<span>How to Plan a Trip to</span> Columbus, OH

How to Plan a Trip to Columbus, OH

travel to columbus ohio

Things to Do

Located in the heart of Ohio, the capital city of Columbus is on the rise as a cultural center and hip city to visit. While it is known as the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Columbus is much more than a football-crazed college town. With an influx of young people and creatives, Columbus currently ranks as the 15th most populous city in the U.S. and boasts enough entertainment and events to keep its residents — and tourists— occupied. From art and music to shopping and outdoor activities, Columbus has something to offer every visitor.

columbus arena district

Ohio Stadium

wexner center for the arts

Wexner Center for the Arts

coffee trail

Columbus Coffee Trail

ohio theater

Ohio Theater

shadowbox live

Shadowbox Live!

ohio state fair

Ohio State Fair

Ohio Stadium

Sports fans can catch a game during any season in Columbus thanks to the city’s three professional sports teams and the Ohio State University’s many athletic programs.

The Arena District downtown houses two of the city’s three professional sports teams — watch the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets tear up the ice at Nationwide Arena or cheer for the MLB Triple-A Columbus Clippers at Huntington Park. When there isn’t a hockey match, Nationwide Arena also hosts events and concerts featuring world-class acts you won’t want to miss. While in the Arena District, stick around to hear live music almost any night of the week at one of the district’s more than six concert venues.

If baseball and hockey aren’t your style, catch the beautiful game played by Columbus Crew SC, Ohio’s Major League Soccer team. The Columbus Crew SC play at MAPFRE stadium in north Columbus from March to October. Built in 1999, MAPFRE stadium was the first soccer-specific stadium in the U.S. and is now a popular spot for soccer fans to tailgate together before a match.

Experiencing sports in Columbus would not be complete without a stop at the Ohio State University to cheer for the Buckeyes in almost any NCAA sport from basketball to gymnastics. During football season, be wowed by Ohio Stadium, home to the college’s Big Ten football team. The impressive double-horseshoe stadium can pack in 102,329 fans decked in the red and grey, all screaming “Go, Bucks!”

Wexner Center for the Arts

Located on the Ohio State University campus, this contemporary arts center always offers something new.

Check out its rotating galleries, film presentations, theatrical performances and educational programs.

Columbus Coffee Trail

After the sun sets on a busy day of sight-seeing, Columbus is still buzzing with many nightlife hot-spots. But before heading out for the evening, you’ll probably need a pick-me-up.

The Columbus Coffee Trail has you covered — this trail represents the best coffee shops in Columbus and rewards visitors with a free t-shirt for taking a sip at four or more locations. Coffee-lovers from across the country will not be disappointed by these artisan brews and carefully crafted lattes.

Ohio Theater

The Ohio Theater is a performing arts center in the heart of downtown Columbus featuring symphonies, Broadway acts, ballets, operas and movies. The Columbus Symphony Orchestra finds its home here as well as Opera Columbus and BalletMet.

Traveling Broadway acts frequent the Ohio Theater and are one of the theater’s most popular attractions. Built in 1927 and restored in 1970, the architecture and artwork of this historic theater are enough to make it a must-see!

Shadowbox Live!

For more theatrical treats, check out Shadowbox Live!, the largest residential theater company in America. Shadowbox Live! offers a unique twist on theater by incorporating modern features like rock and roll, live comedy shows and lots of original content.

The Shadowbox Live! venue also features a full bar and bistro-style restaurant

Ohio State Fair

Dating back to 1850, the Ohio State Fair is a long-standing tradition of providing food, fun and, of course, agricultural education. This annual celebration is held right in Columbus in late July and features over 240 shopping vendors and farm-fresh foods from across the state.

You can also catch a concert from such well-known artists as the Beach Boys. Even though the fair’s attractions have expanded over the years, the focus of the Ohio State Fair remains to teach kids and families about agriculture.

