Parents weekend in college is one of the most iconic weekends for parents and students alike. For parents, it’s a chance to see where their kids have left home to go to and what they get into on a daily basis while away at school (even if they don’t show you everything). It’s also a chance to relive some of your favorite memories from college, whether you went to Ohio State or not. For students, it’s a chance for kids to introduce their new life to their parents and show them the ins and outs and hidden gems of the new city or neighborhood they’ve come to love. When visiting for parents weekend, there’s lots to see in the 14th largest city – both on and off campus.
The Greater Columbus region boasts one of the largest populations of college students in the U.S., ensuring a youthful and progressive community. The Ohio State University’s main Columbus campus is one of America’s largest and most comprehensive, with 14 colleges, 175 undergraduate...
Food, Beer, and Spirits
Depending on what year at Ohio State your child is, they may not be able to partake in consuming alcoholic drinks, but you certainly can. You won’t experience a distillery-restaurant scene like the one in Columbus anywhere else. Here, distillers experiment with bold new flavors and processes in both liquor distilling and food preparation. Built around celebrating watershed moments, Watershed Distillery has grown from its portfolio of vodka and gin to include bourbon, apple brandy and specialty spirits like Nocino black walnut liqueur. Brothers Drake is the city’s star meadery, producing spirits from raw Ohio honey and other flavor varieties while patrons enjoy a live music line-up.
Columbus has experienced a boom in both its coffee and beer scenes, and it’s easy to navigate through the delicious brews of the city on the Columbus Coffee Trail and the Columbus Ale Trail. To participate, pick up a passport for either trail at an Experience Columbus Visitor Center or participating location, collect stamps at each establishment, and redeem your book for a souvenir of your expedition.
If your student needs a break from dining hall food, treat them to a nice dinner at any number of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants throughout the city. From steaks to seafood, Italian fare, and more, you can’t go wrong.
The fun doesn’t have to stop when the sun goes down, as that’s when the city really comes alive. Check out Shadowbox Live!, America’s largest resident theater company or try your luck at the Hollywood Casino or Scioto Downs.
“It's not a stretch to call Columbus the "Nashville of the Midwest." Beyond a vibrant songwriting community (catch rising stars at Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza), you'll see live acts at many restaurants, jazz clubs, and various venues around town.” – Southern Living
Columbus’ historic theaters offer a range of performances, from Broadway shows to ballet, opera, and more. The Columbus Symphony fills the Columbus Commons with its sweet sound during summer months and laughs can always be found emanating from Funny Bone Comedy Club. As the home to musical greats like Rascal Flatts and Twenty One Pilots, it should come as no surprise that live music of every style can be found any night of the week throughout the city.
It’s easy to get your game on in Columbus with any number of game bars across the city. Lovers of arcade games can get a fix at any number of places such as 16-Bit Bar + Arcade, Brewcadia or Old North Arcade, all allowing free play with drink purchases. Pins Mechanical Co. has a variety of different activities such as foosball, duckpin bowling, ping pong, and more.
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:
The Arena District, just a couple miles south of campus, is home to NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Catch a game to hear the fire of the cannon after a Blue Jackets’ goal.
MLS’ Columbus Crew SC play at MAPFRE Stadium, walkable from most of Ohio State campus and is the first soccer-specific stadium built in the country. In 2021, Crew SC will move into a new 20,000-seat facility in the Arena District.
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.
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.
Most known for their football program, led by head coach Ryan Day, Ohio State football is always a force to be reckoned with. Come fall in Columbus, the Ohio State University campus is filled with die-hard fans ready to cheer on their team to victory. The Buckeyes play at Ohio Stadium, otherwise...