As one of the coolest cities in the area (and the country), Columbus has a lot to offer. With constant news and events, it can be hard to figure out how to best experience the city. Here is the ultimate Columbus bucket list to get you on your way. Grab your friends and head out to explore! I promise, you won’t regret any of it.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Enjoy the Columbus skyline via a downtown stroll.
With the addition of Bicentennial Park, Scioto Mile Promenade, and the Main Street Bridge, downtown Columbus has become a great place to enjoy the evening with friends or family. The views are stunning, and you'll get to admire them side-by-side with Terry Allen's deer sculptures.
2. Get lost in the endless rooms of books at The Book Loft.
The Book Loft in German Village is one of the largest independent bookstores in the country. The shop has 32 rooms filled with an incredible collection of bargain books. You will definitely want to experience the unique vibe of this place for yourself. For more details, check out our recent feature article
The Book Loft is located at 631 S 3rd St., Columbus, OH 43206.
3. Visit the Leveque Tower
With its grandeur and beautiful Art Deco style, the Leveque Tower has played a big role in the city’s history and skyline. The recent 2017 renovation has reopened a hotel in the building, as well as a restaurant and bar that’s open to the public. It's certainly one of the most
in the city.
The Leveque Tower is located at 50 W Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215.
4. Explore Gallery Hop.
On the first Saturday of every month, the galleries in the Short North stay open all evening. This is a great night to browse art, enjoy street musicians, and check out the bars and restaurants in the area.
5. Discover incredible animals at the Columbus Zoo.
The Columbus Zoo is considered one of the best zoos in the country. Here you can observe incredible animals like the red panda, kangaroos, polar bears, bison, and so many others. Going on an overcast day can be a good way to avoid the crowds!
The Columbus Zoo is located at 4850 Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065
6. Jazz out with the Hoodoo Soul Band.
The Hoodoo Soul Band lights up the Rumba Cafe with jazz, funk, and blues every Sunday at 10:00 pm. The band was established in 1995, and the Sunday gig has been alive almost as long. The band offers more than just music- it's a whole experience that you must see before you die.
Rumba Cafe is located at 2507 Summit St., Columbus, OH 43202.
7. Try unique foods at the North Market.
The North Market has over 30 distinct vendors, selling foods from all over the world, wines, flowers, ice cream- you name it! The market tends to see a big lunch rush, so be prepared if you’re planning a midday visit. You can read more about this exceptionally tasty place in our recent feature article
North Market is located at 59 Spruce St., Columbus, OH 43215.
8. Experience new emotions at the Wexner Center for the Arts.
The Wexner Center for the Arts is a nationally-renowned museum. Exhibits here focus on modern and contemporary art. In addition to the amazing art, you will also find movies and performances held here. Admission to the gallery is free on Thursdays after 4:00 p.m. The Wexner is definitely one of our
best museums in Columbus
Wexner Center for the Arts is located at 1871 N High St., Columbus, OH 43210
9. Exercise on the Olentangy Trail.
The Olentangy-Scioto Trail follows the two main rivers in the city, but you can enjoy the trail in any part of the city. The path is used by hikers, joggers, bikers, and dog-walkers alike. Most of the trail is asphalt-covered and easy to follow. It's a wonderful way to enjoy nature and get some exercise.
10. Cool off in the fountains at the Bicentennial Park.
Built to celebrate Columbus' 200th birthday, the Bicentennial Park features beautiful contemporary fountains. These fountains can turn on and off unexpectedly as you run through them, giving you a fun adrenaline rush on a summer day.
Bicentennial Park is located at 233 S Civic Center Dr., Columbus, OH 43215.
11. Taste some brews at one of Columbus’s many local breweries.
Breweries from Columbus, OH, let’s see... off the top of my head: Lineage, North High, Columbus Brewing Company, Seventh Son, Wolf’s Ridge, Land Grant...and yes, there’s
! If you live in the central part of Columbus, you can probably walk to a brewery, and they’re all very good.
12. Enjoy The Rambler and a bluegrass jam session at The Rambling House.
If you don't know about this place, chances are you would never even notice it. No worries, though, The Rambling House has lots of regulars who love coming out to this laid back spot to enjoy some bluegrass jams. The establishment also makes their own soda! The best way to sample the soda is in their very own house cocktail, The Rambler.
The Rambling House is located at 310 E. Hudson St., Columbus, OH 43202.
13. Spend time at Comfest.
Comfest, a community festival that happens every June in Goodale Park, has been a staple of Columbus life since 1972. This "party with a purpose" offers live music, shops, and foods, raises money for various causes in the city, and celebrates community, diversity, and tolerance.
14. O-H-I-O at a live Buckeyes game.
The Buckeyes and their wins (and losses... but mostly wins) bring together friends and families for cheers, boos, hugs, and just lots of great times. Known as "The Shoe" among locals, the Ohio State stadium turns scarlet and grey on game days and fills the city with an incredible energy. O-H!
15. Take an arts class at the Cultural Arts Center.
Sitting in downtown Columbus, this beautiful building hosts a wonderful city arts center. Here you can take classes in ceramics, stone carving, painting, and many other crafts. A shop and gallery are also on site.
The Cultural Arts Center is located at 139 West Main Street, Columbus, OH 43215.
