New arrivals in Columbus have plenty to look forward to when it comes to the type of lifestyle that the city offers. With bounteous opportunities for shopping, dining out, painting the town red or getting some fresh air, there’s always something to do.

Shopping in Columbus

Columbus is considered a fashion capital, home to headquarters of major retailers such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Victoria’s Secret. So, really, there’s no shortage of places for new arrivals to shop ‘til they drop. Polaris Fashion Place and Easton Center are two local favourites, each of which have more than 200 stores to explore.

Eating out in Columbus

Touted as the USA’s ‘next big food city’, Columbus is packed with restaurants to try out and is rapidly expanding, giving nearby Cincinnati a run for its money when it comes to top-notch eats. With an ever-growing immigrant population, authentic cuisines from all around the world can be found in Columbus, with restaurants offering exotic dishes from all corners of the globe, including countries as far afield as Somalia, Yemen, Nepal and Pakistan.

Nightlife in Columbus

There’s a thriving live-music scene in Columbus made up of numerous smaller venues as well as larger musical halls and arenas, making it easy to find a performance to attend just about any night of the week.

Those who enjoy craft beer will be right at home in Columbus, with more than 30 microbreweries dotted around the city. There are also a few great cocktail spots.

Outdoor activities in Columbus

There are plenty of green spaces to enjoy in and around Columbus. Places such as Inniswood Metro Gardens, Glacier Ridge Metro Park, and Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens all offer expansive vistas, greenery and fresh air.

To truly stop and smell the roses, head to the Park of Roses, which covers 13 acres and is home to 11,000 roses of 350 variaties. Another unique outdoor attraction is Topiary Park, which consists of yew trees carefully placed and shaped to resemble Georges Seurat’s painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of LaGrande Jatte.

See and do in Columbus

Thanks to the city's natural beauty and thriving arts-and-culture scene, there's plenty to see and do in Columbus. With such a variety of options available, new arrivals of all inclinations are sure to find something to pique their interest.

Center of Science and Industry

Considered one of the USA’s best science museums, the Center of Science and Industry – often simply referred to as SOCI – is a must-see, especially for families with kids. Children will adore the themed areas and the hands-on, interactive exhibits. Get up close and personal with a full-body cast of a T-Rex skeleton, ride in a space capsule, and enjoy whacky live shows such as Rat Basketball and The Electrostatic Energy Show.

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum

This fascinating centre is dedicated to the history of comic art and cartoons. From Sunday comic strips and classic comic books to graphic novels and editorial cartoons, the library and museum showcase this often-overlooked area of art.

Scioto Mile

A great way to take advantage of the city’s iconic river, the Scioto Mile is a long trail that connects nine parks along the bank. Highlights include the Scioto Mile Fountain, where interactive jet streams create a child-friendly play area, and the Cultural Arts Centre, which hosts exhibits, lectures and workshops for those keen to dip a toe into the city's art scene.

Annual events in Columbus

New arrivals looking to experience the best of entertainment in Columbus are sure to enjoy these annual festivals and celebrations held in and around the city. With such a jam-packed calendar, the hardest part is often deciding which exciting event to go to.

Here are our picks for the top yearly events in Columbus.

Ohio State Fair (July/August)

With close to a million people attending over the 12 days of this iconic festival, new arrivals should make sure they don’t miss out on the fun. Concerts are played, food stalls abound and a wide array of contests take place.

Red, White & BOOM! (July)

This Independence Day fireworks display is the largest of its kind not just in Ohio, but also throughout the entire Midwest region. Fourth of July celebrations are the perfect opportunity for new arrivals from other countries to experience American culture at its best.

Jazz and Rib Fest (July)

Hosted on the banks of the Scioto River, this free event combines jazz music’s finest acts with mouthwateringly delicious ribs and other grilled meats like chicken, pulled pork and beef brisket. Prizes are awarded to the best grillers at the festival and attendees can participate by voting in the People’s Choice Award.

Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (November/December)

For those looking to kick off the festive season with a bit of Christmas magic, the dazzling displays of Wildlights are a perfect pick. The festival has more than 30 years of history behind it and the displays around the zoo are made up of more than three million LED lights.

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