale Trail (Nearby Hotels)
Craft beer lovers adore Columbus because of its unique and inventive breweries scattered all over town. Why visit just one or two breweries when you can experience the Columbus Ale Trail? The craft beer scene here is booming, and most of the breweries have opened up within the last five years. Any participating Central Ohio brewery can give you a free copy of the Columbus Ale Trail Volume 3 book, and you can even earn five tasting glasses and a locally crafted reclaimed wood flight tray to hold them for visiting the 37 Ale Trail breweries. How fun is that challenge?! Some participating breweries include Actual Brewing Co., Brewdog, Combustion Brewery, and Grove City Brewing Co.
Columbus Coffee Trail (Nearby Hotels)
If coffee is more your style, you can also take a trip down the Columbus Coffee Trail. Something fun to do for coffee lovers is pick up a card at a participating coffee shop and visit four or more shops to get it stamped. Then bring your card into the Arena District Visitor Center and redeem it for a free and adorable Columbus coffee t-shirt! Many of the coffee shops here are committed to quality and sustainability, and there’s something for everyone here to enjoy. A few of the many participating coffee shops are Boston Stoker, Café Brioso, Fox in the Snow Café, Mission Coffee Co., and the Roosevelt Coffee House.
Center of Science and Industry (Nearby Hotels)
The spirit of innovation is strong in Columbus, so head to the Center of Science and Industry to find your inspiration. Established in 1964, this museum has drawn in over 33 million people from every state in the U.S. and from around the world. This science center is a great place to visit for both kids and adult, and there are lots of events scheduled throughout the year. For example, the museum hosts Family Friday Nights with reduced admission after 5pm and COSI After Dark where adults 21+ can experience the museum in the evening without kids and with adult beverages in hand.
North Market Farmer’s Market (Nearby Hotels)
North Market is a historic public market that’s been in Columbus since 1876. Here you can find fresh foods, prepared foods, ethnic cuisine, fresh flowers, beer and wine, and lots of unique gifts. This market draws in more than a million people each year and is a must-visit for any foodie coming to Columbus. Depending on when you visit, you might get to experience a festival, cooking class, cooking demonstration, or live music as well. You’ll typically find more than 20 farmers onsite every Saturday from 8am to 1m through the growing season. The organization’s website will tell you which farms are planning to be onsite for the upcoming week.