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23 Fun Things to Do for Date Night in Columbus, Ohio

Updated: Apr 9

Are you looking to plan an unforgettable date night in Columbus, Ohio? Whether you are a local or just visiting, this vibrant city offers an array of activities sure to spark romance and create lasting memories. Here is a curated list of 23 fantastic things to do for a memorable date night experience:

1. German Village & Brewery District

Cloudy fall day in German Village, Columbus, Ohio

German Village, a historic neighborhood just south of downtown Columbus, showcases the enduring legacy of German settlers with its brick-lined streets and charming brick homes. This idyllic area houses local businesses offering delectable pastries, coffee shops, and the unique 32-room Book Loft, perfect for a day date or a leisurely stroll. Nearby, the Brewery District boasts lively bars and entertainment spots along High Street, including Shadowbox Live!, ideal for a fun Saturday night or special occasion. Experience the neighborhood's winter magic with beautiful holiday lights and markets at Schiller Park during the winter months.

2. Columbus Museum of Art

The Columbus Museum of Art, established in 1878, was Ohio's first art museum and gained National Register of Historic Places status in 1992. Housing diverse collections from American and European modern art to folk art and photography, it features renowned works like "Glass of Beer and Playing Cards" and "Portrait of Weda Cook." Currently, until February 8, 2024, visitors can engage in a creative collaboration with the Ohio LEGO® User’s Group, exploring a whimsical model of Columbus and enjoying activities such as scavenger hunts and LEGO® building zones—an ideal experience for a fun date idea.

3. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Cacti in Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, occupying 13 acres east of Franklin Park near downtown Columbus, provide an enriching blend of horticulture and education. Showcasing exotic plant collections, special exhibitions, and stunning Dale Chihuly artworks, the conservatory offers diverse nature-based displays and the engaging Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children's Garden. Alongside educational programs catering to all ages, visitors can explore the serene 2.2-mile loop trail, an accessible route that offers about 40 minutes of tranquil exploration amidst botanical wonders.

Glass art at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

During the festive season, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens undergo a magical transformation, becoming a captivating wonderland of lights and enchanting experiences. Visitors can delight in mesmerizing light displays synchronized with holiday melodies, immersive installations, table games, and lively dance celebrations. The holiday-themed additions, such as ornament trees, the Whirly Tree by Tork Inc., a life-size gingerbread house, and the enchanting Paul Busse Garden Railway's magical train display, combine with new captivating displays, offering a delightful escape for families and couples alike.

4. Scioto Mile

In the heart of downtown Columbus lies the Scioto Mile, an expansive urban oasis spanning over 175 acres of lush parkland. Connecting the city to the scenic Scioto River, this vibrant stretch offers a range of attractions, from a 15,000-square-foot interactive fountain to celebrated events like the Jazz & Rib Fest and Rhythm on the River Music Festival. With beautifully maintained trails, picturesque skyline views, and a wealth of green spaces, the Scioto Mile stands as a beloved highlight, attracting locals and visitors alike to its scenic beauty and diverse offerings in Central Ohio.

5. Visit one of the Local Parks

Butterfly on a flower in Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Within Columbus, Ohio, a diverse array of local parks awaits exploration. Scioto Audubon Metro Park, spanning 160 acres as part of the Scioto Mile network, offers a blend of nature and recreational activities, from rock climbing to multiple playgrounds and volleyball courts. Topiary Park stands out as a unique gem, housing the world's sole public topiary garden mirroring Georges Seurat's famous painting. Meanwhile, Goodale Park, dating back to 1851, remains a historical treasure, featuring ample amenities like playgrounds, sports courts, ball diamonds, and serene pond areas, a testament to its legacy of advocating for public health through open green spaces. These parks, each with its distinctive offerings, contribute to Columbus' vibrant outdoor scene and cater to a variety of recreational interests for locals and visitors alike.

6. Columbus Park of Roses

White pink roses

Columbus Park of Roses, a sprawling 13-acre public garden in Ohio, showcases diverse rose varieties across its Formal and Heritage Rose Gardens, alongside a vibrant array of perennials, shrubs, and trees. With thematic areas like the Herb Garden, Backyard Garden, and an expansive Arboretum housing 138 tree and shrub varieties, this park serves as an inspiring haven for botanical enthusiasts. Featuring over 12,000 rose specimens, visitors can revel in the beauty of mid-June and mid-September, the prime times to witness the stunning rose beds in full bloom.

7. Easton Town Center

Easton Town Center is a premier shopping destination, drawing over 30 million visitors annually with its 150 luxury and best-in-class stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s, and designer labels such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton. The open-air setting offers both indoor and outdoor shopping, catering to diverse tastes and providing an ideal spot for quality time with friends, family, or kids.

