Columbus has a lot to offer without breaking the bank. Save some dough this Spring with these free things to do in Columbus.
Whether you are commuting to work, hoping to avoid parking headaches or just looking for a quick and easy way to get from point A to point B, the CBUS is a great way to get around town for free. This city circulator is operated by COTA and travels in a loop between Sycamore Street in the Brewery District to Third Avenue in the Short North. You can catch the CBUS during 10-15 minute intervals at 29 stops along the Downtown route. Check the website for operating times and stop locations and start using this easy city transit today.
Ohio Statehouse Tours
Spend some time wandering around Capitol Square during a free guided tour of the expansive Ohio Statehouse complex. These tours are offered daily and last approximately 45-60 minutes. Guests can learn about its unique Greek Revival Architecture and hear more about the history of the people that built the Capitol Building and walked the Capitol halls over the years. Call in advance to ensure a guide is available for your tour and check the schedule for days and times.
Columbus Museum of Art on Sundays
If you live in and around the Short North, chances are you’ve had a chance to catch a gallery exhibit at one time or another on High Street. But when you are in the mood for a wide mix of art spanning the late nineteenth century to modern Europe and America, the Columbus Museum of Art is a great place to peruse for a couple of hours—and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., it’s free! With collections that feature paintings, photography sculpture and more—this art museum has a little something for every art lover.
Art Walks and Landmark Talk Tours
You have surely spotted the Wonder Bread Warehouse sign or caught a show at the Ohio Theatre, but how much do you really know about these unique destinations around town? Thanks to the Columbus Landmarks Foundation, you can tour these city highlights and others for free during hour-long guided tours by historians around town. Tours range from city art displays to talks about the history and architecture of buildings in various Columbus neighborhoods. Look ahead to destinations you’d like to visit, and just show up 5 minutes prior to the tour. The series only last from June-October, so plan accordingly.
Free Film Screenings
Columbus offers a wide slew of free outdoor movie screenings in the summer, but if you keep your eyes peeled, occasionally you will stumble across select free film screenings throughout the cold weather months, as well. In the summer, places like the Columbus Commons, Goodale Park and the Wex Drive-In are the perfect places to spread out a blanket or set up some lawn chairs with friends and family. During the cold season, check at places like the Gateway Film Center, the Drexel Theatre and CCAD Canzani Center Auditorium for screenings of independent films, holiday movies and more.
Columbus Metro Parks feature 17 natural area parks in Central Ohio at more than 27,000 acres of land and water. Whether you prefer to enjoy a hike through the trails or catch a free yoga class or photo group, the Columbus Parks are a great way to connect with nature any time of the year. The Parks offer programs for children to adults and often add an educational component about nature or wildlife.
In an age of the internet and social media, it’s easy to forget about the good ol’ library—but don’t! Not only is the library a wonderful source of information and resources, Columbus Metro offers so many free training classes and programs. Visitors can attend programs about business growth or how to write a resume, there are story time sessions for children and even free classes for adults learning English (ESOL).
Park of Roses
A thirteen acre haven with 3 different rose gardens, the Park of Roses is located in Whetstone Park and showcases an enormous selection of roses. Whether you are a flower connoisseur or simply looking to stop and smell the roses, this one-of-a-kind park is a beautiful place to take a stroll. Open daily from dusk until dawn, mid-June through mid-September is the best time to pay a visit!
Columbus has a lot to offer the festival-goer, with several major annual events held around town. Often a combination of food, drinks, music, art and entertainment, there is a festival in town for everyone. Some of the major events to keep on your calendar include the Columbus Arts Festival, Columbus Pride Festival, Red White and BOOM!, Food Truck Festival and ComFest—to name a few. This is a great way to get out and enjoy Columbus inexpensively!
If you are a fan of live music, don’t miss Columbus’ Downtown Live Concert Series at the Columbus Commons on Thursday nights in the summer. All shows play from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and feature musicians from the local music scene. People are invited to bring blankets and chairs and enjoy beverage and food concessions available.
As with any city, if you spend a little time researching, you can find lots of free activities to enjoy around Columbus throughout the entire year. Share some of your free activities and events in Columbus!