Kid Friendly Things to Do

Looking for fun for the whole family? Check out these kid-friendly things to do in Columbus!

museum of art

Columbus Museum of Art

cosi

COSI - Center of Science and Industry

columbus zoo and aquarium

Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

park of roses

Park of Roses

topiary park

Topiary Park

Columbus Museum of Art

For a more traditional art experience that is perfect for kids, head to the Columbus Museum of Art. This art museum features American and European art from the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as contemporary artists.

For the little ones, the CMA offers summer art workshops where kids can learn about art-making and then dive in themselves. The Columbus Museum of Art also features hands-on activities in their Wonder Room that is open throughout the year.

COSI - Center of Science and Industry

One of the best family-friendly attractions in Columbus is certainly COSI. Short for Center of Science and Industry, COSI promotes active learning through engaging science exhibits and activities for all ages.

Be sure to check out the Dinosaur Gallery that houses a full-size T-Rex cast and the Planetarium, which is the largest planetarium in the state of Ohio. COSI also partners with the Ohio State University for university outreach and innovative research opportunities. Consider participating in a research experiment during your visit!

Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

Featuring over 10,000 animals, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is another great way to spend a day in Columbus. The zoo is home to creatures from six different regions around the world and the aquarium submerges you in the wonders of the ocean.

You and your family will be amazed by 650 different species of animals from the safari to the rainforest. To continue the adventure, check out the on-site water park and 18-hole golf course.

Park of Roses

At the Park of Roses, you’re invited to literally stop and smell the roses — over 400 varieties of roses, to be specific. The Columbus Park of Roses was created in 1953 and features several different gardens with over 12,000 roses, as well as a perennial garden and an herb garden.

With wide paved paths and plenty of benches, the Park of Roses is perfect for a casual afternoon stroll.

Topiary Park

Another relaxing garden right in the heart of Columbus is Topiary Park. This unique outdoor space uses sculpted bushes to recreate George Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte.”

This landscape is probably the most well-known pointillist painting, but even if you’re not familiar with the painting, you will still love exploring the carefully clipped people and animals made from trees.

Tourist Attractions

When you think of centers of creativity, innovation, and “hip”-ness, Ohio probably isn’t the first state to come to mind.

To an outsider, Ohio has connotations of cornfields and, well, more cornfields. But cornfields don’t explain Columbus. With a blossoming art scene, a slew of craft breweries and an annual Caffeine Crawl weaving through local shops, the capital city is the quiet secret of the Midwest.

But more people are discovering Columbus, and it’s well-deserved. Columbus is surprisingly affordable, with a cost of living 5 percent below the national average. Forbes ranked it as No. 11 in its list of Best Places for Business and Careers, and after New York and Los Angeles, Columbus has more fashion designers than any other U.S. city.

Why should you visit Columbus? Well, with its flourishing music industry, a growing hub of makers and artisans and the friendly atmosphere of a smaller town, the “Biggest Small Town in America” should be on your list of future vacation spots. We’ve grouped the city’s main attractions below so you can start planning your visit and see for yourself what makes Columbus so beloved.

franklin park

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden

If you are looking for a more interactive park, explore the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden, one of the most popular attractions in Columbus. The conservatory connects the community to nature through its various workshops and events on gardening, wellness and the fine arts.

Explore exotic plants from around the world in the Conservatory or take a cooking class in the community garden. For the art-obsessed, marvel at Dale Chihuly’s glass art collection and James Turrell’s light art installation.

scioto mile

Scioto Mile

Few out-of-town visitors realize it, but Columbus is built along the banks of the beautiful Scioto River. And New York City might have Central Park, but Columbus is home to the beautiful Scioto Mile. This stretch of beautiful greenery along the river forms a gorgeous place to relax in nature even while still in the heart of the bustling city.

Here you’ll find parks filled with lush grass and trees, bike paths, pedestrian walking trails, a 15,000 square foot fountain, the largest free outdoor climbing wall in the country and so much more. Even if your trip to Columbus is short, this is one destination you won’t want to skip.

german village

German Village

One of the most unique historical attractions in Columbus is German Village. This 233-acre village was created by German immigrants in the 19th century and quickly became a hub for German culture.

