More than 600 species—including polar bears—reside at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Downtown in The Topiary Park, sculpted evergreens re-create the scene from George Seurat’s painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte.
Columbus Food Adventures leads gastronomical tours of the city; one stops at North Market.
Schmidt’s Restaurant and Sausage Haus creates tasty Americanized German foods; try a little bit of everything on the Autobahn buffet.
Old meets new in the chic five-room German Village Guest House (from $195), and The Lofts Hotel near the Short North neighborhood features exposed brick walls and modern decor (from $180).
Bakeries, bookshops and delis line the narrow brick streets of the European-style, 19th-century German Village. There, The Book Loft’s discounted books fill a 32-room maze that takes up an entire city block.
Comfort food gets a sophisticated makeover at Skillet; we loved our béchamel and cheddar mac and cheese topped with smoked Ohio-raised pork.
Scale one of the nation’s largest outdoor climbing walls at Scioto Audubon Metro Park, and let the kids explore the Center of Science and Industry’s playground and 300 hands-on exhibits.
Snagging a table can be tricky at the tapas restaurant Barcelona, but the worth-the-wait $35 tasting menu includes seven seasonal Spanish dishes.
More information: (866) 397-2657; experiencecolumbus.com