Nordstrom at a mall

Beyond shopping, Easton boasts an eclectic mix of international cuisines, from Turkish delights at Café Istanbul to crowd-pleasing favorites like The Cheesecake Factory and Easton originals like Brio. The entertainment extends beyond shopping and dining, offering diverse activities from catching the latest films at the AMC movie theater to enjoying stand-up and sketch comedy and live music at the Columbus Funny Bone. With outdoor concerts, parades, and family-centric events, Easton ensures there is something for everyone, making it a vibrant hub for shopping, dining, and entertainment in Central Ohio.

8. 16-bit Bar

Arcade games

Nestled as a haven for nostalgic gaming aficionados and beer-centric patrons alike, 16-Bit Bar + Arcade offers a unique twist to a night out. Boasting a collection of over 40 vintage arcade games, this venue caters to a diverse crowd—from bar regulars to enthusiastic arcade novices—enticing them to relive childhood memories in a playful, retro atmosphere. Whether you are seeking a taste of the past or a fresh, alternative entertainment experience, 16-Bit is a great date idea!

9. Wexner Center for the Arts

The Wexner Center for the Arts distinguishes itself as a dynamic hub for contemporary art exploration and experimentation. As a non-collecting institution, it stands out as a vital forum fostering artistic innovation through diverse mediums like exhibitions, performances, and educational programs. Renowned as one of Ohio's premier contemporary art centers, the Wexner Center offers a platform where artists can test ideas while engaging diverse audiences in exploring the compelling art and issues shaping our contemporary world.

10. Ohio Stadium

Ohio against the world flag flown at the Ohio Stadium

Ohio Stadium, home to the Ohio State University's football team, the Buckeyes, stands as a historic haven for sports enthusiasts. Designed by Howard Dwight Smith and recognized as one of the earliest concrete stadiums, its horseshoe-shaped structure earned endearing nicknames like "the Horseshoe" or "the Shoe" among loyal fans. As a prominent landmark for collegiate sports, Ohio Stadium continues to embody the fervor and legacy of Buckeyes football while hosting passionate sports fans in the heart of Columbus, Ohio. Go Bucks!

11. North Market

Vegetables at a market

As Columbus' sole surviving public / farmer's market established in 1876, North Market embodies a 147-year-old tradition of bringing together independent merchants, farmers, and makers. This vibrant hub offers many local and fresh provisions, inviting patrons to savor the authenticity of Ohio's best offerings. Amidst events like Happy Hour and Wine Tastings, North Market fosters a dynamic atmosphere where visitors can immerse themselves in a celebration of local flavors while supporting independent businesses.

12. Enjoy a Coffee Shop First Date

Two people holding coffee mugs where we can only see one arm each

For a fantastic first date centered around a shared love for coffee, Crimson Cup Coffee is a great idea! This coffee bar features a unique brew bar offering single-origin craft coffees and nitro cold brews, making it a perfect place for those who love coffee. With an extensive menu boasting beloved espresso drinks, innovative seasonal beverages, and a variety of iced specialties and teas, it is a great spot for those seeking a delightful coffee-centric rendezvous for their first dates.

13. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Home to over 10,000 animals spanning 600 species, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium captivates visitors with its diverse wildlife experiences. The zoo showcases eight distinct exhibits, such as Asia Quest, Polar Frontier, and Voyage to Australia and the Islands, inviting exploration and discovery of various animal habitats. Beyond its animal showcases, the Columbus Zoo boasts extra entertainment with carnival-style rides, Ohio's oldest wooden roller coaster, a scenic train ride, a charming historic carousel, and an exhilarating 4D movie theater, enhancing the overall visitor experience.

During the festive season, the zoo dazzles with Wildlights, a beloved holiday tradition featuring millions of LED lights, enchanting musical light shows, and exclusive holiday celebrations, all included with regular zoo admission, making it a must-visit holiday destination for families and animal enthusiasts alike.

14. Columbus Food Adventures

Columbus Food Adventures elevates the culinary experience in Columbus, Ohio, offering diverse food-themed explorations through walking, van, and private tours. With 12 distinct itineraries covering neighborhoods like the Short North, German Village, Dublin, Worthington, and Grandview, this culinary journey presents an opportunity to discover new favorite restaurants while reveling in the artistic essence of each locale. It is an exceptional way to delve into the city's culinary scene, ensuring a memorable and flavorful exploration of Columbus' diverse food and beverage offerings.

15. Vertical Adventures

A lady rock climbing indoors

For adventurers exploring Columbus, Vertical Adventures stands out as a premier rock climbing gym, blending exhilarating rock climbing with calming yoga sessions. It offers memberships, day passes, and appealing packages that include unlimited bouldering and staff-belayed high climbs, catering to the adventurous spirit. If you are seeking to elevate your experience and embrace your adventurous side, then Vertical Adventures is the perfect spot for a unique date night!

