5 Historic Locations to Visit in Columbus

Downtown Columbus Skyline. Photo Credit to Andy Spessard

Ohio’s state capital is full of historic fun for everyone

By Skyler Perry

Columbus, Ohio, was founded in 1812, making it a prime location to experience historic sights and landmarks. Lexi Sweet, senior manager of Public Relations at Experience Columbus, says the city is excited to welcome eager travelers of all ages who want to learn a little history.

“As Ohio’s capital and the state’s largest city, Columbus has a rich and vibrant history that has helped it grow into the destination it is today,” Sweet says “It’s a city that shows it’s important not to forget your roots.”

With everything from botanical gardens to football stadiums, here are five locations for every kind of history lover.

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

1777 East Broad St., Franklin Park

Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. Photo credits to Experience Columbus; Levi Ely.

The Franklin Park Conservatory boasts over 150 years of history and is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike. The conservatory sits 2 miles east of modern-day Columbus and was originally purchased by the Franklin County Agriculture Society in 1852. The site was later declared for public use and opened as Franklin Park Conservatory in 1895. While it was once a popular destination for community members to enjoy its carriage paths, lake and boathouse, it is now home to world-class exhibitions and aims to bring people and plants together. The conservatory is open daily. General admission tickets are $19 while tickets for children are $12.

German Village

South of Downtown Columbus

Schmidt’s Sausage Haus und Restaurant in the German Village. Photo credits to Experience Columbus; Levi Ely.

The historic German Village is a neighborhood originally platted in 1814. It was settled largely by German immigrants in the mid-1800s and was developed up until 1914. After 1923, the neighborhood was in decline before being purchased in 1959. This resulted in the creation of the German Village Society, which worked hard to preserve the area. Today, the village is a beautiful location for a stroll and some shopping along the village’s commercial strip on Livingston Avenue. Make sure to stop by Schmidt’s Restaurant und Sausage Haus (https://www.schmidthaus.com/)—the Schmidt family has been making sausage in the village since 1996.

Ohio Stadium

Woody Hayes Drive, The Ohio State University Campus

The Ohio Stadium, which has been nicknamed “The Shoe” for its horseshoe-like shape, was completed in 1922 and replaced the Ohio Field. As the team began seeing more success and The Ohio State University (OSU) grew, so did the demand for more seating. Throughout its history, the stadium has accommodated a variety of social, economic, and technological changes. Today, it is a great location to take some photos, enjoy the unique architecture and learn about the home of the buckeyes!

Ohio State House

1 Capitol Square, Uptown District

The Statehouse sits in downtown Columbus along the Scioto River and was completed in 1861. The Greek revival-style building opened to legislators and the public in 1857. It is recognized as a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. This historic building has played a role in Ohio’s history for generations and is an especially great stop for anyone interested in architecture or law. Guided tours are available daily.

Kelton House

568 East Town St., Historic District

Step into the past with a visit to the historic Kelton House Museum and Garden. Built in 1852, the house was owned by the Kelton family, known to be anti-slavery.

At the time, the family’s home was a part of the underground railroad. Family members lived in the house until it was entrusted to the Columbus Foundation in 1975 on the stipulation that it be preserved and used for educational purposes. Today, it holds treasures from the 1800s. This stop immerses you in history with an experiential tour as “Sophia Kelton” takes you back in time and tells you of the family’s secrets. This stop is open by appointment Wednesday and Thursday or for general admission Friday through Sunday. Adult tickets are $7.