16. Order the gyro combo from Buckeye Donuts at some ungodly hour of night.
Buckeye Donuts has been a staple of campus and Columbus life for years. Besides selling a huge assortment of delicious donuts, they also serve a variety of gyros. The place is open 24 hours a day, making it the perfect destination when you're craving a gyro and a side of paprika tossed french fries after a late night out.
Buckeye Donuts is located at 1998 N High St., Columbus, OH 43201.
17. Visit the bison at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park.
The bison is an iconic American animal, but did you know you could see free roaming bison here in Columbus? Battelle Darby Creek, located just west of the city, has reintroduced bison to the park where they roam in two enclosed pastures.
Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park is located at 1775 Darby Creek Dr., Galloway, Ohio, OH 43119
18. Take "the long walk" with your significant other on The Oval.
Legend has it that a couple who completes "the long walk" will find eternal love and happiness. This walk must begin at the statue of William Oxley Thompson by the Thompson Library on Ohio State's campus. The couple must hold hands during the entire walk as they make their way from the statue across The Oval all the way to the Ohio State seal by College Road. Standing on the seal, the couple should "seal" it with a kiss. It's one of the sweetest
in the city!
The Thompson Library is located at 1858 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210.
19. Indulge in a symphony concert at the historic Ohio Theatre.
For a beautiful night, head to a performance by the Columbus Symphony Orchestra at the Ohio Theatre. The classical music will delight your senses, and you will be in awe of the beauty of the theatre. Treat yourself to a glass of champagne during intermission, and make sure to check out all the beautiful levels of the theatre.
The Ohio Theatre is located at 39 E State St., Columbus, OH 43215.
20. Eat a slice of pizza on the go from Mikey’s Late Night Slice.
Eating a hot slice of Mikey's Late Night Slice on a fun night out is a must-do in Columbus. Mikey's Late Night Slice opened its first food truck in 2009 and has been widely successful ever since. "Columbus's Original Street Pizza" serves delicious New York style slices until 3 a.m. daily at multiple locations throughout the city, and it earned a top spot on our
Ultimate Pizza Bucket List
Mikey’s Late Night Slice has three locations:
Short North: 1030 N High St., Columbus, OH 43201
Downtown: 268 S 4th St., Columbus, OH 43215
Old North Columbus: 1030 N High St., Columbus, OH 43201.
21. Take in the view at The Boat House Restaurant.
How would you like to enjoy a scrumptious meal, followed by handcrafted cocktails, while enjoying the scenic flow of the river and the sparkling lights of downtown in the background? The Boat House is the perfect destination for a
. The menu focuses on seafood and fresh and modern flavors.
The Boat House Restaurant is located at 679 W Spring St., Columbus, OH 43215.
22. Walk through the Walhalla Ravine.
Here, you can walk through one of Clintonville's famous ravines. This is a favorite place among locals to stroll, walk the dog, ride bikes, or rollerblade. You will love wandering along the winding road and gazing at the beautiful trees surrounding you.
The Walhalla Ravine is located between High St. and Indianola Ave. on Walhalla Rd., Columbus, OH 43202.
23. Attempt to eat the Thurmanator burger.
Born and raised right here in Columbus, this dish is not just famous locally; it has been on TV, won awards, it’s got the whole country talking. One heck (and hulk) of a burger, the Thurmanator is a
long-time favorite dish
served at The Thurman Cafe.
The Thurman Cafe is located at 183 Thurman Ave., Columbus, OH 43206.
24. Soak in the sun at Alum Creek State Park.
Sitting by the water is one of those things that just seems to put everyone into a calm and happy mood. For a fun getaway, head to Alum Creek Beach, where you can enjoy some swimming, the gentle sound of waves, and a beautiful sunset.
Alum Creek Beach is located at 3400 Lewis Center Rd., Lewis Center, OH 43035.
25. Admire the masterpieces at the Columbus Museum of Art.
Recently upgraded with a whole new wing, the Columbus Museum of Art houses an excellent collection of art. Ancient? Contemporary? American? European? African? Portraits? Battles? It’s all there. Admission is free every Sunday, and their hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The Columbus Museum of Art of located at 480 E Broad St., Columbus, OH 43215.
26. Zoom through Zoombezi Bay.
Zoombezi Bay is really an awesome place to spend your summers. With favorite rides like The Cyclone and The Dolphin Dash, kids and adults alike love this place. And don't forget - Zoombezi Bay tickets get you free admission to the Columbus Zoo!
Zoombezi Bay is located at 4850 Powell Rd., Powell, OH 43065.
27. Chill out at Stauf’s.
Stauf’s is loved for their dedication to delicious coffee and the laid-back atmosphere in their shops. Their shops are an excellent place to catch up on work, read the news, or chat with friends. It's easily one of the
best coffee shops
Stauf’s Coffee Roasters has three locations:
Grandview: 1277 Grandview Ave., Columbus, OH 43215
North Market: 59 Spruce St., Columbus, OH 43215
German Village: 627 S. Third St., Columbus, OH 43206
Do you have any other spots to add to this list? We’d love to hear them in the comments – and don’t forget to share photos of your excellent adventures on the
Only In Columbus Facebook page or on Instagram using #onlyincolumbus for a chance to see them featured!