The Top 99 Things To Do in Columbus in 2021

Your Ultimate Guide to Shops, Restaurants, and Experiences in Columbus

Columbus skyline along scioto river in autumn

By

Melissa Pallotti

on

Jan 21, 2021

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Hero image courtesy of @lifeincolumbus on Instagram.

Columbus is so much more than just the capital of Ohio -- it’s a beautiful, bustling city full of stunning parks, amazing culture, pulse-pounding sports, and most importantly, an incredible community. Whether you’ve lived in Columbus your whole life, you’re a recent transplant, or you’re just stopping by for a visit, Columbus has something for everyone.

Looking for things to do and see in Columbus? You’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together the ultimate list of things to do in Columbus in 2021, with 99 ideas for you to enjoy. Here’s a sneak peak at what’s on the list:

  • Locally-owned shops and restaurants you won’t want to miss
  • The best places to catch the game or catch up with friends
  • A look at Columbus’s dazzling nightlife scene
  • Family-friendly attractions kids of all ages can enjoy
  • And so much more!

So let’s jump right in!

1. Scioto Mile is a walk in the park

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Columbus, Scioto Mile is a great place to start. This string of gorgeous parks lines the Scioto River on both sides, providing great views and plenty of fun things to do.

The Scioto Mile Fountains are a favorite of Columbusites big and small. In the summer, it’s a great place for the kids (human and furbaby!) to cool off, and it’s also a stunning backdrop of IG-worthy photos of a date or day out with friends.

2. Grab a bite at Milestone 229

229 Civic Center Drive | Downtown | milestone229.com

Hungry after exploring Scioto Mile? Milestone 229 is the perfect place to stop and refuel. It’s the only restaurant located on Scioto Mile, so you can’t beat it for convenience. Milestone 229 also boasts gorgeous views of the skyline and a menu jam-packed with elevated takes on classic dishes like burgers, ribs, and crab cakes.

“Not only was the service A+ the food was absolutely perfect for the whole table! The chef clearly has a great talent & execution!” -- Tami W. on Yelp

3. Learn something new at COSI science center

333 W Broad St | Downtown | cosi.org

Voted the #1 Science Museum in the Nation by USA Today’s 10 Best not once, but twice, the Center of Science and Industry is a must-see Cbus attraction. With fun fountains out front, an out-of-this-world planetarium, tons of interactive exhibits, and gorgeous views, there’s truly something for everyone.

4. Snap a selfie at the Cbus Color Wall

257 S Young St | Downtown

Columbus is a vibrant city -- literally! There are plenty of murals sprinkled around the city -- like the Mona Lisa mural at 28 Bollinger Place or the Live Well Wings at 1079 N High Street -- but the Columbus Color Wall is by far the brightest. If you’re looking for the perfect backdrop for your next Instagram post, this is it. It’s a popular stop for wedding photos, birthday parties, and selfies just ‘cause.

The best part? Since it’s a rainbow wall, pretty much anything you wear will match!

5. Or grab your gameday gear and pose in front of the Football Players

424 W Town St | Franklinton

You know you’ve got a rivalry on your hands when it’s immortalized as a mural. The Football Players, created by Mandi Caskey and Jacob Tanner, represents the long-standing rivalry between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines.

Located on the side of Land Grant Brewing & Taproom, which yes, was founded by two OSU grads, this is the perfect place to grab a bite before any Cbus sporting event.

6. Catch a Blue Jackets game at Nationwide Arena

200 W Nationwide Blvd | Arena District | nationwidearena.com

Counting the days ‘til October? Same. When hockey season finally does roll around, don’t miss a second of the action. The energy in Nationwide Arena during a CBJ game is unreal -- whether you’re a hockey fan or not, it’s definitely a worthwhile experience!

7. Sip a local brew at Walking Distance Brewing Company

222 E. 8th St | Marysville | walkingdistance.beer

We’ve got brand new brews, just for you! Set to open sometime in late summer 2021, Walking Distance Brewing is the latest addition to the Columbus area’s bustling craft beer scene. Dedicated to Columbus’s history, the owners of this brewery to-be have been hard at work revitalizing a historic building to create a space where friends, family, and local businesses can come together.

8. Enjoy one of the best patios in the city at LGBT-owned and operated Barcelona

263 E Whittier St | German Village | barcelonacolumbus.com

Amazing Spanish cuisine? Check. LGBT-owned and operated? Check and check! Barcelona is a local favorite, and with good reason. Chow down on an unforgettable meal in Barcelona’s cozy indoor dining space, or when the weather’s nice, enjoy their beautiful patio space instead.

“Insane flavor combinations. You have to try new things at a place like this and it did not disappoint. Highly recommend!” -- Iris B. on Yelp

9. Sip and stroll around a new part of of the city when you find a DORA location

What is DORA, you ask? DORA stands for Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, and it’s a new program in Columbus that allows you to explore different districts of the city with your favorite alcoholic beverage in hand.

With DORA locations set up in some of Columbus’s trendiest neighborhoods, it will be a great way to enjoy the shopping, dining, and entertainment all summer long in areas like:

  • Bexley
  • Dublin
  • Hilliard
  • Gahanna
  • Grove City
  • Powell
  • Westerville
  • Worthington

10. Step back in time with a visit to Olde Towne East

Olde Towne East is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Columbus. Some of the homes in the area date back as far as the 1830s! Today you can still explore historic structures like Broad Street Presbyterian Church or you can check out tons of shopping and dining options.

11. And enjoy a bite at Gemüt Biergarten before you leave

734 Oak St | Olde Towne East | gemutbiergarten.com

In Germany, biergartens are places to relax, spend time with friends, and enjoy some delicious food and drink. Located in an old firehouse with dazzling stained glass windows, Gemüt brings a little bit of that distinctive German flavor to one of the most historic neighborhoods in Columbus. Be sure to try their giant pretzels!

