25 Best Things to Do in Columbus, IN

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Columbus is a vibrant city in the south-central part of Indiana, home to over 50,000 people and renowned for its unique architecture inspired by General John Tipton and Luke Bonesteel. Founded as “Tiptona” in 1820 before being rechristened after Christopher Columbus one year later, this exciting destination hosts various attractions from Mill Race Park to Irwin Union Bank building’s iconic design. Furthermore, it features the world’s most extensive collection of Eero Saarinen works at Miller House & Garden – making it an ideal stop on any tourist itinerary!

Interactive Map of 25 Things to Do in Columbus (IN)

Source: Map data @2023 Google

1. Mill Race Park

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Mill Race Park is a scenic park that offers visitors various activities. It features over 160 acres of lush green space with plenty to explore and enjoy. The park includes paved trails for walking, biking or rollerblading, playgrounds, a splash pad, picnic shelters, fishing ponds, and a large grassy field perfect for playing games like frisbee or soccer. Several historic buildings are also on the grounds, including the Irwin Union Bank Building, which dates back to 1864, and several other 19th-century structures.

2. Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum

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Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum is a one-of-a-kind experience for guests young and old. Established in 1900, this classic ice cream parlor offers authentic treats straight from the past’s vintage charm! Home to over 6,000 artifacts tied to food service histories like soda fountains and candy displays, Zaharakos keeps you entertained with weekly live music performances as well as special events ranging from family game nights or seasonal holiday get-togethers throughout the year.

3. Miller House and Garden

Miller House and Garden is a historic landmark with an impressive collection of works by architect Eero Saarinen. The house was built in 1957 for industrialist J. Irwin Miller and his family, who wanted to create a home that reflected their modern aesthetic. Designed by internationally renowned architect Eero Saarinen, the house includes over 6500 square feet of living space spread out over three levels, as well as large gardens surrounding the property. Inside you’ll find furniture from some of the most famous designers of the time, such as Charles Eames and Florence Knoll Bassett, among others. The garden also features statues created by artists like Henry Moore and Isamu Noguchi.

4. kidscommons Columbus’ Community Children’s Museum

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Kidscommons Columbus’ Community Children’s Museum offers an exciting and educational experience for the whole family. With interactive exhibits focusing on science, technology, engineering & math plus plenty of fun activities – from robotic animals to design structures in the construction zone – visitors can enjoy a day full of exploration! Not only that but special events such as classes and birthday parties make Kidscommons a great affordable option for families looking to learn together while having tons of fun.

5. Escape 812

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Escape 812 offers customized escape rooms with challenging puzzles, riddles and clues that require teamwork to solve. This family-friendly attraction features three different themed game rooms – Granny’s Basement, Dr. EvilQuirk’s Experimental Science Lab and Corrupt and Convicted – each offering a unique experience. 

6. Atterbury Bakalar Air Museum

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Atterbury Bakalar Air Museum is a one-of-a kind destination that brings history to life. Guests can explore an unparalleled collection of airplanes, helicopters and more from World War II up to the present day – with over 40 aircraft on display! Interactive exhibits provide dynamic educational opportunities for visitors young and old alike; while knowledgeable staff ensure you get the most out of your experience. Visit this incredible air museum today for an unforgettable journey through time!

7. Bartholomew County Public Library

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The Bartholomew County Public Library is a go-to destination for knowledge seekers of all ages! Boasting an expansive collection of over 200,000 books and other materials, this renowned facility in Indiana offers patrons plenty to explore. With complimentary Wi-Fi access, computer classes, and meeting rooms at their disposal, plus countless exciting programs like book clubs and movie screenings – the possibilities are genuinely endless within these walls. Make time to discover something new today!

8. The Commons

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The Commons is an engaging indoor community and event space that offers modern amenities for all ages. Designed by Koetter Kim of Boston, the facility boasts a spacious venue perfect for live performances, lectures, galas and exhibitions while providing families with plenty to explore, such as its five thousand square foot playground featuring a 35-foot tall “Luckey Climber” attraction. At The Commons’ center lays Jean Tinguely’s extraordinary kinetic sculpture Chaos I – preserved from the original site during the construction of this one-of-a-kind complex. 

9. Columbus Visitors Center

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Discover the cultural attractions and exciting activities that make Columbus a vibrant city! Conveniently located downtown, the experienced staff at the Visitors Center is ready to help you explore. Boasting an array of information on local sights & events as well as maps and brochures, they’ll lead you along your urban adventure with insider tips for making it even more memorable.

10. First Christian Church

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For nearly 80 years, the iconic First Christian Church has been a symbol of Columbus’ history and its beautiful architecture. Located on 5th Street downtown, this stunning structure was designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1942 with a 166 feet high tower topping off an asymmetrical chapel adorned with modernized 18th-century organs offering exceptional tonal richness and clarity.

11. Bartholomew County Historical Society

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For anyone looking to learn more about the city’s history, The Bartholomew County Historical Society

Explore the people and events that have shaped Bartholomew County’s history at The Bartholomew County Historical Society. Founded in 1921, this esteemed organization has amassed a collection of 20,000 artifacts from centuries past, along with over 2,500 books detailing its rich heritage. To further enrich your experience here, you can join one of their educational programs or lectures about Columbus’ pivotal moments and go on guided tours to some significant sites around town. For all lovers of local lore, it is an extraordinary opportunity!

12. Donner Park

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Located just minutes from downtown Columbus, this lush Donner Park features over 50 acres of green space with winding trails, ponds, and numerous trees that provide ample shade throughout the area. The park also has several picnic pavilions perfect for lunching outdoors or hosting events like family reunions or birthday parties. Additionally, Donner Park boasts two large playgrounds equipped with swingsets and slides, basketball courts and tennis courts for those who want to stay active during their visit! 

