Columbus draws group tours who are eager to experience, explore and taste all this city has to offer. From taking food lover’s on a tour of the local taco trucks to examining the inner workings of a ballet troupe, guests will find plenty to interest, entertain and enjoy.
There are many reasons why you might choose to book a group travel experience to Columbus. Set in the middle of the state of Ohio, it’s easy to travel to. There’s plenty of things to do, with opportunities for sports fans, crafters, foodies and science buffs, to name just a few. But did you know there are rules for visiting Columbus?
Here’s our tips for your next Columbus group trip.
Have an Experience in Columbus
The first rule for planning group travel to Columbus might be “have an experience,” but it could also be “have an adventure.” Columbus is one of America’s leaders in experiential tourism. Guests can choose from more than 70 tours, including behind-the-scenes access to attractions as diverse as BalletMet (Columbus’ ballet company, one of the largest in the country) and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
The Columbus Zoo alone offers several extended-access tours, featuring giraffes, manatees. A visitor favorite is the Heart of Africa at the Zoo, which is a unique, immersive experience that brings visitors up-close to feed a giraffe a snack, take a camel ride and be surrounded by the view of the savanna while animals gather around a watering hole.
For culturally-minded travelers Columbus is a great fit. It is possible for a group of 10 to 20 individuals to go behind the scenes at a BalletMet production. After viewing a performance, visitors can get an exclusive backstage tour, see scenery and props, listen to an interactive question-and-answer session, meet company dancers and have photos taken.
Columbus has a diverse background, both artistically and professionally. Does your group that want to meet a local winemaker or distiller, find out how baseball bats are made, or learn the history and geology of the regions’ underground caves? By going on a tour of local wineries and distilleries, chatting with area mixologists, visiting Phoenix Bat Factory or exploring the Olentangy Indian Caverns in nearby Delaware, groups can do that.
Arguably, Columbus’s best-known expert is Jack Hanna, the Columbus Zoo’s director emeritus and former host of PBS’s educational program “Jack Hanna’s Into The Wild”. Spend the day at the zoo, attend a special show and learn about Jack’s legacy at the zoo and with animal rescue.
Stop by the Short North District
Inside the city or beyond its borders, there are many unique destinations in the Columbus area. For foodies, exploring Columbus may well start with food tours. These can be arranged to please almost every palate and culinary interest level. A tour of the hip Short North Art District neighborhood includes a culinary and historical perspective of the area. A sampling of the area’s ethnic cuisines would highlight Indian, Mexican, Vietnamese, Somali and Nigerian eateries. Tours can be arranged around coffee shops, food trucks (one of the hottest trends in today’s culinary scene) or even taco trucks.
Outside of the city, exploring can be as tranquil as a sunset tour of Buckeye Lake. Or it can be as thrilling as a zipline canopy tour at Hocking Hills, where participants spend well over two and half hours zinging along cables and sky bridges for a bird’s-eye view of caves, cliffs, rivers and area wildlife.
Repeat the Experience
This is pretty self-explanatory. Even the most dedicated tour group provider can’t hit all the highlights in one trip. Your guests are cordially invited to come back and experience more of what Columbus has to offer.
Getting to and Around Columbus
Columbus is located almost exactly in the center of the state of Ohio. By car, the city is about six hours from St. Louis, and eight hours from either Atlanta or New York City. It’s ringed by Interstate 270, with access to and from US-23, I-70 and I-71.
Port Columbus International Airport offers multiple nonstop flights to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, New York City and Washington DC, among many other destinations. US Airways, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Air Canada and American Airlines all fly into Columbus. The airport can be reached either by I-670 or I-270.
So there you have it: the rules for planning successful group travel to Ohio’s capital city. Have an experience (or several). Meet an expert or two, or three. Explore everything from caves to culinary hotspots. And plan on a repeat trip, to do all the things your group didn’t have time to enjoy the first time around.