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Navigating the US: Getting Around in Columbus, Ohio

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Getting around in Columbus, Ohio

Columbus is Ohio’s state capital and largest city – although sometimes overshadowed by Cincinnati and Cleveland, Columbus has a vibe all its own and plenty to offer visitors. Home to the massive Ohio State University, Columbus is a bustling metropolis full of culture, a vibrant nightlife, and museums. As it turns out, Columbus is quite a likeable place, and even ranked in BuisnessWeek’s 50 Best Cities in America.

Recommended Modes of Transportation

Columbus falls somewhere between huge metropolis city and small town, so getting around by car is not particularly difficult. With a little help from a paper map (gasp!) or your navigation, you’ll have no trouble getting where you need to go.

If public transportation is more your speed, then you’re in luck, as the Central Ohio Transit Authority runs a really good public transportation system. It’s a good idea to use public transportation when attending a major event or festival to avoid the hassle of traffic and parking. You can find everything you need to know at the COTA website.

Major Highways and Roadways to Know

I-70 and I-670 run East and West through the city, and I- 71 and State Route 315 run North and South, making it a snap to get where you need to go. I-270 covers the outer belt, and US Routes 33, 23, and 40 converge downtown.

Alternative Ways of Seeing the City

Downtown Columbus is pedestrian friendly, particularly the entire corridor of High St (Route 23) between Clintonville in the North and Marion Village in the South.

Most major attractions are within a 20 minute walking distance and if you’re up for it, we recommend taking the walking tour conducted daily by the Columbus Landmarks Foundation – you’ll get oriented with the city and learn a ton.

Best Places to Park

There are plenty of reasonably priced parking garages and surface lots at almost all major destinations throughout the city. Beware of Short North, where parking can be hard to come by; however locations that lack parking usually offer valet parking at an affordable $5 per vehicle.

Find parking lots and garages all over the city and their rates at

Airports and Car Rentals

Located just east of the city, Port Columbus International Airport serves all major airlines and connects to most major cities. It might be worth checking on flights into Dayton, which are often less expensive.

You can easily get to the airport via the #92 bus or a quick ten-minute taxi ride to or from downtown will run you about $25. The airport also features eight on-site rental car agencies, leaving you plenty of options if you’d like to rent a car when you arrive in Columbus.

Hotels and Attractions

Columbus is a thriving college city which means there’s always something happening.

No matter what time of year you visit Columbus, you’ll find some kind of festival or event happening. Whether it’s the Columbus Arts festival in June, the Columbus Jazz and Rib Fest in July, or the All-American Quarter Horse Congress in October, you’ll find something to suit your tastes.

Check out for a full list of events.

If you visit during college football season, you would be remiss to not check out an Ohio State Buckeye game – you’re sure to appreciate the culture, excitement, and a pretty darn good football team.

There are plenty of factory tours in Columbus, if you’re looking for something a bit more educational to do inside. The American Whistle Factory, Anthony-Thomas Candy Co, Graeter’s Ice Cream Factory, and The Krema Nut Company all offer tours.

Columbus is also host to many museums including the Center of Science and Industry, Columbus Museum of Art, Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, Ohio Historical Society, Ohio Railway Museum, and more.

If you’re looking to get outside, Columbus offers a variety of parks and gardens. The Franklin Park Conservatory, Olentangy Indian Caverns, Huntington Park, and the Ohio State Fairgrounds are just a few examples.

For other resources check out:

Have any helpful tips for getting around in Columbus, Ohio that we missed? Leave us a comment!