Some of my favorite places to take out of town guests visiting Columbus are The Skillet in German Village, Scioto Greenways downtown, Schmidt's Restaurant und Sausage Haus and the North Market.
Rick Shuster, CTA
Top Things To Do in Columbus
Be on the lookout for eye-catching sites, such as a 100-foot red metal ART sculpture, the Arch at McFerson Commons and the Scioto Mile Fountain that CNN calls one of the world's 15 most spectacular fountains.
Whether you're planning a weekend getaway, or looking for ways to entertain friends and family, we've got you covered. We've put together the top things you must see, must do and must eat in Columbus, and this is just a start! Whatever you do, don't miss out on these Columbus favorites.
- German Village - Herzlich Willkommen! A hearty welcome to German Village, Columbus' premier downtown neighborhood and one of the preeminent historic districts in the United States. Here, you will also find The Book Loft - 32 rooms of books at bargain prices; also greeting cards, posters, music CDs, DVDs, puzzles and much more.
- Short North Arts District - As the "art and soul" of Columbus, the Short North is a vibrant cultural and business community. The nationally acclaimed Gallery Hop is held on the first Saturday of the month.
- Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens - The only botanical garden in the world with a permanent collection of glass artwork by Dale Chihuly. Seasonal exhibitions rotate year-round. The brand new Scott's Miracle Gro Children's Garden should not be missed if you have the kids with you.
- Wexner Center for the Arts - One of the nation’s premiere cultural gems--an internationally known contemporary arts center at The Ohio State University. The Center offers exhibitions, performances, films, artistic residencies and educational programs.
- Columbus Museum of Art – This museum, designed by a local architect, features gallery space for the museum's permanent collection, and a bright area for special exhibitions. An outdoor sculpture garden and excellent new restaurant make it a great spot to enjoy any time of day.
- Scioto Mile - 253 acres of parkland in downtown Columbus features miles of multi-use trails stretching from Bicentennial Plaza in the south to North Bank Park in the North. This is a great spot to take a stroll and enjoy both the city and nature. The country's largest free outdoor climbing wall is accessible from paths along the river at Scioto Audubon Metropark. Just east of the Scioto Mile is Columbus Commons, a six-acre park in downtown Columbus with more than 240 programs and events each year.
- Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – Hand-feed a giraffe at the Heart of Africa exhibit, or see the millions of lights during the holiday season at Wildlights. Splash in the wave pool next door at Zoombezi Bay during the summer months.
- COSI – A top-rated science center with more than 300 interactive exhibits in downtown Columbus. Don't miss the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery.
- Easton - The Midwest's premier destination for shopping, dining and entertainment. With its unique village setting, Easton is home to an eclectic assortment of restaurants, entertainment venues, exclusive retailers and a 30-screen movie theater. Planning a family vacation? Legoland will open Sept. 2018 and will be worth the trip alone.
- Columbus Coffee Trail & Columbus Ale Trail – Grab a coffee trail card to explore one of the best coffee scenes in the Midwest and taste what happens when quality and collaboration come first or pick up a Brew Book to experience Columbus’ booming beer scene, boasting 41 local craft breweries ranging from highly regarded production breweries to nano breweries.
- North Market - Central Ohio's historic public market since 1876, featuring fresh and prepared foods, authentic ethnic cuisine, flowers, wine and beer, unique gifts and cookware.
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams - Don’t miss Columbus-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, from well-known James Beard Award-winning chef Jeni Britton Bauer, called one of the best ice cream spots in the U.S. by Food & Wine.
- Katalina’s – Neighborhood breakfast, brunch and lunch restaurant housed happily in a 100-year-old gas station. The pancake balls are a must-try!
- Cameron Mitchell Restaurants – From The Avenue Steak Tavern, an all-occasion steakhouse in Grandview to The Pearl, a restaurant, tavern and oyster room serving made-from-scratch comfort food in the Short North Arts District, this Columbus-born concept has a great range of dining options.
- Pistacia Vera - A Columbus destination featuring from-scratch macarons, croissants, pastries, confections and more.