“This place features a gorgeous dining experience inside or out on their luxe patio, delicious food, and remarkably friendly service. I've been for brunch, happy hour, and dinner and every time I visit I leave happy, impressed, and full.” -- Nathan P. on Yelp

12. Make a furry (or feathery… or scaly…) friend at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

4850 Powell Rd | Powell | columbuszoo.org

Located just north of the city, the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium is a popular attraction for residents and visitors alike. Stroll through the park and learn about creatures from around the globe, or sign up for a VIP experience to get up close and personal with the giraffes, stingrays, or lorikeets during snacktime.

13. Splash around at Zoombezi Bay

4850 Powell Rd | Powell | zoombezibay.com

Animals not quite wild enough for you? Located at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium Zoombezi Bay is a summer bucket list destination for families in Columbus. Adults will love lounging and floating down the lazy river, and kids will have a blast on the water slides.

14. Tour Anthony-Thomas’s Chocolate Factory (no golden ticket required!)

Considered a Columbus tradition, Anthony-Thomas has been serving up Columbus’s signature treat -- peanut-butter-packed milk and dark chocolate buckeyes -- since 1952. Take a tour of their factory located just off I-270 at 1777 Arlingate Lane or stop into any of their other 12 candy shoppe locations for a sweet treat.

15. Go on an underground adventure at Olentangy Indian Caverns

1779 Home Rd | Delaware | olentangycaverns.com

Looking for something exciting to do? Get your adrenaline pumping with an all-ages adventure at Olentangy Indian Caverns. You can pan for stones, take a tour of the caves, do some underground yoga, or even just hang out at the petting zoo.

“Can't believe I have missed seeing these Caverns after living in Columbus for 20 years! A must see if you haven't been or if you're visiting this area! Wear good shoes and take your time going through the awesome Caverns. They have information points that are really cool as well :)” -- Jamie J. on Yelp

16. Caves not your style? Go on a culinary tour instead with Columbus Food Adventures

Don’t want to choose between walking your way through Columbus and munching your way through Columbus? Thanks to Columbus Food Adventures, you don’t have to! A great activity to do with friends, for a date, or with the whole family, Columbus Food Adventures will take your group on some of the tastiest tours you’ve ever experienced.

Dedicated to showing off Columbus favorites and gourmet offerings as well as amazing food trucks and immigrant-owned eateries, there’s sure to be a tour you’ll enjoy. Columbus Food Adventures offers walking, self-guided car, and van tours, and they also provide some fun at-home experiences as well.

17. Stop by Columbus’s Saturday Market

59 Spruce St | Downtown | northmarket.org

Get a taste of the best and freshest food Columbus has to offer when you check out the Downtown Farmer’s Market at historic North Market. The Saturday market is a tradition 140 years in the making, and it features local farmers, artisans, merchants, and makers you won’t want to miss.

18. Get the gallery experience in Columbus’s Art District

Want to dive into Columbus’s cultural scene? Short North is the place to start. Not only is it Columbus’s Art District -- it’s also home to the Short North Gallery Crawl, which makes it easy to explore the local art scene.

Galleries open their doors and locals stroll the streets, enjoying the art, the food, and even live entertainment. If you’re looking for a casual way to explore the arts in Columbus, the Short North Gallery Crawl is for you.

19. Or get your own creative juices flowing with a glassblowing lesson at Glass Axis

610 W Town St | Franklinton | glassaxis.org

The art scene in Columbus is super welcoming. If you’re feeling inspired after exploring the galleries in Short North Arts District, try your hand at creating something incredible. Glass Axis is a nonprofit glass arts center dedicated to making glass art and teaching people about glassblowing. They offer equipment rentals, classes, gallery space, and more to help support local artists and get the Columbus community as a whole more involved in artmaking.

“Visited Glass Axis with my dad to make our own glass ornaments, and we both had such a great time! We loved getting to know the intricacies of glass blowing and the hands-on nature of the class - you really are making the things yourself!” -- Rebecca W. on Yelp

20. Watch artwork come to life (literally!) at The Topiary Park

480 E Town St | Discovery District

Located on the site of what was originally the Ohio School for the Deaf, Topiary Park is now a unique addition to the City. After the old school burned down in 1981, a Columbus artist who had an interest in George Seurat’s famous 1884 painting A Sunday Afternoon on the ISland of La Grande Jatte decided to recreate the masterpiece in the form of a topiary garden.

Today, the Topiary Park is a beautiful green space for visitors of all ages to enjoy.

“What a beautiful sight to behold. Now that I've finally visited, I'll be back often, there's no doubt about it.” -- Jayme H. on Yelp

21. Explore the city at your own pace with an app-guided scavenger hunt

There are plenty of tours that will guide you around Columbus, but this one is unique. Let’s Roam is an app-based scavenger hunt that will take you through some of Columbusus’s biggest attractions, from landmarks to hidden gems only the locals know about.

Even if you’ve lived in Columbus for years, you’ll love exploring the city, learning trivia, and solving challenges to complete the approximately 2 hour experience.

22. LEGOLAND Discovery Center

165 Easton Town Ctr | Easton | legolanddiscoverycenter.com/columbus

Perfect for kids and kids-at-heart, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Easton Town Center has tons of hands-on experiences for the whole family to enjoy. Build a LEGO car and race it down a ramp, catch a flick in the LEGO 4D theater, hop aboard a cart ride, engineer LEGO structures that will survive earthquakes on the quake table, check out a replica of Columbus built from over 1.5 million LEGO bricks, and much more!

23. Go wild for Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

4850 Powell Rd | Powell | columbuszoo.org

You don’t have to say goodbye to your zoo visits just because the temperature’s dropping! Every winter, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium decks the halls with thousands of lights for a dazzling display that is sure to keep you feeling merry and bright. Plus, with seasonal animal encounters like Reindeer visits, you’re sure to have an evening you’ll never forget.

