There are quite a few must-see places in Columbus. And if you will be in Columbus for the Book Festival, why not check them out?
Must See Museums
COSI: The Center of Science and Industry is one of the most respected science centers in the nation, serving more than 20 million visitors since 1964. At COSI you will find endless opportunities to explore real science and discover real possibilities for yourself and the world around you. Hours: Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday noon-6pm. Cost: Adults $16.95, Children $11.95, Seniors $15.95. 333 W. Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215.
Columbus Museum of Art: Great experiences with great art for everyone! We believe that art speaks to each and every one of us in different ways. Art inspires. Art challenges. Art thinks. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5:30pm; Thursdays 10am-8:30pm. Cost: Adults $12, Students $5, Seniors $8, Free on Sundays. 480 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215.
The Santa Maria: The Santa Maria is a full-size historical preservation of Christopher Columbus’ flagship, serving as a history museum. Hours: Wednesday-Friday 10am-3pm; Saturday-Sunday noon-5pm. Cost: Adults $4.50, Children $3.50, Seniors $4.00. Ship located at the corner of Marconi & West Broad Street, at Batelle Riverfront Park.
Ohio Historical Society: Visit the headquarters of the Ohio Historical Society and a museum showcasing Ohio’s history from the ice age to today. Exhibits feature a variety of topics including the Civil War, natural history, glass, pottery and interactive children activities. Hours: Wednesday-Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday noon-5pm. Cost: Adults $10.00, Children $5.00, Seniors $9.00. 800 E. 17th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43211.
Must See Literary Sites
Thurber House: Thurber House is the former home of American humorist James Thurber, who lived in the house with his family during his college years at the Ohio State University. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Thurber House is a literary center, book store, and museum of Thurber materials. Thurber House’s programs include writing classes for children, author readings for adults, Thurber celebrations, events for children, and gallery exhibitions. Hours: 1pm-4pm daily. Cost: Self-guided tours, free; Guided tours available on Sunday, Adults $4, Students and Seniors $2. 77 Jefferson Avenue, Columbus OH 43215.
Columbus Metropolitan Library: Originally built through a gift from Andrew Carnegie and opened in 1907, the Main Library is home to an extensive genealogy collection, business and technology classes, fun programming for kids, not to mention a fabulous collection of books and resources. You can also see spectacular art from renowned artists Aminah Robinson and Todd Slaughter and visit year-round art exhibits featuring local artists. Hours: Monday-Thursday 9am-9pm, Friday 9am-6pm; Saturday 9am-6pm; Sunday 1pm-5pm. 96 S. Grant Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215.
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum: The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum was established in 1977 in two converted classrooms in the Journalism Building at OSU with the founding gift of artwork and papers of alumnus Milton Caniff. Its collections of original art and manuscripts have been built primarily through gifts-in-kind. The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is now the largest and most comprehensive academic research facility documenting printed cartoon art. Hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. 27 West 17th Avenue Mall, Columbus, OH 43210.
The Book Loft: One of the nation’s largest independent book stores, he Book Loft of German Village, is located just a few blocks South of the state capitol building. The pre-Civil War era buildings that once were general stores, a saloon and a nickelodeon cinema, now are home to 32 rooms of Bargain Books. Hours: 10am-11pm daily. 631 South Third Street, Columbus, OH 43206.
Acorn Bookstore: Called “the literary equivalent of Cheers” by Columbus Monthly, Acron is a 20-year-old brick-and-mortar secondhand/antiquarian bookshop. They have everything from inexpensive paperbacks to soak up suntan lotion on the beach to collectible books worth thousands of dollars. With about 50,000 books in a two-floor store, including DVDs and CDs, you will find something you like when you visit! Hours: Monday-Friday 11am-7pm; Saturday-Sunday 11am-6pm. 1464 West 5th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43212.
Must See Parks
Franklin Park Conservatory: Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens offers art and nature-based exhibitions, botanical collections, gardens as well as 83,000 sq. ft. of greenhouses. The Conservatory is situated in the 88-acre Franklin Park, which features botanical gardens, art sculptures and a one-mile walking loop. Hours: 10am-5pm daily, Wednesday 10am-8pm. Cost: Adults $11, Children $6, Seniors $9. 1777 E. Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43203.
