Discover Columbus with your student
1813 N. High Street
Did you know that the world’s largest collection of materials relating to cartoons and comics is housed at Ohio State? Well, now you do, and this is a fun place to drop in while you’re visiting your student. It’s a special collections library so you can’t just browse the stacks, but there is always a permanent exhibit showcasing a selection of art and artifacts as well as a special exhibit — coming up is “Looking Backward, Looking Forward: U.S. Immigration in Cartoons and Comics.” If you are around in September, try to catch the annual four-day “Cartoon Crossroads Columbus” festival (CXC).
1 Capitol Square
9 minute drive
The Greek Revival Ohio Statehouse, completed in 1861 just in time for a visit from newly-elected President Abraham Lincoln, is one of the oldest working statehouses in the U.S. and a fascinating way to learn about Ohio history and see its modern-day government in action. Free guided tours are offered on the hour daily (M–F 10–3 and 12–3 on the weekend) and begin in the renowned Map Room, where you will walk across a floor map of Ohio’s 88 counties designed in native limestone and five types of marble. If you’d rather tour at your own pace, download the free “Capitol Ohio” podcast from iTunes or a cell phone audio tour.
588 and 631 S. Third Street
11 minute drive
Eight blocks from the Statehouse in the city’s “Old South End” is the historic German Village neighborhood. On the National Register of Historic Places, this living residential and commercial community is bathed in a warm glow from the low brick buildings, orange masonry sidewalks and streets of brick pavers. 1,600 buildings dating back to the 1840s have been beautifully restored, making this a delightful place to stroll, shop and dine. Start at the Visitors Center (during the warm months you can join a walking tour for $10) and be sure to leave time to meander through the 32 rooms of bargain books at the Book Loft.
High Street between King and Nationwide
8 minute drive
Free to browse; tour/activity prices vary
Here is another vibrant Columbus neighborhood. Short North is dense with art, of course — 18+ galleries plus public art including an iconic mural that riffs on Grant Wood’s “American Gothic.” But it is also the place to go if you are looking for unique shops, delicious dining and energetic nightlife. Be sure to check the website because something is always happening in Short North — dance classes, candle making, “Cocktails and Canvases,” tastings at a distillery or meadery, mozzarella stretching at Black Radish Creamery — and you don’t want to miss out. Every first Saturday is Gallery Hop from 4–10 p.m. with food, street performers and special events. Download the Short North Arts District Art Trail app for a self- guided tour plus coupons and special offers.
1777 E. Broad Street
14 minute drive
Indoors and out, by day and after dark, wonderful experiences await you at the Franklin Park Conservatory. The outdoor gardens offer explosions of color and scent throughout the growing seasons; as the weather cools, you’ll find yourself drawn to the Conservatory where you can explore a range of biomes from rainforest to desert. The Palm House — a gorgeously ornate Victorian-era glass greenhouse —shelters 43 species of palms and at dusk is the setting for “Light Raiment II” by the light artist James Turrell. You simply must see this to believe it. Seasonal exhibitions highlight topiary, bonsai, juried art and more; of special note is the permanent Dale Chihuly glass collection. Wind up your visit at the Botanica Gift Shop and the Garden Café.