Free Things to Do in Columbus This Summer
All the best reasons Ohioans need to spend the summer in the fastest growing city in the Midwest!
School is out and summer is here! Getting out of the house to spend time with friends and family in warmer months doesn’t have to break the bank. Check out these recommendations for free summer fun in Columbus!
Free Events in Columbus
Festival season is back and better than ever. Check out these free events and plan to stay a night or two to get the full experience.
• Red, White & BOOM! - There are few more patriotic ways to kick off your Independence Day weekend than at the largest fireworks display in Ohio.
• Columbus Book Festival - This inaugural literary festival celebrates the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s 150th anniversary and features panel discussions, author talks, book signings and more at the historic Main Library downtown, named one of the country’s 11 most beautiful libraries by Fodor’s.
• Jazz & Rib Festival - Presented by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, this highly anticipated summertime tradition offers both jazz and rib connoisseurs the finest in music and barbecue.
• CBUS Soul Fest - In a collaboration between Experience Columbus (and its CBUS Soul initiative) and the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, the CBUS Soul Fest will return for its second year at Genoa Park. Come out to experience Columbus' vibrant Black culture, music, history, and soul!
This is just a preview of the amazing free events happening all summer long. View the full list here.
Free Attractions in Columbus
When the rain comes, the fun doesn’t have to end. Consider free entry offerings from one of these cultural arts institutions.
• Wexner Center for the Arts is one of the nation’s premier cultural gems — an internationally known contemporary arts center at The Ohio State University.
• The Columbus Museum of Art offers free admission every Sunday. Enjoy the museum's permanent
collection and experience hands-on art activities for kids with a visit to The Wonder Room.
• The Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum is a one-of-a-kind museum featuring rotating exhibitions from artists across the country and offering free admission to guests. The library (open by appointment) allows you to examine a complete history of comics in its archives.
Free Outdoor Activities in Columbus
Columbus has ample opportunities for free fun in the sun! Get outdoors at any of our many unique Metro Parks. Here are some of the things to look forward to.
• Free Kayak Days at the Scioto Mile: Soak in iconic views of the Columbus skyline from a kayak or stand-up paddleboard on July 29 and Aug.
12 at the boat launch under the Main Street Bridge.
• Quarry Trails Metro Park: Check out the only urban Via Ferrata in the U.S.
• Park of Roses: Surround yourself with thousands of roses in one of the largest public rose gardens in the U.S.
• Scioto Audubon Metro Park: Check out the world’s largest free outdoor climbing wall or the quarter-mile Columbus Rotary Obstacle Course.
Don’t miss summer this free summer fun in Columbus. Explore our world-class cultural institutions, amazing outdoor activities and iconic events this season in the city!