When most people think of visiting Dublin, they think of hopping on a transatlantic flight to Ireland for enriching cultural experiences and pints of Guinness. But there’s a Dublin right here in Ohio that’s worth visiting too, especially if you enjoy unique roadside attractions, natural beauty, and delicious food and drinks. Dublin, Ohio is a one-of-a-kind town that’s on the outskirts of Columbus and that has a population of about 42,000. But this travel destination has more than just the standard array of suburban offerings. Here are eight fun things to do when you visit Dublin, Ohio.
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Glacier Ridge Metro Park
It’s easy to get outdoors and active when you visit Dublin, thanks to the beautiful Glacier Ridge Metro Park. This park is only about 10 to 15 minutes northwest of Dublin and well worth the short drive. Here you’ll find everything from waterfalls to woods and prairie landscapes to explore. The park spans about 1,037 acres and was once farmland. It was named for the glacial debris that was left behind over 12,000 years ago, and today, visitors can walk across the boardwalk through the wetlands area. It’s also fun to climb the 25-foot observation tower to get a birds-eye view of the park and possibly see some native animals in their habitats. The Ironweed, Red Oak, Marsh Haw, and Savannah trails are easy trails that introduce you to the various parts of the park. These trails are popular for biking, horseback riding, dog walking, and cross-country skiing. There’s also a free 18-hole disc golf course and a picnic shelter here. Glacier Ridge Metro Park is typically open from 6:30am to dark.
Indian Run Falls
Another lovely natural area in the Dublin area is Indian Run Falls. This area was once home to the Wyandot Native American tribe and has waterfalls along its nature trails. There are observation platforms and a bridge traversing the falls here. It is unsafe and illegal to jump into the falls, so keep your feet on the trail. The falls are located in a city park and plunge about 15 feet down from the top. If you enjoy waterfall hikes, you might also want to check out Hayden Falls and Clifton Gorge during your visit to this part of Ohio.
Celtic Cocktail Trail
While Ohio may be a long way from Ireland, you can still enjoy a celebratory toast with an Irish flair on the Celtic Cocktail Trail. This collection of eateries and drinking establishments celebrates the best of Dublin, Ohio’s craft cocktail and dining scenes. This cocktail trail has 11 stops, and if you complete them all, you can get a branded shirt to remember your fun day. Print your trail guidebook online before your visit or stop by the visitor information center at 9 South High Street in Downtown Dublin. The participating businesses are Dublin Village Tavern, Mezzo, J. Liu, VASO, PINS Mechanical Company, The Bogey, Matt the Miller’s, Tucci’s, RAM Restaurant and Brewery, The Pint Room, and 101 Beer Kitchen.
Pins Mechanical Company
If you loved going to bowling alleys and arcades as a kid, then you’ll definitely want to check out Pins Mechanical Co., an entertainment venue with old-school games and a menu of craft beers. This local spot offers a grown-up twist on nostalgic games and is sure to make you feel like a kid again. At Pins Mechanical, you can play foosball, pinball, duckpin, ping pong, and bocce ball. The Dublin location at Bridge Park opens on weekdays at 4pm and on weekends at noon. There are lots of great craft beer, cocktail, punch, and wine options to choose from while you’re playing the games, and food trucks onsite in case you get hungry. Check the venue’s website to see which food truck will be here when you visit.
An interesting roadside attraction that is not to be missed when you visit Dublin is the Leatherlips Monument. This is a sculpture made from limestone slabs that depicts a Wyandot Native chief. The reason that the chief was nicknamed “Leatherlips” was because he was known to never break a promise. Leatherlips advocated for co-existence with the European settlers, but his tribe lost most of their land with a treaty signing. Ultimately, Leatherlips was executed because of his unpopular position on how to co-exist peacefully. The sculpture stands about 12 feet tall and overlooks Scioto Park.
Giant Concrete Corn Sculptures
Another fun roadside attraction to see in Dublin is the six-foot-tall concrete ears of corn here. There are 109 giant ears of corn at this art display, which is a tribute to the inventor of hybrid corn, Sam Frantz. Artist Malcolm Cochran completed the corn sculptures in 1994, and you can read some signboards here that explain the project when you visit. Ultimately, it’s a reminder of the region’s agricultural heritage and simply a fun place to take photos.
Enjoy Rooftop Tapas at VASO
There are lots of great places to grab a bite to eat in Dublin, but one of the best spots is VASO, a rooftop restaurant and bar that serves Spanish tapas in an ultra-stylish setting. Here you can enjoy a delicious menu, two bars, and views of downtown. VASO is open on weekdays from 4pm to midnight, Saturdays from 2pm to 1am, and on Sundays from 4-11pm. Make a reservation online before dinnertime to secure your table.
Dublin Irish Festival
If possible, plan your trip to Dublin in August because this when the Dublin Irish Festival takes place each year. Dublin is an Irish-inspired destination all throughout the year, but this is an especially fun time to visit. Here you can listen and watch bands perform, participate in family-friendly competitions, and enjoy delicious foods from traditional food vendors. Irish music is played on multiple stages throughout the festival, there are Jameson Irish whiskey tastings, and top Midwestern dog breeders conduct training and grooming demonstrations of dog breeds native to Ireland. It’s also fun to check out the bagpipe showcase, house darts games, and Gaelic sports exhibition here. The festival typically takes place over three days, with single-day tickets costing about $10 and three-day tickets for $25. There’s a complimentary shuttle that runs from Metro Place to the festival, which makes getting here easy if you’re staying in one of the local hotels. Bike parking is also available.