Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium is home to animals from across the world. Divided into different countries, the zoo allows visitors to see animals such as giraffes in “The Heart of Africa,” red pandas in “Asia Quest” and manatees in the aquarium. In the winter, employees light up the zoo with LED lights for its annual Wildlights, where there are animated light shows all around the park. The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium is located at 4850 Powell Road in Powell, Ohio.
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
According to Ohio State, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum is the “world’s largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics,” housing original art, books, magazines, journals, comic books, archived materials and newspaper comic strip pages and clippings. The cartoon library is an “archival facility,” so students who wish to view items cannot take them outside the library’s reading room or can schedule tours of the stacks. The library is located in Sullivant Hall, right next to the Ohio Union.
The Center of Science and Industry, or COSI, offers many visual and hands-on exhibits for its visitors and looks to inspire “the scientists, dreamers, and innovators of tomorrow,” according to its website. Exhibits that COSI offers range from ones where visitors can learn about the physical nature of water and the ocean, to Ohio’s largest planetarium where people can view Ohio skies at night. COSI is located downtown at 333 W. Broad St. and is accessible by the COTA bus system, but the science center also occasionally hosts nights just for Ohio State students. For those nights, there is a special CABS shuttle that can bring students from campus to the science center.
The Short North
The Short North Arts District has everything. There are art galleries, locally unique restaurants, clothing stores, live music and more. The Short North is not a single place, but rather a strip of High Street that runs from just south of campus to downtown, and mostly hosts local-owned Columbus businesses and restaurants ranging from stores like Global Gifts — a non-profit fair trade store — to the Mediterranean casual sandwich shop Brassica. The Short North also hosts events such as its monthly Gallery Hop (see below) to the HighBall Halloween costume party.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
With over 400 species of plants from around the world, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is located at 1777 E. Broad St. downtown. Similar to the zoo, the conservatory is split into biomes from different parts of the world such as the “Himalayan Mountain Biome” and “Rainforest Biome.” It also offers many seasonal exhibits, such as “Blooms & Butterflies” — an exhibit where visitors can see a wide variety of butterflies — and also the conservatory’s bonsai tree display, both of which are happening right now.
Columbus Museum of Art
The Columbus Museum of Art is located downtown at 480 E. Broad St. and hosts many art exhibitions and artwork by local Columbus artists. Currently the art museum is hosting art exhibitions such as “A Measure of Humanity,” an exhibition that explores the quantification of the human identity and behavior.
Italy. Belgium. India. Located downtown on 59 Spruce St., the North Market lets its visitors travel the world in one location, offering a wide variety of shopping and eating experiences. If you want to experience Nepalese Momos — a type of South Asian dumpling — you can stop by Momo Ghar. If you want donuts, Destination Donuts is the best place for vegans and non-vegans alike. The North Market even houses vendors that sell fresh fish, produce and cookware. Students who don’t have a car can easily take the 2 or 1 COTA bus heading south on High Street and get off at the North High & Swan Street stop.
Tucked away in a neighborhood just south of campus, Katalina’s is a popular brunch spot among students and is especially known for its pancake balls. While the cafe is housed in a renovated 100-year-old gas station, it offers breakfast for all kinds of people, with gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options. For those who feel that 1105 Pennsylvania Avenue is too far of a journey, it was reported that Katalina’s will be opening a location north of campus in Clintonville either later this year or in early 2019.
Gallery Hop is an event in the Short North that happens on the first Saturday of every month. As “Columbus’ favorite night of the month to celebrate art,” according to the Short North Arts District website, those who walk through the Short North that day can listen to street performers and see art in non-traditional galleries like restaurants and salons. There also are vendors who sell handcrafted items, along with the regularly opened Short North businesses.
Gateway Film Center
The Gateway Film Center isn’t your movie theater chain. While it does show many mainstream movies, it also lets moviegoers watch indie movies and documentaries, older movie classics and occasionally early screenings to highly-anticipated movies. Students can purchase discounted movie tickets for $7.50 at the film center’s box office or a movie voucher for $3 if students purchase them through Ohio State’s Discount Ticket Program. Gateway is located on 1550 N. High St., right next to the university bookstore.