10 Things to See and Do in Columbus, Ohio

Right in the center of Ohio is the largest city in the state, the capital city of Columbus. The 15th largest city in America, and home to Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in the country, the Buckeyes are one of the most famous college sports teams in the country. The city has a number of different attractions for every type of tourist, and it’s no mistake that a number of Fortune 500 companies choose Columbus as their home base. Here are 10 things to see and do in Columbus, Ohio.

10. Huntington Park

Huntington Park is a baseball stadium located in the heart of downtown Columbus. The stadium serves as home to the Columbus Clippers, the AAA minor league affiliate to the Cleveland Indians. Having just opened in 2009, Huntington Park is a truly state-of-the-art minor league baseball stadium.

The park was so successful that it was named Ballpark of the Year by Baseballparks.com in 2009, even beating out famed major league parks like Yankee Stadium. The award is given to the stadium that features the best combination of design, attractive site selection and fan amenities. The Left Field Building includes a 110-foot bar with six open patios overlooking the field on the second story. The third story features open air bleachers, similar to those found at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The stadium also occasionally plays home to concerts.

Richard Paul Kane / Shutterstock.com
Richard Paul Kane / Shutterstock.com

9. Columbus Museum of Art

The Columbus Museum of Art has traditionally focused more on European and American up through the early modern period, but has undergone a bit of a change in direction over the past few years. The museum has branched into more contemporary art exhibits and now includes a permanent photography section. Some highlights of the permanent collection include early Cubist paintings by Picasso, works by Ingres, Degas, Monet, Edward Hopper and Norman Rockwell.

The museum also features an extensive collection from Columbus native George Bellows. Temporary and travelling shows are regularly featured at the Columbus Museum of Art, with the most popular recent show being Renoir’s Women, featuring more than 30 works from the Impressionist style master. In the past few years, the museum has launched a massive reconstruction and expansion plan, with the third and final phase under way, the facility plans a grand celebration in late 2015.

Photo by: Columbus Museum of Art
Photo by: Columbus Museum of Art

8. Brewery District

Located just south of the central business district, the Brewery District has a history stretching nearly 200 years. A German immigrant opened the first brewery in 1836. At the peak of its existence, there were five breweries located within the district. As time passed, the consolidation of the breweries began to occur. When prohibition passed in 1920, the market obviously took a major hit. Because of this, the area declined in popularity and became home to some industry and warehouses.

In more recent times, the area has undergone a major redevelopment with numerous restaurants, bars and even a grocery store opening up in the area. With further redevelopment, expect the Brewery District to increase in popularity significantly over the coming few years as the masses cry for more brewpubs, local eateries and craft breweries.

Beer samples

7. Jubilee Museum and Catholic Cultural Centre

Established in 1998 the Jubliee Museum was established with the purpose of preserving the Catholic mind and memory as it is represented in art through paintings, sculptures, castings, stained glass, fabric, photography and books.

The museum promotes art that is primarily liturgical and art that in some way tells the story (directly or indirectly) of Christ, Mary, the saints and the history of the Catholic Church. The museum also holds Jewish art and history in high regard, and preserves a significant collection of Jewish art and history as well. Tours are open to those of any faith, and the museum has a goal to promote and preserve the rich history of the Catholic faith.

Praying Angels

6. Ohio State Fair

The Ohio State Fair is one of the largest in all of the United States. The attendance for the fair in 2014 was over 916,000 people over the course of the 12 days, the highest attendance to date. The first ever Ohio State Fair was held in 1850 in Cincinnati over a span of 3 days, and has continued until the present as a celebration of Ohio’s products, people and their accomplishments for more than 150 years.

Held annually in late July/early August, the state fair contributes as much as $280-million to the state’s economy, and features a number of events from camel rides, a civil war encampment, fireworks shows, pig races, a parade, and a wide variety of other shows and activities. One of the fair’s highlights are the amazing concerts that are held during the fair each year which always include some big name performers. The 2014 fair saw such notable acts as The Beach Boys, Lady Antebellum, Aretha Franklin, and Boyz II Men.

