Sports and Recreation
In Columbus, there is no offseason. Host of the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four, named SportsTravel magazine’s Sports Event of the Year, the city is a leading destination for sports and recreation.
Root, Root, Root For The Home Team
The Arena District, just steps from the Greater Columbus Convention Center, is home to NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena, as well as The Columbus Clippers, Triple-A baseball affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, at Huntington Park. Both the 2018 Triple-A All-Star Game and Triple-A National Championship game were held at Huntington Park, a venue that has been named the “Best of the Ballparks” by Baseball Digest two consecutive times.
Coming off of their 2020 MLS Cup Championship, the Columbus Crew have emerged as a force in Major League Soccer, making it one of Central Ohio's most popular sports attractions. The team plays in a brand-new stadium in the Arena District, Lower.com Field, bringing all three of Columbus' professional sports teams to the district.
Lower.com Field opened July 3, 2021 and the 20,000-seat stadium will be part of a larger mixed-use development behind Huntington Park, ball field to triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, the Columbus Clippers. Unique features of the new stadium include a continuous wraparound roof, a 360-degree concourse, event space, a 3,400-capacity standing section - along with two patio decks and a “Nordecke Beer Garden” (a first for Major League Soccer) - and a 5,000-square-foot brew hall that will also be open on non-match days. Sports aficionados can support local while cheering on the hometown team by grabbing food and a drink from one of the Columbus-based vendors inside the stadium. There are also plenty of pre- and post-game options near the stadium to get you hyped up for the match.
Each year, the Memorial Tournament, a PGA Tour event, takes place at Muirfield Village Golf Club. Muirfield is the home course of Columbus native and golf legend Jack Nicklaus, and one of the top 100 in the world according to Golf Digest and Golf.com. A tribute to Nicklaus can be found at the Jack Nicklaus Museum on Ohio State’s campus. Nearby, The Ohio State Buckeyes, winners of the first College Football Playoff National Championship, play at the iconic Ohio Stadium, or “The Shoe.”
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.
Get Your Game On
Columbus has more than 100 public and private golf courses, and golf lovers can check out the course where Nicklaus honed his craft at the Scioto Country Club, which has hosted six different major championships. When weather is a deterrent, golfers can hit up Topgolf, or test their swing on some of the most famous courses in the world with the innovative simulators at The Range.
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 and let the kids run through a 15,000-sq.-ft. interactive fountain at Bicentennial Park.
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.