Five Reasons to Visit Columbus, Ohio - Poplar Travels
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May 07 2016

Five Reasons to Visit Columbus, Ohio

We recently took a road trip through Ohio on a journey to pick up trailer toilets for our event facility from the manufacturer in Indiana. (I know, weird story.) I don’t know if we would have ended up there otherwise, but it turned out to be worth the visit! Our beautiful drive through West Virginia came to an abrupt halt when the mountains were replaced with endless corn fields. Not a tree in sight and the only thing breaking the horizon in places were the occasional wind turbine. If you’re from the midwest I’m not sure you’ll ever be able to appreciate how freaky that is for people who aren’t. I’ve been on the ocean with no land in sight before and never felt anything quite like driving through an endless expanse of flat land. There were so few houses on the highway I swear central Ohio is made up of one massive farm.


Needless to say, Columbus was a nice break from my mounting agoraphobia and I felt immediately better as we pulled into an adorable historic neighborhood where our B&B was located on an up-and-coming street. During our stay (and Eric’s previous romp through Columbus) we put together five reasons why you should brave the wide open spaces and make a road trip to Columbus, Ohio. (Or fly.)


What to do in Columbus

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1. Franklin Park Conservatory

Franklin Park’s 88 acres houses the beautiful Franklin Park Conservatory. We happily wandered through greenhouse wing after wing admiring the Chihuly glass placed among the plants. The butterfly exhibition made us feel like the young children standing as still as possible waiting for one to land on them. We didn’t get so lucky, but we were treated to a huge blue butterfly that posed for us for a while. Outside there were thousands of tulips in bloom which makes us highly recommend a Spring visit. Don’t miss the Hot House where you can see a glass blowing demonstration and learn about the skill and time that goes into making the gorgeous hand blown glass items in the gift shop. Take some time to stroll through the park afterwards and consider packing a picnic or visit the Conservatory cafe.


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2. Hawthorne Park B&B

This beautifully restored historic home is located just around the corner from Franklin Park and minutes from downtown Columbus. The hosts were incredibly kind and welcoming and were happy to help when we realized we booked the wrong date. Oops! They gave us wonderful recommendations for dinner and treated us to a history of the property during breakfast one morning. We stayed two nights and got to try banana and Nutella crepes, pan baked oatmeal and a delicious quiche for breakfast. Our room was comfortable and tastefully decorated as were the dining room and living areas. We appreciated the free parking and wifi as additional amenities, snacks available throughout the day and a private bathroom. Hawthorne Park is in a perfect location to enjoy a few quiet nights while conveniently close to everything we wanted to do.


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3. Craft Beer and Cocktails

Eric made his way through a wide selection of craft breweries during his first trip to Columbus. The city is home to 28 craft breweries so if you’re looking for brews, you won’t get bored. This time we made it to Elevator Brewery as well as a couple other bars with decent cocktails including The Walrus where you should definitely stop in for the deep fried deviled eggs. Stick to the Columbus Ale Trail if you’re a beer lover and don’t miss Seventh Son, Eric’s favorite.


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4. The Scioto Mile

Along the Scioto River through Columbus runs a green park with biking and pedestrian trails, benches and overlooks. The Scioto Mile interactive fountain, which was sadly off for the Winter, shoots water 75 feet in the air providing entertainment for onlookers of all ages. Our favorite spot was The Promenade which boasts a row of shaded swinging benches where you can watch passersby and catch a glimpse of kayakers paddling down the river.


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5. Milestone 229

On the riverfront park you will find Milestone 229 in a modern glass building with a shaded outdoor terrace. The creative architecture is captivating and allows for beautiful panoramic views of the city and river no matter where you’re seated. Milestone 229 serves “elevated comfort food” including classics like pimento cheese. We started with a sampler featuring bacon wrapped dates and pickles. I ordered a delicious crab cake with very little filler and Eric had delicious grilled salmon.


Getting around was easy between walking and taking Uber. Once we were downtown there was plenty to do within walking distance. Other than the above, Columbus has several theatres and museums that are sure to give you plenty of opportunities to fill up your time. We love how Columbus has so many outdoor attractions like the conservatory and the park that make this such a fun Spring or Summer destination.


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Have you been to Columbus? What other attractions would you add to the list?



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Evanne Allen

Evanne co-founded Poplar Travels after quitting her job in Washington, D.C. She got itchy feet at a young age and has never lost the urge to explore the planet. A previous museum employee, she is apt to drag travel partners into several cultural institutions anywhere she goes. She wishes she could speak every language and loves meeting new people.

  • I’ve never been to Columbus, but it looks like there are some nice spots. The B&B sounds like a friendly one. So glad the owners were understanding and flexible. And what is that picture of after the bit about the B&B? Is that a bar? It looks cool!

    May 11, 2016 at 7:15 am
  • karen278

    You have convinced me, I have never been to Ohio, but I would love to visit after reading your post! Karen

    May 11, 2016 at 7:32 am
  • These are great suggestions for anyone heading out there, I would love to do the Scioto Mile and take a nice walk there. Your pictures capture Columbus very well.

    May 11, 2016 at 9:34 am
  • Lovely pictures … especially the one with the butterfly you captured it in the perfect moment! What do you think is the best time for traveling over there?

    May 12, 2016 at 4:19 am
  • Oh, wow, everything looks so enticing! And I totally agree, the butterfly picture is absolutely brilliant. Those bacon wrapped dates sound delicious.

    May 13, 2016 at 3:12 am
  • Road trips are always our favorite and was looking for a pic of “mountains were replaced with endless corn fields” 🙂 The Scioto Mile with interactive fountain and the Promenade with shaded swinging benches sounds interesting. Would love to visit 😉

    May 13, 2016 at 7:44 am
  • Sarah @ Expat of the World

    I loved this mini guide to visiting Columbus. How funny that you ended up there for other reasons but made the best of it and got to explore a little! I’m loving number 3!!

    May 14, 2016 at 6:04 am
  • Thanks for sharing this guide! I would love to head to the Conservatory Park and the photos of the food looks delicious, I cant wait to plan a trip to Columbus.

    May 14, 2016 at 11:37 am
  • Oh my gosh, I loved your story. I especially relate to how boring driving across the midwest can be! We lived in northern Virginia for years and made a similar trip across crazy, windy roads of West Virginia and then all the way to Kansas. I never thought to stop in Columbus, though. Looks like a really cute city!

    May 14, 2016 at 5:56 pm
  • Wow! Tom and I spent a month travelling around the southern states of the US last year, but unfortunately didn’t make it to Ohio. Next time it will definitely be on the list.

    May 15, 2016 at 7:50 am
  • I have never been to Ohio but after reading your post, it seems like a fun place to go. I love your photos specially the blue butterfly.

    May 15, 2016 at 8:29 am
  • Haha funny you should mention that, we went to Ohio on a road trip from NYC to Indian and vice-versa a few years ago. I had no idea that Ohio was such a cute little city until I visited, we loved the garden too, so beautiful and I have a similar picture of the bridge.
    xx, Kusum |

    May 15, 2016 at 8:48 am
  • Great post! You managed to capture all features in a perfect way with your amazing images. Especially the food and the furniture!

    May 15, 2016 at 9:45 am
  • loved the photos of food and i think food is so delicious and for glass blowing is that rod made of iron ?

    May 15, 2016 at 9:54 am

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