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Things To Do In Columbus

All Photos by OHventures

Having lived in Columbus for an entire decade of my adult life (ages 18-28), I have a strong bond with this city – one that can never be broken. It’s a city of excitement, culture, adventure, and history. In my opinion, it’s one of the best cities in the world. But I am surely biased.

It’s hard not to be a huge supporter of all things Columbus: Ohio State University (my alma mater), the hustle and bustle of Cap Square (where I worked for many years), the character and charm of neighborhoods like German Village, Short North, and Grandview (where I lived). Every corner of the city is packed with things to do: eclectic watering holes, tantalizing dining spots, breathtaking parks, and one-of-a-kind experiences.

Here is my personal comprehensive and diverse list of 101 THINGS TO DO IN COLUMBUS that will be just the start of a beautiful friendship between you and Ohio’s capital city. You can thank me later.

The items on this list are categorized by ACTIVITY TYPE. For the same 101 items categorized by NEIGHBORHOOD, visit: 101 Things To Do In Columbus (By Neighborhood).

1. The Ohio Statehouse – Where state laws are made – take a guided tour
2. World’s Largest Gavel – A giant silver gavel by the Ohio Supreme Court
3. The Santa Maria – A replica of Christopher Columbus’ ship to America
4. Greek Orthodox Cathedral – Gorgeous architecture & host of Greek Festival
5. The Oval – Central courtyard on OSU’s campus – frisbee, studying, etc.
6. Mirror Lake – Iconic pond on OSU’s campus – great for picnics & strolls
7. Franklin Park Conservatory – Indoor exotic gardens with Chihuly glasswork

8. Columbus Commons – Green space with festivals & a carousel
9. Scioto Mile – Hike, bike, run, play chess, or enjoy riverside views
10. Bicentennial Park – Home of some of the best fountains in the nation
11. Topiary Park – An artsy park with impressive hedge sculptures
12. Schiller Park – Outdoor live theatre, a dog park, fishing pond, & more
13. Scioto Audubon Metro Park – Hiking trails, a rock wall, and a dog park
14. Wheeler Park – A centrally located dog park that’s great for socializing
15. Goodale Park – A hub of community activities, including ComFest
16. Arch Park – Historic park with arch salvaged from Union Train Station
17. Whetstone Park of Roses – Picturesque park with hundreds of roses
18. Pooch Playground – Everyone’s favorite playground especially for dogs
19. Hoover Reservoir Park (Westerville) – For sailing & other watercraft


Coffee Shops
20. Café Brioso – Expertly poured coffee with an aroma that lures you in
21. One Line Coffee – Sip on some superior coffee & learn how its made
22. Stauf’s Coffee Roasters – A great meeting spot with even greater java!
23. Crimson Cup Coffee – Cozy coffee cafe with locally roasted bold coffee

Beer, Wine, & Spirits
24. 16-Bit Arcade – Dozens of classic video arcade games to play for free 
25. Club 185 – An after-work favorite with great cocktails & a photo booth
26. Columbus Brewing Company – The 1 remaining brewery in Brewery District
27. World Of Beer – Literally hundreds of beer choices from around the world
28. Camelot Cellars – Drink, buy, or even handcraft your very own wine
29. Brother’s Drake Meadery – Honey-based “wine” and spirits made on site
30. Middle West Spirits – The makers of top-notch Ohio whiskey and vodka
31. Short North Tavern – A divey bar with dart boards and cheap brews
32. Kingmakers Board Game Parlour – Play any board game you can think of
33. North High Brewing – Drink or make your own craft beer!
34. Ohio Taproom – Get a growler filled to-go from a selection of Ohio beers
35. O Patio & Pub – Hotspot for fraternity & sorority students 
36. Powell Village Winery – Quaint winery definitely worth a visit
*for more ways to imbibe in Columbus, visit Drink Up Columbus*


Dining Discoveries
37. Market 65 – Made-to-order salads with ingredients chopped in front of you
38. Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace – Wild and crazy hot dog creations
39. Grass Skirt Tiki Room – Polynesian themed bar & restaurant – with Spam!
40. Yellow Brick Pizza – Hand tossed pizzas with fun signature creations
41. The Angry Baker – Gourmet bakery with high quality ingredients
42. Thurman’s Cafe – Home of the famous & ginormous Thurmanator burger
43. Schmidt’s Sausage Haus Und Restaurant – Autobahn buffet and cream puffs
44. Katzinger’s Delicatessen – A traditional deli with enormous sandwiches
45. Marcella’s Ristorante – Fantastic Italian eatery with massive veal meatballs
46. North Star Cafe – Organic diner known for its breakfasts & veggie burgers