However, the neighborhood struggled during World War I when anti-German sentiments were common — some of the street names were even changed to sound less German. Now, the neighborhood has been revitalized and visitors can view German architecture, eat sauerkraut and bratwurst, and even hear German spoken in the streets.

easton town center

Easton Town Center

Columbus has the third highest concentration of fashion designers in the U.S., following only New York City and Los Angeles.

This means you will find the hottest brand name clothes and upcoming fashion trends alike! Tap into the fashionista in you at Columbus’s premier shopping center.

book loft

Book Loft

Whether you are an avid reader or not, no trip to Columbus is complete without a peek inside Book Loft. This massive independent bookstore in German Village holds such a large collection of books that you are encouraged to pick up a map of the store at the front desk.

Explore Book Loft’s 32 different rooms to find your favorite classic or discover a new work from a Columbus local.

travel to columbus ohio

Downtown Columbus

Technically, this is many attractions wrapped into one, but there are so many things to mention that we’re lumping them all together. Wherever else you’re interested in visiting during your tour of the city, the downtown area is not to be missed.

Here you’ll find markets, the Columbus Commons, live concerts, theatre, sand volleyball and so much more.

ohio statehouse

The Ohio Statehouse

When exploring downtown Columbus, the state capitol building is impossible to miss at the center of Capitol Square. The Ohio Statehouse is a masterwork of Greek Revival architecture with impressive limestone pillars and a large circular dome.

Inside the statehouse, visitors can view artwork memorializing important events and historical figures in Ohio’s history. The Ohio Statehouse also houses a museum where you can learn about Ohio’s history. On the way out, stop at the gift store for unique Ohio souvenirs.

Places to Eat

Why visit Columbus? Well, if you love food, you’re in luck — every street in Ohio’s capital city has some kind of beloved burger joint or artisan eatery. Below are the top-rated restaurants in Columbus where you can take your time enjoying an exceptional meal.

giordano's columbus

Giordano’s in Columbus

2137 Polaris Pkwy, Columbus, OH 43240 SUN-THUR: 11AM - 9PM, FRI-SAT: 11AM-10PM,

After a long day of sightseeing and tourism, you’ll be hungry for some delicious Columbus cuisine. Stop in for a taste of Giordano’s famous stuffed deep-dish pizza. While Giordano’s is most well-known for their unbeatable pizza, their menu also includes a wide variety of other treats such as salads, sandwiches and more, as well as a full kids menu if you’ve brought the whole family.

View Giordano’s in Columbus Website
rockmill tavern

Rockmill Tavern

503 S Front, St, Columbus, OH 43215 SUN: 7AM-11PM, MON: CLOSED, TUE-THUR: 7AM-12AM, FRI: 7AM-1AM, SAT: 11AM-1AM

For a slightly swankier pint, grab a drink from Rockmill Tavern. The rustic, wood-saturated interiors add to the charm, as do the 15 craft beers on tap. Start with a generous charcuterie board, then move on to their seasonal mains like deviled duck egg or black truffle grilled cheese.

View Rockmill Tavern Website
barleys brewing

Barley's Brewing Company

467 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215 SUN-THUR: 11AM-10PM, FRI-SAT: 11AM-11PM

Armed with a slogan of “Firkin’ Good Ale,” Barley’s Brewing Company set out to become one of the nation’s few producers of cask-conditioned ale, and it has wildly succeeded.

Barley’s takes pride in their product, and the city has rallied around them. Since its opening in 1991, Barley’s Brewing Company has become a Columbus staple — the mayor has tapped the annual Christmas ale three years in a row. If you like some substance with your barley, try one of their crowd-pleasing burgers — such as the pizza burger, which is exactly what it sounds like.

