Columbus is at the geographical and cultural heart of Ohio. It's the home of the largest public university campus in the United States, and also the seat of Ohio's state government and several major companies. What's more, Columbus is just a short drive from Ohio's most scenic region. If the thought of living in Columbus doesn't excite you, you probably haven't been there.
The single biggest Columbus attraction is undoubtedly the sprawling campus of The Ohio State University. The 1,800-acre expanse impresses visitors with architecturally significant buildings such as the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library. It also delights college sports fans who come to see the Buckeyes play football, basketball, baseball, tennis, ice hockey, gymnastics and more. Meanwhile, the Ohio Statehouse attracts thousands of visitors to the downtown every year. The Columbus Museum of Art and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, to name a few, round out the artistic side of the city's cultural diversity.
Neighborhoods around Columbus
Free Things to Do in Columbus
Many of our favorite things to do in Columbus are completely free. Here are our top five picks for fun afternoon activities:
Activities for Families in Columbus, OH
If the little ones in your life love animals, drive north of downtown to Columbus Zoo or spend the day at the Center of Science and Industry to get an up-close view of a T. Rex skeleton. We also recommend checking out the kid-friendly activities at one of the nearly two dozen Columbus Library locations.
Columbus's Natural Beauty
Columbus is known for the winding jogging and biking trails lining the riverfront, stretching into the gently rolling suburban neighborhoods surrounding the city. Nearby Slate Run Metropark and Alley Park boast picture-perfect picnicking spots. Further out, the rugged hills to the south and east of town delight hikers, mountain bikers and rock climbers with their seemingly endless nooks and crannies. Popular protected areas in this region include Hocking State Forest and Lake Logan State Park. Don't miss the Scioto Mile, a 175-acre riverside area, with its bike paths, walkways, playgrounds, and the famous whimsical fountain at Bicentennial Park.
Weekend Getaways from Columbus
When you feel like taking a family road trip, head an hour west to Dayton, the birthplace of aviation, or explore the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, a 2.5-hour drive northeast of Columbus.