It’s time to start making plans for 2024, and there's never been a more perfect opportunity to explore Columbus. Our city is on the cusp of unprecedented growth due to recent investments in our region from Intel, Honda, and other major corporations.
Columbus is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest, the 14th largest city in the country and was named one of the best destinations for culinary travel in 2024 by Essence.
In 2024, we welcome new entertainment districts, one-of-a-kind festivals, unparalleled sporting events and more. So, let’s say “goodbye” to 2023 and welcome the new adventures the new year will bring.
Here are 24 reasons to visit Columbus in 2024.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Figure Skating
1. Experience the Excitement of First-Time Sporting Events Coming to Columbus in 2024
It all starts in January when Nationwide Arena hosts, for the first time, the Prevagen U.S. Figure Skating Championships. One month later, the Pro Volleyball Federation’s Columbus Fury, the city's first-ever women's professional volleyball team, will debut in the same arena. Then in July, a historic day will unfold at Lower.com Field, home to the Columbus Crew, when it hosts the 2024 MLS All-Star Game. This event is expected to bring Messi mania to Columbus in anticipation of the soccer legend’s first appearance in an All-Star Game.
Learn more about our sports scene, here.
2. Attend One of our Marquee Events during Festival Season
In general, Columbus itself is an attraction, thanks to the abundance of festivals that take place here all year long. Marquee events in our city include the Columbus Arts Festival, Columbus Pride, Red White and BOOM!, Jazz and Rib Fest and many more. Visit our Festivals and Events page to see what's happening year-round and plan your visit today.
New this year, Columbus will welcome Flavortown Fest, a two-day culinary showcase from Guy Fieri that promises to combine flavor and funk on June 1-2.
3. Savor New Foodie Finds
There's a reason why Essence named Columbus One of the Best Destinations for Culinary Travel in 2024. Home to some of the best culinary minds in the country, like Top Chef's Avishar Barua and 2023 James Beard Award semi-finalist, BJ Lieberman, there's no shortage of good eats in our city.
2024 is sure to bring delicious dining destinations to our city. From Cameron Mitchell Restaurants comes a new concept to downtown Columbus named Butcher and Rose, while Guy Fieri will debut a new restaurant at Scioto Downs. Meanwhile, local legends Chef Andrew Smith will open his new concept, Isla, in South Columbus' Merion Village, and Vinny and Christina Pelino will open Piazza Pelino in the Short North.
Outdoor shows at KEMBA Live!
4. Feel the Rhythm at these Marquee Concerts
2024 will be full of music in Ohio's capital city. With amazing shows coming to town from artists like Aerosmith, Olivia Rodrigo, Fall Out Boy, Tim McGraw, Sam Hunt, Bruce Springsteen, and Dan + Shay to great recurring music fests like WonderBus and Buckeye Country Superfest, there's no shortage of fantastic shows heading to Columbus this year.
Don't forget to explore Columbus' Live Music Trail for year-round entertainment and uncover the music scene that lifted the likes of your favorite bands like Twenty-One Pilots, CAAMP and more.
5. Lift Diverse Voices and Support Local Businesses
One of the first things you’ll notice in Columbus is our residents' thriving, progressive, welcoming spirit. No matter who you are or where you come from, there is a place for you here. Discover Black-owned, Latinx-owned, and Asian-owned businesses here in Columbus, and read all about our women-owned local businesses here.
In 2023, Experience Columbus with Columbus City Council launched the Minority Business Program, offering complimentary membership and marketing services to 100 local entrepreneurs. Discover them here.
6. Laugh Out Loud with Columbus' Growing—and Secretive—Comedy Scene
As the hometown of up-and-comer Matt Rife and a frequent stop for pop-up shows from the famed Dave Chapelle, Columbus is quickly becoming known as a top destination for comedy. With several big shows on the horizon including Nate Bargatze, Bert Kreischer, Jimmy Carr and Bill Burr, and new open mic spots emerging including pop-up Don’t Tell Comedy shows that rotate venues, there's never been a better (or funnier time) to spend time in our city.
