Top Things to Do in Columbus, Ohio
The flat rotunda roof of the 1861 Ohio Statehouse distinguishes this Greek Revival-style building from other capitols. Take self-guided or free hour-long tours and view the inner beauty of the rotunda, which stretches 120 feet to the skylight and makes a bold statement with its salmon stone walls and hand-cut marble floors.
Center of Science and Industry
This acclaimed science museum features interactive exhibits on topics like dinosaurs, space and energy, plus a big-screen theater and planetarium.
Columbus Distillery Trail
Columbus Food Adventures
Themed walking (and eating!) tours including German Village, Grandview Avenue, All Dessert Tour, Brewery District and Short North Tour.
Columbus Museum of Art
Dating to 1878, this downtown art museum's collection spans American and European modern art, Impressionism, German Expressionism, Cubism, folk art, contemporary art, glass, photography and more. For a contemporary art focus, head to the Pizzuti Collection of the museum in the Short North.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Explore indoor and outdoor gardens and see the world's largest collection of Dale Chihuly's glass artwork in a botanical garden. Herb gardens, a canopy walk, play structures and a Hocking Hills-inspired splash area—waterfall and all—cover the 2-acre Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children's Garden. Seasonal events enliven the gardens' appeal year-round.
A few blocks south of downtown, bakeries, bookshops, delis and gift stores line the narrow brick streets of this charming enclave of 19th-century European-style brick buildings.
Inniswood Metro Gardens
Six trails in the 123-acre park lead to 10 themed gardens, woodlands and streams. More than 2,000 species of plants thrive in the preserve.
National Veterans Memorial and Museum
Late astronaut and Ohio senator John Glenn helped spearhead the $82 million museum, the only one in the U.S. dedicated to telling the stories of veterans from all branches of the military. Exhibits include video interviews and letters from soldiers.
Scioto Audubon Metro Park
Scale one of the nation's largest free outdoor climbing walls at this 120-acre adventure park that also contains an obstacle course, sand volleyball courts and recreation fields.
Short North Arts District
The district has morphed into a 20-block mosaic of fashion boutiques, restaurants, bars, murals and new faces. In 2019, $500 million of investment added more storefronts and lofts.
Related: 36 Hours in Columbus
Topiary Garden Park
Sculpted evergreens at Topiary Garden Park re-create the scene from Georges Seurat's pointillist painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte.
Eat and Drink
A New York-trained chef brings his skills to a house in the heart of Victorian Village, serving creations such as creamy sweet crab and corn risotto.
Hop in the cafeteria-style line at this popular Mediterranean spot in Short North lets you customize a bowl or pita wrap with your choice of rice, lentils, creamy hummus, vegetables and proteins.
Budd Dairy Food Hall
This chef-driven incubator in the Italian Village neighborhood offers eight unique kitchens plus a revolving popup and a buzzy rooftop patio.
Chapman's Eat Market
Chef-owner BJ Lieberman left a Michelin-starred restaurant in Washington, D.C., to open this German Village spot. Try globally inspired entrees like Chicken and Shrimp Khao Soi, with house-made ice cream (in flavors like Chocolate Chile) for dessert.
Columbus Coffee Trail
This string of coffee destinations will lead you to some of the city's best brews at locations like One Line, Fox in the Snow and Stauf's Coffee.
On the edge of German Village, this plant-forward restaurant offers shareable dishes like falafel wraps and semolina cavatelli plus and a drink menu that includes natural wines.
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
Creative flavors like Boston Cream, Gooey Butter Cake and Brambleberry Crisp join more typical (but equally tasty) choices like The Milkiest Chocolate (multiple locations).
Guests rave about the lobster bisque, Alaskan halibut dinner, risotto and New York strip steaks at this longtime local favorite.
Staff serve items containing sustainably sourced ingredients, such as the beets and squash in the roasted root salad (multiple locations).
The brick-walled gastropub features house-made seasonal punches plus made-from-scratch comfort foods like fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and clam chowder.
The Refectory Restaurant and Bistro
Small-plate upscale American and French cuisine shines in a 19th-century building that used to serve as a church. The seasonal menu offers specialties such as squab terrine with foie gras or spiced duck breast with candied fruit Bordelaise.
Schmidt's Restaurant und Sausage Haus
Americanized German foods star at the German Village spot. Try the signature sausage platters with German potato salad, chunky applesauce and split-top buns.
More than 40 regional farms, gardens and dairies supply ingredients for dishes such as Cheese Blintzes or smoked sausage at Skillet.
Housed in a repurposed 1927 schoolhouse, this popular new spot offers several vibes under one roof. Sip craft cocktails in the light-filled lounge, enjoy a fast-casual menu at Commons or unwind under a canopy of trees on the expansive outdoor patio.
For an elevated dining experience, head downtown and try Veritas' five-course tasting menu with global dishes like lobster with succotash or tomato with raspberry and herbs.
AC Hotel Columbus Downtown
Scotland-based BrewDog opened what is billed as the world's first beer hotel, with 32 guest rooms (each equipped with a BrewDog tap) next to a state-of-the-art sour brewery and taproom.
Decor in this collegiate-themed boutique hotel reflects the scarlet and gray of Ohio State University as well as influences from state luminaries like John Glenn and Ohio's eight presidents.
Hilton Columbus Downtown
Soon to be the state's largest hotel when its second tower expansion opens, this lodging has the cachet of an art gallery, with more than 225 works by 100 area artists, including prints on guest-room ceilings.
A star machine and telescope in every room reflect the celestial-theme decorating in the hotel, on the lower floors of a 1927 Art Deco tower. A $27 million renovation also created a restaurant and bar, The Keep, which serves French brasserie fare.
Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph
In the heart of Short North Arts District, 135 rooms and suites contain sleek wooden accents crafted in Ohio. The hotel's special-occasion Guild House restaurant plates modern American entrees such as chicken roulade with sweet corn puree.
For more information experiencecolumbus.com