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Top 10 Things to do in Downtown Columbus

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman Top 10 Things to do in Downtown Columbus
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Sure, a lot of downtown areas in major cities have the same attractions: bars, restaurants, shops. But Downtown Columbus puts a unique spin on what you can find in the middle of the city. Outdoor movie nights and the Columbus Commons, kayaking along the Scioto Mile, Broadway in Columbus at the Ohio Theatre and old-school gaming at 16-Bit are just a few reasons to take a trip Downtown.

Keep on reading for the top 10 things to do in Downtown Columbus, in no particular order:

1. Stroll Through Columbus Commons

Outdoor yoga at the Columbus Commons. Photo courtesy of Columbus Commons.

From food truck festivals to live music and exercise classes, Columbus Commons has become a space for every kind of outdoor activity and event. Bring a lawn chair and blankets for a show at Shadowbox Live, or perfect your mountain pose for weekly yoga classes. The summer also makes for an exciting time at the Columbus Commons, with Family Fun Days, 5Ks and Movie Nights!

For more events visit the Columbus Commons website.

2. Play in the Fountains at Bicentennial Park


The kid-friendly fountains at Bicentennial Park make for a miniature water park right in the middle of Downtown, plus the light shows during summer nights adds an impressive view. While you dry off, stroll through the park’s gardens, catch a concert at the Bicentennial Park pavilion or have dinner with a view at the iconic Milestone 229.

splash pad water park downtown columbus scioto mile free things to do

Play in the fountains at Bicentennial Park. Photo courtesy Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.

Find more info on the Scioto Mile website.

3. Walk the Scioto Mile

Photo by Randi Walle.

If you’ve never walked the Scioto Mile, arguably the sight to see in all of Downtown, you’re in for a treat. What makes the view so spectacular is the aggregation of both city and nature: Columbus’ skyline provides the backdrop to birdwatching, kayaking, fireworks, and so much more.

Regular events taking place on the Scioto River include WinterFest, the Jazz & Rib Fest and Rhythm on the River, taking place on select Friday evenings during the summer.

For more information, visit www.sciotomile.com.

4. Take in a Theatrical Show

The Ohio Theatre. Photo via the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts website.

A trio of renowned theaters call Downtown home: the Palace Theatre, the Ohio Theatre and the Southern Theatre. These theaters have hosted legendary national acts and performances, as well as The Columbus Symphony, BalletMet and Broadway in Columbus.

The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) Summer Movie Series also takes place at the Ohio Theatre as the longest-running classic film series in the country.

Visit the CAPA website for more info.

5. Shop and Dine Locally on Gay Street

A trio of meatballs from Due Amici.

Shopping and eating Downtown is an adventure in itself, with niche boutiques and restaurants around every corner. If you happen to find yourself on Gay Street, make sure to stop and shop at zer0z for smart, skinny, leather wallets, visit Due Amici and try their meatball trio, and see what all the fuss over Tip Top Kitchen & Cocktails’ famous feta spread is all about.


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