CBUS Rewards App
7. Immerse Yourself in Columbus' Culture Like a Local With the CBUS Rewards App
Whether you’re visiting for the weekend or a life-long local, the CBUS Rewards app provides an insider’s guide to the 14th largest city in the U.S. Wondering where to sample local brews in the afternoon? We got you. What museums are open on Sundays? They’re all here. Just use the map to find what’s going on all around you, at any given time.
Create a free account to become a CBUS Rewards member and earn points by checking into restaurants, events or booking accommodations within the app. Then, redeem points for exclusive rewards like Columbus merchandise and gift cards.
8. Explore 20+ Stunning Metro Parks
Green spaces are aplenty in Columbus. Visiting our Columbus Metro Parks has never been more exciting! With the addition of Quarry Trails, there are now more than 20 parks and recreational areas for locals and visitors to explore. Among its extensive list of outdoor offerings, Quarry Trails is the site of the country's first urban via ferrata, a popular style of climbing. Find more information here.
9. Get to Know Columbus’ Newest Neighborhood Downtown, The Peninsula
A brand-new downtown neighborhood, The Peninsula, is anchored by the city’s newly opened first independent lifestyle hotel, The Junto, last year. The Peninsula will continue to expand, with a $290 million phase II expected to break ground in 2024.
Lower.com Field, home of the Columbus Crew
10. Find our Three Professional Sports Teams all on One Dynamic Street (Nationwide Blvd)
Catch a game, or two, or three! The Columbus Crew (MLS), Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) and Columbus Clippers (MiLB) live along a half-mile stretch in our downtown Arena District. From February to September, more than 130 professional soccer, hockey and baseball games will take place on Nationwide Blvd.
11. Experience our LGBTQ+ Inclusivity
Home to the largest Pride celebration (happening June 15, 2024) in the Midwest attracting more than 700,000 people, Columbus is a welcoming and open-minded city where everyone is free to be themselves and pursue their dreams. Discover our LGBTQ+-owned businesses or request a free LGBTQ+ guide to Columbus.
12. Shop at the Number One Retail Experience in America
In addition to being the #1 metro in the U.S. for the concentration of professionals working in the apparel and fashion industry, Columbus is also home to the nation's top retail experience. Located north of John Glenn Columbus International Airport and approximately 15 minutes east of downtown Columbus, Easton is the premier retail center of Ohio featuring over 240 best-in-class shops, restaurants and entertainment venues. Recently named the Top Retail Experience in America, Easton is a must-see (and shop) destination in Columbus.
National Veterans Memorial and Museum
13. Visit our World-Class Attractions
It’s not hard to find things to do in Columbus. In fact, with so many top-ranked attractions, one of the hardest parts about any trip is deciding which activity will have to wait until next time. From the botanical gardens at Franklin Park Conservatory to the one-of-a-kind National Veterans Memorial and Museum, Columbus is a destination full of experiences for every type of traveler.
Columbus’ revitalized Scioto Mile serves as an urban oasis and features more than 175 acres of lush parkland. One of the major attractions, the Scioto Mile Fountain, is currently undergoing a $15 million makeover that will transform it into an interactive aquatic wonderland when it reopens in 2024.
14. Visit Ohio’s First UNESCO World Heritage Site
In 2023, the nearby Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks were inscribed as Ohio’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The UNESCO World Heritage Committee is made up of representatives from 21 countries around the world awarded this prestigious designation to these early Native American sites built between 1,600 and 2,000 years ago.
The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks join the likes of other historic sites like India's Taj Mahal and Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Learn more here.
15. Celebrate the Near Totality of the Solar Eclipse
On April 8, 2024, Columbus will experience the near totality of the solar eclipse and our attractions are ready to have you celebrating in style. Order a COSI Connects Kit to learn all about our solar system’s star: the Sun! Every kit includes solar glasses so you can safely watch the next solar eclipse. Stay tuned for more solar fun as the eclipse approaches!
