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Columbus, Ohio

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Personality Types that Like it Best

Did You Know … ?

  • Columbus is America’s largest city (more than 800,000) named after Christopher Columbus.
  • The American Whistle Corporation is the only maker of metal whistles in the U.S.
  • James Thurber, humorist and author of “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” was born in Columbus (1894).
  • Columbus was founded specifically to be Ohio’s state capital.
  • Columbus-born Jack Nicklaus won 118 professional tourneys, and his firm designed 370-plus courses worldwide.

A capital choice

Columbus, Ohio’s capital and largest city, was created for purposes of government, but today its biggest businesses are education, insurance and technology. It is home to Ohio State University, one of the country’s largest campuses.

Columbus supports the museums and the arts scene one would expect for a sizeable city that is also a major college town.

Visitors enjoy COSI, the Center of Science and Industry — four floors of interactive science exhibits. On the arts side, top choices are the Columbus Museum of Art and the Wexner Center for the Visual Arts. The latter encompasses an art collection, a film and video center and a performance theater.

Live music in Columbus can be the highbrow kind but stretches across the genres to bluegrass, jazz and more. In addition, sports lovers get what they want from collegiate competitions.

Visitors can take guided tours of the university. The campus is effectively one of several neighborhoods with appealing and distinct characteristics.

Another district, German Village, settled by German immigrants, draws visitors to its shops, restaurants and, yes, beer gardens, all in 19th century buildings. It is self-described as the world’s largest privately funded historic neighborhood restoration project.

The Brewery District adjoins German Village. There are enough breweries and brewpubs in the district and beyond to support sampling tours, and these days, itineraries can include micro-distilleries where bourbon, gin, vodka and whiskey are made.

Columbus promotes a varied selection of restaurants, too, including those at the fine dining end of the spectrum. In addition, the city says it is on the “leading edge” for the adoption of food trucks as a meaningful part of the culinary scene.

Columbus hosts an eclectic collection of festivals, with arts, ethnic food, golf and music themes, as well as the Ohio State Fair. But the Arnold Sports Festival is the big one, literally, drawing 18,000 amateur and professional athletes to compete in a range of fitness sports — but bodybuilding is the major emphasis.

Visitors can get physical at their own pace, too. Biking, hiking, rock climbing, skiing, sledding and snowmobiling are among choices in parks and forests in or near Columbus.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Be a brew master for a day at North High Brewing. Class participants create their own brews with experts on hand to guide the process.
  • Explore the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington on the city’s east side.
  • In the Hocking Hills area southeast of Columbus, tour operators offer rappelling, rock climbing and ziplining. Take your pick.
  • Attend or even compete in the Arnold Sports Festival, an annual fitness event with emphasis on bodybuilding, and competitions ranging from weightlifting and arm wrestling to archery and fencing. Competitors at this winter event include amateurs as well as professionals.
  • Buy an over-the-top sandwich (the Jackie O with black truffle cheese, creme fraiche and caviar) for an over-the-top price from a food truck! Or take lunch from a different food truck.
  • If a lover of mountain biking, you can take an hour-and-a-half drive to Lake Hope State Park to pursue your sport.

Things to do for Centrics

  • In winter, head to Snow Trails, Ohio’s first ski resort, for seasonal fun. Another alternative is snowshoeing in the Hocking Hills area.
  • Learn about the basket making process — and make your own basket — at the Longaberger Homestead in Frazeysburg.
  • Opt for a guided walking tour. There are the de rigueur architecture tours, but other choices include ghost tours and tavern tours.
  • See an Ohio State University basketball game. And do some of your own shooting with a basketball at the Black Wing Shooting Center.
  • In the Topiary Garden Park in the downtown Discovery District, stand on the park’s marker for the ideal angle on the garden. The sculpted trees, artificial pond and artificial hills are a living re-creation of Georges Seurat’s painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of LA Grande Jatte.”
  • Spend an afternoon in German Village, a privately funded historic district, with restaurants, shops and beer gardens in 19th century buildings. Time this for the September Oktoberfest. Then, discover the Brewery District — so named for a reason — which is near at hand.

Things to do for Authentics

  • If in town on the first Saturday of any month, participate in the Gallery Hop, when galleries, shops and restaurants stay open late in the Short North Arts District. At any other time, consider a visit to the district for the shopping, dining and, of course, the art for which the area is named.
  • Attend a theatrical performance at the 1928 Ohio Theatre, with its 21-foot chandelier, for the architecture as well as the stage show itself.
  • Choose a factory tour or two. Options are the Anthony-Thomas Candy Company, Graeter’s Ice Cream or the American Whistle Corporation.
  • Visit the Thurber House, now a museum but once the home of the author, cartoonist and humorist James Thurber.
  • Take a guided culinary tour, or an escorted tour of microbreweries, brewpubs and distilleries.
  • Consider history. See the Santa Maria, a full-size replica of Columbus’ flagship moored on Columbus’ Scioto River. Also, head to the Ohio Historical Center for its pre-Columbian cultures exhibit and its Ohio Village, a re-created town from the 1800s with costumed interpreters.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult Experience Columbus at