Ohio’s capital is a hub of youthful, urban modernity thanks to its lower median age (compared to the rest of the U.S.) and being the third most fashion-forward city in the country. You’ll find innovative art and food joints all over, but this doesn’t mean the town has forgotten its more traditional roots.
The following list will show you the best places to visit near Columbus, Ohio if you’re big into history, but they’re also appropriate and interesting if you’re visiting with the family on a casual trip.
1. German Village
Located just south of downtown Columbus, this historical neighborhood was settled by a large number of German immigrants, as the name suggests, who once comprised a third of the city’s population. The area’s original architecture and enchanting atmosphere are the real things, and you’ll need more than a couple of hours to fully immerse yourself in it.
Locally owned galleries and restaurants line the sidewalk, so you can enjoy an authentic bratwurst lunch and appreciate some of the local art afterward, or take a stroll around one of its tidy parks.
2. Ohio Statehouse
One of the oldest still-functioning statehouses in the United States, this is where all the official Ohio business takes place, and there is much to see and do inside of it. The best option in your first visit will be to take one of the free guided tours that show you some of the history and design of the building and compliment that with a visit to the Museum Education Center.
The best part, however, is the grand rotunda inside, which is composed of thousands of marble pieces. It was renovated not too long ago, so you will be able to appreciate its beauty like it was built just yesterday. Finally, the gift shop offers unique artwork from Ohio artists.
3. Ohio History Center
Of course, no history tour of Columbus can be complete without a visit to the Ohio History Center, which features a museum, library, and village on the Ohio History Connection. Inside the main building, there are several floors housing a variety of exhibits from the state’s American Indian roots, the evolution of its neighborhoods, and authentic Civil War relics. Also, there is a vast archive of historical records for family tree fanatics.
The Ohio Village we mentioned above offers you a rare chance to experience life in the 1800s, with actors dressed in period costumes and 19th-century architecture.
4. Governor’s Residence
The official residence for the Governor of Ohio, this Tudor, and Jacobethan revival manor holds daily free tours of its first floor rooms (a visit to the pool room can also be scheduled upon request), which houses many relics and memorabilia from Ohio’s history and personalities, such as athletes and artists. The docents are well read on Ohio’s history, and the tours usually last about an hour, which gives you enough time to visit the garden.
The garden outside the mansion is divided into many different types of soil representing the diversity of Ohio’s flora, so a spring visit is recommended to fully appreciate its beauty.
5. National Veterans Memorial and Museum
The National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM), which just opened in October of last year, is the first of its kind. It’s dedicated entirely to the stories, photos, and memorabilia from this nation’s veterans, regardless of what branch of the military they served or what generation they’re from through dynamic, participatory exhibits.
According to the museum’s website, “NVMM is neither a war memorial nor a military museum. NVMM takes visitors on a narrative journey telling individual stories and shared experiences of veterans throughout history.”
There are, of course, plenty more historical sites in Columbus, Ohio, but these cover all the basic groundwork that a history buff should know about the state, and all the interesting general history that makes for a good family visit over the weekend.