Columbus, Ohio is the city I went to college in and lived in for years after I graduated. I loved it then, and it’s so much better now.
Luckily for you, it is also a great city for a romantic date night.
12 Romantic Date Ideas in Columbus, Ohio
Whether you’re a local or just visiting the Columbus area, there are plenty of options to choose from to make your night special on Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year.
1. Stroll through the Columbus Arts District
The Columbus Arts District is a vibrant area of the city downtown that is home to several galleries and studios, where you can admire the work of local artists and even purchase a piece to take home as a reminder of your evening.
The Columbus Arts District also features performance spaces.
The district is home to many events, exhibitions, and performances throughout the year, making it a popular destination for art lovers and cultural enthusiasts.
The district is also home to the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA), which is one of the most significant art museums in the region.
The Columbus Museum of Art is home to a collection of American and European art, including works by Winslow Homer, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Edward Hopper.
The museum also has a collection of furniture, ceramics, textiles, contemporary art, and photography.
The museum offers a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages, including tours, lectures, and workshops.
Whether you’re an art lover, a performance enthusiast, or just looking for a unique and enjoyable way to spend an evening, the district is a perfect spot.
2. Go on a Scioto River Cruise
The Scioto Mile offers a variety of cruise options through Cap City River Time that takes you on a scenic tour of the city while you enjoy a meal together for a fun date idea.
The Scioto River is a major river that runs through the city of Columbus, Ohio offering beautiful views of the city skyline, the Scioto Mile, and the landmarks along the way.
During the cruise, you can sit back and relax while enjoying a delicious meal and taking in the sights and sounds of the city.
The cruises are typically operated by experienced and knowledgeable staff who provide information about the history and culture of the city.
The dinner cruises are available during the warmer months, but the timing and duration of the cruise vary depending on the season. Some cruises offer a sightseeing option, while others only offer a dining experience.
The prices and menu options also vary depending on the company that operates the cruise and the package you choose.
Dinner cruises on the Scioto River are a great way to experience Columbus from a different perspective and make a memorable evening.
The combination of the beautiful views of the city, the delicious food, and the relaxing atmosphere, make it an ideal option for a date night, anniversary, or any special occasion.
3. Hang Out Along the Scioto River
The Scioto River is a popular spot for outdoor activities such as fishing, kayaking, and canoeing. It is also home to a variety of wildlife, including fish, birds, and mammals.
The Scioto Mile is a park and trail system that runs along the river, offering scenic views and easy access to the water.
The fountain is a popular spot for visitors and locals and it is the site of many special events and festivals throughout the year.
While you’re here, don’t miss Scioto Audubon Metro Park.
The park features a variety of amenities for outdoor recreation, including hiking and biking trails, fishing, and a playground.
The park also has an observation deck, which offers a great view of the downtown skyline and the Scioto River.
Additionally, it has an off-leash dog area and a rock climbing area.
4. Watch a Show at the Ohio Theater
The historic Ohio Theater in downtown Columbus, Ohio hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, from Broadway shows to concerts and comedy acts.
The theater was built in 1928, and it is considered one of the finest examples of the “Movie Palace” architectural style, which was popular in the 1920s.
The theater features a grand lobby with marble floors, ornate plasterwork, and a grand staircase. You will also find a beautiful auditorium with a large stage, an ornate proscenium arch, and a ceiling painted with a night sky and stars.
The theater was designed to be a showcase for live performances, and it was also used as a movie theater.
Today, the Ohio Theatre is a performing arts venue that hosts a variety of performances throughout the year.
The theater also hosts the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, which perform there regularly.
The theater is available for rental, and it can accommodate a variety of events, from large corporate gatherings to intimate weddings.
5. Visit the Franklin Park Conservatory
The Franklin Park Conservatory is a botanical public garden and is a beautiful place to take a walk and admire the plants and flowers together.
The Conservatory is situated in Franklin Park, which is an 88-acre public park that offers many recreational activities as well.
The Conservatory features a variety of indoor and outdoor gardens, including the Pacific Island Water Garden, the Palm House, and the Orchid House.
These gardens showcase a wide variety of plants, including exotic species from around the world. The conservatory also offers guided tours that provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the plants and the history of the gardens.
The Conservatory also has special exhibitions and events throughout the year, like the annual Blooms & Butterflies exhibit, which is a favorite among visitors.
The Conservatory offers a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages, including classes and workshops on gardening, horticulture, and botany.
The park and the conservatory are great options for a romantic date, a family outing, or a solo trip to enjoy some nature.
6. Check out the Short North
This trendy and vibrant neighborhood of the Short North is located just north of downtown Columbus and the Ohio State University campus.
