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Columbus, Indiana and the 15 Best Things to do in the City

Nestled just off the I-65 corridor is a real gem of a city that’s gaining in popularity over the years—the city of Columbus! Though it may not be as well known as some of its larger sister cities in the Hoosier state, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in Columbus, Indiana! Read on to learn about just some of the options and activities that make this a fantastic place to visit with family, friends, or solo!

Road sign with Columbus, Indiana on it, with an American flag draped on one side.

Restaurants in Columbus, IN

1. Henry Social Club

If you’re on the hunt for a delicious dinner option in an elegant setting, Henry Social Club should definitely be on your list! This fine-dining location opened up in 2014 and has since steadily garnered a great reputation and high praise for its delectable offerings of both large and small plates, including steak and pasta, and its classy beverage menu with wonderful vintages and a variety of options. If you’re looking for an outstanding, ritzy dinner option to enjoy toward the end of a long week, you’ll want to visit Henry Social Club!

2. Blackerby’s Hangar 5 Restaurant

In the mood for a laid-back, relaxed family dining environment? Blackerby’s Hangar 5 Restaurant has you covered! Open from 7am until 2pm daily, this classic eatery brings out that warm, hometown diner feeling, with a cozy setting and atmosphere and a menu of familiar favorites whose names give a nod to the area’s aviation history. You can bring the whole family along to Blackerby’s for a guaranteed good dining experience that can feed your whole crew—all of it prepared with homestyle Hoosier warmth and care. You won’t regret stopping by!

3. Ramen Alley

For folks with an appetite for an upscaled version of a salty, savory, long-time favorite, Ramen Alley is the place to eat! This trendy ramen spot offers a menu of traditional favorites, including pork and miso ramen, guaranteeing a great dining experience for both longtime ramen consumers and those who are new to trying out these delicious bowls! Ramen Alley is truly a great option for adventurous eaters looking to try something fresh and scrumptious outside the usual nine dots of Midwest dining!

4. Taku Steakhouse

Tackle your hibachi hankering at Taku Steakhouse, a great option for fans of sushi, steak, and more! This family-friendly restaurant is both an eatery and an experience; folks of all ages will love the tabletop grill preparation conducted by well trained Master Hibachi chefs, every meal made with fresh ingredients and served up straight from the grill to your plate! With a bevy of vegetarian options as well, there’s no doubt everyone will find something to love on the Taku Steakhouse menu!

5. Lucabe Coffee Co.

Need a morning, afternoon, or evening pick-me-up? Lucabe Coffee Co. is here to meet all your caffeine needs! With two locations now open in Columbus, this modern, trendy, bright and airy coffee shop is a fantastic place to shop and eat locally and support a smaller-town small business! Order your favorite coffee beverage, indulge in some delicious pastries and treats—including espresso cake and cinnamon rolls—and enjoy that modern coffeehouse feeling that never fails to inspire and uplift. This is a great location for reading, meeting with friends, people watching, or doing some café work!

blurred image of the interior of a local restaurant.

Family-Friendly Activities in Columbus, IN

6. Kidscommons

This is a great place for kiddos of all ages to let off energy, learn, and explore! Kidscommons is Columbus’s community children’s museum, offering both fun and educational activities that the whole family can get involved with. Drop in and explore exhibits about gardening, robotics, homes, and more…all designed to engage kids of all ages and inspire them about this vast world and their part in it! (Note: Kidscommons does require registration ahead of time, even for those who have already purchased tickets or passes. You can access the museum website to register before you stop by for your visit!)

7. Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum

Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum is not just an educational experience, but a sweet one, too! Dating back to the year 1900, this amazing spot is part ice cream parlor and eatery, and part museum. You can take a guided or self driven tour, exploring the mechanics, music, and other historical novelties the museum has to offer; then drop by the parlor itself for soup, sandwiches, and entrees of all kinds—and of course, you have to try the fresh, homemade ice cream! With a whole spread of toppings and flavors, everyone in the family is sure to find a combination they love…something that’ll bring you back to Zaharakos again and again!

