German Village Tours is the only tour company based in German Village, and the only one owned and operated by residents of this charming, historic community.
The passion co-owners John Clark and Gail Stoy bring to their guided tours is reflective of the love they share for this 175-year-old immigrant neighborhood.
In German Village, there’s a story behind every door, and you will be fascinated by every one you hear – the blacksmith whose horse stalls now seat diners at one of Central Ohio’s Top 10 restaurants … the son of a German immigrant who built a castle and sunbathed in the nude atop its four-story tower … the woman who opened the nation’s first kindergarten, right here in Columbus … the mother of young children who, with only a horse and a scoop, dug a basement for the family’s cottage … the young Swiss man of humble origin who became the biggest hero of World War I. And there are hundreds more.
You’ll be amazed by the handiwork of these early settlers, who used native materials such as brick, timber, limestone and sandstone to build a self-contained village of 16-hundred homes and businesses.
Join a walking tour or come by chartered coach. Take our standard, 60-to-90-minute stroll or ride, or allow us to create an adventure just for you. We are always eager to show off our brick streets and sidewalks, our immaculate private gardens and public parks, and our long list of award-winning restaurants and shops.
And with German Village Tours, every month brings something new and exciting, so you’ll want to come back again and again. Spring arrives with a riot of color, as Villagers show off their window boxes and tulip gardens. Join our neighbors in June, as we welcome thousands of visitors to our acclaimed Haus und Garten Tour – going strong every year since 1960. July brings art to our alleys, when, for one night only, residents turn garages into art galleries. August is prime time for Shakespeare under the stars, in 151-year-old Schiller Park.
Fall brings beer festivals and ghost tours. The holiday season arrives in early December with 10,000 luminaria, the sounds of Christmas choirs, the smell of wassail and the good cheer of shopkeepers all over the neighborhood.
Every day is a great day to be in German Village. And German Village Tours is always there to make your visit a memorable one. You have our promise.
Co-owner John Clark, a 26-year resident of German Village, has written a best-selling history book about his neighborhood – Behind the Bricks – released by Arcadia Publishing. He has also written numerous magazine articles, presented a variety of lectures and produced a series of well-received documentary videos on his favorite subject. The Ohio Historical Society has recognized John for his contributions to the knowledge and enjoyment of Ohio history.
Co-founder and villager, Gail Stoy earned degrees from Ohio State and Northwestern University and is an educator, having worked in a variety of private and nonprofit settings. After moving to German Village, she developed a passion for the neighborhood by studying its history and giving tours. In a dynamic, engaging way, Gail shares the stories of the hardworking immigrants who built the village, and the urban innovators who fought, and still fight to preserve that history.