35 Fun Things to Do in Columbus, Ohio | 2023 (with Photos)
Columbus, Ohio is a vibrant city with plenty of attractions and activities that cater to all ages and interests.
From exploring the city's rich history and diverse art scene to indulging in delicious food and drinks, there's never a dull moment in this part of the country.
In this article, we've compiled a list of 35 fun things to do in Columbus that are sure to keep you entertained and engaged.
So, grab your friends and family and get ready for a fun-filled adventure in Columbus, Ohio.
Most Recommended Thing to Do
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Top Choice Hotel
The Westin Great Southern Columbus
Our Top Choice Restaurant
G. Michael's Bistro & Bar
Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife
Voted Top Choice Bar for Nightlife in Columbus, United States of America: "Standard Hall"
Best Time to Visit
Spring and fall offer pleasant weather for exploring.
The average temperature in Columbus, United States is...
Buses, cars, bikes, scooters, ride-sharing, taxis, walking, skateboarding
Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)
My Top Recommendation
Columbus, United States is a vibrant city with a distinct personality. Take a leisurely stroll along the Scioto Mile, a sprawling park filled with stunning views of the city skyline and the scenic Scioto River.
For a taste of Columbus's thriving arts scene, make sure to visit the Short North Arts District, a trendy neighborhood brimming with art galleries, boutiques, and eclectic dining options.
What You'll Need to Bring
- Valid identification and travel documents
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Weather-appropriate clothing
- Money/credit cards
- Travel adapter
- Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
- Guidebook or map of the city
- Portable charger/power bank
- Swimsuit (if visiting during warmer months)
- Personal toiletries and any necessary medications
Table of Contents
1. Visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium are some of the most popular attractions in Columbus, Ohio, and for good reason.
With over 10,000 animals representing over 600 species, visitors can experience a diverse range of wildlife in various habitats.
The aquarium's top exhibits include the Discovery Reef, with its 100,000-gallon tank and over 1,000 fish.
Overall, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium are a must-visit destination for animal lovers of all ages.
2. Visit the Ohio Village
Ohio Village is a living history museum located in Columbus, Ohio. It's a recreated 19th-century village that showcases what life was like in Ohio during the mid-1800s.
The village features historic buildings, such as a one-room schoolhouse and a general store.
The Ohio Village hosts various seasonal events throughout the year, such as a 19th-century-style Fourth of July celebration and a Harvest Festival.
3. Explore Topiary Park
Topiary Park is an enchanting attraction featuring a living art exhibit of manicured trees and shrubs that resemble a painting by French artist Georges Seurat.
The park covers over seven acres and is designed to be a living interpretation of Seurat's famous painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte."
The park offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city and is one of the top Columbus attractions for those who are looking to get fresh air and reconnect with nature.
The address is as follows: 480 E Town St, Columbus, OH
4. Visit The Columbus Food Truck Festival
The Columbus Food Truck Festival is an annual summer event that celebrates the local food scene by bringing together a diverse array of food trucks from around the region.
Visitors can sample everything from classic American burgers and fries to Korean barbecue and Thai street food.
There are also plenty of vegetarian and vegan options available.
5. Enjoy a Day of Fun at Zoombezi Bay Waterpark
Zoombezi Bay is a popular waterpark that features a wide range of water rides, attractions, and activities for visitors of all ages.
With over 20 water attractions, including wave pools, water slides, and lazy rivers, Zoombezi Bay offers a refreshing way to beat the heat during the summer months and enjoy some fresh air.
It is conveniently located next to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and also hosts birthday parties, making it a great option for a full day of entertainment.
6. Ride the Ferris Wheel at the Ohio State Fair
The Columbus Cultural Center & state fairgrounds host more than 200 events per year (and around the clock) and are renowned for attracting thousands each month.
It includes an outdoor amphitheater and an open-air fairground welcoming the largest events such as the American Quarter Horse Congress.
A major event held here each year for over 40 years has always been the Ohio State Fair.
7. Explore the German Village Neighborhood
The German Village is a charming neighborhood located just south of downtown Columbus.
It was settled by German immigrants in the mid-19th century and today boasts a unique blend of history, architecture, and culture.
The German Village Society has a unique collection of archival materials that document the history of the neighborhood.
Visitors can explore the picturesque brick streets, stroll through Schiller Park, and visit Schmidt's Sausage Haus, which has been serving authentic German cuisine since 1886.
