If you’re planning a trip to the Midwest, be sure to include Columbus, Ohio on your list. This vibrant and exciting city offers a rich history and culture, a thriving food and drink scene, excellent shopping opportunities, comfortable accommodations, and easy ways to get around. Let’s dive into some of the top attractions and things to do that will make your visit unforgettable.
History and Culture
When it comes to history and culture, Columbus, Ohio is a city that’s rich with stories to tell. The city was founded in the early 19th century as the state capital of Ohio and has since played an important role in shaping the region’s history and identity.
One of the city’s most prominent historical landmarks is the Ohio Statehouse, a beautiful Greek Revival-style building with towering columns and domes. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in architecture and politics, as it’s home to the offices of the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, and other top officials.
For a deeper dive into Ohio’s past, head to the Ohio History Center, where you can explore exhibits on everything from the state’s native peoples to its industrial innovations. There’s even a section dedicated to the infamous outlaw, Jesse James.
Nature lovers won’t want to miss the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which features a stunning collection of flora from around the world, including a variety of rare orchids.
But Columbus isn’t just about history – it’s also a hub of arts and culture. The city is home to the Wexner Center for the Arts, a contemporary art museum that showcases work from local and international artists. Meanwhile, the Ohio Theatre is a beautiful, historic venue that hosts a wide range of performances, from ballet to Broadway shows.
Columbus, Ohio is a vibrant city with plenty of exciting attractions to explore. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or simply having fun, there’s something for everyone in this bustling metropolis. Here are some of the top attractions to check out:
- Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: This world-renowned attraction is home to thousands of animals from all around the globe, as well as a huge aquarium that lets you get up close and personal with a variety of sea creatures. It’s a perfect family-friendly destination.
- Center of Science and Industry (COSI): This interactive science museum is a great place to learn about everything from space exploration to biology. Kids and adults alike will love the hands-on exhibits and interactive displays.
- German Village: This charming neighborhood is home to some of the city’s oldest and most beautiful buildings, many of which were constructed by German immigrants in the 19th century. It’s a great place to take a stroll and soak up the atmosphere.
- Short North Arts District: This vibrant neighborhood is home to some of the city’s best galleries, shops, and restaurants. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon browsing unique stores and admiring local art.
- Scioto Mile: This stunning park runs along the Scioto River and features beautiful fountains, walking paths, and green spaces. It’s a great place to relax and take in the scenery.
- North Market: This historic market is home to dozens of vendors selling everything from fresh produce to artisanal cheeses. It’s a great place to sample some of the city’s best food and drink.
Food and Drinks
When it comes to food and drinks, Columbus, Ohio has a lot to offer. From traditional American cuisine to international flavors, there’s something for everyone in this culinary hotspot. Here are some of the must-try dishes and drinks in Columbus:
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: This local ice cream chain is famous for its creative and delicious flavors, such as Brambleberry Crisp and Salty Caramel. It’s a great place to cool off on a hot day.
- Thurman Cafe: This iconic diner is known for its massive burgers, piled high with toppings like bacon, cheese, and onion rings. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Thurmanator, a burger with a whopping 2.5 pounds of beef.
- Schmidt’s Sausage Haus: This German restaurant has been a Columbus staple for over 130 years, serving up traditional dishes like bratwurst, schnitzel, and sauerkraut. Don’t forget to wash it down with a cold German beer.
- Pistacia Vera: This elegant bakery specializes in French-inspired pastries and desserts, such as macarons, croissants, and tarts. It’s a great place to indulge your sweet tooth.
- Watershed Distillery: This local distillery produces a range of award-winning spirits, including gin, bourbon, and vodka. Stop by for a tasting or a tour of the facility.
- Seventh Son Brewing Co.: This popular brewery has a constantly rotating selection of craft beers, from IPAs to stouts to sours. It’s a great place to hang out with friends and enjoy some local brews.
If you’re a fan of shopping, Columbus, Ohio has plenty of options to satisfy your retail cravings. From trendy boutiques to sprawling malls, there’s something for every shopper in this bustling city. Here are some of the best places to shop in Columbus:
- Easton Town Center: This outdoor shopping complex is one of the largest and most popular destinations in Columbus, with over 200 stores and restaurants. It’s a great place to find both high-end and affordable fashion, as well as home goods, electronics, and more.
- Short North Arts District: This trendy neighborhood is home to some of the city’s most unique and eclectic shops, featuring everything from handmade jewelry to vintage clothing. It’s a great place to find one-of-a-kind gifts and souvenirs.
- Polaris Fashion Place: This upscale mall features over 150 stores, including many high-end fashion brands. It also has a movie theater, a food court, and plenty of parking.
- Grandview Mercantile: This antique store is a treasure trove of vintage furniture, decor, and other unique finds. It’s a great place to browse and hunt for hidden gems.
- North Market: This historic market isn’t just a foodie destination – it also has dozens of vendors selling handmade crafts, artisanal soaps, and other unique items. It’s a great place to find gifts and souvenirs with a local flair.
Whether you’re visiting Columbus for business or pleasure, finding the right accommodation is key to having a great trip. Fortunately, Columbus has a wide variety of hotels, bed and breakfasts, and vacation rentals to choose from. Here are some of the top options:
- Hilton Columbus Downtown: This sleek and modern hotel is located in the heart of downtown, within walking distance of many popular attractions. It features spacious rooms with city views, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant.
- German Village Guest House: This charming bed and breakfast is located in the historic German Village neighborhood, known for its brick-lined streets and quaint shops. It features cozy rooms with antique furnishings, a garden courtyard, and a complimentary breakfast.
- Airbnb: If you’re looking for a more unique and personalized experience, consider renting a vacation home or apartment through Airbnb. There are many options available in Columbus, ranging from cozy apartments to spacious houses.
- Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph: This luxury hotel is located in the trendy Short North neighborhood, known for its art galleries and boutiques. It features stylish rooms with contemporary decor, a rooftop bar, and an on-site restaurant.
- The Blackwell Inn: This elegant hotel is located on the campus of The Ohio State University, making it a great choice for visiting parents, alumni, or sports fans. It features spacious rooms with plush bedding, a fitness center, and an on-site restaurant.
Getting around Columbus is easy and convenient, thanks to the city’s efficient public transportation system and variety of transportation options. Here are some of the best ways to get around Columbus:
- COTA buses: The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) operates a network of bus routes throughout the city and surrounding suburbs. Buses are clean, safe, and affordable, and offer a great way to explore different parts of the city.
- Ride-hailing services: Uber and Lyft are both available in Columbus, making it easy to get a ride quickly and affordably. These services are especially useful for getting to and from the airport or for late-night transportation.
- Bike sharing: Columbus has a bike-sharing program called CoGo, which allows riders to rent bikes from stations throughout the city. This is a great way to explore Columbus’s many bike-friendly neighborhoods and scenic trails.
- Car rental: If you’re planning to do a lot of driving during your stay in Columbus, renting a car might be the best option for you. There are many car rental agencies located throughout the city, and rental rates are generally affordable.
- Walking: Many of Columbus’s most popular neighborhoods, including the Short North and German Village, are easily walkable. Walking is a great way to explore the city’s unique architecture and charming streets.
Columbus is a city that truly has it all. From its fascinating history and unique culture to its world-class attractions, delicious food and drink, great shopping, comfortable accommodation, and convenient transportation options, there’s no shortage of things to see and do here. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Columbus is sure to impress. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today and get ready to discover all the amazing things this great city has in store for you!
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