View Barley's Brewing Company Website
thurman cafe

The Thurman Cafe

183 Thurman Ave, Columbus, OH 43206 SUN-THUR: 11AM-11PM, FRI-SAT: 11AM-12AM

While the “best” burger in Columbus is a topic of debate, no one argues about the biggest — that award goes to The Thurman Cafe, without question. The third-generation, family-owned restaurant is in an unassuming section of German Village, but don’t let the location fool you — wait times can be two hours long. While Thurman’s offers a variety of burgers, the most famous is the Thurmanator, which restaurant chefs invented for competitive bodybuilders in the ’80s. The monstrosity requires 24 ounces of ground beef to make, and it takes a fork and knife to eat.

View The Thurman Cafe Website
top steak house

The Top Steak House

2891 East Main St, Columbus, OH 43209 SUN: 5PM-9PM, MON-SAT: 5PM-10PM

Not many restaurants still offer the experience of a 1950s supper club. The Top Steak House is a rare exception — when you enter the Top, you enter a space suspended in 1955.
Step inside the dimly lit, wood-paneled restaurant and slide into a leather booth or take a stool at the gleaming copper bar. Order a lobster tail or gin martini and settle back as you listen to the nightly live music. If you’re lucky, 90-year-old Sonia will be playing the piano — she’s been a Top institution for decades.

View The Top Steak House Website
schmidts

Schmidt's

240 E Kossuth St, Columbus, OH 43206 SUN-THUR: 11AM-9PM, FRI-SAT: 11AM-10PM

Both an award-winning food truck and a television-featured restaurant, Schmidt’s has been a beloved Columbus institution since 1886. Nestled in the German Village neighborhood, Schmidt’s is the go-to spot for authentic German fare. While they serve a variety of German dishes like sauerkraut-bratwurst balls, curry wurst and schnitzel, Schmidt’s has earned fame for its sausages. Try one of their old-world sausage samplers for a wide range of meats or go with the Columbus staple: the Bahama Mama sausage, which had a starring role in Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food in 2008.

View Schmidt's Website
dirty franks

Dirty Frank's Hotdog Palace

248 S 4th St, Columbus, OH 43215 SUN: 11AM-10PM, MON: Closed, TUE-THUR: 11AM-10PM, FRI-SAT: 11AM-12AM

Sometimes, you need a quick and cheap meal, perfect for taking with you as you explore. For a cheap, portable and delicious lunch, look no further than Dirty Frank’s Hotdog Palace.
A local favorite, Dirty Frank’s offers sausages made from classic Vienna beef, or vegan and vegetarian alternatives. For a cold beer and creative ‘dog, head to Dirty Frank’s — just make sure to pick up plenty of napkins.

View Dirty Frank's Hotdog Palace Website

Places to Stay

Columbus is home to many beautiful and convenient hotels and other forms of lodging so that no matter what your trip looks like, you’ll be able to find a place to stay that’s right for you.

As you look into booking your lodgings during your stay in Columbus, pay special attention to where in the city you’re booking them. If you’re traveling into the city via the airport, you may want to hunt down lodgings nearby. If you’re coming in by bus, look for hotels close to the bus station.

days inn

Days Inn

750 Stelzer Rd, Columbus, OH 43219

Guests at Days Inn get so much more than just a room to stay in. They can also take advantage of complimentary shuttle rides to and from the airport as well as a continental breakfast, fitness center, indoor pool and business center.

View Days Inn Website
staybridge suites

Staybridge Suites

2890 Airport Dr, Columbus, OH 43219

Staybridge Suites features all recently-renovated suites that offer comforts like in-room kitchens and living room spaces. Other amenities include a breakfast buffet, an indoor pool and fire pit, evening socials Monday through Wednesday, internet access and shuttle service.

View Staybridge Suites Website
fairfield inn and suites

Fairfield Inn and Suites

4300 International Gateway, Columbus, OH 43219

If you’re looking for the newest hotel near the Columbus airport, look no further than Fairfield Inn and Suites. Here, you can enjoy a complimentary breakfast, Wi-Fi, patio seating and more.