16. Short North Gallery Hop

Short North in Columbus, Ohio

The first Saturday of every month in Columbus, Ohio, the Short North Gallery Hop transforms the city's art scene into a vibrant celebration. This monthly event showcases new gallery exhibitions, street performances, and special events, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in local artwork while enjoying the district's culinary delights and beverages. Under the iconic Short North arches, thousands gather to revel in the diverse art galleries and unconventional exhibition spaces, making it a beloved and bustling day for art enthusiasts in Columbus.

17. Go on a Guided Tour of the City

Columbus, Ohio with the river in the forefront and buildings in the background

Embark on an unforgettable exploration of Columbus with Columbus City Tours. Their diverse range of excursions, including bus, van-based, and walking tours, ensures an immersive experience of the city's highlights and historic neighborhoods. From downtown ventures to special interest tours, like a stroll through the charming German Village, these guided expeditions promise a comprehensive view of Columbus and its rich cultural tapestry. Plus, do not miss their Holiday Lights Tour, offering a magical journey through the dazzling downtown displays and tales of cherished Central Ohio holiday traditions.

18. ZipZone Outdoor Adventures

Ziplining / ropes course adventure

For those craving outdoor thrills in Columbus, Ohio, ZipZone offers an unmatched experience with zip-lining tours and a treetop obstacle course. This adventure hub caters to families and adventurous couples, featuring top-of-the-line equipment and highly trained staff for a memorable experience. Glide through the treetops on fully guided zip line tours suitable for all levels of adventurers or take on the challenge of the Adventure Park, boasting five courses and over 60 diverse elements, making it Columbus' premier forest climbing park.

19. Columbus Axe Throwing

2 Axes

Are you looking for an exhilarating activity in Columbus? Axe Throwing is the trendiest active entertainment, offering adrenaline-fueled fun as you aim for bullseyes with an axe. Experience the thrill akin to bowling - their expert coaches ensure safety and guide you through the initial axe handling - then it is your turn to wield axes and revel in an exciting, competitive round. Challenge your date to discover who emerges as the ultimate lumberjack champion, turning sharp object throws into a riveting game of skill.

20. Olentangy Paddle

Kayaks on the water

Discover Columbus's natural beauty through Olentangy Paddle's kayak and canoe tours, offering guided and unguided excursions tailored to various interests, from skill-based to history and eco-tours. As part of the Paddle Ohio initiative by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Olentangy Paddle promotes exploration along Ohio's scenic water trails, including the nearly 9-mile Olentangy River Water Trail that winds through historic neighborhoods, parks, and even past the Ohio State University campus, culminating where the Olentangy meets the Scioto River in downtown Columbus.

21. Ohio Theater

Ohio Theatre front facade of the building

Experience the grandeur of the Ohio Theatre, Columbus's "Official Theatre of the State of Ohio," boasting stunning Spanish-Baroque architecture and a 21-foot-high chandelier within its 2,791-seat space. Hosting a diverse array of performances, from classical music and modern dance to concerts and family favorites, the Ohio Theatre remains a hub for cultural events. Do not miss renowned productions like the Tony Award-winning revival of Company by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth, ensuring unforgettable experiences for audiences.

22. Take a Cooking Class

Two people prepping for a meal with lots of vegetables in the image

Experience the culinary arts at The Seasoned Farmhouse, a boutique cooking school and event space in Columbus, Ohio. Offering a range of year-round cooking classes, gardening experiences, and educational programs, they celebrate the joy of cooking and sharing. With over 40 seasonal classes crafted by passionate Chef Instructors, it is an ideal setting for a unique date experience, where you can savor the joy of discovering different cuisines while enjoying each other's company.

23. Stay the Night at Hotel Leveque

Elevate your date with a staycation at Hotel Leveque, a boutique hotel in downtown Columbus. Nestled within a 1920s art deco building, it offers a perfect fusion of historic charm and contemporary elegance. Indulge in a delightful culinary experience at Keep Restaurant & Bar, savoring Modern French Brasserie cuisine and signature cocktails, making your stay unforgettable.

A few other options include:

A couple ice skating

- Ice Skating
- Roller Skating
- Playing a round of Mini Golf 
- Checking out a Comedy Club
- Grabbing some Ice Cream at a local parlor 

Enjoy Date Night!

Skyline of Columbus, Ohio

From beautiful gardens to adventurous experiences, Columbus, Ohio, offers an abundance of options for an unforgettable date night. No matter your interests, this great city provides the perfect backdrop for creating cherished memories with your special someone.

Have you visited any of these places in Columbus, Ohio? If so, comment below and tell me which ones you enjoyed! If you have not gone, is it on your bucket list of places to visit now? Let me know in the comments, and share this article with the person or people you want to go with! Either way, SUBSCRIBE below to learn about other places to add to your "To Visit" List! Ready? Okay, vamos. Time to have fun!

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* This article is not sponsored by any of the businesses or locations mentioned above or their affiliates. *
** Some images above are not from the actual place but rather a representation of the place or its description. **

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