24. Get ready to LOL with local comedians at the Funny Bone Comedy Club

145 Easton Town Ctr | Easton | columbus.funnybone.com

Laughter is the best medicine, which must make Funny Bone Comedy Club a bona fide doctor’s office. Sit back, relax, and enjoy uproarious acts from local comedians and national stars alike. Food and drinks are also available during the shows.

Keep in mind most shows at Funny Bone are 21+ events, except for the occasional 18+ night, so plan to leave the little ones at home.

25. Pick your own fruit at Lynd Fruit Farm

9399 Morse Rd SW | Pataskala | lyndfruitfarm.com

Apples, pumpkins, berries, sunflowers, peaches -- take your pick, literally! Lynd Fruit Farm is Columbus’s go-to place for fresh produce and fun, fruity festivals. If you don’t have time to go fruit picking yourself, you can still stock up on anything you might need at the market, open daily.

26. See your favorite films in a whole new way with Nightlight 614 Movie Series

Want to soak up all the summer you can? We don’t blame you! Get outside for a fun, 21+ event with Nighlight 614’s outdoor movie screenings. Enjoy food trucks, craft brews, pre-movie music, and more as you take in gorgeous views of the Columbus skyline and enjoy some of your favorite films.

On the schedule for 2021? Expect to see titles like Zoolander, Dirty Dancing, Gone Girl, and Beetlejuice.

27. Cover more ground with a Cbus bike tour

Biking is a great option if you’re trying to see as much of Columbus as possible. It’s great exercise, it’s environmentally friendly, and it lets you cover more ground than you can on foot.

Columbus Bike Tours can guide you wherever you want to go, whether that’s through Columbus’s scenic Metro Parks, a Rails to Trails ride, or a Bikeway ride. Plus, they offer a variety of bike rentals in size child to adult for riders to choose from, so you know you’ll be comfortable on your ride.

28. Stay on trend at Columbus Fashion Week

Calling all fashionistas -- Fashion Week has come to Columbus! The flagship program of the Columbus Fashion Council, Fashion Week Columbus brings high fashion right here to central Ohio.

Columbus Fashion week involves seven full days of fashion shows and related fashion programming, with a special focus on connecting emerging designers with media, buyers, and the broader fashion community of Columbus and beyond.

29. Grab a quick pick-me-up at Columbus Coffee Festival

Can’t get through your morning without a good ‘ol cup of joe? Neither can we. And neither can the rest of Columbus! Every year in September this coffee-loving city comes together to put on a weekend-long coffee festival showcasing roasters and shops from Columbus and beyond.

The Columbus Coffee Festival doesn’t just stop with bean juice, though -- you can also expect live music, gardening, yoga, axe-throwing, watercolors, history, and more.

30. Kick off Spooky Season the right way at the annual Westerville Pumpkin Glow

If you’ve been counting down the days ‘til Spooky Season since last Halloween, this one’s for you. Every year, Columbus suburb Westerville puts on a spectacular walk-through pumpkin display called the Westerville Pumpkin Glow. The ¼ mile experience features hundreds of carved pumpkins, and the fun doesn’t stop there.

Beyond the walk-through event, there are plenty of spooky things to do including pumpkin painting, fall-themed crafts, live music, professional pumpkin-carving, and food trucks.

31. Catch a play, musical, or movie at the stunning Ohio Theater

39 E State St | Downtown | capa.com

Whether you’re a true patron of the arts or you’re just looking for a fun night out, consider grabbing tickets to an event at historic Ohio Theater. Designed by Scottish-born architect Thomas W. Lamb to be “a place for the average man,” the gorgeous theater has housed countless performances and show-goers since its opening in 1928.

Catch a screening of a classic film or a classic cartoon. Sit back and enjoy the symphony, or get the Broadway experience right here in Columbus. There’s something for everyone.

32. Cheer on the Bucks at Ohio Stadium

411 Woody Hayes Dr | University District

You can’t visit the home of The Ohio State University without stopping by Ohio Stadium. Home to the OSU buckeyes, the Ohio Stadium sets Columbus apart from other college sports towns. Don’t forget to stock up on red and grey gear on campus before you head to the stadium

33. Soar through the sky at ZipZone Canopy tours

7925 N High St | Flint | zipzonetours.com

You don’t have to travel to some exotic, far-off forest to have the ziplining adventure of a lifetime. ZipZone Canopy Tours brings all the fun of ziplining to the heart of Columbus. Whether you choose the zipline experience, the treetop obstacle course, or stick to the kids’ playground on the ground, you’re sure to have a pulse-pounding adventure that you won’t soon forget.

34. Stop and smell the roses at Whetstone Park

3923 N High St | Clintonville | parkofroses.org

Also known as The Columbus Park of Roses, Whetstone Park is a scenic, sprawling park full of beautiful blooms throughout the year. Whether you catch the cherry blossoms in the spring or the roses in the summer, the Park of Roses is a romantic date destination or the perfect backdrop for your next photoshoot.

“This place is so beautiful. You have to know the best times though if you want to catch the actual roses. From late March to April is where you can find the magnolia trees and cherry blossom trees. I love photography, so I loved coming in to capture these pink beauties in the Spring.” -- Nadira Y. on Yelp
“Gamer fuel” at Kingmaker’s Board Game Parlor. Image courtesy of Yelp.

35. Wave goodbye to boredom at Kingmakers Board Game Parlor

17 Buttles Ave | Downtown | kingmakersfun.com

Board games are the classic boredom buster, and Kingmakers has plenty of options to choose from! Choose from a huge selection of games on the game wall -- you can even get recommendation from Kingmakers staff -- and head on into the parlor for just $5 per person.

This is a great location for a unique first date, fun night out with friends, or classic family game night showdown.

