Don’t make your plans for fall just yet – summer is still in full swing in beautiful Columbus, Ohio. Before the leaves start to fall, you and your family can fit in a number of fun and exciting summer activities in the local area.
From zoos and aquariums to sunny beaches and farmers’ markets, there’s no end to the things you can do before school is back in session. Use this list for some last-minute summertime inspiration!
Summer at the zoo means exciting special events and animal shows. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium boasts many fun family-friendly adventures, such as Dino Weekend July 29-30, Jazzoo concerts on several Fridays, and the OhioHealth HOOfit Walk with the zoo on August 17th.
View the full calendar of summertime events. Visit on a regular day to see hundreds of animals at the zoo, aquarium, The Wilds, and Zoombezi Bay. You could also spend the day with a round of Safari Golf – featuring five new holes!
The Jazz and Rib Fest
July 21st-23rd is the annual Jazz and Rib Fest, conveniently located on South Civic Center Drive along the scenic Scioto River. Enjoy live music, local barbeque, and three full days of continuous fun. Taste rib recipes from around the country during the competition for Best Ribs, featuring 23 award-winning chefs.
There will be three stages for local and international jazz musicians, and dozens of food tents with chicken, sizzling ribs, and more. The best part is, admission is free! Learn more.
Go a little outside of Columbus for the Dublin Irish Festival – it’s worth the trek! This festival is in its 30th year, set for the first weekend in August (the 4th-6th). It’s the largest Irish festival in the world, with more than 100,000 guests in attendance every year. Have the time of your life with seven stages and more than 535 scheduled performers. Taste traditional Irish dishes, run the IGS Energy/Dif 5k, and watch entertainment from performers like Mary Black, Gaelic Storm, Dervish, and The Prodigals.
Highlands Park Aquatic Center
Beat the heat with the whole family at the Aquatic Center in Westerville. This municipal pool features a body slide tower, lazy river, rockslide, spray playground, and a toddler pool. There’s also a 25-meter pool for classic swimming fun. Named the “Best Outdoor Municipal Pool” two years in a row by Columbus Parent Magazine, this is the perfect way to stay cool and have fun before the summer ends.
Hit the closest beach to Columbus, located at the Alum Creek State Park. This gorgeous, 4,630-acre park boasts an enormous reservoir, woodlands, and fields nestled minutes from the capital.
Take the family swimming, fishing, or sunbathing on Ohio’s largest inland beach. There are campgrounds, hiking trails, and even hunting opportunities at this state park. Enjoy a round of disk golf on sprawling fields, or hit the marina for boat rentals and local restaurants.
Stack’d, a New Fast-Casual Eatery
Take your family to the newest lunch and smoothie option right in downtown Columbus, Stack’d. From the owners of Superchef’s Breakfast & More comes a great lunch eatery on Broad and Third Streets. Enjoy sandwiches, salads, pizza, or pasta served “Your Way” with custom options.
Eat an “Our Way” meal for specials created by the restaurant’s expert chefs. Complement your meal with a custom-created or Stack’d signature smoothie. With the most expensive item coming in at only $11, this is a delicious and affordable option for the whole family this summer.
See the gardens before winter hits for gorgeous blooms and optimal weather. This premier botanical landmark features a butterfly exhibit, indoor and outdoor gardens, plant collections, a Chihuly art collection, and many fun seasonal events. Take beautiful summer photos in the garden, attend a glass-blowing demonstration, and learn about plants from a variety of ecosystems.
Ohio State Fair
Don’t miss out on one of the state’s most anticipated attractions – the Ohio State Fair! The fair runs from July 7th to August 6th, with admissions open seven days a week. The fair opens at 9:00 a.m. every day and closes at 10:00 p.m. Admission is $10. Have a blast on more than 60 rides, including a Kiddieland for youngsters. Taste dishes from over 200 food vendors, see exotic animals at the free petting zoo, and watch dozens of different shows and performers. There’s a little something for everyone in the family at the annual State Fair.
Take full advantage of summer’s finest foods, crafts, and beautiful weather by going to one of the many farmers’ markets in Columbus. Purchase gorgeous flower bouquets, eat from food trucks, and relax in the shade, all while supporting the local economy. The North Market is a daily event, Worthington Market is open on Saturdays, Pearl Market opens on Tuesdays, and several markets run on Wednesdays.
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