If learning about architecture (and staying in gorgeous hotels) sounds like a perfect getaway, then Columbus stands ready to wow you. The town is filled with more than 70 buildings created by famed architects, including Eliel and Eero Saarinen. Excellent restaurants and shops round out a weekend.
Eliel Saarinen's First Christian Church and Henry Moore's Large Arch sculpture, Columbus, Indiana
Henry Moore's Large Arch and Eliel Saarinen's First Christian Church
| Credit: Bob Stefko

Architecture buffs have been flocking to Columbus, 45 miles south of Indianapolis, since the 1940s when Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen designed the new First Christian Church. Now the city shows off more than 70 buildings by famed architects and is all the more welcoming for its grand lodgings, shops and restaurants.

Day 1

At only 45,000 people, the metro is ranked sixth in the country for its architecture. Pick up a map at the Columbus Area Visitors Center to guide you to the city's standout structures, like Henry Moore's 20-foot Large Arch sculpture. Or let someone else do the work; the visitors center offers air-conditioned bus tours with volunteer guides.

See the shiny side of town on the Indiana Glass Trail, where examples of Dale Chihuly designs stand out from hundreds of hand-blown spirals.

Zaharakos Columbus Indiana
Credit: Bob Stefko

You'll also see stained-glass windows at Zaharakos, but the biggest draw at the 100-year-old restored ice cream parlor is the sweet treats. (It makes a good lunch stop, too.)

Beer brewed on-site pairs with brick-oven pizzas at 450 North Brewing Company, a restaurant at Simmons Winery on the outskirts of Columbus.

Hotel Indigo Columbus Indiana
Hotel Indigo
| Credit: Bob Stefko

Midcentury modern touches show in the furniture, artwork and color palette at the upscale yet affordable Hotel Indigo.

Day 2

Hands-on mini exhibits give kids a chance to play with design concepts at Kids' Commons children's museum.

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.

More information: Columbus Area Visitors Center columbus.in.us

Inn at Irwin Gardens
Inn at Irwin Gardens
| Credit: Jason Lindsey

Stay to remember

Built in 1910, The Inn at Irwin Gardens in Columbus features original Edwardian furnishings and sunken gardens designed to resemble the ruins of Pompeii. English oak woodwork, brick pergolas wrapped with wisteria vines and a tiered fountain are just some of the impressive architectural details. A hot breakfast is served in the formal dining room.