Most of us are here for a full four years, but all we ever see is Denison. With a thriving city just 45 minutes away, we encourage everyone gets to see what Columbus holds. For those who don’t have access to a car, you can rent one for $5 an hour with Enterprise CarShare, making it easier to get off campus.
Denison’s bubble is thick, so let Columbus pop it! Check out some of our staff’s top things to do in Columbus:
- The Columbus Zoo: One must-see in Columbus is the Columbus Zoo. This is a year-round experience that provides unique fun in both the warm and cold weather. In the summer, pair a visit to the Columbus Zoo with a trip to the next-door water park, Zoombezi. In the winter, the zoo puts up incredible lights that make the cold weather inviting and the area beautiful. A must see at the zoo include the African animals, where most of the prey animals live together in a large grassland area. The lions and other predator animals often roam close to the edge of the closer, providing the best view. The Columbus Zoo also shares their conservation efforts. Each tickets cost goes toward those efforts as well.
- North Market Farmers Market:. Whether you’re there to spend money or just look around, you are sure to be entertained. The market has been operating since 1876 with dozens of unique merchants selling their locally made/grown/sourced products. The farmer’s market receives millions of visitors each year and operates every Saturday (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). The summer market is open June through October. There are limited, special days of operation in the winter. From food to knick knacks, there is likely something for you at the market.
- Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanic Garden: Both a place for special occasions and as a casual event. It is a beautiful area with a lot of history that you can learn when you visit. While there, you will probably find both school children on a field trip and wedding parties taking pictures. The exhibits acres of gardens, beautiful historic houses, glassblowing and a light installation by renowned lighting artist James Turrell. College students even get a reduced admission fee of $15, so don’t wait until after graduation to see it.
- Blue Jackets Game: Go to a Blue Jackets game! (Obviously!) The hockey team is not half bad, the make it worth attending a game or two. Hockey games have an atmosphere of excitement, aggression and intensity, so it is not for the calm and collected. The Blue Jackets play in the winter so if you need a stress relief from finals and you relieve stress by yelling, go to a game! It’s also a great time to sit with some friends and drink beer, which is always a nice time. If you are originally not from Columbus or Ohio in general, pick a game where the Jackets play a team you are more familiar with and watch the two battle it out. If you are in Columbus for the summer, go to a minor league game at Huntington Park. Tickets are usually under $20 and you could see several future major league players.
- The American Whistle Corporation: Looking for something fun and different to do in Columbus? Take a tour of the American Whistle Corporation. For a mere $5, you can tour the factory and learn everything you never wanted to know about whistles. The American Whistle Corporation is the only manufacturer of metal whistles in America, and as you’ll learn, metal whistles are the best whistles. On your tour, not only will you be supporting a local Columbus business, but you’ll learn some fascinating whistle facts that will make you the hit of every party. These include, but are by no means limited to, which metals are used to make whistles? How does that little ball get inside the whistle, and what exactly is its purpose? Who uses whistles? What note do whistles blow? All of this information can be yours after a visit to the American Whistle Corporation. Best of all, everyone leaves the tour with their own shiny new whistle!
- Marcella’s Short North: If you are a fan of Italian food like us, you have to try out Marcella’s Short North. This place has it all. Location, atmosphere, service and — of course — incredible food. You know the restaurants where it seems like everything on the menu sounds delicious? This is one of those places. And to make things even better, they serve generous portion sizes for extremely reasonable prices. There seriously isn’t anything remotely wrong with this gem of a restaurant… even the bathrooms were jaw-dropping and equipped with mouthwash. Now that’s class. The food alone from Marcella’s is more than enough to warrant a trip back, but this restaurant truly offers the complete dining experience for people of all ages. Ten out of five stars.
- Book Loft of German Village: Are you a book lover? Do you want to get lost? The Book Loft of German Village has all and more. It is packed with 32 rooms stacked to the ceiling with books — and get this, every room is a different genre. The store is packed with book-related art, t-shirts, funky socks and cool vintage coo coo clocks. Entrance is through a pathway covered in flowers and surrounded by brick. The Book Loft is a tiny dream-like home in an old-timey corner of Columbus. The charming German Village is a place where the city and the suburbs collide to make the book lovers feel like they’ve gone back in time.
- Columbus Art Museum: The museum is another potentially free option. While there is a cost to the museum most days, admission is always free on Sundays (hours 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.). In addition, students 18 and up pay a reduced cost of $8, or you can go from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. on Thursdays for a cost of $5. The museum has both amazing visiting exhibits and stunning permanent art, so you can go at any time of the year and be wowed! It is just the right size too, where you can see everything and not feel rushed to go through the exhibits. On the opposite end of the interest spectrum, COSI is another popular museum that focuses on science and research. Check out both in spirit of the liberal arts!
- Easton: Shopping. So. Much. Shopping. Easton alone is a two-day adventure to get the full experience, if you shop fast. With a variety of restaurants and some of the largest stores in Ohio (We think they have three Victoria’s Secret/PINK stores, if we can remember correctly.) The plaza itself is beautiful, with fountains and outdoor seating. The mall is lit up throughout the holiday season as well. If you think Easton is overwhelming, the Short North and Polaris are two other prime shopping locations that can accomodate your needs. Many of the stores are local businesses, so you can feel good about helping the growing community. If you are already downtown enjoying the other fun activities, you might as well hit up some shops too!
- Walk along Scioto Mile: While many of these activities involve spending some amount of money, as college students we know everyone needs a free option as well. Therefore, we recommend a walk along Scioto Mile in the city. Scioto Mile is a park along Olongy river and has the best view of the Columbus skyline. It is peaceful and there are often bikers, runners and other walkers enjoying the scenery. We suggest a picnic in the area on a warmer Ohio day.
- The Columbus Commons: The commons are situated near the statehouse in the center of the city. Whether you’re looking to just go for a casual walk or attend a concert event, the commons offers a wide variety of activities. This is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of college life in Columbus.
While it was difficult making this list, as there is so much to do in Columbus, we know these are the places that will make you want to come back. As you explore, look to see what else might interest you.
For more specific details on any of the mentioned activities, go to the websites of the respective place. There are endless possibilities in Columbus and your spot may not even be on this list.