8. Explore Broad Street and The Short North Arts District
Broad Street is a major east-west road that runs through the heart of Columbus.
Some notable Broad St attractions include the Ohio Theatre, the Ohio Statehouse, Topiary Park, the Kelton House Museum & Garden, and Grant Medical Center.
The Short North Arts District is a hub for artists and creative professionals, with numerous art galleries, theaters, and performance spaces.
Visitors can explore the distric on a self-guided tour and enjoy live music and other performances throughout the year.
9. Have fun at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus is an indoor attraction located in the Easton Town Center shopping complex in Columbus.
It features a variety of hands-on activities, including a 4D cinema, interactive LEGO rides, and creative workshops led by Master Model Builders.
Kids can also explore a miniature version of Columbus made entirely out of LEGO bricks, participate in LEGO-themed scavenger hunts, and build their own LEGO creations in the play area.
10. Visit Easton Town Center
Easton Town Center is much more than a typical shopping mall.
Designed to resemble an early-to-mid-twentieth-century American town or city, Easton Town Center features stunning architectural details and picturesque landscaping.
With over 300 shops and restaurants lining its streets, Easton Town Center is a premier outdoor shopping complex that attracts an astonishing thirty million visitors each year.
11. Visit the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum
The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, located on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, is a world-renowned destination for cartoon enthusiasts and researchers alike.
The museum houses a collection of over 450,000 original cartoons, comics, and other cartoon-related materials.
Visitors can explore the museum's rotating exhibits, featuring cartoons by artists such as Charles Schulz and Walt Disney, and learn about the rich history of the medium.
12. Check out the Center of Science and Industry (COSI)
The Center of Science and Industry, also known as COSI, offers a fun and interactive learning experience for visitors of all ages.
The museum features hands-on exhibits, live shows, and educational programs that explore scientific concepts, such as space, technology, health, and the environment.
Visitors can explore the museum's indoor and outdoor exhibits, including a planetarium, a giant screen theater, and a science park.
Location: 333 W Broad St, Columbus, OH
13. Watch a Soccer Game at Mapfre Stadium
Watching a soccer game at Mapfre Stadium is an exciting experience for sports fans of all ages, as the stadium boasts a lively atmosphere and a passionate fan base.
It also hosts a variety of other events, such as concerts and festivals.
Whether you're a die-hard soccer fan or just looking for a fun outing with friends and family, a visit to Mapfre Stadium to catch the Columbus Crew SC play is worth it.
14. Walk along the Scioto Mile Riverfront Park
The Scioto Mile Riverfront Park is located in downtown Columbus, along the banks of the Scioto River.
The park spans over 175 acres and features walking and biking trails, public art installations, fountains, and gardens.
It also offers stunning views of the Columbus skyline and hosts outdoor concerts and movie screenings.
Address: 233 S. Civic Center Dr. Columbus, OH
15. Shop for Local Products at the North Market
The North Market is a vibrant indoor public market located in the heart of downtown Columbus.
The market features over 30 local vendors offering a diverse selection of fresh produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, and artisanal food products.
The North Market also hosts events and cooking classes, making it a great way for foodies and culinary enthusiasts to spend a Sunday afternoon.
16. Visit The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum
The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum is located in Pickerington, Ohio, just outside of Columbus.
It is dedicated to showcasing the history of American motorcycling, with a focus on honoring the individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport and industry.
The museum exhibits highlight the evolution of motorcycles, from early models to modern racing bikes, as well as a collection of vintage motorcycles and racing memorabilia.
17. Catch a Game or Concert at Nationwide Arena
Nationwide Arena is the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League and is also used for concerts, other sporting events, and various shows.
The arena has welcomed some big names in music, including Taylor Swift, Elton John, and Justin Timberlake, as well as shows like Cirque du Soleil and Disney on Ice.
18. Learn about Local History at the Ohio History Center
The Ohio History Center, located on the grounds of the Ohio Expo Center, is a museum and research center dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history of Ohio.
The Ohio History Center features exhibits covering a range of topics, including the state's natural history, Native American cultures, the Civil War, industrial development, and more.
The Ohio History Center also hosts workshops, lectures, and family-friendly activities.
19. Visit the Ohio Statehouse and Museum
The Ohio Statehouse and Museum is a historic landmark located in downtown Columbus.
Constructed in the Greek Revival architectural style, it features a magnificent rotunda, impressive murals, and a range of exhibits showcasing Ohio's political history.
