Things To Do In Columbus Indiana This Weekend – Have you heard of Columbus, Indiana? If you don’t, you are not alone. Even growing up in neighboring Illinois, I did not know it until one day last year when I saw it listed as the best architectural destination in America. Always down for an architectural road trip, I immediately pulled from Chicago and texted one of my best friends, an architect. It wasn’t long before we decided to have an adventure to see for ourselves why it should be at the top of the list of architectural owners!
Not to be confused with Columbus, Ohio, Columbus, Indiana, a city with a population of only 47,143, ranks sixth in the United States for design and architectural design, according to the American Institute of Architects. That means architecture for this small town beats almost everywhere in the country except Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C. Best of all, because of Columbus’ small size, its architectural highlights are close together and can easily be seen in just 1 to 2 days.
Things To Do In Columbus Indiana This Weekend
Are you ready to learn what makes this city a gem – and what to do on your trip there? Read more!
Columbus Parks And Rec
If you live in Columbus from outside the city, chances are you’ve come across the architecture. And if you’re going to see it, I suggest you check it out on the “Architecture Highlights” bus tour that goes through the visitor center.
The trip takes about two hours, but there is enough time to give you a good presentation of the city, its history and its architectural treasures. It begins with a brief overview of how the modern Mecca of Columbus became half a century ago. Short version? The first church Eliel Saarinen, the Finnish-American architect who opened the site during his time, helped inspire the CEO of the local Cummins Engine to launch the architecture program of the Cummins Foundation. The foundation covers the architect’s fees for the new public building, provided the architect comes from a list of famous masters.
The result is a city full of state-of-the-art banks, schools and church buildings, as well as rich art and sculptures by designers such as I.M. Pei (works including the Louvre Pyramid and the Doha Museum of Islamic Art).
The tour begins with a stop inside Saarinen’s smaller mid-century First Christian Church, which looks unlike most churches you’ve ever seen.
Things To Do Columbus Day Weekend In Indiana
It then takes you through several other points of interest with another stop at the North Church, one of the buildings of Eero Saarinen son of Eliel Saarinen. The young Saarinen also designed St. Louis Gateway Arch and Washington Dulles International Airport, and if you ever leave the necessary luggage there to take a taxi, you will immediately notice the similarity of the interior!
I learned a lot on this trip and I really believe that it would be the right change if you want to be able to understand how Columbus became what he is (and why his work is so important) . It costs $25 ($20 for students) and usually runs twice a day on weekends. Be sure to buy tickets in advance – tours sell out – and check the time before planning your trip. We don’t allow enough time in the city to catch the architecture tour and the Miller House tour (see below!) and we hope we can do both.
The tour starts and ends at the Visitor Center (don’t miss the Chihuly Glass Works when you’re there) and from there it’s easy to walk around and get a better view of the scenery you want to see. You will also be close to the many food and drink options that I will describe later in this post! Another option for your trip: Visit the guest house at Irwin Gardens.
Another great thing to do in Columbus is a trip to the Miller House, a state-of-the-art national landmark designed by Eero Saarinen. Now owned by Newfields, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, tours are available through the Columbus Visitor Center.
Boutique Hotel In Columbus
As I mentioned, we didn’t visit the Miller House because the tour overlapped with our city architecture tour during the day we were there. But I want to go back to its bright colors, happy patterns, Eames furniture and beautiful gardens!
If you are considering an overnight stay in Columbus (1.5 to 2 days plus one night perfect for exploring the city!) the good news is that you have several options and some you can book as well good. For those who want to stay central and stick to the art and architecture theme, Indigo Hotel is a practical choice. It’s in the middle of everything location-wise and has its own gallery that displays the work of local artists. Bonus: It’s easy on dogs!
Indigo Hotel is a brand under the IHG umbrella, which means you can book it with IHG points. If you don’t have one, you can always use a debit card like Capital One Venture to deduct fees from your statement or book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
If you drive to Columbus or ok with a little Ubering back and forth you will find several Marriott properties – Residence Inn Columbus and Courtyard Columbus Tipton Lakes – about 6 to 8 minutes from downtown and two Hilton properties – Hilton Garden Inn Columbus Edinburgh and Hampton Inn Columbus / Taylorsville / Edinburgh – a little further, about 13 minutes. All points can be reserved and very few points!
Of The Most Festive Things You Can Do In Columbus This Holiday Season
That said, they are also cheaper than cash, which is what I chose to use for my stay at the Hilton Garden Inn Columbus in Edinburgh. Only $131.32 for the night or $147.08 and I got the double base points because of the ongoing summer promotion. In addition, my medal score doubled again due to my diamond status through the Hilton Honors Aspire. And that’s not to mention the 14x multiplier I earned for staying on the card itself!
To learn more about earning and using points and miles for free travel, visit the 52 Cities Free Resource Library or sign up to join me for an upcoming masterclass.
Eaters, fear not: Columbus may not have the list of popular restaurants you’ll find in the big cities, but there’s Henry’s Social Club to meet your high standards. From cocktails to cheese and olive plates to salads to main courses, everything is perfectly executed and the interior is nice to begin with. Check out the menu here to get a feel for what the restaurant serves. I promise you will not be disappointed!
We also visited the regular Columbus Pump House on our way out of town and although it’s not the same type as the Henry Social Club, I would recommend this place as well. The restaurant serves a wide variety of casual (but well-prepared) beers, including sandwiches, pizza and more, as well as salads and a strong beer list. And the building itself is also a must-see: it is a historic structure dating back to 1903, revealing details of its architecture in its current form. The Pump House also has a large yard where you can sit outside by the White River and enjoy views of the Robert Stewart Bridge.
Travel: Fort Wayne, Indiana, A Perfect Weekend Getaway
And last but not least: ice cream. Zaharakos is a traditional ice cream parlor that dates back to 1900, and visiting historic buildings is part of the fun. Services can be slow on a busy summer day, but there’s plenty of history to read and artifacts to look at while you wait.
If you are looking for Lucabe Coffee Co. A place to find it. The light and airy shop is in the middle a short walk from any other car park you can.
If you also like Columbus beer, we visited 450 North, located on the family farm, about 20 minutes from downtown. They have flights so you can try lots of beers, but as usual bring a limited driver if you want to! 450 North has wine and spirits even for non-beer drinkers. Another microbrewery option is ZwanzigZ Pizza & Brewing (and won Best Mini Brewery at the 2017 Great American Brewery Festival in Denver!)
Meanwhile, those who like dive bars should head to Columbus Bar. Introduced by our waiter to us at dinner, it is where you are more likely to find local youth than other tourists. And since it’s the Midwest, people are friendly and happy to remind you with stories and tips for the rest of your trip.
New Reasons To Visit Columbus, Indiana
I hope this guide gives you some ideas for what to do in Columbus Indiana (and inspires you to go on an architectural tour!) Are you going? Tell me in the comments! >> Save this post for later on Pinterest:
*** This post contains credit card links that can provide credit points for 52 cities at no extra cost to you. I always add these points to create content that I hope will be useful.
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