Creating a Spectacular Road Trip from Louisville, Kentucky to Columbus, Ohio
These cities are spectacular and the route is packed full of fun stops to make along the way!
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Looking to take a day and explore some of Ohio? A road trip from Louisville to Columbus is a fantastic way to do that! The trip is about three and a half hours in the car, and the road trip takes you through Cincinnati, among many other great places to stop in Kentucky and Ohio! Road trips of this length are perfect for weekend stays in your destination. There is so much to do and see in Columbus that you can pack your days as much as you want and never run out of fun for the few days you are visiting.
Alongside that, the travel from Louisville to Columbus takes you near many fun, lesser-known spots where you can stop along the way. A road trip as jam-packed as this one, well, you can go back again and again if you love it the first time! Which we think you will. Ohio’s capital is an absolutely amazing city and it is worth checking out.
If you are in the market for an amazing weekend road trip to Columbus, Ohio, read on for our favorite spots along the way and in the city!
Before you depart on your trip, it is worth noting that Louisville is an amazing city in its own right, and we want to highlight some attractions in and around the city that might be great places to check out outside of this road trip that’s coming down the pipeline. Attractions in Louisville are, naturally, less of a time commitment than ones in Columbus and are perfect for spur-the-moment decisions that take you into doing something new.
It’s all too easy to settle into a routine of places you eat and things you do within the city, and that sameness can start to wear you down. Later in this article, we will get to the meat of your trip with stops along the way and activities in your illustrious destination — Columbus. First, however, we wanted to share some of our favorite things to do in Louisville in hopes of inspiring you.
Tacos la Esperanza
This taqueria on wheels is located on 4527 Bardstown Road and they serve some of the best tacos the city has to offer. Food truck tacos have a little special something that makes them rise even higher on the list. They are cheap, flavorful, authentic tacos made by people who love, and we mean love, tacos. You will not regret coming here for a meal, and they have both meat and vegetarian options on their menu.
Quills Coffee on East Main Street
This is not far from the beaten path, but Quills is worth mentioning just because of how good it is. Their coffee blends are fantastic, the decor is top-notch, and their specialty drinks are all worth a try. A cafe like this is the perfect place to hang out and grab a drink with friends, or sit with a laptop or a book. The ambiance is pleasant and relaxing, and sometimes all you need is to get out of the apartment for a bit, especially if you are working from home.
Maddox and Rose Marketplace
Are you a fan of candles? We most certainly are! Candles add so much to a room, and at Maddox and Rose, you have the opportunity to make your own! This is the perfect cornerstone of a night out. They have a long bar where you can sit and create your own blend of scents while enjoying the beautiful interior and the pleasant staff. After around an hour at the place, the candle needs to sit and harden for an hour. That hour is the perfect time to explore the area and see what there is to see. We absolutely recommend trying out Maddox and Rose if you haven’t yet.
How about the theater? The Louisville theater has a ton of events, like musicals, stand-up, concerts, and much more. They have a wide variety of events cycling through all the time, and it is well worth taking a peek at their website every now and again to see if anything catches your eye.
Just like candle-making, going to the theater is a great foundation for an evening of fun. Depending on the time, you could go out to dinner before or after, or grab a drink at a nearby bar as well. This combo is unbeatable for an evening out on the town!
If any of these places catch your attention, great! As you plan your road trip from Louisville to Columbus, you can always stop by and try out something new in your own city. Now, without further ado, let us get into the road trip itself!
Road Trip Stops
There are a few ways to travel from Louisville to Columbus. You can take a bus or a train, but that’s not in the spirit of road tripping! Plus, if you take public transportation, you are not able to check out all of the awesome sights that lie between your starting place and your destination. If you are driving, here are a few of our favorite stops on the way to Columbus, Ohio.
Take a Detour into Nature
There are a lot of nature preserves on the route from Louisville to Columbus. Nature preserves are a pleasant spot to stop on your trip, letting you add a hike or a scenic outlook as a destination. Hikes are a great way to see the sights and check out a part of the state that you may never have seen, and, unless you have another hike planned in Columbus, they add some diversity to your trip. We recommend adding these on the return journey, however, especially during the Summer! There are stops all over the trip, but we wanted to highlight a pair of our favorites on the final stretch to Columbus. They give you the perfect chance to stretch your legs while taking in some of Ohio’s famous flora and fauna.
