Put away your winter coats, but maybe keep an umbrella on hand—it's the unofficial start to summer in Columbus.
As school lets out and summer vacations are set in place, you may be wondering how to spend the season in Columbus or searching for a short day-trip destination.
With these exciting activities, your summer in Columbus and around Ohio will be filled with adventure, relaxation and memorable experiences. From birdwatch to people-watching on a Columbus patio, attending festivals or cooling off in local pools, these activities will add an extra dose of fun to your summer itinerary.
Here are at least 11 things to do this summer in Columbus:
Attend Memorial Day parades and picnics
Memorial Day is on Monday and is a nice way to kickstart your summer by attending the Memorial Day parades and picnics around Columbus. Suburbs like Dublin, Worthington and Westerville are hosting their own processions, activities and performances. Or attend multiple events at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum and Green Lawn Cemetery.
Hang out on a Columbus patio
Savor the warm weather by lounging on one of Columbus' patios. Check out a few of the local restaurants and breweries with places to indulge in food and drinks, including Jackie O's, Edison Brewing Company, Seventh Son Brewing Co. and one of Columbus' newest patios, at Local Cantina's new Trolley District location.
Explore the diverse avian life that Ohio has to offer by venturing on a birdwatching adventure. Grab your binoculars and visit popular birding hotspots like the Inniswood Battelle Darby Creek or Scioto Audubon Metro Park for a chance to spot as many as 341 beautiful species of birds in their natural habitats.
Visit Columbus farmers' markets
Taste local food straight from the source by visiting the farmers' markets in Greater Columbus. Explore a variety of fresh produce, flowers, meat, eggs and homemade treats from local vendors. Check out this list of over 30 farmers' markets in Franklin, Delaware, Fairfield, Licking, Madison and Union counties, including for hours and dates through early fall.
Take a swim at community pools
Beat the summer heat by taking a refreshing dip at community pools in the Columbus area. Whether you're looking for a leisurely swim or seeking some fun water activities, community pools like Dodge, Driving Park and Tuttle in Columbus, the Highlands Park Aquatic Center in Westerville or the Big Splash Family Aquatics Center in Grove City will be open very soon.
Join the Columbus Distillery Trail
Discover the art of distilling on Experience Columbus' Columbus Distillery Trail. Visit a selection of local distilleries—such as High Bank Distillery, Middle West Spirits and Watershed Distillery—to learn about the craftsmanship behind creating spirits and redeem prizes for going to multiple stops on the trail's digital passport.
This isn't just a summer event, however. Prize redemptions can be completed through next spring and can be restarted annually.
Escape the city and immerse yourself in nature with a glamping experience in Ohio. Whether you prefer luxury yurts in Cumberland, cozy cabins in Rockbridge or treehouses in Glenmont, there are various glamping sites throughout the state where you can unwind and enjoy the great outdoors without sacrificing comfort.
Take a cliff-side walk
Embark on a scenic cliff-side walk in Quarry Trails Metro Park, a recent addition to the park with a cliff face 80 to 90 feet above the ground with a route over 1,000 feet in length. It features the first ferrata in Ohio and in a U.S. urban setting, according to Metro Parks, to cross tricky or steep rocky terrain.
Play the nine hardest golf holes around Columbus
Challenge your golfing skills by playing the nine hardest golf holes in the Columbus area. Visit public courses like Groveport Municipal or Darby Creek to test your swing and navigate through this strategically designed course that will put your abilities to the test.
Private courses: The most difficult golf holes at private courses in central Ohio
Attend Columbus events
There are a ton of festivals, events and happenings planned this summer in Columbus. This summer guide lists events of all kinds, including those devoted to the arts, all flavors of food, various cultures and music from every genre imaginable. And some feature all of those combined, like the Ohio State Fair, the Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival and the Columbus Arts Festival.
The list also features big acts coming to Columbus this summer, including Paramore, Drake, Billy Joel and Stevie Nicks, Boyz II Men and a rescheduled stop from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
Search for Bigfoot
Embrace your adventurous side and join the hunt for Bigfoot in Ohio, considered one of the top states in the country for Bigfoot sightings. Bigfoot sightings have occurred in Ohio as recently as 2020 when a family said they spotted the creating while camping in Pleasant Hill Lake Park in Ashland County. Other places in Ohio with a history of Bigfoot sightings include Mohican State Park, Hocking Hills and Salt Fork State Park.
Bonus: Check out 50+ more things you can do in Columbus
There's a much longer list of things to do in Columbus that can take place outside of just the summer. The Columbus bucket list includes everything from hitting a Columbus Crew game to trying the iconic Thurmanator burger or visiting the famed Dublin field of corn. Whether you're just visiting or need a new way to spend the weekend, the list has something for everyone.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: 11 of the best things to do this summer in Columbus and Ohio