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.
30 Romantic Date Ideas and Fun Things to Do 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 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 & Botanical Garden
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.
10. Explore the German Village
Step back in time and explore the charming German Village neighborhood, known for its cobblestone streets, beautifully restored 19th-century brick homes, and European ambiance.
Don’t miss the chance to indulge in traditional German cuisine at one of the many local restaurants, serving up authentic dishes like schnitzel and sausages.
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.
11. 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.
12. Ohio Statehouse Tour
Embark on a guided tour of the Ohio Statehouse, a stunning architectural gem and a symbol of Ohio’s political history. Explore the grand interiors, learn about the state’s government, and admire the remarkable art and sculptures throughout the building.
13. Easton Town Center
Indulge in some retail therapy at Easton Town Center, a premier shopping and dining destination in Columbus. Explore a wide range of upscale shops, boutiques, and specialty stores, and savor delicious cuisine at the diverse array of restaurants and eateries.
14. Shadowbox Live
Experience a unique blend of live music, comedy, and theater at Shadowbox Live, a dynamic performance venue. Enjoy entertaining shows that combine original music, sketch comedy, and dance, creating a one-of-a-kind entertainment experience.
15. COSI (Center of Science and Industry)
Ignite your curiosity at COSI, an interactive science museum that offers hands-on exhibits, live shows, and educational experiences for visitors of all ages. Explore themes such as space, energy, health, and technology through engaging and immersive displays.
16. North Market Cooking Classes
Enhance your culinary skills by participating in cooking classes at the North Market. Learn from local chefs and experts as they guide you through the process of creating delicious dishes using fresh, local ingredients.
17. Columbus Brew Adventures
Embark on a beer-centric adventure with Columbus Brew Adventures. Take guided tours of local breweries, learn about the beer-making process, and sample a variety of craft brews, immersing yourself in Columbus’s vibrant craft beer scene.
18. SegAway Tours of Columbus
Embark on a unique Segway tour of Columbus with SegAway Tours. Glide through the city’s streets and landmarks while learning about its history, architecture, and hidden gems from knowledgeable guides. It’s a fun and efficient way to explore the city.
19. Thurber House
Literature enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Thurber House, the former residence of renowned American humorist James Thurber. Take a guided tour of the historic house, learn about Thurber’s life and works, and attend literary events and author readings.
20. Columbus Food Adventures
Embark on a guided culinary tour with Columbus Food Adventures and discover the city’s diverse food scene. Choose from various themed tours that take you to local eateries, markets, and food trucks, allowing you to savor the flavors of Columbus.
21. The Wilds
Embark on a safari adventure at The Wilds, a sprawling conservation center and wildlife park. Take a guided tour through open-air safari vehicles to observe rare and endangered animals roaming freely in natural habitats, including giraffes, cheetahs, rhinos, and more.
22. Columbus Food Truck Festival
Attend the annual Columbus Food Truck Festival, a mouthwatering event that brings together a wide array of food trucks from across the city. Sample diverse cuisines, indulge in delectable treats, and enjoy live music and entertainment in a lively atmosphere.
23. Hollywood Casino Columbus
Try your luck at Hollywood Casino Columbus, where you can enjoy thrilling table games, slot machines, and live entertainment. Delight in a variety of dining options and catch a live performance at the adjacent Event Center.
24. Columbus Crew Soccer Match
Immerse yourself in the electric atmosphere of a Columbus Crew soccer match at Lower.com Field. Cheer on the city’s Major League Soccer team as they take on opponents, and experience the passion and excitement of live sports.
25. Ohio Village
Step back in time at Ohio Village, a recreated 19th-century village that offers a glimpse into Ohio’s past. Take guided tours, interact with costumed interpreters, and learn about daily life in the 1800s through engaging exhibits and demonstrations.
26. Columbus Commons
Spend a relaxing afternoon at Columbus Commons, a vibrant urban park in downtown Columbus. Enjoy picnicking on the lush green lawns, attend free concerts and festivals, or cool off in the interactive fountain during the summer months.
27. Ohio Craft Museum
Discover the artistic side of Ohio at the Ohio Craft Museum, dedicated to showcasing and promoting contemporary craft artists. Browse through the gallery featuring unique handcrafted jewelry, ceramics, glasswork, textiles, and more, and even purchase one-of-a-kind pieces to take home.
28. The Topiary Park Summer Concert Series
During the summer, attend the Topiary Park Summer Concert Series, a free outdoor concert series held in the beautifully landscaped Topiary Park. Bring a blanket or lawn chair, relax on the grassy slopes, and enjoy live music performances in a tranquil setting.
29. Kelton House Museum and Garden
Step into history at the Kelton House Museum and Garden, a meticulously restored Victorian-era home. Take a guided tour to learn about the Kelton family’s life and their involvement in the Underground Railroad, and explore the serene gardens surrounding the house.
30. Visit The Ohio State University
When visiting The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, there are several things you can do to make the most of your visit. Here are some activities and attractions to consider.
Explore the Campus
Take a leisurely stroll around the beautiful Ohio State University campus. Admire the historic architecture, picturesque green spaces, and vibrant student life. Don’t miss iconic landmarks like the Oval and the Thompson Library.
Visit the Ohio Stadium
Known as “The Horseshoe,” the Ohio Stadium is the home of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team. Take a guided tour of this legendary venue to learn about its history, see the field up close, and immerse yourself in the proud football culture of the university.
Experience the Wexner Center for the Arts
Located on the Ohio State University campus, the Wexner Center for the Arts showcases contemporary art exhibitions, film screenings, and performing arts events. Explore the thought-provoking exhibits and catch a film or live performance during your visit.
Enjoy Sports at the Schottenstein Center
Catch a basketball game or concert at the Schottenstein Center, the multi-purpose arena on the Ohio State campus. Experience the electric atmosphere as you cheer on the Buckeyes or enjoy live performances by renowned artists.
Attend a Performance at the Drake Performance and Event Center
Experience the vibrant arts scene on campus by attending a music, dance, or theatrical performance at the Drake Performance and Event Center. Check the schedule for upcoming shows and enjoy the talents of Ohio State students and faculty.
Dine and Shop at the Gateway District
Located near campus, the Gateway District offers a variety of dining and shopping options. Enjoy a meal at one of the local restaurants, grab a coffee at a trendy cafe, or browse through unique boutiques and shops.
Remember to check for any specific guidelines or visiting hours for each attraction, as they may vary.
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.