Discover the best long weekend activities in Columbus while catching your favorite sport

Disclaimer: This post is part of a partnership with the Greater Columbus Athletic Commission. Photos and opinions are our own.

Planning a trip to Columbus, Ohio to cheer on your favorite team or catch a sporting event with your family? Although sports may be the main reason for your visit, there are plenty of other family activities to enjoy during your long weekend in this bustling city. From exploring parks and outdoor attractions to indulging in great local restaurants, Columbus has something for everyone. We highlight some of the best family activities to get the most out of your trip to Columbus.

FIRST, check out our list of places to eat and drink before the game for lots of ideas near the city center for lunch, dinner and drinks AND where to stay, eat and drink during a weekend focused on the sport.

Consistently voted one of the best zoos in the nation, the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium is a sprawling property featuring animals and habitats from around the world. Take a boat trip through the Congo, walk among kangaroos in the Outback, watch polar bears swim in the Arctic, feed giraffes in the heart of Africa. Caught in a downpour? Dive into the reptile house or say hello to the manatees in the aquarium.

The Columbus Science Museum is a longtime favorite for kids of all ages. Centrally located on the west bank of the Scioto River, it features exhibits and interactive experiences, dinosaurs, a planetarium. Check out the current special Tutankhamun: his tomb and his treasures. If the weather is good, take a walk on Dorrian Green or along the river!

The main Columbus Library branch downtown is a beautiful Beaux-Arts style funded by Andrew Carnegie and built in 1903. Visit the children’s section for books and activities, explore the Carnegie Gallery’s latest exhibit, learn Aminah Robinson’s mural. If the weather is nice, visit the new Kaufman Plaza behind the library, then stroll to the Topiary Garden. Find the perfect vantage point to see the cultivated hedges like Georges Seurat’s painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of LaGrande Jatte”.

The world-class Columbus Museum of Art hosts rotating exhibitions ranging from contemporary to classic. The whole family will marvel at the artwork, unique installations and special features. Visit the first floors of the JPMorgan Chase Center for Creativity, with hands-on activities and exhibits that spark creativity in young people. Afterwards, have lunch at Schokko Cafe.

Franklin Park Conservatory offers it all! Stroll through the indoor exhibits and greenhouses, watch the artists in the glassblowing workshop at work, play outside in the children’s garden at this popular stop.

The newest metro park is being built from an old quarry. There are already beautiful waterfalls, ponds, trails and playgrounds, with more activities like kayaking and a Via Ferrata coming soon.

This centerpiece of the historic German village includes walking paths, a playground, sculptures, a pond. Stick around in the summer for a free performance in the grounds of the Actors’ Theater of Columbus (May-Sept).

With beautiful views of the city skyline, this park is home to the Audubon Center and includes playgrounds, a rock climbing wall, trails, and plenty of birdwatching spots.

A favorite subway park north of the city, Highbanks is popular for its wooded trails, river views, nature center, bird watching, and bike trails.

One of the area’s first metro parks, Sharon Woods offers a variety of trails around lakes, woods, and meadows.

Visit some of the most iconic sites on the Ohio State campus, like the criss-crossing walkways of the Oval. Stop by the Ohio Union or the beautiful Thompson Library. Walk down the hill to the shoe and take your photo in front of the domed entrance.

Explore the cycle paths

Did you bring your bikes to Columbus? The city has an ever-growing network of cycle paths. Try pressing:

  • Olentangy trail: the Olentangy Trail follows the Olentangy River (roughly parallel to US-315). There are several entry points. Ride north near Worthington and drive south through Antrim Park, Clintonville, Old North, Ohio State Campus, Harrison West, downtown Columbus along the Scioto Mile, south past Scioto Audubon Metro Park.
  • Alum Creek Trail: a wide corridor running through the east side of the city that extends from Westerville to Three Creeks Metro Park
  • Heritage Rail Trail: the Heritage Rail Trail runs northwest of Old Hilliard past two subway parks

There are plenty of dining options near the convention center and arena district. For more, see Where to eat and drink before the game. But if you want to venture further, here are some tasty discoveries!

This family-run brewery, housed in a historic fire station, offers easy-drinking beers, great German food, and a huge beer garden.

An Austin-based chain that has made its way into the Columbus market, serving up rich salsas and queso, creative tacos and margaritas. Find a location near Polaris and one soon in Dublin.

Next to the Eastern Market is Columbus Brewing Company’s new Beer Hall, a beautifully renovated space with 24 drafts of beer, cocktails and a creative menu.

Everyone will find what they are looking for at the new East Market, housed in an old barn in the historic Trolley district. It’s near the Franklin Park Conservatory and has a collection of vendors, from pizza and falafel to Korean and New Orleans favorites, from coffee to nuts and snacks.

Follow your nose to the welcoming smells of smoke at Hank’s, a family-friendly Clintonville outpost serving beef brisket, ribs, smoked chicken, sausages and more.

The long-running Jack & Benny’s is just minutes upstate in Ohio. Grab a booth and check out Buckeye paraphernalia as you order pancakes, huevos rancheros and giant Gutbusters.

Chef Avishar Barua (who appeared in season 18 of Excellent chef), opened this daytime cafe in Old Worthington to serve great coffee and creative versions of breakfast sandwiches, fried rice, lamb koti rolls and other delicious treats.

Stop by Subourbon in Linworth (between Dublin and Worthington) for hearty Southern classics like fried chicken, grits, gumbo and chilli cheese, all paired with a solid whiskey list.

Weenie Wonder has two locations – one in Easton and one in Dublin’s Bridge Park – where they serve hot dogs, shakes, tater tots and other retro snacks. Both locations are attached to PINS Mechanical Co. and 16-Bit Bar + Arcade, which means they’re great fun for all ages.

This neighborhood restaurant in Grandview will have you wondering which is better: the homemade donuts or the hearty dinner fare, from cookies and gravy to chunky burgers.

This huge brasserie and taproom located in a renovated warehouse in Milo-Grogan serves an extensive menu. Take the time to check out all the Ohio-themed paraphernalia, including a real airplane!

If you want to get out of downtown Columbus, there are many neighborhoods that are easily accessible by car. Here you will find shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and other local entertainment.


Just west of Victorian Village, over the river, Grandview is a popular residential location. Stroll Grandview Avenue for everything from shops and restaurants to wine bars and vintage movie theaters.


Historic Old Worthington offers the charm of a New England village. Grab coffee or pastries at local cafes, relax on the Village Green, visit one of the many neighborhood shops, and stay long enough for dinner and drinks.


Hilliard’s main street has been reinventing itself in recent years, notably with the addition of Center Street Market with a brewery and multiple vendors. Check out the other bars, restaurants, shops and outdoor cafes.


Start in historic Dublin for a collection of shops and cafes along charming city streets, then cross the river on the Dublin Link Bridge (the longest single-tower S-shaped suspension bridge in the world) to Bridge Park, a modern neighborhood with loads of bars, restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues.

Don’t forget our list of places to eat and drink before the game for lots of ideas close to the city center for lunch, dinner and drinks AND where to stay, eat and drink during a weekend focused on the game. sport.

Disclaimer: This post is part of a partnership with the Greater Columbus Athletic Commission. Photos and opinions are our own.

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