Columbus: Things to See and Do

Short North Arts District
Immediately proximate to the conference site

Website contains comprehensive info including dining, shopping, art galleries and parking and transit information. Downloadable maps can take you wherever your interests desire, whether that be culinary or down the wildly popular District Art Trails. The site expands the offerings already mentioned in our dining guide to give you even more ideas located steps from the Hilton which sits at the southern end of the district. What a great place to be for SMH2019!

One of the most recognizable features of the Short North is the District’s lighted arches, which harken back to 1888 when Columbus first became known as “Arch City.” Ohio was chosen to host the centennial celebration of the creation of the Northwest Territory since it was the first state carved out of the territory. Wooden arches lit by gaslight were built to both light the streets and dazzle visitors. Steel and electric lights replaced the arches in 1896, but in 1916 they were torn down and replaced by light posts. In 2002, 17 steel arches were reinstalled on High Street from Goodale to Fifth Avenue, giving the Short North Arts District its identifying feature. Today, the Short North Arts District is the most vibrant spot in the City of Columbus and is home to over 300 exciting businesses, the majority of which are locally owned or headquartered. It has received numerous national accolades, and is considered a model for urban revitalization. The Short North Arts District is home to some of the most exciting and engaging public artworks in Columbus. Art is in abundance and is found in every facet of the District, including both galleries and non-traditional art venues. From iconic permanent murals to the arches and the annual Short North Temporary Mural Series, the streets in the Short North Arts District are filled with enlightening and often unexpected works of art. Download a map of the gallery and art guide. Navigate the galleries and the art of the Short North in person using the Short North Arts District Arts Trail. In addition to world-class art, one of the best experiences in the Short North Arts District is its cuisine.

Whatever the group size, sign up for a walking food tour, tasting at a distillery or meadery, or art-focused tour to sample some of the best provisions or see the artistic gems the District has to offer.

The District is home to some of the best happy hour deals in Columbus and its bars and restaurants offer everything from drink-of-the-day specials to designated happy hour menus.


National Veterans Memorial and Museum
300 West Broad St., on the west bank of the Scioto River in downtown Columbus

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum is the only place where the stories of our veterans, their families and the Fallen – across all branches of service and all eras of conflict – will be told together. NVMM bridges historical events to current concerns in order to strengthen understanding and respect between veterans and civilians. This cultural institution stands as a place of inspiration for all visitors to come together as one people with a common bond and a shared pride in our veterans. NVMM is neither a war memorial nor a military museum. NVMM takes visitors on a narrative journey telling individual stories and shared experiences of veterans throughout history. Paying tribute to the sacrifices of servicemen and women and their families. History is presented in a dynamic, participatory experience with photos, letters and personal effects, multi-media presentations, and interactive exhibits. Together, these elements link our national story to the larger context of world events since our country’s earliest days, and demonstrate the importance of individuals in shaping our history.


Columbus Clippers Triple-A Baseball (Cleveland Indians Farm Team)
330 Huntington Park Lane; Arena District, Downtown

Home games at Huntington Park on Thurs 5/9 @ 6:35pm; Friday 5/10 @ 7:15pm ;and Sat 5/11 @ 7:15pm

With the downtown Columbus skyline in the background, Huntington Park is one of the few ballparks that actually faces southeast. This 200,000 square foot facility features a capacity of 10,100 with specialty seating in 2 full bars, a roof top terrace, right field terraces, and lawn and picnic areas. In 2009, Huntington Park was named the Ballpark of the Year by, beating out all other new or significantly renovated baseball stadiums in the country, including such Major League parks as the new Yankee Stadium and Citi Field. The award is given to the new stadium with the “best combination of superior design, attractive site selection, and fan amenities.” Come enjoy great baseball with a fabulous atmosphere! A walkable 15 minutes from the downtown Hilton.


Columbus Crew MLS Soccer
Mapfre Stadium, One Black and Gold Blvd, Columbus, OH 43211

One of the ten founding members of Major League Soccer, the Columbus Crew is one of the most exciting teams in the league. Games are held at Mapfre Stadium, a short 10 minute taxi/Uber/Lyft ride from the Hilton. Home games during SMH 2019 are on Wednesday, May 8 against the LA Galaxy at 7:30pm, and on Saturday, May 11 against the Los Angeles Football Club at 7:30pm. Single match tickets are available.


Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
1777 East Broad St.

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is Central Ohio’s premier botanical garden and home to the iconic John F. Wolfe Palm House which dates back to 1895. Situated just east of Franklin Park, the Conservatory is approximately two miles from downtown Columbus. The visitor experience spans about 13-acres and is comprised of the Conservatory building, The Children’s Garden, and the Grand Mallway. The experience consists of botanical biomes, lush gardens, special horticulture and art exhibitions, and seasonal offerings. A collection of glass works by artist Dale Chihuly is also on display and included with admission. The Community Garden Campus is a sprawling 4-acre garden adjacent to the visitor experience that encompasses an apiary, rose pavilion, berry house and 40 community garden plots as well as, a demonstration kitchen and Live-Fire Cooking Theater. This area is open to the public at no charge from dawn until dusk. Current special exhibitions include:

Blooms and Butterflies: Whisk away to an enchanted land of tropical butterflies and splashes of floral color during the Conservatory’s 25th anniversary of Blooms & Butterflies. Hundreds of colorful butterflies fly freely in the Pacific Island Water Garden, a tropical haven filled with bright nectar blooms. Patrons can visit at any time to see a diverse array of butterflies soaring overhead or basking on nearby plant life.

