While the heart of the Midwest may not be everybody’s first choice as a travel destination, Columbus, Ohio, is a wonderful place to vacation in the spring and summer. With a wealth of festivals, activities and sporting events, coupled with easy access, Ohio’s capital city is perfect for families and solo travelers alike. Traveling to Columbus can also be done rather cheaply when redeeming points or miles for travel.
Columbus is located at the intersection of U.S. Interstates 70 and 71, as well as U.S. Route 23, so it is easily accessible via car or RV. Alternatively, the easiest airport to fly into is John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH).
Upon arrival, it is very easy to travel around Columbus on foot or by taking the CBUS, which is a free circulator that runs through the Short North Arts District, downtown, German Village and the Brewery District. Columbus also has Uber, Car2Go (smart car sharing) and CoGo (bike sharing.)
During the spring and summer, Columbus is buzzing with activities and festivals. A schedule of events is available here, but a few that are worth mentioning include the Columbus PRIDE Parade and the Fourth of July celebration called Red, White, and Boom! Red, White, and Boom! is the largest fireworks display in the Midwest and often attracts massive crowds of locals and visitors alike.
Columbus is filled with tons of everyday activities that can cater to any type of traveler. Take a tour of the Ohio Theatre and then catch a show. Tours of the beautifully restored Spanish-Baroque theater are offered during the day and films are shown on certain nights. Enjoy a classic film and a tasty treat with accompaniment by a live pipe organ player!
Take the family to the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), which is a celebrated science center that recently unveiled a new Dinosaur Gallery in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). This gallery features 22,000 square feet of exhibition space that includes a full-size cast skeleton of the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex.
In May of this year, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens plans to open a two-acre children’s garden focused on art and education. This new garden will offer sixteen fun activities that focus on the landscape and geological history of Ohio. These include a playhouse garden, a canopy walk, wetlands and a Nature Art Studio.
To take advantage of free events in Columbus, check out the Scioto Mile. This expanse of green space provides access to a network of paths as well as a recently restored riverfront. Stop by the Scioto Audubon Metro Park to climb on the nation’s largest free outdoor climbing wall!
For visitors who are looking to explore the stranger side of Ohio, Columbus has a few activities for you. Located at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, there is a 14-foot interactive art sculpture called “As We Are.”
This sculpture was created by local artist Matthew Mohr and it looks like a gigantic human head. However, the human head is made of LED screen ribbons and contains a photo booth that can take 3D portrait shots. These shots are then projected onto the face which allows visitors to truly interact with the sculpture.
Another great option is Motts Military Museum, which contains a small sample of President Lincoln’s hair, as well as the second largest collection of 9-11 artifacts outside of NYC.
Redeem for Business Travel
Columbus is also great for business travel! The city will host 28 citywide conventions this year and was home of the NCAA Women’s Final Four National Championship. This coming autumn, the Hilton Columbus Downtown plans to begin an expansion that will add 470 new hotel rooms, giving Columbus its first 1,000 room hotel attached to the convention center.
If you have HHonors Points to use, this would be a prime redemption value at just 30,000 to 40,000 points per night. Next year, thousands of executives from the American Society of Association Executives will arrive for the 2019 Annual Meeting & Exposition, making Columbus one of the top destinations for business. So, whether you will be in town for business or leisure, Columbus is always an excellent choice.