It is home to a variety of bars, restaurants, and shops, making it the perfect spot for a romantic evening out. It also has a variety of art galleries and studios, showcasing the work of local and regional artists with performance spaces that include theaters and concert venues.
The Short North is also a popular spot for dining and nightlife. You can grab a drink at a rooftop bar for happy hour, enjoy a meal at a trendy restaurant, and even do some shopping together.
The neighborhood has independent boutiques and shops selling clothing, jewelry, home goods, and more.
The Short North is also where you’ll find the North Market – an indoor public market that features a variety of vendors selling fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and more.
7. Attend a Columbus Clippers Game
The Columbus Clippers are a minor league baseball team, a Triple-A level affiliate of the Cleveland Indians and play in the International League.
You can enjoy a day or an evening of baseball and America’s favorite pastime.
The team plays its home games at Huntington Park, which is a state-of-the-art stadium located in the Arena District of downtown Columbus. (I LOVED the Arena District when I went to college at Ohio State.)
The stadium offers a wide range of amenities, including seating options for all budgets, delicious food and drink options, and plenty of entertainment both in and around the stadium.
The atmosphere at the stadium is lively and fun, making it a great spot for a night out with friends or family.
There are also souvenir shops where you can purchase apparel and merchandise to show your support for the team.
Depending on the season, you can also check out a Columbus Blue Jackets hockey game too.
I’m married to a former hockey player, so this one gets my vote!
The rink is also in the Arena District.
8. Visit the Columbus Zoo
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is located in Powell, Ohio, just north of Columbus. It is known for its conservation efforts and its participation in breeding programs for endangered species.
It is very well known and home to over 9,000 animals representing over 800 species from around the world.
The zoo is divided into several regions, including the African region, where visitors can see elephants, giraffes, and zebras, and the Asia region, where visitors can see tigers, snow leopards, and red pandas.
The zoo also has a large aquarium, which features a variety of marine life, including sharks, rays, and sea turtles.
Right beside the zoo is Zoombezi Bay, a water park with areas for both adults and kids.
9. Walk Around Some Parks
Goodale Park is a public park that is one of the oldest city parks in the United States, dating back to 1851.
The park features a variety of amenities, including walking trails, a lake, a playground, and a bandshell where concerts and other performances are held during the summer months.
There are also several sports fields and courts, including basketball courts and a baseball diamond.
Goodale Park also features a number of beautiful gardens, including a rose garden and a perennial garden and a large gazebo that is often used for weddings and other special events.
North Market Bridge Park opened in 2019 and it is located along the Scioto River, adjacent to the historic North Market mentioned above.
The park features a variety of amenities, including walking and bike trails, an amphitheater, and a playground. It also offers a large lawn area for picnics, sunbathing, and for events.
The park is also home to a variety of sculptures and public art installations, including several large-scale pieces by local artists.
It also features a pedestrian bridge that connects the park to the historic North Market, where visitors can find a variety of vendors selling fresh produce, meat, and other foods.
There is also a large glass-enclosed pavilion, which is used as a community space, and a large splash pad for kids.
Schiller Park is a public park in German Village, just south of downtown, with walking and bike trails, a playground, a bandstand, and a gazebo.
It also features a large, open lawn area that is popular for picnics, tanning, and playing frisbee.
The park also features a number of monuments and statues, including a statue of Friedrich Schiller, the park’s namesake, as well as a monument to German immigrants.
Schiller Park is also home to a number of community gardens, where residents can rent a plot of land and grow their own fruits and vegetables.
I used to work at Rooster’s in German Village right across the street from Schiller Park, so if you come here, make sure to stop in Rooster’s for some good food.
Also, don’t miss the Book Loft in German Village. It’s an old house, that is one city block long, full of books. Each room (and there are 32 of them) is its own section and is one of the most unique locally owned bookstores you’ll ever visit.
10. Billy Ireland Cartoon Library
Speaking of reading… the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum is a research library and museum dedicated to the collection and preservation of cartoon art located at THE Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
It is one of the largest collections of cartoon art in the world, with over 400,000 original cartoons and comic strips, as well as books, journals, and other materials related to the history of cartoon art.
The collection includes work from American newspaper comics, editorial cartoons, graphic novels, and international comics.
The museum holds regular exhibitions and special events showcasing the collection, as well as offering workshops, lectures, and tours for visitors.
The library and museum are open to the public and researchers and provide access to a wide range of resources for those interested in cartoon art and comics.
Plus, walking around the campus is super fun… for me anyway since I went to school there.
What should I add to the list? Find me on Instagram at @ChristinaAllDay and let me know what your favorite things to do are in Columbus.