13. The Garage Pub and Grill

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Experience the eclectic flavors of Garage Pub and Grill, located near downtown. Featuring innovative takes on classic pub dishes like burgers and wings, as well as salads for a lighter option – there is something to satisfy everyone’s taste buds! Enjoy some entertainment while you’re at it too, with nightly bowling events or live music performances hosted regularly in-house. Looking to celebrate that special occasion? The restaurant provides private rooms just perfect for any event, so come through today!

14. First Baptist Church

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After more than 50 years of standing in the heart of Columbus, Ohio, First Baptist Church continues to amaze onlookers with its remarkable design. Featuring Harry Weese’s innovative approach to architecture and his reimagining of the traditional church plan, this beloved structure has been a staple landmark since 1965.

15. Columbus Indiana Philharmonic

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The Columbus Indiana Philharmonic is a world-class symphony orchestra based in Columbus, IN. Founded in 19875, the organization has since grown to be one of the most respected and acclaimed orchestras in the Midwest. It boasts an impressive roster of talented musicians from around the world who come to create beautiful music for audiences across central Indiana. The Philharmonic puts on over 100 concerts every year at venues throughout Columbus and performs a wide range of musical styles, including classical, jazz, pop, country, bluegrass and more! 

16. YES Cinema

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YES Cinema in Columbus offers first-run films and classic and cult favorites from around the world. It also features special events like movie marathons, sing-alongs and themed nights that provide an entertaining experience for all ages. The theater boasts three auditoriums with comfortable seating for up to 400 people each, plus two additional smaller theaters equipped with high-definition digital projection systems. 

17. Inn at Irwin Gardens

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The Inn at Irwin Gardens is a stunning Victorian architecture and design example. Situated on the grounds of the historic Irwin family estate, this stately mansion offers guests luxurious accommodations amid lush gardens and stunning views. Built in 1895, the Inn features an impressive array of amenities, including 14 beautifully appointed guest rooms with private baths, a grand ballroom for special events, and three acres of formal gardens featuring over 400 varieties of plants from around the world.

18. Noblitt Park

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Noblitt Park is a beautiful and expansive park that offers something for everyone. Located just two miles from downtown Columbus, Noblitt Park features over 100 acres of lush green space with plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, including walking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas and more. The park also boasts various sports facilities, such as soccer fields, baseball diamonds and basketball courts, perfect for team sports or individual practice. For those looking to explore further beyond its boundaries, the nearby White River provides opportunities for canoeing and fishing, while Otter Creek Golf Course is just minutes away.

19. Columbus People Trail

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Take a stroll through Columbus and explore the vibrant history of its heroes, set against stunning natural beauty. Traverse over 6 miles on the scenic People Trail along White River for breathtaking views of nature, with no shortage of local attractions to discover; Otter Creek Golf Course and Noblitt Park are just around the corner! With wide sidewalks perfect jogging or walking in both loops, this is more than your ordinary trail – monuments honoring Robert E Lee and Medal Of Honor recipient Lt Col John Pugh Jr also feature along it’s route.

20. Freedom Field

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Freedom Field provides an escape from urban life to its visitors, offering a lush playground full of outdoor activities. Kids can enjoy the many amenities, such as vibrant picnic areas and play structures, while adults take part in various sports onsite, including baseball and soccer. It’s the perfect destination for your next family excursion!

21. CERAland Park

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CERAland Park is an outdoor destination that offers fun and excitement for the whole family. Located just south of town on the banks of the White River, this expansive park features lush green space with plenty to do, including walking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas and more. The park also boasts a variety of sports facilities, such as cricket, golf and baseball fields which are perfect for team sports or individual practice. Furthermore, there are several special attractions at CERAland Park, such as Go-Karts, Miniature Golf, Laser Tag and the all-new Sky Trail Adventure Ropes Course. 

22. Columbus Bowling Center

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The Columbus Bowling Center offers 20 lanes of fun with automatic scoring, bumpers for kids, and even glow-in-the-dark cosmic bowling on certain nights! With its wide selection of activities and friendly staff, it’s no wonder why so many people visit the Columbus Bowling Center each day to enjoy quality time with friends and family. The center also hosts numerous tournaments throughout the year, which attract professional bowlers from all across the country. Whether you’re a casual bowler or an experienced pro, there’s something for everyone at this vibrant entertainment venue!

23. Lincoln Park

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Lincoln Park is a hub for outdoor activity and exploration! Just north of downtown Columbus along the banks of White River, Lincoln Park offers visitors an array of recreational options. Enjoy scenic nature trails or bring your picnic basket to relax at one of many riverside spots – there’s something here for everyone! On top sports fields offer thrilling competitions in soccer, baseball and basketball; meanwhile, you can skate on their unique ice rink or practice your serve at the tennis court. With so much to explore & discover – make sure not to miss out on this vibrant destination right in our backyard.

24. Columbus Rock Gym

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At Columbus Rock Gym, thrill-seekers can find a playground of excitement. From the 10,000 square feet of climbing walls for all levels to over 400 boulder problems in their snow cave and fitness equipment & yoga classes too – everyone will feel welcome here! With knowledgeable staff present to help you reach your goals; this vibrant rock gym is perfect for having fun while staying fit!

25. Large Arch Sculpture by Henry Moore

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Columbus’ skyline is graced by a magnificent architectural masterpiece – the Large Arch Sculpture, created by renowned British sculptor Henry Moore. Rising over 30 feet tall and situated on the banks of White River just north of the downtown area, this stunning steel structure leaves viewers in awe with its unique design crafted to be appreciated from all angles. Already listed amongst America’s Historic Places, it’s not hard to see why locals have fallen head-over-heels for this work of art that stands as an iconic symbol of their city!