This post is written by Courtney Denning, blogger at Cbus52. You can follow her on Twitter @CourtneyDenning.

Not sure where to begin exploring Columbus? Several local parks offer free, self-guided walking tours to get you started!

Topiary Park 3The seven-acre Topiary Park has a unique history and a gorgeous topiary depicting Georges Seurat’s famous impressionist painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte. The park was originally known as the Old Deaf School Park and was created in the early 1800s. James T. Mason, a Columbus sculptor and Columbus College of Art & Design graduate, sculpted the topiary in the late 1980s, before the park was dedicated in 1992. The Friends of the Topiary Park have created a self-guided tour and a tree walk map, both can be downloaded online or picked up at the park.

Columbus Park of Roses 1The Columbus Park of Roses is a thirteen-acre park located within Whetstone Park. This gorgeous park is open all year, but the best time to see the 400+ varieties of roses is during May, June and September. Springtime is a great time to enjoy flowering trees including dogwoods, redbuds, quince, crabapple and magnolia. The Friends of Columbus Park of Roses have a map you can download to guide you through the park and help you find specific roses.

If you happen to be near the OSU campus, why not check out the Trees of the Oval Walking Tour? This tour highlights thirty-two trees and includes either ecological information about the species or historical notes about that specific tree. The tour brochure also explains why trees are so important to the health of our environment.

Topiary Park 1While not an actual tour, walking the labyrinth at the Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens can be a very relaxing activity. The walk takes about twenty minutes and is a very popular feature of the Lane Avenue portion of Chadwick.

Columbus Art Walks include thirteen unique tours of the art, history and architecture of Columbus neighborhoods. Some of the featured districts include German Village, the Short North, the Discovery and Arena Districts and a special tour called Finding Time, which looks at the public art commissioned for the city’s 200th birthday in 2012. The tours can be downloaded as an actual map, or an audio file. Physical maps can be picked up at various locations including the Experience Columbus Visitors Centers and the Greater Columbus Arts Council.

What are you waiting for? Get outside and enjoy Columbus!