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Like many second and third-tier cities, Columbus has undergone quite a transformation in the past few decades as a destination for arts, sports, leisure, education, and shopping. Throughout its history, the city has seen its fair share of challenges and setbacks. Initially laid out in 1812 and incorporated in 1816, it suffered during the Panic of 1819, but continued to grow thanks to its connection to the Ohio and Erie Canal and later, railroads. It was not the original capital, but its central location in the heart of Ohio and between the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers helped develop its status as a shipping port. By the late 1880s, there were almost two hundred factories in operation and brewing companies established by the German immigrant population.
Since the late 1980s, the city has won numerous accolades for its attention to renovation, historic preservation and neighborhood revitalization. Perhaps its greatest success is the Arena District, a mixed-use, planned urban environment. The district, formerly a blighted area, incorporates a 20,000-seat arena built on human scale, restaurants, shops, hotels, and offices, in existing old warehouses or new brick buildings that respect the turn-of-the-century industrial architecture of the neighborhood.
The city has been ranked nationally noted for its entrepreneur-friendly business climate, its enthusiasm for the arts, and as a great city for African-American families. As a clean, walkable, friendly, and easy to navigate destination, it is sometimes overshadowed by the larger and more heavily traversed Cincinnati and Cleveland. Columbus is also the seat of Franklin County and the largest city in Ohio when measured by city borders; it spreads out into five counties. The population of just over 700,000 however, puts it behind Cleveland and Cincinnati.
With American Airlines flights to Columbus, Ohio, you can explore everything the city has to offer. From visiting its nationally acclaimed zoo and aquarium to appreciating its art galleries, there are many things to do in Columbus. Here are a few of our favorites.
When it comes to activities in Columbus, tops on the list has to be visiting the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Home to more than 9,400 animals (representing 680 species), it can keep you fascinated all day long. In addition to its amazing family of animals, it features a 22-acre water park called Zoombezi Bay with more than a dozen water rides, a wave pool, a lazy river, children's pool and even roaring rapids. There's also an 18-hole golf course, complete with a pro shop. The zoo itself, which opened in 1927, spans 582 acres and is divided by geographic regions, including Asia, North America, the polar frontier, Australia and Africa.
After you've seen the zoo and aquarium, move on to one of our other favorite things to do in Columbus: playing at the Center of Science and Industry, or COSI. It's an especially fun place to visit if you're traveling with children, because it's filled with hands-on ways to learn about science. There are more than 300 interactive exhibits that let you discover facts about oceans, space exploration and more. There's even a seven-story theater for all-encompassing showings of films on the forces of nature, the planet's wildlife and more.
Then switch gears for one of the more refined (yet still fun) activities in Columbus, which is an afternoon spent strolling through the Short North Arts District. Located just north of the Convention Center, this area is dotted with great art galleries, restaurants and shops. The first Saturday each month is when an organized Gallery Hop takes place, usually starting in the late afternoon and stretching into the night, with galleries and artists setting up special exhibits. The Short North is also a perfect place to pick up a souvenir thanks to the many local shops and boutiques that exist alongside national chains.
From wildlife to the arts, this city has something to appeal to everyone, making it a fun destination for the entire family. Browse our flights and make plans to fly to Columbus today!
|ComFest||Jun 2013 (annual)||Goodale Park|
|Red, White and Boom!||Jul 2013 (annual)||Columbus OH|
|Red, White and Boom||3 Jul 2013 (annual)||Scioto River|
|Jazz & Rib Fest||Jul 2013 (annual)||The Arena District|
|Festival Latino||Aug 2013 (annual)||Genoa Park|
|Columbus Italian Festival||Oct 2013 (annual)||St John the Baptist Italian Catholic Church|
|Wildlights||Nov 2013 - Jan 2014 (annual)||Columbus Zoo|
|NHL Ice Hockey: Columbus Blue Jackets||Oct 2013 - Apr 2014 (annual)||Nationwide Arena|
|Asian Festival||May 2014 (annual)||Franklin Park|
|Columbus Arts Festival||Jun 2014 (annual)||Columbus OH|
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