8. Mill Race Park

For families looking for some time to connect out in nature, Mill Race Park is a great option! One of Indiana’s famous covered-bridge spots, this 85-acre riverfront park has actually been recognized nationally as one of the best designed and most accessible of its kind! Here at Mill Race, individuals, groups, and families alike can enjoy the park’s 84-foot observation tower, venture across the covered bridge, hike or bike the trails, go fishing, play on the playground, and at times, catch a concert or performance at the free amphitheater. This is a great park to visit at any time of the year!

9. The Commons

Another fantastic indoor experience, The Commons offers a variety of experiences for both adults and children to enjoy! Inside the bright, beautiful buildings, you’ll find casual dining, event spaces, and public art—including a unique sculpture piece known as Chaos I; and for the kiddos, there’s a sprawling indoor playground, featuring areas specifically for infants and toddlers to enjoy and other spaces for older kids. This playground is open to the public during normal business hours daily and is a fantastic place for the little ones to burn off energy, while the rest of The Commons offers a wonderful artistic experience for folks of all ages!

10. Escape 812

Looking to challenge your family’s wits as well as your teamwork? Escape 812 is the place for you! This escape room hub is a perfect fit for families with slightly older kids to enjoy as a day outing together, offering three fantastic rooms to conquer—Granny’s Basement, Dr. Evilquirk’s Experimental Science Lab, and Corrupt and Convicted. Each of these challenging escape rooms has bested many visitors in the past, but your family could be the next to make it through! Put your wits and wiles to the test as a family at Escape 812, and see if you can escape before the clock runs out!

The Commons in Columbus, Indiana
The Commons

Cultural and Recreational Activities in Columbus, IN

11. Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum

For history and aviation buffs, it doesn’t get much better than Atterbury-Bakalar Air Museum! This free museum offers some wonderful insight into the history of military aviation, particularly during the World War II era. While visitors typically move through the museum in about an hour, all museum tours are self guided, allowing you to take your time at any exhibits you find of particular interest. This is a perfect afternoon jaunt and one of the hidden gems of things to do in Columbus, Indiana!

12. Columbus, Indiana Philharmonic

Music lovers, unite! The Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, dating back to the 1970s, is a one-of-a-kind experience and something you won’t want to miss! Hosting a variety of events and concerts throughout the year, including Cabaret on the Commons over multiple nights, you can often find the Philharmonic at their home location on Franklin Street in Columbus, or playing at events across the city—and even sometimes around the state! Check out their website to find an upcoming concert or event to attend, and get ready for an unforgettable musical experience!

13. Indiana Premium Outlets

Ready to shop’ til you drop? Indiana Premium Outlets is your one stop location for all your shopping needs! Located just a short drive up the I-65 interstate from Columbus, this sprawling complex of shops offers some of the best modern favorites, including Yankee Candle, Eddie Bauer, Aeropostale, Fossil, and more! After you’ve shopped your heart out and worked up an appetite, don’t forget to stop by Big Woods Edinburgh for craft food and drinks—you could spend a whole day enjoying all that this premium outdoor outlet mall has to offer!

14. Columbus Rock Gym

Test out your endurance and flexibility at Columbus Rock Gym! Though it may be small, this gym offers a larger than life indoor boulder and rock climbing experience that anyone from youth to adult can thoroughly enjoy! Here at CRG, you can grab a day pass, harness in, and test your mettle against walls of differing heights and challenges—all in a safe, exciting environment. This is a great activity to experience either solo or in a group!

15. Miller House and Garden

Book a tour to visit Miller House and Garden, an important modern-historical landmark of the Columbus area! This 90 minute tour for visitors ages 10 and up will take you from the Columbus Visitor’s Center to the Miller House itself, where you can see up close and personal the exquisite architecture and beautiful landscaping that makes this house and garden such a gem of Columbus’s architectural heart and heritage. This tour offers a great opportunity to explore the city’s local beauty and admire the care and detail of its design!

Brownsville Covered Bridge at Mills Race Park in Columbus.
Brownsville Covered Bridge at Mills Race Park in Columbus.


We hope this guide has you feeling excited about all the fun things to do in Columbus, Indiana! Let us know what activities or eateries you’re most excited about in the comments below! We look forward to hearing about your visit.

And don’t forget to check out what other cities in this great state have to offer.