Stokes Berry Farm
The Stokes Berry Farm is located in Wilmington, Ohio and, well, they grow berries! Strawberries and Black Raspberries, to be exact. Only a little out of the way, stopping at the Berry Farm is a great place to stock up on some spectacular, fresh berries (some of the best you’ll ever have) while enjoying an idyllic scene of nature extending in all directions.
Colonial Park East
On the way to Columbus awaits Colonial Park, which is a sprawling 100+ acre park filled with trails, fields of green, and a whole lot of nature. This is a great place to stop for a hike and to take a break from your drive to stretch out your legs. Ohio is filled with absolutely spectacular parks that let you take a full turn without seeing any buildings or highways in any direction.
Stop in Cincinnati
Perhaps the largest landmark on your trip from Louisville to Columbus is the city of Cincinnati. Ohio’s third largest city, Cincinnati is choc full of points of interest. There are loads of things to do and places to visit and one of them is the Serpent Mound. While a quick google search will reveal places to order an awesome lunch and a killer cup of coffee, the Serpent Mound is a historic landmark built by natives thousands of years ago. If you stop in Cincinnati you have the opportunity to see some of America's most ancient history. It is a tremendous sight to see, and it only adds a few extra minutes to your trip! In terms of awe per minute spent, there is no place better than the Serpent Mound.
Ah, you’ve made it to Columbus! Ohio’s capital has a ton of places to visit and experience on your road trip. Home to almost 900,000 residents, this city is full of places to see and things to do. If you can, we recommend staying overnight in one of Columbus’ many hotels or an Airbnb in the area. This opens up so many doors like a nice dinner and breakfast the next day, as well as being able to take your time exploring the city. Here are a few of our favorite locations:
Fox in the Snow Cafe
This cafe, located in German Village (an amazing destination in its own right) serves up amazing coffee and is a great location to settle down, relax, and enjoy your day. German Village is small, historic, and beautiful, with a variety of cafes, restaurants, and boutique stores. If you haven’t been to German Village we recommend stopping by! It is an absolute blast and a day trip all on its own. Next time you visit this historic village, grab a delicious cup of coffee at Fox in the Snow Cafe!
Since you have some time here, stopping in German Village is an amazing way to spend your day if you’ve got something big planned in the evening and time free in the middle of the day. Between the shops and the sights, there is nowhere quite as rewarding as German VIllage.
Level 1 Bar and Arcade
Level 1 is an arcade for adults. There are loads and loads of arcade games and a full bar, with dozens of craft beers and their own arcade-y take on classic cocktails. A night at Level 1 is an absolute blast, delivering an experience unlike any other bar in the city. Next time you’ve got a weeknight free, consider stopping by Level 1. The best part — if you order a drink, all the games are free!
Clay Street Ceramics
This family-owned shop lets you make and paint your own pottery! It is fun and low-stakes, letting you live out your clay-making dreams with an experienced guide. It is always a great time, even when your planned pot turns lumpier than you ever anticipated. This makes a great date spot and a place to bring your friends to enjoy an activity that brings you back to middle school art class.
Short North Arts District
This area is perfect for an evening out. It is full of restaurants, bars, and much more. There is a thriving Short North culture that’s between the old, classic nature and the newer places that have moved in sometime in the last few years. There is something for everyone in Short North, making it an excellent place to spend an evening on your road trip. There is a wide variety of places to go and things to see depending on what you are looking for.
One of those places is Mike’s Bar. Although there’s never been a Mike who owned it, it captures the old-school nature of the Short North. It’s full of regulars and it’s a cash-only dive bar that sells cheap drinks and has a fantastic atmosphere. Everyone there has come to Mike’s to share a drink and have a good night with their fellow Ohioans. Some of the other bars at Short North are full of tourists. While there’s nothing wrong with that, if you are seeking a more authentic night there’s no place better than Mike’s.
That being said, Mike’s is only one place in Short North! If you plan on spending an evening there, we recommend stepping into a wide variety of bars there to see what they have to offer. Share a drink and a good time before absconding to the next where you can see how the ambiance differs between them! Or, perhaps, you find the perfect bar at stop one and spend the whole night there.
What are Your Road Trip Plans?
We’ve only scratched the surface of all you can do on your way from Louisville to Cincinnati, but we hope that we’ve inspired you to try out a road trip of your own! Where do you want to visit on your road trip?
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