The charming streets of Columbus' German Village
16. Explore Columbus' Unique Neighborhoods
One of the best things about visiting Columbus is the chance to explore its fascinating and fun-filled neighborhoods. Few cities around have such a mix of diverse neighborhoods within a short walk of downtown, which makes it a great epicenter for your Columbus visit. From the historic and picturesque brick streets of German Village to the vibrant arts scene in Franklinton, our neighborhoods offer different ways to experience our city every time you visit.
Learn more about our neighborhoods here.
17. Experience Art in Columbus Like Never Before
The arts scene is alive and well in Columbus. From nationally recognized exhibits on display at the Columbus Museum of Art to recurring events that locals love like Franklinton Fridays and Short North Gallery Hop, Columbus is definitely a city that embraces the arts.
Public art remains a central focus for Columbus demonstrated by the debut of Current, a vibrantly colored floating sculpture by Janet Echelman which hangs seasonally above the bustling intersection of High and Gay Streets downtown. In 2024, the City of Columbus and Franklin County are creating a plan to guide the future of public art in Greater Columbus. The process is being led by the Greater Columbus Arts Council along with Columbus-based cultural leaders Jonna Twigg and Marshall Shorts.
18. Take Advantage of our Close Proximity
Located within a day's drive of more than half of the U.S. population, Columbus is widely accessible, proving that your next great adventure is closer than you think. Plan your trip here.
19. Learn Something New with Hands-On Classes
Columbus is home to many small businesses where you can try something new in 2024. Take a one-of-a-kind cooking class with Chef Tricia Wheeler, (also known as the “Julia Child” of Columbus) at the Seasoned Farmhouse. Challenge yourself with an aerial aerobics class at Aerotique. Try your hand at a DIY project while sipping cocktails at Makers Social in Franklinton. Or heat things up with a private glass-blowing lesson at Glass Axis.
20. See for Yourself How We're Accessible to All
Columbus was among the first cities in the country to launch an accessibility guide showcasing attractions, hotels, transportation and more, all of which are accessible and were curated by disability inclusion experts. Columbus is a great destination for all to enjoy.
21. Uncover our Entrepreneurial Spirit
The business community is like no other in Columbus. The emphasis on public-private partnerships in our city has been coined by Harvard Business School as the “Columbus Way." This mentality attracts the headquarters for big brands like Express, DSW, and Wendy's—along with 16 Fortune 1000 and five Fortune 500 companies—and allows unique small businesses owned by diverse individuals to find success here adding even more to the resident and visitor experience in Columbus.
22. Hit the Trails (Featuring Pizza, Coffee, Art and More!)
Experience Columbus hosts several experiential trails and savings passes in our Marketplace. These trails incentivize residents and visitors alike to get out and explore our local businesses with everything from the Columbus-Style Pizza Trail to the Columbus Distillery Trail. You're sure to one that best suits your interests!
Find out why Columbus is the most caffeinated city in the country! September 2024 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Columbus Coffee Trail. Meet the Columbus coffee shop owners behind the quality craftsmanship and commitment to education served in every cup.
23. Grab Deals and Discounts
Great travel doesn't have to break the bank. From our Columbus Attractions Pass to our hotel and attraction ticket bundles, we've created ways for you to save while you savor all our city has to offer.
24. See Why We’re in the Headlines
Ohio’s capital city is known for its open attitude, smart style and entrepreneurial spirit, and we're making headlines. From being named one of the Best College Towns to Visit by Time Out to featured stories and guides to the city in top outlets like Daily Beast, Forbes, Tasting Table, Midwest Living and more, read about the best things to see and do in Columbus as told by the nation’s most prominent outlets at Columbus In the News.
2024 is going to be a great year for Columbus—will you be here to celebrate with us? Share your memories with us using #LiveForwardCbus and find more travel inspiration here.