Visiting Columbus, Ohio is a ton of fun, and it's easy on the wallet! Trying to stay within a budget?There are lots of activities, both family-friendly and for adults only, that are free or very low cost. Have fun!
Short North Gallery Hop
The Short North neighborhood, just north of downtown, is filled with shops, galleries and restaurants that open their doors free of charge on the first Saturday night of every month. Stroll the streets, check out the local boutiques, people watch, and have a night on the town, all without spending a dime!
Short North Gallery Hop: North High Street from Goodale Blvd. to Fifth Ave.
The Columbus Commons is the jewel of downtown Columbus. This park in the center of the city offers gorgeous gardens, an outdoor reading room, a fantastic playground and much more, all for free! There's also a big carosel the kids will love to ride, and tickets are just $1.
Columbus Commons: 160 S. High St.
Scenic and charming, The Wyandotte Winery is a feast for the eyes in addition to the senses. Free tours are offered every Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Want to sample the product? Tastings start at $5 for a flight of five wines.
Wyandotte Winery: 4640 Wyandotte Dr.
Columbus Park of Roses
There are 11,500 roses on 13 acres at the Park of Roses in Whestone Park. Wander through three different rose gardens and admire more than 400 varieties of roses at this spectacular, free attraction.
Columbus Park of Roses: 3901 North High St.
It's always fun to stroll through an art gallery, but admission to such places is usually costly. The Riffe Gallery, located in the Verne Riffe Center for the Government and Arts downtown, showcases all Ohio artists. Admission is free, but parking downtown may cost a few bucks. Try the Statehouse parking garage down the street for the cheapest parking.
Riffe Gallery: 77 S. High St.
Graeters Ice Cream Tour
Graeters Ice Cream is made right here in Columbus, and you can check out their process first-hand. They use a French press process that only makes two gallons at a time (something visitors are unlikely to find at most ice cream factories). Call ahead (614-442-7622 ) to schedule a free tour. They give tours every day of the week (anytime ice cream is being made).
Graeters: 2555 Bethel Road
Anthony Thomas Factory Tour
Who doesn't love chocolate? Tour the Columbus-based chocolate factory (our very own Willy Wonka!) for the very low cost of $2 per person. If you decide to visit the gift shop after the tour, the cost of the ticket can go toward your purchase. And let's face it, after spending the afternoon watching chocolate being poured, molded and wrapped, who will be able to resist the gift shop?
Anthony Thomas Factory: 1777 Arlingate Lane
The quickest way to get a lesson on Ohio's history is to visit the Statehouse. They offer free guided tours every day around lunchtime, and tours usually take about 45 minutes. Anytime the building is open, take a free self-guided store by stopping at guest services and picking up a free audio wand and tour map.
Ohio Statehouse: 1 Capitol Square
You'll be hard pressed to find anything like this ever again. The Topiary Park is a landscape interpretation of a George Seurat painting. All of the people and objects are carefully carved out of bushes and plants throughout the park, including a topiary boat in the middle of the pond complete with topiary people. Take a stroll through this gem free of charge.
Topiary Park: 480 East Town St.
This is a guest post by Whitney from Columbus, OH
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