GREATER COLUMBUS SPORTS COMMISSION BLOG
Sporty Things to Do in Columbus
Labor Day in Columbus, Ohio is always a great time. Who doesn't love a long weekend of summer sun before the clock turns to fall and foliage? This year is especially exciting in Ohio's capital city, as Airbnb listed Columbus as one of the top trending cities for Labor Day Weekend. We have a hunch the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes hosting the No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish has something to do with that! If you're here for a game this fall, here's a list of things to do in Columbus when you're not cheering on the team.
Paddle the Scioto
Columbus has a vibrant downtown, and one of the best ways to take in the sights is from a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. You’ll glide along the Scioto River, past Bicentennial Park, the COSI science museum, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, the historic LeVeque Tower and then onto the Scioto Mile. Two companies offer water adventures: Windrose Outdoor for on-your-own rentals, and Olentangy Paddle for guided tours.
Run or Walk the Scioto
If you’re not a paddler (yet), a walk, jog or run along the city’s downtown riverfront is another fun way to see the city. From downtown, head toward the river (the eastern bank) and start walking or running. If you head north, you’ll eventually come to the spot where the Olentangy River runs into the Scioto. From here, it’s a quick jog over to Lower.com Field, home of the Columbus Crew. If you head south from downtown, you’ll eventually reach Scioto Audubon Metro Park, where’s there’s the Grange Insurance Audubon Center, outdoor climbing wall, obstacle park and dog park.
Go the distance
If you’re in the city at the right time (by coincidence or plan), Columbus hosts two large, well-organized and popular long-distance running events: the OhioHealth Capital City Half & Quarter Marathon (in April every year) and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon (every October).
Cycle the city
Biking is another great way to travel along the river, or elsewhere in Columbus. There are more than 80 CoGo bike-share stations located throughout the city. It costs $2.25 for a 30-minute rental, and $8 for the day. You can get a bike at one station (let’s say downtown) and then drop it off somewhere else (let’s say Scioto Audubon Metro Park). German Village, the Short North and the Ohio State campus are other nearby, fun destinations.
Speaking of cycling…
Pelotonia is one of the largest and most successful fundraising bicycle rides in the country. It’s held annually, in early August, and has raised more than $225 million for cancer research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and James Cancer Hospital. If you’re in town, you can watch … or participate.
Release your inner warrior (one)
There are several yoga studios in and around downtown Columbus, including: Seven Studios, Heartfelt Yoga, Core Power Yoga and Yoga on High.
Take a relaxing salt float at ebb & float, which is located a few blocks east of the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
Pins Mechanical has several duckpin lanes, as well as foosball and pinball, and lots of craft beers and cocktails.
Buckeye’s first home game
The site of the first Ohio State home football game is just east of Historic German Village, on the north side of E. Whittier St., just east of the intersection with Jaeger St. The Buckeyes played the University of Wooster and the score was 64-0. However, it was the more experienced and best-conditioned Fighting Scots who came out on top. Ohio State seemed to have learned a valuable lesson! The site was Recreation Park in 1890, later the site of a supermarket, and is now Schumacher Place. A plaque marks the spot.
Right across the street is Barcelona, one of the city’s most popular up-scale restaurants.
NFL history is here
While Columbus doesn’t currently have a professional football team, it did once upon a time. The American Professional Football Association (APFA) was formed in Canton in 1920 (which is why the Hall of Fame is in this city). Columbus had a team, the Panhandles. Joseph Carr, head of the Panhandles, was named president of the APFA in 1921 and established league headquarters here, eventually at the Hayden Building, 16 E. Broad Street. The APFA was renamed the NFL in 1922.
The NFL headquarters are no longer here (their loss!), but the Hayden is still standing. It’s located on Capitol Square, so you can combine a visit to the state capitol (there’s a great museum in the basement) with a stop at the former HQ of the NFL. There are several restaurants in the area.
Swing like the king
Columbus is a well-known golf destination, with a long list of great courses, including Muirfield Village Golf Club, which was designed by Jack Nicklaus and is the home of the Memorial Tournament; and the Scioto Country Club, where Nicklaus learned how to play golf, and the host of a U.S. Open, PGA Championship and Ryder Cup. Here’s a list of local golf courses.
To learn about what the Greater Columbus Sports Commission does, visit the About Us page.