As well as being named after the famous explorer, Columbus, Ohio, distinguishes itself in a number of ways. As the capital of Ohio as well as its largest city, Columbus is also home to Ohio State University, one of the biggest campuses in the entire US, enriching the city with attractions like the Wexner Center for the Arts. Catch a football game at the Ohio “Horseshoe” Stadium, explore the work of writer James Thurber at his former home, or just tour Columbus' distinct neighborhoods for everything from German culture to gallery-hopping.
Get a taste for what life would be like in a Medieval European town by visiting Columbus's German Village. This district stretches across 233 acres just south of Downtown, and is characterized by quaint, cobblestone streets and beautiful homes, including charming bungalows and lovely estates. Schiller Park acts as the nucleus of the village, which also boasts numerous German restaurants and the all-important craft breweries.
Experience the creative side of Columbus by spending time in Short North, the city's arts district. This highly walkable neighborhood is studded with numerous galleries, restaurants and shops. On the first Saturday evening of each month, the district springs to life with the Gallery Hop. Many galleries and shops stay open exceptionally late, and throngs of visitors roam the streets while snacking, drinking and socializing.
The Center of Science and Industry, or COSI, is a state-of-the-art hands-on museum that's especially popular with families and children. With more than 300 interactive exhibits, including Sherlock Holmes games and sweeping world panoramas in the National Geographic Theater, it's a terrific place to spend time on a rainy day.
You'd be remiss to visit Columbus without spending at least a little time on the OSU campus. Highlights include The Horseshoe, which is the school's famous football stadium, The Oval and Mirror Lake.
If you like golf, make a beeline for the Jack Nicklaus Museum, also found on the OSU campus. As the hometown of the man himself, Columbus celebrates the history of golf and Jack' successes in the game here, as well as plenty of collector's memorabilia and fun facts.
Sprawling across nearly 600 acres on the Scioto River just north of the city, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to more than 9,000 animals, from African parrots to polar bears. Split into sections that represent various regions of the world, the compact size still makes it doable for younger kids.
With its location in the heart of central Ohio, Columbus is easy to access via a number of major interstates and freeways. From the east and west, Interstate 70 and Interstate 670 provide direct access to many parts of the city. From the north and south, Interstate 71 and State Route 315 serve as the main arteries into and around Columbus. Interstate 270, which is often referred to as the Outer Belt, is also a convenient way to get around town.
For air travelers, Port Columbus International Airport (CMH) is the natural choice. All major airlines are represented here, and there is service to and from a dizzying array of major cities domestic and international. Downtown is just 10 minutes away, and rental cars are readily available. You can also grab a taxi or hop on the No. 92 bus to get to the city.
Summers in Columbus are hot and humid, with temperatures reaching 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Lows of 23 degrees mean that winters tend to be very cold but relatively dry, and the city doesn't really experience excessive amounts of snowfall, so getting around is not a problem. The best rates on Columbus hotels are generally offered in the winter. As far as shoulder seasons go, spring is characterized by mild temperatures —just watch out for thunderstorms! —while fall offers crisp, cool weather and beautifully-colored foliage.