“I thought I knew games, but when I saw this wall, I realized that I knew only a small section. Luckily, we were recommended games to play and that would be fun based on our gaming preference. Kingmakers also has an assortment of beers, meads, and wines along with snacks!” -- Jamie E. on Yelp

36. Attend a gorgeous garden party at Kelton House

586 E. Town St | Discovery District | keltonhouse.com

Historic Kelton House has a lot to offer visitors. Its beautiful gardens and grounds are a great place to host events or schedule a professional photo shoot, and the house itself is a museum packed full of details about what life was like in Columbus in the latter half of the 19th-century.

Kelton House hosts lots of fun events inspired by bygone eras, like Bridgerton-inspired garden parties and galas inspired by the Roaring Twenties.

37. Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

1813 N High St | University District | cartoons.osu.edu

Located on Ohio State University’s campus, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is a must-see stop for cartoon and comic fans of all ages. The museum houses the largest collection of cartoon and comic memorabilia in the world, including original art, magazines and books, newspaper comic strips and clippings, and more.

Originally created in 1977 when two classrooms in OSU’s journalism building were converted into a gallery, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum has since grown to include over 300,000 original cartoons, 67,000 serials and comic books, and a whopping 2.5 million comic strip clippings.

38. Make yourself at home where the buffalo roam… Batelle Darby Creek Metro Park, that is!

1775 Darby Creek Dr | Galloway | metroparks.net

Did you know that Batelle Darby Creek Metro Park is the largest park in Central Ohio? It’s no surprise then that this is the home to a herd of real bison! Stop in to see some of America’s most iconic creatures in their natural habitat, and stay to explore Batelle Darby Creek’s 7,000 acres of forests, rivers, creeks, and fields.

39. Savor a scoop from Graeter’s Ice Cream Factory

1534 W Lane Ave | College Hill | graeters.com

Since their humble beginnings carting ice cream around central Ohio in 1870, the Graeter family has remained dedicated to crafting delicious, indulgent ice cream for all to enjoy. Sure, they shop nationwide, but nothing beats stopping into a genuine Graeter’s Ice Cream location to enjoy one of their decadent desserts.

40. Catch Columbus’s hottest cultural events at the “fireproof” Great Southern Theater

21 E Main St | Downtown | capa.com

Opened in 1896, The Southern Theater is the oldest surviving theater in central Ohio and among the oldest in the entire state.

After five theaters succumbed to fires in downtown Columbus between 1889 and 1893, local architecture firm Dauben, Krumm & Riebel decided they would build The Southern Theater differently. They constructed the new, “fireproof” theater with tile, brick, iron, steel, and concrete to deter it from meeting the same fate as its predecessors.

Today, you can catch live jazz and chamber music at The Southern Theater. It’s also the home of the Opera Columbus.

41. Make some noise for American Whistle Corp

6540 Huntley Rd | Worthington | americanwhistle.com

American Whistle Corp has been producing its classic brass whistles since 1956. They are also the only manufacturer of metal whistles in the United States. Stop by to tour the factory for a fascinating glimpse of American history, and don’t blow through the gift shop without picking up a souvenir.

42. Spend some time admiring Ohio’s natural beauty at Hayden Falls Park

4326 Hayden Run Rd | Dublin | columbus.gov

Part of Grigg’s Nature Preserve on the western bank of the Scioto River, Hayden Falls is a beautiful destination for local and visiting nature-lovers alike. Stop by in the summer and enjoy watching the water from the overlook, constructed in ‘06, or visit in the winter for the equally majestic site of the frozen falls.

Hayden Falls itself is 35 feet tall, and the 2 acre area around it are home to plenty of rare and endangered plants, making it a must-see stop.

43. Or jump right into nature and go paddle boarding at Prairie Oaks Metro Park

3225 NE Plain City-Georgesville Rd | West Jefferson | metroparks.net

Tired of sitting back and admiring nature? Dive right in instead! Prairie Oaks Metro Park is the perfect place to explore Ohio’s waterways. Grab a kayak or paddleboard and get out on the water for a relaxing, fun-packed day in the sun.

44. Add a few items to the to-read pile on your bookshelf at the cozy Book Loft in German Village

631 S Third St | German Village | bookloft.com

German Village’s Book Loft is a local favorite and a national attraction. One of the largest independent bookstores in the country, the book loft is made up of 32 rooms filled to bursting with every type of book you can imagine.

The buildings themselves are historic -- dating back to pre-Civil War Columbus, the buildings that make up the Book Loft were once general stores, a saloon, and a nickelodeon cinema.

45. Get up close and personal with some adorable new farmyard friends at Harrison Farm’s Goat Yoga

5278 Berger Road | Groveport | facebook.com/harrisonfarm

Yogis, this one is for you! Sure, you’ve probably tried hot yoga or yoga in the park, but have you tried goat yoga? These beginner-friendly yoga sessions are an experience unlike any other. Take a break and pet the goats between poses, or just go about your practice and wait for the goats to come to you.

46. Enjoy the Columbus Symphony under the stars at Picnic with the Pops for a fraction of their usual ticket price

Columbus Commons | columbussymphony.com

Live entertainment and amazing views of the Columbus skyline -- what more could you ask for? Picnic with the Pops brings the Columbus Symphony Orchestra outdoors for some summer fun, joined by some of today’s top entertainers.

Past picnics have included the musical works of Queen, Elton John, and the symphony has even teamed up with Ohio State’s marching band to up the energy at these budget-friendly events.

47. Join the folks of Franklinton for a neighborhood-wide celebration at Franklinton Fridays

Known for being one of the artsier areas of Columbus, Franklinton is a neighborhood you won’t want to miss. On the second Friday of each month, the people and businesses of Franklinton come together as a community to showcase local artists, support local businesses, and have an all around great time.

48. Have blue ribbon-worthy fun at the Ohio State Fair

It’s no secret that the Ohio State Fair is huge, but do you know how huge? One of the largest state fairs in the country, the Ohio State fair sprawls out over several acres and hosts nearly a million visitors. It moved around between several Ohio cities in the early days, but it has called Columbus’s own Ohio Expo Center home since 1886.

