Tagging along with a significant other? Not really sure you want to go to that next panel? Dazzled by our fair city and want to see what more it has to offer?
Within walking distance
North Market: Historic indoor market focusing on specialty foods and lunch stalls. Open 9-7 (10-5 on Sunday). One block west of the convention center.
Goodale Park: Oldest city park in Columbus, planted with over 100 species of trees. Two blocks northwest of the convention center.
Pizzuti Collection: Small but thoughtfully curated gallery of contemporary art from around the world. Open 10-5 (12-5 on Sunday). 632 N. Park St., about a quarter mile northwest of the Hyatt.
Capital Square: Admittedly, the Ohio state capitol is not one of the nation’s most inspiring, but it’s open for tours and contains a lot of history. It’s also a fairly nice walk about half a mile down High Street.
Historic theaters: Columbus has three ornate Victorian theaters downtown—the Palace, the Southern, and the Ohio—with regular concerts, musicals, films.
Scioto Riverfront: Lined with parks, walking and biking trails, with views of downtown. Be sure to take a photo with the deer on the Rich St. bridge.
400 West Rich St. and Franklinton: Across the Scioto from downtown, Franklinton (est. 1798) is the oldest part of Columbus. Once destroyed by flooding and neglect, the east side of Franklinton (Scioto Peninsula) has seen a revival in the last few years, with old factories and warehouses becoming artists’ studios and breweries. Friday during the conference will be a “Franklinton Friday” centered on the former factory at 400 W. Rich St., when artists open their studios to the public—highly recommended.
German Village: Historic neighborhood of charming red brick houses and streets, boutiques, and restaurants. https://www.experiencecolumbus.com/listing/german-village/5499/
Columbus Museum of Art: A varied collection focused on modern and contemporary artists including George Bellows and Kehinde Wiley, in a beautiful new building. https://www.columbusmuseum.org/
Franklin Park Conservatory: Indoor and outdoor gardens, including a large new children’s garden. https://www.fpconservatory.org/
Columbus Metro Parks: A collection of 20 nature preserves around the edge of the city, ranging from restored prairies with bison to cliffs with nesting eagles. http://www.metroparks.net/
Columbus with kids
COSI: The Columbus Science Center, just across the Scioto from downtown, is full of hands-on activities and includes IMAX films, a planetarium, and a large dinosaur exhibit. https://cosi.org/
Franklin Park Conservatory: The large new children’s garden is perfect for ages 3-10 when the weather is nice. https://www.fpconservatory.org/
Downtown Library: An original Carnegie library wrapped inside elegant modern architecture. The library has a large children’s section and includes a café with access to the city’s Topiary Park.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium: A nationally recognized zoo, geared toward children, but a long trip from downtown. I would recommend it only if you have your own car and a whole day to spend.