Sports and Recreation in Columbus
Columbus is one of the best sports cities in the U.S. according to the past research by Scarborough Sports Marketing, thanks to its top-notch sports teams and facilities.
Root, Root, Root for the Home Team
Widely known as the home to The Ohio State Buckeyes, winners of the first College Football Playoff National Championship, Columbus offers so much more for sports aficionados than just that. The Arena District, just steps from the convention center and surrounding hotels, is home to NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets and The Columbus Clippers, Triple-A baseball affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Nearby, MLS’ Columbus Crew SC play at MAPFRE Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium built in the country. Columbus is also home to the Midwest’s only Major League Lacrosse team, the Ohio Machine.
The Arnold Sports Festival is held annually in March, established in Columbus by Arnold Schwarzenegger himself in 1989. Now with more athletes than the Olympics and 200,000 attendees in a single weekend, the competitions take over the city and fans from around the world flock to nab a photo with Arnold’s statue in front of the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
Called the No. 2 golf city in the U.S. by Golf Magazine, Columbus has more than 100 public and private courses, including three ranked among the top 100 in the world. Golf is big in the capital city, largely thanks to Columbus native and golf legend Jack Nicklaus. Nicklaus’ course, Muirfield Village Golf Club is the annual site of the Memorial Tournament, a PGA Tour event. Golf lovers can also check out the course where Nicklaus honed his craft, at the Scioto Country Club, which has hosted six different major championships. A tribute to Nicklaus can be found at the Jack Nicklaus Museum on Ohio State’s campus. When rain is a deterrent, golfers can hit up the Topgolf, near Polaris, or test their swing on some of the most famous courses in the world with the innovative simulators at The Range in Dublin.
Columbus has numerous parks and trails for hiking and biking. The country’s largest free outdoor climbing wall, at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park, is accessible by taking paths along downtown’s Scioto Mile. Rent kayaks or Stand Up Paddleboards to traverse the Scioto River. Let the kids run through a 15,000-sq.-ft. interactive fountain at Bicentennial Park or tire them out at Scioto Audubon’s mud run-style obstacle course.
ZipZone at Camp Mary Orton offers Columbus’ only zipline course and the site’s all-new Adventure Park is a self-guided aerial park made up of a series of platforms in the trees connected by ladders, bridges, ropes, zip lines and obstacles of every kind. Hocking Hills, called one of “The World’s 22 Most Stunning Under-The-Radar Spots to Visit” by Buzzfeed is just a 40-minute drive from downtown.