49. Get in touch with Dublin’s roots at the Dublin Irish Festival

You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy the Dublin Irish Festival. With a full weekend of festivities, you’re sure to find something to enjoy. Sit back and listen to Irish music from classic folk songs to U2. You can also check out Irish dance competitions, theater performances, search for fairy doors, or join the people and pubs of Dublin for the annual downtown Dublin beer crawl.


50. Catch all of the best food trucks in Columbus in one spot at Cbus Food Truck Fest

Columbus is home to plenty of amazing food trucks -- like Big Mouth Egg Rolls or Machete Taqueria -- but how often do you get to see them all in one place? The Columbus Food Truck Festival features some of the best gourmet and fan-favorite food trucks from Cbus itself and all over the country. Be sure to show up hungry!

51. Find your next car (or dream car) at the Columbus International Auto Show

Sure, we all see Toyotas and Nissans and maybe even some Teslas on the road every day, but you’ve never seen anything quite like the collection of cars at the Columbus International Auto Show.

Stroll around the Greater Columbus Convention Center and check out the newest models from your favorite companies as well as exotic cars and classic cars you’ll probably never see on the road. With games, food, and activities, a trip to the car show makes for a fun night for the whole family.

52. Hit the dog park at Glacier Ridge with your four-legged friend

Columbus isn’t just for humans -- there are plenty of things for pups to do here, too! Give your dog a fun day out when you take a trip to Glacier Ridge. With lots of room to run around and fun obstacles to explore, your canine companion will have a blast (and maybe even run off some of that extra energy, too!)

53. Or chow down on some dogs at Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace

248 S 4th St | Downtown | dirtyfranks.com

Not a dog park kind of day? Swap your pet dog for a hot dog when you visit Dirty Frank’s iconic hot dog shop. His dogs come loaded with all sorts of mouthwatering toppings and pair beautifully with a heap of fresh, hot french fries, so definitely bring your appetite.

“HANDS DOWN! Best Hot Dogs in Columbus!!! Everytime I have the chance to visit Columbus this is my spot for lunch/dinner and a few beers. I always wanna come back for more! Friendly bartenders, affordable and fast service. This is a must go place if you're in Columbus. They also have vegan dogs that taste just like meat.” -- Rachel E. on Yelp

54. Enjoy patio seating all year round in one of Vaso’s rooftop Igloos

6540 Riverside Dr | Dublin | vasodublin.com

Located atop the AC Hotel by Mariott in Dublin, Vaso is a local favorite for rooftop dining all summer long. With gorgeous views of the city and the Scioto River, it makes for a romantic night out. Luckily, you don’t have to say goodbye to Vaso’s rooftop dining just because the weather turns cold -- you can dine in an igloo all winter long.

“The atmosphere here was amazing! It's an awesome rooftop, modern venue with a killer patio. Great views of Dublin.” -- Chris B. on Yelp

55. Watch history come to life at Ohio Village

800 E 17th Ave | Linden | ohiohistory.org

Ever wonder what life was like during the Civil War? Now you can see it first-hand. Ohio Village is a living history museum where visitors can step back in time to see what daily life was like in 1890s Ohio. Between authentic fashion, games, chores, and transportation, you’re sure to learn a ton!

56. Or get a more traditional museum experience at the Ohio History Connection

I-71 & 17th Avenue | Linden | ohiohistory.org

While you’re in the area, step inside the Ohio History Connection and check out the Ohio History Connection! Explore the history of the great state of Ohio -- the museum has everything from dinosaur bones to Miss Ohio’s gown to vintage vehicles, and lots more in between.

57. Get creative or catch an exhibit at the Ohio Craft Museum

1665 W. 5th Ave | Upper Arlington | ohiocraft.org

Love getting creative? Columbus has the perfect museum for you. The Ohio Craft Museum is a fun stop for all ages. Every year, the museum features five major exhibitions on top of a series of rotating displays from their expansive permanent collection. If learning about crafting and fine arts has you feeling inspired, you can even participate in a hands-on workshop -- there are options available for visitors from kids to adults.

58. Sip some award-winning whiskey at High Bank Distillery

1051 Goodale Blvd | Grandview Heights | highbankco.com

What if we told you that the Best Blended Whiskey in America is from right here in Columbus? Well according to the judges at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition -- the 2nd oldest in the world -- High Bank’s Whiskey War Barrel Proof bested offerings from over 2,500 distilleries around the globe to win the title.

Try a glass of their award-winning whiskey, enjoy a cocktail, or just chow down on some of the delicious items on their menu and you won’t be disappointed.

“High Banks was modern, light, bright and clean! Multiple TVs could be seen from every seat in the house.  I can see us returning for a football game.  But we came for the food today.” -- Tls K. on Yelp

59. Find your new favorite flavor at CRMD

1190 N High St | Short North | getcrmd.com

CRMD isn’t your typical ice cream destination. They’re known around town for their puffles, scoops of ice cold ice cream served in delicious, still-warm egg waffles. Not your thing? Try an ice cream sandwich or just enjoy their ice cream in a bowl. With unique options like Fruity Pubbles, Buckeye, Black Vanilla, Matcha, Raspbery Sorbs, and more, you might just find a new favorite flavor.

As Akron-based 80s superstars Devo said: Lick it, lick it real good. Or something like that!

“This place was legit. My first time going in. I got the puffy cone with cookie butter and Oreo. I'm telling you the ice cream was made to perfection. When I got the puffy waffle cone it was actually still warm. Five stars for this experience.” -- Sarah N. on Yelp

60. Get your caffeine fix with a cotton candy cloud on top at Bottoms Up Cafe

1069 W Broad St | Franklinton | bottomsupcoffee.com

You know what pairs well with an amazing cup of coffee? Some social change, that’s what. The owners of Bottoms Up Cafe saw a problem in their neighborhood -- Franklinton has some of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation -- and they decided to do their part to help by providing diapers to parents in need and teaming up with other businesses to support their community.

