Columbus is the capital and the largest city in the northern US state of Ohio. It is located right in the heart of the state. Founded in 1812, the city has grown into a major economic, financial, and education hub of the region attracting a wide range of ethnicities. This is reflected in its wide variety of festivals, cuisine, and culture that the city is home to. For the visiting tourists, the city of Columbus offers a number of historical sites, public gardens, a major zoo, plenty of art galleries, and a vibrant night life. Here is our pick of the top tourist attractions of Columbus.
- Center of Science and Industry – COSI
The Center of Science and Industry, or simply COSI, is a research center and science museum. It is located on the west bank of the River Scioto on Washington Boulevard. It was set up in 1964 but moved to its present location in 1999. The highlight for the visitors is the 300+ interactive science exhibits. The exhibition areas in the center include sections like Space, Adventure, Ocean, Gadgets, Progress, Energy, and Life. There is also an outdoor science park, a 220-seat planetarium, and Ohio’s largest digital theater – the National Geographic Giant Screen Theater.
- Prehistoric Indian Mounds
Ohio is home to several effigy mounds that were built by the native Indians. One of the largest and most visited is the Great Serpent Mound, a US National Historic Landmark. This effigy mound is situated on a plateau and is 1348 feet long and 3 feet high. It is designed after the constellation Draco. Although there is no historical record, experts believe this mound dates somewhere around 320 BC. Other mounds within driving distance from Columbus include the Seip Mound and the burial mounds in Ross County.
- Topiary Park
Topiary Park is the site where art meets nature in Columbus. The park is located a block east of the Ohio Statehouse. Topiary means the art of clipping shrubs into various ornamental shapes. This park has 54 such art works resembling people, dogs, a cat, a monkey, and numerous boats designed after the renowned painting by Georges Seurat, titled ‘A Sunday on the Isle of La Grande Jatte.’ The pond in the park represents the river from the painting. The park was established in the 1990s by artist James Mason. It is an excellent place to take a stroll with the whole family.
- Kelton House Museum and Garden
Located less than a mile west of the Ohio Statehouse is one of the most popular and picturesque historic houses in Columbus, the Kelton House Museum and Garden. This Italianate and Greek Revival mansion was built in 1852 by the Keltons, who resided here. Fernando Kelton, the husband, was a strict Abolitionist who was even invited to be a pall bearer of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession. The house and its Victorian-styled gardens are open to the public as a museum. It has been restored to its original look from the mid 19th century.
- Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is not just a conservatory and botanical garden but also an art gallery, featuring glass artworks of the renowned sculptor Dale Chihuly. It was established in 1812 and is presently a prominent educational and horticultural institution of the city. There are a number of sections in the garden based on climate zones like the Pacific Island Water Garden, Himalayan Mountains, Desert, and Tropical Rainforest. Exhibits like the Bonsai Courtyard and Palm House are also popular with the tourists. Other than its collection of over 3000 glass sculpture by Chihuly, the facility also hosts several art exhibitions throughout the year.
- Columbus Museum of Art
The Columbus Museum of Art is a prominent art museum of the city located on Broad Street, a block north of the Topiary park. The museum was established in 1878 and is dedicated to European and American contemporary and modern art along with glass art, folk art, and photography. It is currently housed in a building that was built in 1931 but went through major restorations and expansions in 2011. Artists whose works are featured in the museum include Anthony van Dyck, Paul Cezanne, Claude Manet, Renoir, and Pablo Picasso, to name just a few.
- Short North
After you are done visiting the different attractions in downtown Columbus, take a walk northwards along High Street and you will get to the Short North neighborhood. This neighborhood is known for its numerous art galleries, shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants, bars, and night clubs. It is also one of the most gay-friendly neighborhoods in the city. Short North runs roughly from the Greater Columbus Convention Center to the south end of the Ohio University. If you are there on the first Saturday of the month, then you can enjoy Gallery Hop, which features late closing of art galleries, street performers, and street food and music.
- German Village
The neighborhood just south of downtown Columbus, along the South High Street, is known as German Village. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the neighborhood is one of the must-visit attractions in Columbus. The area got populated in the mid and late 19th century, mostly by German immigrants. So high was the inflow of the Germans, that they supposedly made up almost a third of the city’s population at one point! You can explore the entire neighborhood, which is dotted with restored brick houses, walkways, and streets, on foot. There are a number of open-air cafes where you can enjoy a meal or a drink. If beer ranks high on your wish list, walk westwards to the historic Brewery District, now a hub of live entertainment and dining.
- Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is not only a major tourist attraction in the city, it is also considered to be one of the top zoos in the world. It was established in 1927 and currently spreads over 234 hectares. The zoo is home to over 7000 animals belonging to 800 different species. The zoo is renowned worldwide for its conservation efforts. It runs almost 70 conservation projects in 30 different countries. The zoo has several exhibits like the Polar Frontier, Voyage to Australia, Heart of Africa, Shores and Aquarium, and North America. A carousel and water park with several rides adds to the entertainment quotient of the zoo.
- Ohio Statehouse
The impressive Ohio Statehouse is located just a block east of the Scioto River. It was completed in 1861 after almost 21 years of construction. Built in a Greek Revival style of architecture, the Ohio Statehouse is the house of the state government and office of the governor. Visitors can opt for guided or self-guided tours of the site. Audio tour wands are available for free for the tour. The statehouse is dotted with many artworks, especially statues of prominent personalities of the state or those associated with the state.
Originally posted 2017-09-11 11:10:18.