10 Reasons to Day Trip to Columbus, Indiana

I take pride in knowing about little gems and attractions.

That’s why I was floored to learn about Columbus, Indiana that’s known for modern architecture. It’s only 1.5 hours away from Cincinnati making it a great day trip destination. 

Columbus Indiana Bike Rack

I found out about Columbus, Indiana at a Travel Media Showcase and I became obsessed with going there ever since.

Why you ask?

Here are 10 reasons why you should add Columbus to your day trip or road trip list

downtown Columbus Indiana

1. You Can Take An Architectural Tour

This is a MUST for architecture lovers!

The American Institue of Architects ranked Columbus, Indiana 6th in the nation for architectural innovation.

What’s even more amazing is that Columbus is a city of around 46,000, ranking among major cities for architecture.

International artists and architecture are featured in over 90 buildings and public art. I’m a huge fan of architecture and Columbus is truly a gem for the magnitude of what it offers in such a small city.

An architectural tour is a great way to get an overview of the architecture in the area.

The architectural tour starts with a film in the Center that gives an overview of the city and its history.

Chihuly Chandelier in the Columbus Indiana Visitor Center

Admire the Bright Yellow Chihuly Chandelier

Make sure that you appreciate the Dale Chihuly chandelier located inside the Visitor Center before you start your tour.

unique architecture in Columbus Indiana

Next, you step outside and will learn about a few nearby structures. The 2-hour tour will drive you by 40 significant structures and works of art and inside two structures availability permitting.

The architectural tour takes you inside two unique churches that are architectural works of art.

First Christian Church in Columbus Indiana

The First Christian Church

The First Christian Church pictured above was completed in 1942 and is believed to be the first modern church in the United States.

North Christian Church in Columbus Indiana

A Hexagonal Shaped Church

North Christian Church is a U.S. National Historic landmark, hexagonal in shape, and was built in 1964.

North Christian Church in Columbus Indiana

I’ve never seen a church like this before. The pipe organ inside is also a functional work of art.

a giant toilet slide at Kid Commons

2. You Can Literally Get Flushed Away at the Kids Commons

309 Washington St, Columbus, IN

Kids and adults have plenty of opportunities to interact and explore at this hands-on Children’s museum.

Plus it’s just fun to “flush” yourself down the World’s Largest Toliet slide in the Kids Commons Children’s Museum. 

outside The Commons building

3. FREE Indoor Fun at The Commons Playground combines art with play

300 Washington St, Columbus, IN 

Art meets function at this free playground that is located across the street from Kids Commons. The 5,000-square-foot indoor playground includes a play structure where kids can climb the 35 foot tall Lucky Climber.

The Commons Playground structure

The perfect spot to burn off some energy all year round. This is a great indoor option for families who want to take a break from the weather outside. 

burger at 4th street Bar in Columbus Indiana

4. Great meals with downtown charm

I enjoyed a great burger at 4th Street Bar and also received great service and insider local intel for what makes Columbus special from our server, Dewayne.

Art Sculpture in Columbus Indiana

5. You Can See A Lot of Art Within a Few Blocks of Downtown Columbus

unique ceiling in the library in Columbus Indiana

A majority of the art and architecture in downtown Columbus is located within a few blocks. You can easily cover a lot of ground and see a lot.

Columbus bar in Indiana
unique colorful art in Columbus Indiana

You can also download a free audio tour on your smartphone.

the Miller House and Garden Tour in Columbus Indiana

6. Get  inspired by design from the past that feels like the present at The Miller House and Garden Tour 

If you love architecture or Mad Men, you will LOVE this tour! This private residence was ahead of the times and is extremely interesting.

Designed by architects and designers Eero Saarinen, Alexander Girard, and Dan Kiley, you will definitely enjoy learning more about the style and function on the inside.

You can take pictures outside but you are not allowed to take pictures inside unless you are on the photo tour.

Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum

7. Sweet Treats and Nostalgia at Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum

Try a “Green River” fountain soda or enjoy an ice cream sundae that comes with your own gravy boat for your topping.

ice cream sundae at Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum

The perfect spot to enjoy a sweet treat surrounded by the remnants of another era.

Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum in Columbus Indiana

The history of this building dates back to the 1900s and there is an incredible collection of fountain sodas and memorabilia to view.

Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum in Columbus Indiana

You can also listen to a restored 1870s orchestrion.

The Inn at Irwin Gardens Bed and Breakfast

8. Take in gorgeous views The Inn at Irwin Gardens Bed and Breakfast

Unfortunately, there was a private event going on during our visit but the views from the sidewalk made me want to come back.

The Irwin Gardens Bed and Breakfast looks like a beautiful place to stay which is also in the heart of the downtown.

covered bridge by a lake at Mill Race Park

9. Lots of recreational options

We made a quick trip to climb the observation tower at Mill Race Park before leaving town.

Columbus offers miles of bike trails and a variety of recreational parks.

unique tree sculpture in Columbus, Indiana

10 Columbus, Indiana is centrally located to major cities.

Columbus is centrally located between Indianapolis, Louisville, and Cincinnati which made Columbus a great day trip.

You can find out more about Columbus, Indiana from their website. 

Disclosure: I was provided complimentary tours for review purposes. All opinions are my own. 

10 Reasons to Day Trip to Columbus, Indiana

14 thoughts on “10 Reasons to Day Trip to Columbus, Indiana”

  1. I also have a plan to go there in coming up days to enjoy the coming holidays. I hope so that it will be a really great time for us.

  2. Great place to visit, to live… not so much. Terrible place for small businesses. Columbus is tough on mom and pop businesses.

  3. We do love the tourist $$. It’s a great place if you’re one of the “haves” and a really screwed up place if you’re one of the many “have nots”.

  4. I have lived in Columbus for 35 years, lived within 50 miles all my life. I live here, raised my kids, & live here by desire!!!!!!! I still am proud to see everything and hear people talk about our City! VISIT COLUMBUS, IN!!!!!!!!

  5. I just shared your blog in a Facebook group of which I’m the administrator. Called Why Discover Columbus?, we feature points of interest in the city and state. You may be interested in A Kid’s Columbus, which is linked from the main page of my website. Also, you’re permitted to take pictures in the Miller House if you take the “photo tour.” Thanks for providing your comments and great photos.

  6. I really enjoyed this post and even though I love in the area I did not know myself, of some of the rare beauties Columbus Indiana held!!! Thanks for the share!

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