Not only can you feel good about grabbing your coffee at Bottoms Up, you can also enjoy totally unique creations like their rainy day coffee, which comes complete with a cloud of cotton candy.

“I think I have found my new favorite coffee shop!  My latte is incredible, the baked goods are unique and look delectable, and the inside of the building is gorgeous. The staff is friendly and it is wonderful that the cafe gives back to the community. Well done, Bottoms Up!” -- Genevieve R. on Yelp

61. Explore the CMOA’s contemporary Pizzuti Collection in artsy Short North

632 Park St | Short North | columbusmuseum.org/pizzuti-collection

A separate branch of the Columbus Museum of Art, the Pizzuti collection contains an exciting collection of modern and contemporary artworks. Housed in a carefully restored historic building in the Short North Arts District, the Pizzuti Collection is a great place to explore world class paintings, sculpture, film, drawings, and more.

62. Try a donut (or a dozen!) at Donna’s Delicious Dozen

5322 N Hamilton Rd | Gahanna | donnasdeliciousdozen.com

There are plenty of “best donut shops” out there, but Donna’s Delicious Dozen really might be the best donut shop out there. Locally owned and operated, Donna’s made-to-order donuts come in an incredible array of flavors, drizzles, and toppings. Choose an item from their menu, or create something entirely your own -- there’s no wrong way to order! Gluten free options available.

“This is the best donut place I have ever been to. I came out to Ohio for college and found this gem and EVERY TIME I visit I have to come back.” -- Maren B. on Yelp

63. Learn about Columbus’s local heroes at the Fire Museum

260 N 4th St | Downtown | centralohiofiremuseum.com

Columbus Fire Department’s historic former Engine House No. 16 has been transformed into a dream come true for every kid (or former kid) who’s ever dreamed of being a firefighter. Pay tribute to the barve firemen and women who risk their lives to protect our communities and get to know what their daily lives look like.

64. Sign up for a library card at Columbus Metropolitan Library

There’s never a bad time to borrow a good book. With locations all over the city, the Columbus Metropolitan Library is a convenient way to keep up on your reading. Plus, with digital content, museum access programs, historical information, genealogical records, events, activites, and more, you’re sure to find something that’s up your alley… er, aisle?

65. Nosh on something awesome at The Lox bagel shop

772 N High St | Short North | theloxbagelshop.com

Bagels are a breakfast staple, so you definitely want them done right. The Lox bagel shop in Short North hand rolls, boils, and bakes every bagel they sell. Grab a bagel, pair it with a spread, or opt for one of their delicious, gooey breakfast sandwiches. There are no bad options here.

“I have become somewhat of a bagel sandwich aficionado, because I truly think there are few things in life better than a delicious breakfast sammy. The Lox is the top contender!” -- Dani K. on Yelp

66. Have an ice cream sandwich any which way you want at S’Wich Social

869 N 4th St | Italian Village | swichsocial.com

These aren’t your mom’s ice cream sandwich -- the tasty treat of your childhood just grew up, and boy is it good! The process is simple -- choose your cookies, choose your ice cream, choose your toppings -- but the results are nothing short of incredible.

Choose from cookie flavors like couch potato and birthday cake, along with classics like cookies and cream and snickerdoodle. Ice cream ranges from old fashioned vanilla to “exhausted parent” -- bourbon-spiked espresso ice cream any parent is sure to appreciate.

“This place is always so busy, once you try it, will know exactly why. The cookies are great, ice cream is even better. One of our favorite places in short north, can't wait for multiple more visits.” -- Pratik S. on Yelp

67. Pay tribute to our brave men and women in arms at the National Veterans Memorial Museum

300 W Broad St | Franklinton | nationalvmm.org

The National Veterans Memorial Museum is the only museum in the nation that honors all veterans -- from every branch, from every era in our country’s history -- all in one place. The National Veteran’s Memorial Museum isn’t a war memorial, and it isn’t a military museum. It’s designed to be a powerful experience that gives voice to the stories of the countless servicemen and women who have helped protect our country.

68. Dig up some new information at the Orton Geological Museum

155 S Oval Mall | University District | ortongeologicalmuseum.osu.edu

Housed in a building that looks a heck of a lot like Hogwarts and located on Ohio State’s Campus, the Orton Geological Museum is a unique find. As part of the university’s School of Earth Sciences, the Orton Museum plays a key role in OSU’s academic programs.

Whether you’re an OSU student or not, you can explore rocks from this world and beyond, learn about minerals, and even check out fossils.

69. Sample some of the best wines, cocktails, and brews in Dublin on the Celtic Cocktail Trail

Sip me, I’m Irish! Or at least, the local watering holes featured on the Dublin Cocktail Trail certainly are. When you sign up for this event, you’ll receive a mobile passport that allows you to follow along on the Celtic Cocktail adventure right from your smartphone. Participants receive a commemorative t-shirt at the end of the experience.

70. Or satisfy your sweet tooth on the West Side Ice Cream Trail

Trade bar hopping for ice cream shopping when you take on the West Side Ice Cream Trail. It may not be an official trail (yet!) but the real prize is all of the deliciou ice cream you’ll try along the way. The list features 7 fun stops the whole family can enjoy.

71. Or maybe even follow the Irish Fairy Door Trail for a magical adventure in downtown Dublin

If you plan on spending the day in Dublin, why not add a little magic to your stay? The Irish Fairy Door Trail is a free adventure for visitors that involves visiting 12 of downtown Dublin’s finest local shops to find the store’s resident fairy and fairy door. What happens if you find all 12? Stop by the Dublin visitor center for a free t-shirt to celebrate!

72. Support Columbus’s local businesses when you follow the Made in Cbus Trail

Columbus is bursting with locally owned businesses, and the Made in Cbus Trail is the perfect chance to check them out! The passport will take you all across the city to some of Columbus’s best local restaurants, shops, and attractions. Plus, you can redeem your completed trail book for a free gift (made by a local Cbus business, of course) at the Visitor Center in Easton when you’re done.

