Columbus, Indiana, Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Columbus, Indiana, Trip Guide

A few years after Eliel Saarinen designed the new First Christian Church (in 1942), son Eero designed a modern glass bank building. Soon, architects and artists were flocking to Columbus (population: 44,000). Architectural tours are the main draw.
Eliel Saarinen's First Christian Church and Henry Moore's Large Arch sculpture. Photo courtesy of Columbus Area Visitors Center.
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The Bartholomew County Courthouse is on the Columbus Architecture Tour.
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The Inn at Irwin Gardens.
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What to do

Architecture tours A free self-guided tour covers more than 70 works including public art. Grab a map at the Columbus Area Visitors Center, which also offers guided bus tours for a fee. (800) 468-6564;

Miller House and Gardens Considered a leading example of modernist architecture, the 1950s Miller House and Garden feels like it could be a set for Mad Men; visitors gush over the groundbreaking conversation pit and the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the beautifully manicured grounds.

Where to eat

Smith’s Row Soups, sandwiches, steaks and seafood flown in twice a week headline the eclectic menu. (812) 373-9382;

Tre Bicchieri Italian dishes shine here, including two soups daily, fresh bread and beautiful desserts.  (812) 372-1962;

Zaharakos Though you’ll find some sandwiches, the atmosphere and the ice cream are the real attractions: The parlor has a restored 40-foot-long marble counter with a double soda fountain. (812) 378-1900;

Where to stay

Hotel Indigo Midcentury modern touches show in the furniture, artwork and color scheme at this 85-room hotel. Rooms are gorgeous, with hardwood floors. From $119. (812) 375-9100; 

The Inn at Irwin Gardens An early-20th-century Italianate-style inn features the original furnishings and sunken gardens built to resemble the ruins of Pompeii. With luxurious rooms and hearty breakfasts, it’s a treat. From $225. (812) 376-3663;

For information: Columbus Area Visitors Center (800) 468-6564;

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