View Fairfield Inn and Suites Website
homewood suites

Homewood Suites

2880 Airport Dr, Columbus, OH 43219

At Homewood Suites, you can choose between one- and two-room suites, which both include a kitchen and Wi-Fi access. Mornings include a hot breakfast and evenings are concluded with an evening social.

View Homewood Suites Website

Tips for Planning Your Trip

Best Ways to Travel Into Columbus

As you plan your trip to Columbus, consider all the different ways to get into the city, and which one is most convenient and cost-effective for you.

  • Flying: If you’re traveling from far away, flying might be the easiest way to reach Columbus. Book your flight into the John Glenn Columbus International Airport, located just six miles east of the downtown area for your convenience and ease of access. Book your plane tickets to Columbus here.
  • Bus: If you prefer to keep your wheels on the ground as you travel, or perhaps if you’re coming from a shorter distance, Columbus has a large and convenient Greyhound Bus station, located not far from the heart of downtown. While traveling by bus will usually take longer than traveling by plane, it is also usually less expensive. Plan your bus trip today.
  • Car: You should never count out the option of a good old American road trip. Whether you’re traveling from across the county, or just across the state, you can always reach Columbus in the safety and comfort of your own vehicle. This option also lets you travel without the expense of buying a ticket, although you will still have to pay for gas.

Fun Facts About Columbus, OH

1. Columbus Is the Capital of Ohio

When the Ohio government was looking for a location for its capital in the early 1800s, members wanted a place close to the geographic center of the state. Fortunately, a few businessmen from the town of Franklinton offered the state government a free parcel of twenty acres on which to build. The legislature chose that site in 1812, and construction began. In 1816, on those centrally located acres, Columbus was officially incorporated.

2. Columbus Is the 14th Largest City in the United States

With a population of just over 890,000, Columbus ranks 14th on the list of U.S. states ordered by population size. It is similar in size to cities like Indianapolis, Charlotte, Jacksonville and Seattle. Columbus is also the only large northern city in the United States to grow by more than 10% between 2010 and 2017, so it may well go zooming up that list.

3. Columbus Boasts Several Colleges and Universities

The flagship university in Columbus is the Ohio State University — in Ohio, “the” is firmly entrenched as part of the university name. Ohio State is the third-biggest university in the country by enrollment. The city also houses Columbus State Community College, the Columbus College of Art and Design, and Franklin University, a private university for adult students.

4. College Football Is Enormous

Ohio State football has a tremendous fan base. Ohio State’s football stadium, the fourth largest in the country, can seat over 104,000 cheering Buckeyes fans, and its attendance numbers at home games have been in the top four nationally since 1949.

5. Columbus Hosts the Ohio State Fair

Every summer, the Ohio State Fair sets up in Columbus. Fairgoers throng to the city from all over Ohio to eat carnival food, ride the Ferris wheel and swings, play games, show off livestock and homemade goods, win prizes and more.

Historical Facts About Columbus, OH

1. Many German Immigrants Settled in Columbus

In the 1800s, German immigrants began to make Columbus their home after immigrating to the United States. Many settled in Columbus’s Old South End and got to work reestablishing one famous livelihood from their home country — breweries. German immigrants started and operated many successful breweries in Columbus, lending a unique cultural flavor to the city. By 1865, one-third of Columbus’s population was German, and German Village survives today as a remnant of Columbus’s German ancestry.

2. Columbus Provided Stops on the Underground Railroad

When slavery was legal in the United States, Kentucky, to the south of the Ohio River, was a slave state, while Ohio, to the north, was free under the Northwest Ordinance. Many slaves crossed the river to Ohio in hopes of securing their freedom. Cincinnati, located on the Ohio River, received many of these slaves and saw several sites of Underground Railroad activity. One prominent resident of nearby Ripley, Presbyterian minister John Rankin, would signal with a lantern from his hilltop property when it was safe for slaves to cross the river to his home.