The Ohio General Assembly, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Ohio, and its two houses meet at the Ohio Statehouse. The Statehouse Museum gift shop is another place to find gifts.
20. Visit the Columbus Museum of Art
The Columbus Museum of Art is a must-visit destination for art lovers and anyone looking for an enriching cultural experience.
The museum's collection includes an impressive array of American and European art, from classical to contemporary, featuring works by artists such as Monet, Picasso, and O'Keeffe.
Explore the gift shop for fun gift ideas at the end of your visit.
Address: 480 E Broad St, Columbus, OH
21. Go on a Climbing Adventure
Vertical Adventures, one of the most popular rock climbing gyms in Ohio, features a variety of climbing walls, bouldering areas, and a dedicated training section.
The gym also offers classes for beginners, as well as special events and competitions throughout the year.
There are also outdoor rock climbing areas within a short drive of the city, including the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, which offers a bit of fresh air and lots of fun for climbers from all over the country.
22. Visit Kelton House Museum & Garden
The Kelton House Museum & Garden on Town St. is a historic home and a prime example of Greek Revival architecture. This home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visitors can take guided tours of the home and learn about the Kelton family's involvement in the abolitionist movement and their role in helping slaves escape through the Underground Railroad.
The museum is also an extraordinary site for ceremonies, receptions, bridal showers, and other special events.
23. Swing like Tarzan at ZipZone Outdoor Adventures
During your time in Columbus, there are several canopy-top zip lines and different rope courses you can try, including Adventure Park and Kids Park.
There are 60 challenging activities in each park but the most exciting event is a guided tour of the shady Ohio tree-tops with multiple zip lines.
25. Watch a Baseball Game at Huntington Park
Huntington Park is a popular baseball stadium and the home of the Columbus Clippers, a Minor League Baseball team affiliated with the Cleveland Indians.
The stadium is situated in the Arena District, which is a bustling neighborhood filled with bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues.
It is a great place to watch a baseball game and features modern amenities such as comfortable seating, concession stands, and a video scoreboard.
The atmosphere is lively and energetic, making for a fun experience for fans of all ages.
26. Visit the Ohio Theatre
Ohio Theatre in the center of town, along one side of Capitol Square.
It first opened in 1928 as a movie palace and has since been restored to its former glory. Today, it is a popular venue for concerts, plays, and other performances, as well as a top tourist destination.
The theater hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, including Broadway shows, concerts, and ballets from the Columbus Symphony Orchestra.
Visitors can easily combine a show at the Ohio Theater with dinner or drinks in the nearby Arena District.
27. Check out the Wagner-Hagans Auto Museum
The Wagner-Hagans Auto Museum is unique in Columbus. It is dedicated to the history of vintage automobiles and features an impressive collection of over 120 antique cars, trucks, and motorcycles, including rare and historic cars, such as a 1914 Model T, a 1934 Cadillac, and a 1953 Studebaker.
Visitors can learn about the history of these vehicles and see how they have evolved. You can also see a pedal car track and a hands-on engine exhibit, where you can learn about the mechanics of cars and engines.
28. Search for Hidden Treasures at the Treasure Hunt Maze
Treasure Hunt Maze is a fun and unique attraction located in Columbus OH. In the first treasure hunt facility of Central Ohio, visitors can search for hidden treasures and solve puzzles along the way.
The maze is designed to be challenging but not too difficult, so visitors can enjoy the experience without getting too frustrated.
The maze is constructed from over 2,500 hay bales, making it one of the largest hay bale mazes in the world.
It is designed to be environmentally friendly, using only natural materials and no plastic.
29. Check out the Columbus Arts Festival
The Columbus Art Festival is an annual event that takes place in downtown Columbus and is one of the most anticipated art festivals in the Midwest.
The festival features over 250 artists who work in a wide variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, jewelry, and more.
Visitors can browse the artwork, meet the artists, and purchase pieces to take home.
There is also live music, dance performances, poetry readings, and other cultural events.
30. Visit the Grange Insurance Audubon Center
The Grange Insurance Audubon Center is a celebration of nature right in the heart of the city of Columbus.
It is dedicated to promoting conservation and offers guided nature walks that allow visitors to explore the local flora and fauna and learn about the role they play in the ecosystem.
The Grange Insurance Audubon Center is located along the Scioto River and offers beautiful views of the river and downtown Columbus, making for a great place to enjoy bird-watching and outdoor adventures.