73. Shop ‘til you drop at Polaris Fashion Place

1500 Polaris Parkway | Polaris | polarisfashionplace.com

Polaris Fashion Place is much more than a shopping mall -- stroll through the beautiful town center, shop at your favorite stores, enjoy a dancing fountain, check out public artwork, grab a bite to eat, and so much more! With so many things to do, Polaris Fashion Place will keep you busy from the moment you arrive.

74. Let the kids have some education play time while you get some shopping done at the Mall at Tuttle Crossing

5043 Tuttle Crossing Blvd | Dublin | shoptuttlecrossing.com

Do your little ones get antsy when you’re spending a day at the stores? The Mall at Tuttle Crossing has the perfect solution -- a STEM play place designed to give your kiddos a place to run off some energy and learn a thing or two, too. Shop your favorite stores -- like Foot Locker, Claire’s, Rue 21, Vans, and more -- and then hang out and play for a while.

75. Test your skills and agility at the Glacier Ridge Metro Park ninja obstacle course

Think you have what it takes to be a ninja? Test out your skills on this awesome play area, free to the public in Glacier Ridge Metro Park. Built in partnership with the Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture, the play area is comprised of a variety of different structures where you and the kiddos can pretend you’re competing on American Ninja Warrior.

With ramps, towers, platforms, a rope hammock, rock climbing, and even a small zipline, the Glacier Ridge ninja obstacle course is sure to keep you busy for a good while!

76. Get a glimpse of what farm life is like at Slate Run Living Historical Farm

Located in Slate Run Metro Park, Slate Run Living Historical Farm is a great option for a unique day in Columbus. Experience what farm life was like in the 1880s and gain a whole new appreciation for the technologies we use every day. Check out the authentically restored gothic farmhouse that dates back to 1856, or hang around to visit with the pigs, geese, sheep, turkey, and other farm animals.

77. Get up close and personal with wildlife at Ohio Wildlife Center

2661 Billingsley Rd | Franklin | ohiowildlifecenter.org

Get to know Ohio’s native flora and fauna at the Ohio Wildlife Center. The center has been saving animals and educating the Columbus community since 1984, and has treated nearly 6,000 furry, feathered, and scaly patients and counting. Stop by for an educational visit and support a great nonprofit in the Cbus!

78. You can’t visit Columbus without riding the Cbus!

Need to get around town? Park your car and let the Cbus do the rest. The Cbus runs every 15 minutes, every day of the week, so you can rest assured that you’ll be on your way to your downtown destination soon.

79. Reserve a lane and bowl a game at Star Lanes Polaris

8655 Lyra Dr | Polaris | starlanespolaris.com

Bowling alleys sometimes get a bad rep for being old, dirty, and rundown, but Star Lanes Polaris is an upscale bowling experience the whole family will enjoy! Have bowling neon-lined lanes under a blacklight, play some games in the arcade, and refuel with some grub from Star Lanes’s restaurant.

80. Learn to Yes-And in a class at Hashtag Comedy

346 E Long St | Downtown | hashtagcomedy.com

Kids are some of the best comedians out there, but all too often they get left out of the comedy scene. At Hashtag Comedy, you can sign your class clown up for kid-friendly improv classes, or join an adult lesson yourself! If you’re not in the mood to put on a show yourself, you can also sit back and enjoy a live improv comedy experience instead.

81. Take a selfie with yourself at the As We Are art installation at the Greater Columbus Convention Center

400 N High St | Arena District | columbusconventions.com

Make yourself a part of the Columbus art scene -- literally! This cool exhibit on view at the Greater Columbus Convention Center allows you to scan your face and projects it on a giant digital display. How’s that for a cool selfie?

82. Or track down the Columbus College of Art & Design’s  ART sculpture

60 Cleveland Ave | Downtown | ccad.edu

Speaking of Art, check out the Columbus College of Art & Design’s campus while you’re downtown. Since its founding in 1879, the school has trained some of Columbus’s best and brightest creatives, attracting attention from aspiring artists and designers from all over the country.

83. Snap a photo of the Bike Arch at Easton Town Center

160 Easton Town Ctr | Easton | eastontowncenter.com

We’ve already covered some of the many shopping, dining, and entertainment options at Easton Town Center, but it’s also a great place to continue your search for awesome public art. Easton Town Center is home to this colorful bike display, so be sure to seek it out when you stop by!

84. Or the umbrellas

160 Easton Town Ctr | Easton | eastontowncenter.com

Also located at Easton Town Center, this bright umbrella display is the perfect pop of color for your next Instagram pic. Don’t forget to strike a pose!

85. Catch a flick at the South Drive in Theater

3050 S High St | Southside | drive-inmovies.com

Drive-ins used to be the way to catch the latest flick, but over the last several decades, they’ve all but disappeared. Have a fun night out, catch a new click, and support this drive-in that has been keeping Columbus entertained since the 70s. Bringing your own snacks is encouraged!

86. Play a round of putt-putt at Miner 49er Blacklight Mini Golf

1158 W 3rd St | Grandview Heights | miner49erminigolf.com

Everyone loves a good game of putt-putt, but Miner 49 puts a unique spin on the classic game. Play through their unique course -- easy enough for kids to enjoy but unique enough to give putt-putt champs a challenge -- surrounded by hand-painted murals of the old west. And the best part? It glows!

87. Tee off at Royal American Links golf course

3300 Miller Paul Rd | Galena | royalamericanlinks.com

Columbus-born Jack Nicklaus, The Golden Bear, is widely considered one of the best golfers of all time. And while you may not be able to play the back nine at his private golf course Muirfield Village, you can still check out some of the other awesome golf courses in the Columbus area.

Located just north of Columbus in Galena, Royal American Links gives you the feel of the seaside links of Scotland right here in Central Ohio.

