Columbus, Ohio, is a city with oodles of things to do and home to the Ohio state capital. It has been one of my family’s favorite stomping grounds for over 30 years. On a visit with my daughter, Taylor, we dove into five legendary things to do in Columbus Ohio, that we thought were worth sharing, especially if you are on a time limit.
Perhaps you have suggestions for our next visit, as I love seeing how this town keeps changing with the times.
1. Eat Amazing Food
Foodies will go gaga for the deliciousness served at Katalina’s, a funky yet intimate 100-year-old gas station turned restaurant.
Katalina’s has zesty soups; I sampled two, and each was terrific! The Tomole Soup (roasted tomato with mole spice), topped with Queso Fresco and spiced pepitas, was rich and flavorful, but I preferred the Shagbark Black Bean Soup with a touch of crema.
Katalina’s best-selling item is the award-winning Famous! Mazatlan Slow-Roasted Pork and Egg: slow-roasted pork, cheese, avocado, roasted red peppers, and aioli on Old-World toasted bread. Original Pancake Balls are another house specialty. Order them filled with Nutella, pumpkin apple butter, or dulce de leche, then dip the tasty balls in bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup.
The Guild House is a stellar artisan restaurant in the Short North Arts District with a tempting menu offering regional and global cuisine by famous Columbus restaurateur Cameron Mitchell. Delicious starters include Stuffed Poblano, Tomato Salad (watermelon and feta), and a decadent cheese plate.
I highly recommend the Chicken Roulade, a plate as beautiful as it was tasty for dinner. The moist chicken rolls came over a bed of pureed celery root with wild mushrooms, sliced truffles, and romanesco sauce. Insanely good!
The Guild House also has gluten-free and cocktail menus worth checking out.
2. Play and Learn at COSI
On the west bank is the COSI Science Center, offering hands-on exhibits and a savvy planetarium and easily one of the great things to do in Columbus Ohio. COSI is where I took my daughters annually and my Girl Scout Troop for educational overnights and plenty of fun.
Exhibits range from Gadgets to Oceans in the 320,000 square feet museum. Not much has changed over the years at COSI, including the dedication to family fun and learning, which made our recent visit a trip down memory lane.
The Progress Exhibit is my favorite part of the museum, showing retro displays dating back decades and how living was during that period.
Tip: COSI’s outdoor park affords a great skyline view of downtown Columbus.
3. Stroll Around German Village
German Village is one of the most desirable urban neighborhoods to live in and visit in the United States. It is a beautiful historic area with restored brick houses built by the 1800s settlers.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, German Village houses shops, restaurants, and specialty boutiques. My favorites are the Kolache Republic, Katzinger’s Delicatessen, Max & Erma’s, Pistacia Vera, and Stauf’s Coffee Roasters.
Perhaps the most well-known business in German Village is The Book Loft, a 32-room emporium of discounted books, puzzles, calendars, and more for the literary fan. If you can’t find the book you are looking for here, chances are you can’t find it anywhere. The Book Loft also has a wide array of souvenirs, gifts, journals, cards, and accessories.
German Village is also where you can pick up the city’s most fantastic food tour, but more about that below.
4. Explore Franklin Park Conservatory Gardens
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens showcase natural experiences, sitting on the beautiful 88-acre Franklin Park property. Housed in a grand Victorian-style glass greenhouse (The Palm House), it opened to the public in 1895. It was my first time visiting the property since it hosted the marvelous Ameriflora international horticulture exposition in 1992.
Here, lush gardens, botanical biomes, and other dazzling specimens are accessible to those of all ages. See flowers and plants throughout the Conservatory in exhibit halls, including the Amazon rainforest, bonsai, desert, and Zen Terrace (rooftop gardening).
An impressive collection of intricate glass works by artist Dale Chihuly is also on display. The property has a gift shop and Garden Café, too. Don’t miss the sculpture gardens and Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden, two unique offerings. It is one of my favorite things to do in Columbus Ohio.
5. Take an Incredible Columbus Food Tour
Being a travel writer/blogger, I have done my fair share of food tours; I love them. After visiting Columbus, I am still in awe that Bethia and Andy, owners of Columbus Food Adventures, can offer a dozen unique tours (and even private tours). What an incredible feat!
Jump in their super comfy 14-passenger air-conditioned luxury van as you eat, drink, and explore Columbus’s radical food scene. A few Columbus Food Adventures’ tours that struck my fancy were a taco truck, meat lovers, coffee, and breakfast.
I was privy to having a private tour customized to show me a bit of all the excursions available, emphasizing the Alt Eats Tour. It included a simple but mighty taco truck meal, eating Vietnamese Bahn-Mi sandwiches, properly sampling Nigerian food, and trying Somali cuisine, a first for us.
Bethia and Andy also showed us where to get affordable, delicious ethnic eats around Columbus.
Any food lover would have a blast on one of their tours! Did you know? Tours can be modified for vegetarians with advanced notice.
Need Suggestions for Where to Stay in Columbus?
The Hotel LeVeque is in the Autograph Collection for the Marriott chain of hotels. It overlooks the Scioto River in a historic downtown Columbus landmark high-rise building.
Rooms are unlike anywhere else I’ve ever stayed, with a celestial-inspired vibe and modern decor, making them feel and seem “out of this world.” A flat-screen TV (with premium movie channels), mini-fridge, and pillow-top mattress/featherbed adorn the room, which is joined by an all-marble bathroom with rainfall shower and Cliff Original toiletries.
My favorite part of Hotel LeVeque was the foyer leading into the room, a bonus area to the spacious accommodations that housed an etagere with knick-knacks. It made the room’s elegant black and white decor highlighted with gold and metallic touches, feel very homey.
Besides having a gorgeous lobby and sitting area on the first floor, Hotel LeVeque offers a French-inspired restaurant/bar, lobby cafe, and savvy gym. The hotel is pet-friendly, as well.
Columbus keeps growing jobs, businesses, and population at a remarkable speed. With each visit, we learn more about this awesome city. We hope you will enjoy the list of things that made our visit special.
A special thanks to the Columbus CVB for hosting my visit. As with all of my articles, reviews and opinions are 100% mine and unbiased.
Pin This Post For Later!
Check out our other local articles: