Columbus, the state capital of Ohio, has a wide variety of fun things to do. It’s a versatile city that’s not just known for one thing. If you love sports, education, nature, or social events, you can experience all of them in this midwestern city.
Whether you’re looking for a casual trip or an action-packed itinerary, Columbus might be for you. So, what fun things are there to do in Columbus, Ohio?
Fun Things to Do in Columbus Ohio
#1 – Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
This is one of the most beautiful nature sights in all of Columbus. It’s an 88-acre space that’s only two miles away from the downtown area. It was founded in 1895 and has been well maintained ever since. The employees are always working hard to ensure that the plants stay in tiptop shape. The best time to visit is in the spring when all the flowers are starting to bloom, but all seasons have their own unique foliage. On-site there is also an indoor space with gardens, art exhibits, dining, and a gift shop. Many people love seeing the butterflies and fish more than anything. It’s an excellent attraction to visit, especially if you want to get away from the busy city for a little while.
#2 – Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is one of the most fun things to do in Ohio for families because it features animals from all over the world. You’ll find several sections based on regions, including Asia, North America, and Africa. There are often public demonstrations of the animals, such as feeding or playtime, along with hands-on exhibits, like feeding the giraffes. The zoo also has plenty of seasonal attractions, including a holiday lights event where millions of LED lights cover the zoo’s grounds.
#3 – North Market
The North Market is one of the largest farmer’s markets in Ohio, and also one of the oldest and most popular. Over a million visitors attend every year due to the high quality of the products sold. Like most farmer’s markets, you can find a wide variety of products, including food, jewelry, and paintings. Sometimes, this event will even include live music, classes, and other types of entertainment. The North Market has been going on since 1876, and it’s usually open on Saturdays and Sundays from June to October.
#4 – Ohio Stadium
The Ohio Stadium, which is often called “The Horseshoe,” “The Shoe,” or “The House That Harley Built,” is the ideal attraction for football fans. It’s the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes, so if you’re in town when a game is going on, you won’t want to miss it. This stadium can hold over 100,000 people at once, which makes it one of the largest football stadiums in the country. During game day, fans go all out, and you’ll see the majority of the crowd decked out in red. Even if you’re not a huge sports fan, it’s still a cool stadium to explore with a fun atmosphere.
#5 – Center of Science and Industry
When on vacation, it’s okay to learn a little while still having fun. The Center of Science and Industry is one of the best ways to help you do that. It’s a 320,000-square-foot space for all ages to enjoy. It has the perfect variety of interactive exhibits and shows, making it one of the fun things to do in Columbus, Ohio for families with kids. Sometimes this attraction also has special events like planetarium shows, breakfast with superheroes, and Nerf Blaster competitions. All ages will have a blast learning about science in new and innovative ways.
#6 – Ohio Theatre
While in Columbus, it’s always a great idea to see what’s going on at the Ohio Theatre. It’s a large, beautiful theatre with over 2,700 seats, and it was founded over 100 years ago. The vibrant historical architecture is enough to make you visit, but there’s also a wide variety of shows available, including operas, orchestras, musicals, and plays. With such a wide variety, you’re sure to find a show that interests you. While the structure has gone through many renovations over the years, it still has its original charm that drew people in to begin with.
#7 – Short North Arts District
The Short North Arts District is one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Columbus. It’s known for its art, fashion, home decor, and even its nightlife. It has over 300 different businesses, many of which are locally owned. This area was once deserted with boarded up windows, but art is what helped it come alive once again. Each month, the area hosted an event where gallery owners would put up new art on display. From there, the district became more vibrant and full of life, and art can now be seen at all times. Many of the shops in this neighborhood today are high-end stores, but even if you’re not looking to buy anything, it can still be a great space to browse.
#8 – German Village
Back in the 1800s, about one third of the city’s population were German immigrants. The area they settled in is still known as the German Village today. This area is unique because all the structures are built to reflect German culture, including the shops, churches, and houses. It’s now a historical area that has been preserved greatly over the years. It’s home to excellent dining and lots of other opportunities for visitors to learn about Germany’s culture and traditions. When you enter the German Village, it’s like you’re leaving Columbus and entering a different country, which is both an exciting and educational experience.
#9 – Columbus Museum of Art
The Columbus Museum of Art is one of the best things to do in Ohio for art enthusiasts. This museum holds a collection of pieces from around the world and it even has free admission on Sundays. It has several interactive exhibits for children, such as toys like Legos to encourage creative play. This museum is best known for its pieces from modern America and Europe, along with works from local artists. There’s also a cafe on-site so you can grab a tasty treat after admiring the many art displays at this museum.
#10 – ZipZone Canopy Tours
If you’re seeking some adventure during your upcoming vacation, then the ZipZone Canopy Tours might be for you. It’s a ziplining and rope course attraction, taking you high above the ground and into the trees. You can choose from two tours: an hour and a half one or a two hour one. During your tour, you’ll get incredible views of nature, but it might not be fun if you’re scared of heights. There will be a guide with you at all times to ensure that everyone stays safe and comfortable. It’s recommended for anyone over the age of seven, and all guests should be willing to do a little climbing during their excursion.
#11 – Topiary Park
As the name implies, Topiary Park is a destination full of beautiful topiaries. Many of the plants in the park are shaped into sculptures, with some being simple shapes while others are complex designs like a family of bears. At first, these animal-shaped plants almost look life-like, until you notice their green, leaf-like structure. The park is home to nearly 100 topiaries, including human shapes, boats, cats, dogs, and monkeys. There are also over 220 trees and several flowerbeds scattered throughout the park. This is certainly the type of attraction that you’ll want to take your time at because there are many incredible details that you won’t want to miss.
#12 – Scioto Mile Park
The Scioto Mile Park has over 175 acres of space that connects the downtown areas along the riverfront. It provides paths for bikes and pedestrians, along with lots of green space along the way. One of the things this park is most known for is its outdoor water fountain, which is like a splash pad that kids can run around in. The fountain is one of the best ways to cool down on a hot day. The park also has the country’s largest outdoor climbing wall and a place where free concerts are often hosted in the summer. Even just walking through it is a great way to spend your time in Columbus.
#13 – Easton Town Center
The Easton Town Center is one of the fun things to do in Columbus, Ohio because it has lots of unique dining, shopping, and entertainment. It has over 180 retailers of all price ranges, including Apple, Louis Vuitton, Lego Store, and Barnes & Noble. These businesses are open year-round, but it’s best if visited in the summer so you can spend time exploring outside. The space was built to look like an old-fashioned city, which is why it’s such a charming area for visitors. This space attracts over 25 million visitors a year, due to its wide variety of options. You need to eat while on vacation, so why not check out what this lovely space has to offer?
#14 – Ohio Statehouse
The Ohio Statehouse is the state’s capitol building, so of course, it’s majestic and historical. It’s set on ten acres of land, and it has incredible architecture both inside and outside. Inside, the building has lots of unique artwork, including portraits of governors and pieces dictating major events in history. On Monday through Friday, the capitol building hosts tours so you can learn more about the government while also taking in the remarkable sights of this structure. But you don’t have to know a lot about politics to enjoy this experience.
There are lots of fun things to do in Columbus, Ohio, so it’s certainly worth a visit. This city has a wide range of activities for all ages. Spring or summer are ideal vacation times since the outdoor activities will be more exciting, but there are plenty of indoor opportunities for the colder months too. Hopefully, these fourteen attractions helped build your confidence about a trip to Ohio.