88. Or learn about The Golden Bear himself at the Jack Nicklaus Museum

2355 Olentangy River Rd | University District | nicklausmuseum.org

Want to know more about the Golden Bear himself and his incredible golf career? Columbus-born golf champion Jack Nicklaus was born and raised in Columbus, and you can visit a museum dedicated to his achievements right in the heart of his hometown, located in the sports complex at Ohio State University.

89. Chow down on some brats at Schmidt's Sausage Haus

240 E Koussuth St | German Village | schmidthaus.com

Voted Bahama Mama’s Official Food of Columbus and visited by Food Network’s Man vs. Food, Schmidt’s Sausage Haus is famous in Columbus and beyond. Beginning with the J. Fred Schmidt Meat Packing House in 1886, the Schmidt family has been delivering the best of the brats to the Columbus community for over 150 years.

“Great authentic German food! Great service! The best pretzel bites you've ever had! And their over-sized creme puffs are to die for! They also have an amazing banana pudding pie!! Definitely eat here!” -- Nikki H. on Yelp

90. Beat your high score at 16 Bit Bar + Arcade

254 S 4th St | Downtown | 16-bitbar.com/columbus

Game on! Play your favorite classic arcade games -- the lineup includes favorites like Dig Dug, Galaga, Mario Bros, Mortal Kombat, Space Invaders, pinball, and many more -- while you enjoy your favorite adult beverage. Kids are welcome on Shorty Sundays from noon-5pm, but other than that it’s a 21+ gaming experience.

“I mean, what's not to love about 16 Bit? There's booze and there are vintage video games. For me, it's like stepping back in time to my childhood (80s kid here) back when they had arcades in malls.” -- Karla F. on Yelp

91. Or get nostalgic at Arcade Super Awesome

892 Oak St | Valleyview | arcadesuperawesome.com

Located at Sideswipe Brewing, Arcade Super Awesome is another member of Columbus’s bustling “barcade” scene. Enjoy a few brews and play pinball with your friends, or get a little competitive with this unique date idea.

92. Show off your physique at the Arnold Classic

Established in 1989, the IFBB Arnold Sports Festival (also known as the Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival or the Arnold Classic) is an annual event held at the Columbus Convention Center. Featuring a variety of competitions -- including professional bodybuilding, strongman, fitness, figure, and bikini competitions -- it is the place to show off your hard work in the gym.

93. Spend the day at Magic Mountain

Mini golf and go-karts and bumper boats, oh my! There are plenty of fun ways to spend a day at a Magic Mountain Fun Center. With multiple locations in Columbus, you can rest assured that Magic Mountain’s batting cages, interactive arcade, and bumper cars are never too far away!

“Every ime that we go to magic mountain we have an amazing time!  There are a lot of games,  laser tag is fun, the bumper boats, the go carts and the climbing structure.   We've tried the pizza there and it's surprisingly very good!” -- Ruth R. on Yelp

94. Jump for joy at Urban Air Trampoline Park

Trampoline parks are the perfect place for some high-flying fun, and Urban Air is our top pick in the Columbus area. With locations in Dublin and Reynoldsville, you’re never too far from the action. In addition to trampolines, Urban Air boasts a climbing wall, ropes course, tubes playground, and more, which will keep the whole family moving and having fun for hours.

“By far the most fun my kids and I have had in a long time. This place was a blast! Extremely clean also. Friendly staff. We will for sure be going back often.” - Shannon G. on Yelp

95. Experience the sights and sounds of the All Ohio Balloon Fest

Just a hop, skip, and a jump outside of the city (or an approximately 30 minute drive) is an event unlike anything else on this list -- the All Ohio Balloon Festival in Marysville. Featuring 30+ hot air balloons plus additional entertainment like sky jumpers, live music, and food, the Balloon Fest is a great way to spend the day.

Feeling adventurous? You can even soar through the skies in a helicopter, plane, or balloon ride.

96. Brew your own beer at North High Brewing

1288 North High St | Short North

Looking for something a little different for date night? North High Brewing is the place to be. Sample the tasty brews they have on tap, or brew your own batch! With 30+ recipes to choose from --  including stouts, porters, IPAs, and more -- you’re sure to find something that suits your taste.

Brewing the beer is a three-hour, hands-on process at North High. The average batch yields about 15 gallons of beer (which translates to about 140 12 oz. bottles!) which you can pick up a few weeks after your brew session when the beer has had a chance to ferment.

“This is my favorite brewery and the best part is that its close to home. I love the atmosphere, the vibe, the bartenders and most of all, the beer. My wife and I go here 2-3 times a month. Support local!” -- Todd D. on Yelp

97. Lace up your skates and head to the rink for a fun day at The Chiller

You don’t have to wait for the leaves to change to hit the ice in Columbus. With several locations to choose from, The Chiller is a great way to get on the ice no matter what the weather’s like outside. Cool off this summer or gear up for the holiday season at a public skating session, or sign up for a class to hone your hockey or figure skating skills.

98. Hang out on Gay St. after hours at the Moonlight Market

Night owls can still get a taste of the outdoor market scene in Columbus at the Moonlight Market! Located in the heart of downtown on Gay St., the Moonlight Market features brick and mortar shops, pop up stores, street vendors, amazing restaurants, street musicians, and other live performers.

The Moonlight Market season runs April through October, so be sure to catch it while you can!

99. Take in the Cbus skyline, of course!

Columbus is full of beautiful city views. When most people think of the Columbus Skyline, they probably think of the skyline from Scioto Mile, but there are plenty of other amazing spots to catch a glimpse of the city skyline too. While you’re exploring the other stops on this list, take some time to sit back and look toward the sky -- with its unique blend of architectural styles and designs, the Columbus skyline is a sight you won’t want to miss!

If you weren’t convinced before, you ought to be now -- there is a LOT to do in Columbus! From exploring some of the Metro Parks with the family to getting nostalgic at one of Columbus’s “barcades,” there’s plenty for everyone.

What are your favorite things to do in Columbus? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll try to feature them in a future article!

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August 20, 2021
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