Columbus Park of Roses: The 13 acre Park of Roses is nestled within the larger Whetstone Park. It contains three unique rose gardens as well as herb and perennial gardens, annual display beds and a restored Ohio prairie. Wide, smooth walkways and numerous benches make it easy to enjoy the sights and smells of 11,500 roses with more than 400 varieties. Hours: open sunup till sundown daily. 3901 N. High St. Columbus, OH 43214.
Grange Insurance Audubon Center: Less than a 10-minute walk from downtown Columbus, on a half-forgotten bend in the Scioto River, lies a fragile green oasis, a tiny jewel, a hidden haven for wildlife and birds set amid an industrial landscape now in transformation. At the heart of this transformation is the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, one of the first such centers in Audubon’s storied history to bring hands-on conservation and nature-based learning this close to the core of a major American city. The Grange Insurance Audubon Center in the Scioto Audubon Metro Park is located in an Important Bird Area (IBA) where thousands of birds migrating from Central and South America use this spot along the Scioto River as a stopover during their long journeys. Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10am-6pm, Saturday 9am-3pm, Sunday 11am-5pm. 505 W. Whittier Street, Columbus, OH 43215.
Scioto Mile: Located in the heart of downtown Columbus, the Scioto Mile is an urban oasis comprised of more than 145 acres of lush parkland. Stretching along the riverfront from the vibrant Arena District to the natural beauty of the Whittier Peninsula, the Scioto Mile reconnects downtown to the Scioto River through an integrated system of parks, boulevards, bikeways and pedestrian paths. Fostering some of our City’s most celebrated features: a stunning 15,000 square-foot interactive fountain, the country’s largest free outdoor climbing wall and the world’s most authentic replica of the Santa Maria — the Scioto Mile has something for everyone.
The Columbus Topiary Park: A seven-acre park in downtown Columbus, Ohio; The Topiary Park is most famous for its topiary interpretation of Georges Seurat’s famous Post-Impressionist painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte. Visitors come from around the world to enjoy the unique experience of walking into and through a work of art. In addition to the topiary attraction, visitors will find beautifully landscaped walks, benches, picnic tables and a Visitors’ Center. Admission is free, and the park is wheelchair accessible. Hours: open sunup till sundown daily. 480 E. Town Street, Columbus, OH 43215.
Goodale Park: Goodale Park is surrounded by Victorian Village, a cluster of homes with charming architectural features. It is the oldest park in Columbus and among the oldest in the United States. Although Goodale Park contains an expansive playground and tennis courts, the park’s main attraction is its view of the Columbus skyline and the serenity offered alongside a scenic pond and the charm of the gazebo and of its historic park shelter. A walk through Goodale Park is a refreshing experience. 120 West Goodale Street, Columbus, OH 43215.
Schiller Park: Schiller Park is the second oldest park in the City of Columbus. Originally called Stewart’s Grove by the early settlers, the city bought these 23.5 acres in 1867 and Stewart’s Grove became City Park. In 1891, it was renamed Schiller park after the famous German poet, Friedrich von Schiller. An impressive statue of Schiller decorates the center of the park. The park is now a well-kept central location of German Village life. The recreation center, picnic areas, softball diamonds, fishing pond and stage for the Actor’s Summer Theater, not to mention the beautifully landscaped gardens, make Schiller Park the jewel of German Village. Hours: open sunup till sundown daily. 1069 Jaeger Street, Columbus, OH 43206.
Olentangy Bike Path: One of the most popular greenways in Ohio, this trail offers a seamless 13.75 mile route from Worthington Hills to downtown. The bikeway winds through several neighborhoods along the Olentangy River, with trailheads at several major city parks, including Antrim Park and Whetstone Park. The path also travels through the heart of the Ohio State University campus.
While this list of must see things in Columbus is long, it is by no means inclusive of everything Columbus has to offer. For more to do in Columbus, check out Experience Columbus, Columbus Neighborhoods, or the Columbus Underground.