Bonsai: In the Dorothy M. Davis Showhouse, trees from the Conservatory’s captivating bonsai collection are on display among serene, Japanese-inspired gardens. Evergreen, deciduous and tropical bonsai trees will rotate throughout the exhibition, giving patrons a unique viewing experience with each visit.


Columbus Museum of Art
480 East Broad St.

CMA’s galleries are filled with works that manifest creativity. The collection includes outstanding late nineteenth and early twentieth-century American and European modern works of art as well as beloved local artists.

Current exhibitions include Life in the Age of Rembrandt, the first collaborative project stemming from an ongoing international partnership between CMA and the Dordrecht Museum, The Netherlands. The goal of this partnership is to celebrate the remarkable treasures of both museums while broadening perspectives and cultivating a global view of community. Life in the Age of Rembrandt showcases some 90 works, including 40 paintings, many paired with a related object such as a print, a coin, Delft ware, or silver. Also on exhibit is Light-the Pizzuti Collection of CMA has installed artwork (through May 15th) that takes light as its muse and its material. Galleries will be turned over to ideas about a Texas sunset, neon window advertisements, iconic bar signs, and garish flashing messages. Light becomes the medium to translate experiences and make visible what we discern about our world.


Motts Military Museum
5075 South Hamilton Rd., Groveport, Ohio (13 miles from the Hilton)

Motts Military Museum was founded in 1987 by Warren E. Motts of Groveport, Ohio who established the museum as a 501 (C) 3 not for profit tax exempt educational organization. The mission of Motts Military Museum is to: “To educate the public on the importance of America’s military past through the documentation, collection, interpretation, and preservation of tangible artifacts and personal stories of the men and women who served and are serving in the United States Armed Forces.” The collection is eclectic, but military buffs will find it interesting. On the grounds is a replica of the Columbus home of World War I ace Eddie Rickenbacker.


Gateway Film Center
1550 North High St.

Nobody loves movies like Gateway Film Center. Discovering them, presenting them, celebrating them … and most of all, bringing the best of them to central Ohio. Every week, there is a new maverick mix of movies: a unique lineup of the world’s best blockbusters, indies, docs and locally-grown films, presented together in one modern, thriving film center. Enjoy a craft beer tasting in The Torpedo Room, our undersea bar and galley. See a film festival-style series. Join a conversation with an up-and-coming filmmaker. Or just come over and watch a GFC Exclusive with us, and talk about it afterward.


Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum
Ohio State University, Sullivant Hall, 1813 North High St.
Hours: 9 am -5 pm, Mon-Fri

The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum houses the world’s largest collection of materials related to cartoons and comics, including original art, books, magazines, journals, comic books, archival materials, and newspaper comic strip pages and clippings.


Center of Science and Industy (COSI Museum)
333 W Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215

COSI, Columbus, Ohio’s dynamic Center of Science and Industry, inspires the scientists, dreamers, and innovators of tomorrow. Opened in 1964, the facility is one of the largest modern-built science centers in the United States. COSI continues to represent a significant investment in the economic development and community revitalization of downtown Columbus.

COSI has established embedded partnerships that enrich our guests’ experiences, including the Ohio State University (OSU) Labs in Life, working research laboratories created through a partnership with The Ohio State University and staffed by OSU researchers.

In 2008, COSI was named America’s #1 science center for families by Parent. Since 1964, COSI has engaged with over 33 million people from all 50 states and around the world, both on-site and through its award-winning outreach programs. Excellent location for SMH2019 families with children. The Calendar of Events can give you specific showtimes for the planetarium and 4K projection theatre.


Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
4850 Powell Road, Powell, Ohio (20 miles from the Hilton)

Founded by the renowned Jack Hanna, Columbus Zoo is consistently ranked in the top 5 zoos nationwide. With more than 2.4 million guests a year and 10,000-plus animals, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium offers fun for everyone. Whether you choose to feed a giraffe or watch playful polar bears dive, you’re sure to connect with the world’s amazing wildlife.


National Museum of the US Air Force
1100 Spaatz Street, Wright-Patterson AFB OH (70 miles from the Hilton)

The primary SMH2019 tour, the National Museum of the United States Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton is the oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world. The museum collects, researches, conserves, interprets and presents the Air Force’s history, heritage and traditions, as well as today’s mission to fly, fight, and win…in Air, Space, and Cyberspace. This mission is delivered to a global audience through engaging exhibits, educational outreach, special programs, and the stewardship of the national historic collection. The museum houses the best collection of military aircraft and missiles in the United States.