31. See a performance at the Southern Theatre
The Southern Theater is a historic performing arts venue managed by the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts.
The theater has a rich history dating back to 1896 and has undergone extensive renovations over the years to restore its original beauty.
Visitors can enjoy everything from classical and contemporary music concerts to stand-up comedy shows and Broadway-style productions.
32. Explore the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens are home to several indoor and outdoor gardens.
You can explore the Palm House, a Victorian-style glasshouse that houses a collection of tropical plants, and the Children's Garden, which features interactive exhibits and play areas.
With the variety of events, seasonal floral displays, and art exhibits, the conservatory is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and families visiting Columbus.
Address: 1777 E Broad St, Columbus, OH
33. Enjoy a Performance at the Shadowbox Live Theatre
Shadowbox Live is a premier performing arts venue located in downtown Columbus, Ohio.
This multi-faceted space offers a unique and diverse range of entertainment options, including live music, comedy, theater, and dance performances.
The theater regularly collaborates with local artists and performers to create cutting-edge productions that push the boundaries of traditional performance art.
The lively atmosphere and friendly staff make Shadowbox Live a popular spot for a night out on the town.
34. Visit the National Veterans Memorial and Museum
The National Veterans Memorial and Museum is a one-of-a-kind institution and national historic landmark in Central Ohio that honors the sacrifice of America's veterans and showcases the personal stories of veterans and their families.
Visitors can participate in hands-on activities and view multimedia presentations that bring the stories of veterans to life. The museum's circular design symbolizes the idea of a "circle of honor," with veterans at the center and the nation and its citizens surrounding them.
The building itself is a work of art and a fitting tribute to the veterans it honors.
35. Visit Wexner Center for the Arts
The Wexner Center for the Arts at the Ohio State University is a "multidisciplinary, international laboratory for the exploration and advancement of contemporary art."
It replaced the University Gallery of Fine Arts and assumed possession and stewardship of the University Gallery's permanent collection of roughly 3,000 artworks.
The center is made available to Ohio State University students and scholars for study and is open to the public.
FAQs relating to Fun Things to Do in Columbus, Ohio
Let's explore some frequently asked questions relating to fun things to do in Columbus, Ohio.
What do people do for fun in Columbus Ohio?
There are plenty of things to do for fun in Columbus, Ohio. The city has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with museums, galleries, and theaters showcasing local and national talent.
Sports fans can catch a game or tour the Ohio Stadium, while nature lovers can explore the Botanical Gardens or the Scioto Mile Riverfront Park.
Columbus also has a lively dining and nightlife scene, with many great restaurants, bars, and breweries to choose from.
What's cool about Columbus Ohio?
Columbus is a cool and exciting city with a lot to offer. One of its main attractions is its vibrant arts and culture scene, with world-class museums, galleries, and performing arts venues.
The city is also home to numerous restaurants, bars, and breweries serving up delicious and innovative cuisine. Columbus also boasts a beautiful and extensive park system, including the Franklin Park Conservatory and Scioto Mile Riverfront Park.
How do you spend a weekend in Columbus?
There are countless ways to spend a weekend in Columbus, Ohio. Start by exploring the city's cultural attractions, such as the Columbus Museum of Art, and the Ohio Expo Center.
Alternatively, visit the Ohio Stadium, the German Village, the Nationwide Arena, or the impressive National Veterans Memorial.
Then, head outside to enjoy the beautiful green spaces, such as the Scioto Mile Riverfront.
How can I have fun in Ohio?
Ohio State offers plenty of things to see and do. You can enjoy many activities in Cleveland, and the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and take a trip to the amusement park Cedar Point.
Other popular destinations include the historic Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Hocking Hills State Park, downtown Columbus, Franklin Park Conservatory, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Nationwide Arna, and the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton.
Summing Up: Fun Things to Do in Columbus, Ohio
Columbus is a vibrant city with something to offer everyone.
From Columbus Zoo and the scenic Topiary Park to the Franklin Park Conservatory, the Scioto River, and the Arena District for fans of the Columbus Crew and the Columbus Clippers, there is so much fun to be had when you explore Columbus.
In the evening, check out Columbus's vibrant night scene, with many great restaurants and bars to choose from.
So why not plan a visit to the Discovery City and experience all that Columbus has to offer?
Book your trip and discover for yourself why Columbus is one of the best destinations in the Midwest.