Ohio State Fair

5. Franklin Park Conservatory

The Franklin Park Conservatory is a botanical garden that was originally built in Columbus in 1895. Today, the conservatory acts as a horticulture and educational institution showcasing an exotic array of plant collections and special exhibitions.

Contained within the conservatory are more than 400 plant species from across the world. In 1994 the Franklin Park Conservatory debuted a seasonal butterfly exhibit, the first of which in the United States. In the mid-2000’s the conservatory presented Chihuly at the Conservatory, celebrating the works of Dale Chihuly, which saw an increase in attendance of 182% at the conservatory. The facility offers a wide variety of educational classes for school groups, families or individuals of all ages, who are looking to learn more about the natural world, gardening and the arts.

Franklin Park Conservatory Columbus

4. Columbus Crew Stadium

After opening in May 1999, Columbus Crew Stadium cost $28.5. In what is becoming increasingly rare in today’s sports world, the entire investment came from just one source; the owner of the Columbus Crew. Oil mogul Lamar Hunt under the Hunt Sports Group funded the entire stadium. With its erection, Columbus Crew Stadium became the first soccer-specific stadium built for Major League Soccer.

Located on the grounds of the Ohio Expo Center and State Fairgrounds, Columbus Crew Stadium hosted 3 FIFA Women’s World Cup matches in 2003, in addition to being the home of the United States Men’s National Soccer Team for a total of 10 matches dating from 2000 to 2013. Annual festivals make this stadium active in the offseason including Rock on the Range, a feature of rock bands that happens every year. While Major League Soccer may not have much history yet, Columbus Crew Stadium certainly has a foothold for being historic in the years to come.

3 song photography / Shutterstock.com
3 song photography / Shutterstock.com

3. Ohio Statehouse

The house of government for the state of Ohio, the Ohio Statehouse is a Greek-revival designed building that houses the Ohio General Assembly and the ceremonial offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Treasurer and Auditor.

When the state government relocated to Columbus in 1816, it occupied a modest two-story building that began to become quite cramped as the country continued to grow. As work had just begun on the new building, Columbus’ agreement to be the state capitol was set to expire. Capitol square even became a grazing ground for livestock. Finally, years later in 1861 after much delay the building was completed. Unlike a number of other state capitol buildings, the Capitol Building in Washington did not influence the Ohio Statehouse since it was built before the expansion to the Washington building. The statehouse is considered a tremendous example of the Greek-revival style of architecture.

Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

2. Ohio Stadium

A venue of many names, Ohio Stadium also goes by monikers “The Horseshoe”, “The Shoe”, and even “The House that Harley built” named after Chic Harley, All-American footballer inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1951. Ohio Stadium is the home of Ohio State University Buckeyes football, and formerly the Columbus Crew soccer team who moved into the aforementioned Columbus Crew Stadium in 1999.

Ohio Stadium is not famous just for its size and seating capacity, but for the fact the seating capacity is almost always growing. Starting at 66,210 in 1922, Ohio Stadium now seats 104, 944 raucous fans thanks to recent additions of stands over entrance tunnels. Now, Ohio Stadium is the 5th largest stadium in the world and 3rd largest in the United States. The most attended football game at Ohio Stadium happened in November 2014 when 108, 610 people showed up to cheer on the Buckeyes despite the capacity being almost 4,000 less the actual attendance.

aceshot1 / Shutterstock.com
aceshot1 / Shutterstock.com

1. Ohio Theatre

Known as the “Official Theatre of the State of Ohio” the historic movie palace from 1928 was saved from demolition in 1969 and fully restored. In 1977 it was declared a National Historic Landmark.

The theatre is owned and operated by the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA), which was originally formed to save the theatre in 1969. A local company intended to buy the land and turn it into an office tower, however members of the community rallied together to help save the theatre, and the CAPA was formed in the process. The restoration of the Ohio Theatre was one of the first of its kind, and served as a model for many future restoration projects on other former movie palaces. Unlike the majority of other theatres that have gone under major renovations, to this day, the Ohio Theatre very closely resembles its original design.

American Spirit / Shutterstock.com
American Spirit / Shutterstock.com