Part of Columbus' charm is its affordability. There are activities and events for every budget and every resident. Most of the free things to do in Columbus also add the added bonus of learning more about this great city. These hot spots are great for anytime of the year.
Ohio's libraries are consistently ranked among the top library systems in the country. The Columbus Metropolitan library system is number one in the country with Cuyahoga and Cincinnati/Hamilton County systems listed in the top ten.
What makes our local libraries the best is they offer much more than just books. Storytime activities and family day events draw big crowds. Other big draws include special summer concerts, extensive art collections and stellar research resources for businesses, genealogy and electronics. And about those books - not only is the selection extensive, the libraries in the area have robust e-books selections and eReader programs where patrons can learn the latest in gadgets.
Check out 7 Romantic Outdoor Places in Columbus
Photo by Carol Ottolenghi
Hike the thousands of trails in Central Ohio with trained guides or alone using a map and a trusty compass as your guide. Some hikes are designed with fitness in mind, while others are designed to show off nature.
The hikes are not the only programming offered by Metro Parks. Programming for kids, homeschoolers, bird lovers and more are offered weekly most with no cost involved.
Check out North Market Review
3. Free Tours
Yummy factories and the Statehouse - there are free tours all over the place in Columbus.
Free guided tours are offered Monday through Friday on the hour from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 3 p.m. Tours depart from the Map Room easily accessible from the Third Street entrance. Tours are approximately 45 minutes in length.
Graeters Ice Cream Factory Tour
Anthony Thomas Candy Factory Tour
*While not completely free, the low prices - $2 for adults, $1 for kids over 3 years old - makes this a cheap treat that's worth the trip.
January 4th through September 28th
Monday - Friday 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Ages 21 and over
Check out Central Ohio Summer Festivals
4. Free Music
Who doesn't love music, especially when it's free! It flows year-round here in Columbus!
Summer Lunch Time Performing Arts Series
Dates: June 1 - August 24, 2012
Location: Ohio Statehouse
Hours: Friday noon-1 p.m.
Address: Broad & Third Streets, Columbus
14th Annual Heritage Concert Series
Dates: July 12 - August 30, 2012
Location: The King Arts Complex, Mayme Moore Park
Hours: Thursday 6 p.m.
Address: 867 Mt. Vernon Ave., Columbus, 43203
Finding Time: Columbus Public Art 2012 - Chimes
Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2012 Location: Trinity Episcopal Church Address: Broad and Third Streets, Columbus, 43215
Third Sunday Concert Series
Dates: June 17 - September 16, 2012
Location: German Village
Hours: Sunday 6:30-8 p.m.
Address: Frank Fetch Park on Beck St., Columbus, 43215
Holiday Choir Performances
Dates: December 3-14, 2012
Location: Ohio Statehouse
Hours: Monday-Friday noon-1 p.m.
Address: Broad and High streets, Columbus
Check out 15 Place for Kids here.
5. Gallery Hops
Copyright tim.perdue via Discover Ohio Travel Flicker Group
Art lovers and people watchers unite! There are several "hops" in the area including these three favorites:
The last Saturday of each month from April through November
5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Short North Gallery Hop
The first Saturday of the month
4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Check out my review of the Short North Gallery Hop here.
Third Saturday of the month, March 21 - November 21
2 p.m. - 7 p.m.