The Ohio historian Wilbur Siebert once calculated that approximately 3,000 miles of Underground Railroad routes traversed Ohio during the mid-1800s.

Although Columbus is in the middle of Ohio, farther from the river, residents of the city still found opportunities to help. Columbus held 22 stops on the Underground Railroad. Fernando Cortez Kelton and Sophia Stone Kelton were one couple who served as conductors on the Underground Railroad, hiding fugitive slaves in their root cellar until the ex-slaves could travel north to Canada, on the other side of Lake Erie from Ohio. Today, the Kelton House in Columbus is a museum and historical landmark. The Neil estate on Indianola Avenue, now the Kappa Sigma fraternity house, also served as a station on the Underground Railroad.

3. Abraham Lincoln Learned Historic News in Columbus

Abraham Lincoln was visiting Columbus when he found out he had been elected to the presidency of the United States. As Lincoln was visiting the Ohio Statehouse in February of 1861, he received a telegram informing him that the electoral results had been certified and that he had won the election. Earlier that morning, Lincoln had also narrowly escaped death in Cincinnati — a bomb set to detonate in 15 minutes, was discovered and removed from his train car.

4. Columbus Helped Make Union Uniforms

The state of Ohio itself was a huge part of the war effort during the Civil War — it supplied more Union soldiers than any other state except New York and Pennsylvania. Columbus factories also manufactured many Union uniforms during the Civil War. Today, Columbus’s National Hockey League (NHL) team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, bears its name as a tribute to the blue jackets of that Union uniform.

5. Columbus Housed Confederate Prisoners

During the Civil War, Columbus also housed Confederate prisoners at Fort Chase. During the early years of the war, Confederate officers received the freedom to wander the city after giving their word that they would not flee. In the later, darker years of the war, Confederate prisoners were kept confined. By the end of the war, in 1865, Fort Chase housed 10,000 captive men.

6. The Ohio Statehouse Honors Ohio Presidents

Of the 45 U.S. presidents so far, eight have come from Ohio. The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus has honored all of them — William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Willian Howard Taft and Warren G. Harding – by naming each of its hearing rooms after one of them. (Harrison was born in Virginia, but he moved to Ohio in adulthood and served in state government here.)

7. The First Woman to Fly a Plane Around the World Was From Columbus

In 1964, Geraldine Mock flew around the world in a single-engine Cessna named the Spirit of Columbus. Her trip took 29 days, 11 hours and 59 minutes between takeoff and landing at the Columbus International Airport. When Mock — known to everyone as Jerrie — returned, 5,000 adoring fans were waiting to greet her at the airport.

8. The World’s First Cargo Flight Also Landed in Columbus

On November 7, 1910, a Wright Model B airplane took off from Dayton, Ohio, with two parcels of silk on board. Orville and Wilbur Wright supplied both the plane and the pilot for the historic flight. Philip Parmalee piloted the plane for 71 minutes over the 65 miles to Columbus and landed it safely.

9. Columbus Was Home to America’s First Middle School

In the early 1900s, elementary schools taught students from kindergarten through the eighth grade. Of those students, 52% dropped out of school before entering the tenth grade. In 1909, Columbus school officials opened the first middle school in the United States, Indianola Junior High School, to provide a specialized learning facility for seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders and help increase student retention.

10. Columbus Pioneered Water Treatment Technology

Ohio’s Hoover Dam — not to be confused with its bigger cousin in Nevada and Arizona — is named for two brothers, Clarence and Charles Hoover, who lived in Columbus. Clarence Hoover was the chief chemist in Columbus, as well as a bacteriologist who worked on sewage treatment. Charles Hoover was the chemist in charge of the water plant. In what became known as the “Columbus Experiment,” the two brothers helped develop the world’s first water treatment facility — the design of which is still used today — and reduced the number of typhus deaths from unclean water.

