Now’s the time to visit Columbus – and it’s not just us saying it. National media sources agree that Ohio’s capital city is the place to be.
Columbus’ new Scioto Mile
Here’s just some of what they’re saying about us:
One of the global top 10 best fall trips – National Geographic Traveler
#4 best city for shopping in America – Forbes
When it comes to restaurants, Columbus has almost too many good choices. – The New York Times
#1 zoo in America – USA Travel Guide
#1 science center in nation for families – Parents magazine
#2 most playful city for kids – USA Today
It’s time your groups experienced Columbus. We understand that your groups are looking for unique VIP and behind-the-scenes experiences. That’s why we’ve created our Experiential Tourism Program – one of the only programs of its kind in the country.
Meet chefs on a food tour, interact with exotic animals, go backstage with world-class musicians and much more. Choose from more than 70 one-of-a-kind experiences for your groups. We’ve themed them to make it easy for you to plan a tour. Read about our experiences below then get complete details on our website.
Cuisine & Garden
Meet the merchants and local farmers as you taste your way through the historic North Market. Take a cooking class with America’s most awarded spicy foods creator, John Hard, better known as CaJohn.
Columbus is a “Certified Food Lovers’ Town”
With more than half a dozen wineries and distilleries opening in the last few years, Columbus’ Wine & Spirits scene is exploding. Take a mini winemaking seminar at Signature Wines or stomp grapes at Via Vecchia Winery. Learn the basics of mead making, then see how other spirits are made at our award-winning micro distilleries.
Savor herb-infused foods and learn how to use herbs to do everything from creating one-of-a-kind teas to culinary treats like herb-infused vinegar and pesto at the Ohio Herb Education Center in Gahanna. Forget Botox − you can create an herbal spa! Complement your herbal experience with a wine tasting at Wyandotte Winery and or a chocolate tasting at Sher-Bliss.
Develop your green thumb along with your herbal cooking skills at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Discover how to attract butterflies to your garden, learn floral design and gardening tips, and use fresh herbs to create a wood-fired pizza.
The Washington Post calls Columbus “A Certified Food Lovers’ Town.” Taste for yourself on Culinary Tours that stop at everything from the finest bakeries to food carts serving tacos and gourmet fare. Guided food tours stop at independently owned businesses, complete with samples of their best menu items and behind-the-scenes access.
Arts & Culture
Watch the rehearsals at BalletMet, one of the largest professional dance companies in the country, before taking a low-impact dance class. Go inside the costume shop where you can touch the intricate costumes. Here during a show? Head backstage to meet the dancers and see the sets up close.
Go on stage to meet one of the world’s finest big bands, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. Before the concert, take an all-access tour of the historic Southern Theatre.
Thurber House, the historic home of the famed New Yorker cartoonist James Thurber, hosts best-selling authors. Share a meal and enjoy personal time with an author, then get VIP seating at the reading.
Play & Shop
Touch exotic animals at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Challenge your inner explorer at COSI. Crack codes and navigate mazes, learn the science behind cooking while you make salsa or play an explosive game of Chemistry Bingo.
Put the style in lifestyle at Easton Town Center, one of the Midwest’s most popular shopping destinations. Paint your own pottery or create your own greeting cards using the latest designs. Get expert advice on the must-have fashions during breakfast at Nordstrom before the store opens for the day.
Take a guided tour of one of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s unique regions, followed by a breakfast or lunch buffet. Interact with exotic animals while you learn from the experts that bring them right to you! Save time to touch the zoo’s new stingrays.
Watch as wooden baseball bats are made for the Major Leaguers at Phoenix Bat Company. Discover how to make a great bat from wood to design. Take home a custom engraved mini bat or opt to build your own bat.
Explore & More
Known as Columbus’ “Art & Soul,” the Short North Arts District is all about creativity. Sip wine as you create an intriguing piece of art — no experience required. Create your own wine from start to finish, including bottling, corking and designing the label. Relax with a mini-spa service at Mukha, one of the few spas in the world that create custom cosmetics and skincare onsite.
Explore Olde Worthington’s creative block. Pick from hundreds of fragrances before pouring your candle at The Candle Lab. Sample a variety of labels next door at House Wine. Across the street is Igloo Letterpress, where you’ll hand-set handcarved wooden type and use an antique printing press to make your own personalized stationery.
Experience Ireland without crossing the ocean in Dublin — where Irish is an attitude. Learn “Riverdance” style steps, sample fine Irish tea, get a taste of Old Ireland during a gourmet cooking demo and enjoy Irish folklore and traditional Celtic songs.
Licking County’s slogan is “Escape Your World, Find Yourself In Ours.” And do they mean it! It’s the only place in the world where you can explore a 13,000-year-old bog, create a blown glass ornament, fuse glass for a sun catcher, mix herbs and botanicals to craft your own tea blend, and enjoy lunch or dinner in an 1860s Gothic Revival home.
History & Heritage
Experience life during the 1800s in Ohio Village, then figure out “whodunit” at the entertaining “Dickens of a Mystery,” one of four original interactive dinner theater shows. Get the scoop about the village “residents” on a Gossip Tour. Go back in time with Echoes in Time Theatre. Choose from a variety of entertaining performances that make history come alive.
Learn first-hand about the Underground Railroad
Experience living history at the Kelton House, a restored Underground Railroad stop filled with original furnishings. Be greeted at the door by “Sophia Kelton,” who will let you in on the family’s “secret.” You’ll be sworn to secrecy before you leave after hearing the punishment handed out to abolitionists like the Keltons.
Enjoy a hearty meal at the Ohio Statehouse, served in the tradition of Miss Emma Jones, a socialite who frequently hosted Ohio’s legislators and Union Army officers. Meet prominent figures from Ohio’s history on a guided tour.
Plan your Columbus tour
Regardless of the size of your group, Experience Columbus is here to help make your trip to Columbus unforgettable. We’re happy to provide referrals for local service providers, itinerary planning assistance, photos and videos, parking instructions and much more. Check out all of the group-friendly attractions and events on experiencecolumbus.com/tours.
As always, you’re invited to learn more about Columbus on a site visit, as your schedule permits.