47. Hubbard Grille – On the corner of High & Hubbard – perfect atmosphere
48. Surly Girl Saloon – Taste the cupcake of the day & creative concoctions
49. Aab India Restaurant – Indian buffet with off-the-charts spiciness
50. Local Cantina – Mustaches, tasty tacos, and all-you-can-eat nachos
51. DK Diner – Donuts! Including a bacon cheeseburger w/ glazed donut bun
52. Adriatico’s Pizza – Greasy goodness that tastes just like collegeJust Desserts
53. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams – Literally the nation’s BEST ice cream
54. Pistachia Vera – Top notch macarons made in every color of the rainbow

Shopping & Specialty Stores
55. Spoonful Records – New records & unique gifts made out of old records
56. Book Loft – A labyrinth of 32 rooms of floor-to-ceiling books
57. Homage – Apparel store dedicated to all things vintage & nostalgic Ohio
58. North Market – Collection of various shops, restaurants & specialty stores
59. The Oilerie – Sample from dozens of flavor-infused olive oils & vinegars
60. Clay Cafe – Paint and create your very own pottery pieces
61. Rag-O-Rama – Consignment store w/ very eclectic & designer clothes
62. South Campus Gateway – An inviting alley w/ shops, restaurants & movies
63. Candle Lab – Make candles by mixing wax w/ any scent imaginable
64. Celebrate Local (Easton) – A shop with nothing but Ohio-made goods

Arts & Entertainment
65. The Ohio Theatre – Go see  professional musicals & Broadway plays
66. Columbus Museum of Art – Cool exhibits that captivate 
67. Shadowbox Theater – Live musical comedies with dinner served up 
68. Grandview Theater – Old-school 1-screen movie theatre w/ indie films
69. Wexner Center for the Arts – Modern art, cool events & interesting design
70. Hollywood Casino Columbus (Hilltop) – Feels like the Vegas strip!

Musical Experiences
71. Newport Music Hall – Decades-old campus concert hall w/ popular bands
72. Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar – Huge crowds cheer on these talented pianists
73. LC Pavilion – An indoor/outdoor music venue with huge national acts
74. The Bluestone – An old church transformed into a music hall 
75. Skully’s Music Diner – Put on your dancing pants, especially on Thursdays

Museums & Education
76. Center Of Science & Industry (COSI) – Ride the tight rope unicycle
77. Columbus Metropolitan Library – One of the most used libraries in the US

78. Segway Tours of Columbus – A futuristic way to take a tour of the city
79. Vern Riffe Center for Government & Arts – Art galleries + civics
80. The Governor’s Residence – Tours of the mansion & gardens on Tuesdays
81. Olentangy River Wetlands Research Park – Educational and serene spot
82. Columbus Zoo & Aquarium – Approved by Jack Hanna himself

Active Lifestyle
83. Go Fitness Center – Colorful fitness center w/ great classes & instructors
84. Yoga On High – This yoga studio is great for beginners or expert yogi
85. Creekside Gahanna Paddleboating – Paddleboat on a lovely creek
86. Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) Rock Wall – Gym & indoor rock wall
87. Cap City Half Marathon – Signature half & quarter marathon event
88. Project 908 Paddleboarding – Stand up paddleboarding rental service
89. Olentangy River Trail – Multi-use trail that runs along the Olentangy
90. Pure Barre – New workout craze centered around isometric movements
91. SkyZone Indoor Trampoline Park (Lewis Center) – Bounce your heart out
92. Trapper John’s Canoe Livery (Grove City) – Rent kayaks & canoes!

93. Summit Vision (Westerville) – High ropes obstacle course!

Sporting Events
94. Huntington Park – Take me out to the Columbus Clippers baseball game
95. Nationwide Arena – Catch a Blue Jackets hockey game or a concert
96, Arnold Sports Festival – World renowned fitness and sporting convention
97. The Ohio Stadium – AKA “The ‘Shoe” – where the OSU Buckeyes play 

Unique Experiences

98. Columbus Food Adventures – Guided tour of Columbus restaurants 
99. Columbus Brew Adventures – Guided tour of Columbus breweries
100. Ohio State Fair (Fairgrounds) – Animals, fried food, & people watching
101. Columbus Pedal Wagon – Pedal a contraption from bar to bar to bar

Things to do in Columbus

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