Unusual Facts About Columbus and Ohio

Now that you know some historical facts about Columbus, let’s take a look at some more surprising facts:

1. Almost Half of U.S. Residents Live Near Columbus

Nearly half the population of the United States — 48% of the country’s people — lives within 500 miles of Columbus. Columbus is about a day’s drive away — or less — from major U.S. cities like New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Washington, DC. The Canadian cities of Toronto and Ottawa lie inside that 500-mile radius as well, and Montreal sits just outside it. Because of the city’s convenient location, it’s easy for residents to get out and travel to other places or receive guests from out of town. Columbus is also a convenient place for tourists or road trippers to visit.

2. Columbus Features One of the Country’s Oldest Parks

Goodale Park, donated to the city of Columbus in 1851, was designed to give workers a chance to rest in some relaxing greenery. The 40-acre expanse is the oldest park in Ohio and one of the three oldest parks in the United States. It almost had the city’s main library located in it as well.

3. The National Football League (NFL) Once Called Columbus Home

For twelve years, from 1927 to 1939, Columbus was home to the NFL headquarters, which were located in the Hayden Building, one of Columbus’s first skyscrapers. At the time, Columbus had an NFL team, the Columbus Panhandles, which made history by being the first NFL team in the United States to play against another NFL team.

4. Judy Garland Has a Columbus Connection

Judy Garland, famous for playing Dorothy Gale in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, was inducted as an honorary member of an Ohio State fraternity in 1938. The event was such big news that even Life magazine sent reporters and photographers to Columbus to cover the ceremony.

5. Guy Fieri was born in Columbus

This celebrity chef hails from Columbus. He later moved to California, and in high school, he spent time studying in France, where he developed his love of preparing delicious, innovative cuisine. Fieri was born Guy Ferry, his last name anglicized from the original Italian Fieri, but he changed the spelling back to honor his Italian great-grandfather, who immigrated to the United States.

6. Columbus Has Had a Hand in Fast-Food Success

The burger chain White Castle has been headquartered in Columbus since 1933. And in 1969, Wendy’s, which now operates out of nearby Dublin, Ohio, opened its first store on Columbus’s East Broad Street.

7. Columbus Is a City of Many Nicknames

The nickname Cowtown comes from the early 20th century, when Columbus was home to the 3,000-acre Hartman Stock Farm, at the time the largest cattle farm in the world. The farm also included a resort and a schoolhouse. An older nickname for Columbus, Arch City, dates from the late 1800s when the city built arches over many of its streets to provide power for the new electric streetcars. C-bus, Columbus’s latest nickname, has become popular in the past decade or so.

8. Columbus Hosts the Unique Doo Dah Parade

Every Fourth of July, Columbus hosts its Doo Dah Parade, which celebrates the “liberty and lunacy of freedom of speech.” Parade participants create satirical signs, wear funny costumes and hats, and dress up their cars — for example, with mustaches. Every year the Marching Fidels, a group in which everyone dresses up as Fidel Castro, is one of the highlights of the parade.

9. Topiary Park Pays Homage to Georges Seurat

The French post-Impressionist painter’s masterwork A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, 1884, the first work in which he used the technique of pointillism, depicts French picnickers on the bank of the Seine. In Columbus’s Topiary Park, a pair of artists have trimmed shrubbery into the shapes of each of the figures from that famous painting — from French citizens strolling in top hats and parasols right down to the little dogs scampering across the grass. Even the monkey makes it in. It took the pair — Jim Mason, a sculptor, and his wife Elaine, a topiarist, both also parks department employees — four years to make their vision a reality.

10. On Sundays, Fishing for Whales Is Illegal

Some of the best fun facts about Columbus come from a few weird, outdated Ohio laws that have never come off the books. One of these is that it’s illegal to fish for whales on Sunday. So if you bring your fishing gear to Columbus in hopes of hooking a cetacean on the Sabbath, you’ll be disappointed.

It’s also illegal to get a fish drunk on any day of the week. And if you lose your pet tiger, you are required to notify authorities within the hour.