Are you looking for things to do in Columbus with teens but not sure where to start or if your kids will even be interested in what you suggest?
In my experience, it’s not that difficult to find things to do with teens. My advice? Don’t overthink it. They still want to do the silly things that “they’re too old for” and yet, they also want to dip their toes into life as a grown-up.
As parents, it’s our job to guide them there safely. And what better way to do that than to spend quality time with your teens while having fun?
Fun is the key. Think about their interests and what they like to do and go from there.
One day, you’ll look back and be thankful for those memories.
Experience Columbus with Teens
We’ve tried to put together ideas for a large variety of interests. We have sports, nature, adventure, arts, and history covered. Check out our list and let us know what you’d like to try first.
16- Bit Bar + Arcade
Address: 254 S. 4th Street, Columbus
This modern take on an old-fashioned arcade is a great place to spend some time bonding with your teenager. You’ll have fun reliving your youth with games like Frogger, Donkey Kong, and Pac-Man.
Games are free if you’re ordering from the bar, which has snacks, adult beverages, and non-alcoholic options.
You can also bring your own food. Keep in mind that while teens are allowed with their favorite adult until 7 p.m. after 8 p.m. 16- Bit Bar + Arcade is only open to the 21+ crowd.
Address: 934 Cleveland Ave, Columbus- Note: This attraction is currently closed through January 2023 for construction.
With 2700 square feet in the Milo-Grogan neighborhood of Columbus, 934 Gallery is the perfect spot for teens interested in contemporary art. Featuring the work of local artists, this non-profit gallery is run by volunteers and is currently open on Saturdays only.
Special showings and launches are frequently offered as well. Don’t miss the outdoor gallery, with several unique murals surrounding the gallery.
Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
Address: 1813 N High St, Columbus
This unique Columbus museum is home to an interesting collection of American cartoons and comic art. Located in Sullivant Hall at The Ohio State University, and is free for all guests to enter.
Billy Ireland was a local cartoonist for the Columbus Dispatch, and his work is featured here, along with several other cartoonists.
Some exhibits rotate, so you can visit more than once and enjoy new content each time!
Blendon Woods Metro Park
Address: 4265 E Dublin Granville Road, Columbus
For some mild outdoor adventures with your teen, head to Blendon Woods Metro Park. There are fantastic hiking trails through wooded ravines and around scenic lakes.
In the winter, there are cross-country ski trails and ice skating. You’ll also find an 18-hold disc golf course, a nature center, and a natural play area with a zip line and rope swings.
The Book Loft of German Village
Address: 631 S. 3rd St, Columbus
The Book Loft of the German Village is a popular place for the whole family. As one of the country’s largest independent bookstores, there are over 30 rooms filled with books. The store stretches for nearly a full block, taking over several pre-Civil War era buildings.
You’ll also find greeting cards, board games, music, and the largest selection of jigsaw puzzles in the Midwest.
Pair this outing with a stop at Stauf’s Coffee Roasters next door.
Address: 835 Grandview Ave, Columbus
An Escape Room adventure is another great way to spend some quality time with your teenager. Breakout Games is rated the #1 Escape Room in Columbus, with several different escape room themes to try out.
If you haven’t tried an escape room, it’s a fun way to bond as a family. You are put in a room and given clues, which you will then use to try to escape the room. Collaboration and teamwork are a must in order to escape!
Center of Science and Industry (COSI)
Address: 333 W Broad St, Columbus
For over 50 years, COSI has been inspiring Columbus through science and technology. This museum on the banks of the Scioto River has more than 300,000 square feet which encompass dozens of permanent and rotating collections and interactive exhibits.
Some of the themes include space, life, recycling, and more.
The Atomic Cafe serves sandwiches, burgers, pizza, and snacks, while Molecules serves coffee drinks, draft beer, and other beverages.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Address: Nationwide Arena: 200 W Nationwide Blvd, Columbus
Hockey fans will want to check out Nationwide Arena for a Columbus Blue Jackets game. The NHL team plays in the Arena District just west of downtown Columbus. NHL season runs from January through May, with the playoff season running from May through July.
Tip: Make this an overnight and book a stay in the Drury Inn & Suites Convention Center downtown. The hotel is an easy 5-minute walk to Nationwide Arena, it’s a great property for kids. Plus, you’ll find two-room suites, an indoor pool, a hot tub, and evening Kick Backs and drinks included with the cost of your room.
Address: Huntington Park: 330 Huntington Park Ln, Columbus
If baseball is more your speed, check out the Columbus Clippers at Huntington Park. Columbus’ minor league baseball team is a feeder team for the Cleveland Guardians, so you might just catch the next up-and-coming baseball star!
Located in the Arena District between Lower.com Field and Nationwide Arena, the ballpark has great views of Columbus Ohio, with seating for just over 10,000 fans.
Columbus Crew SC
Address: Lower.com Field: 96 Columbus Crew Way, Columbus
Columbus’ Major League Soccer team was one of ten original teams in the league. Playing at Lower.com Field in the Arena District to over 20,000 fans, the Columbus Crew is so much fun to watch. The regular season runs from late February through early October.
Columbus Museum of Art
Address: 480 E Broad St, Columbus
Some teens love art, while others have to be dragged to an art museum. If you happen to have an art-loving teen, don’t miss the Columbus Museum of Art! The collection includes American and European modern art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including several renowned local artists.
There’s also a full calendar of special events and programs and a fantastic museum store with gifts and souvenirs. The museum is free to visit on Sundays.
Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
Address: 4850 W Powell Rd, Powell
A day at the zoo is always a good idea for kids of all ages. The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium is often ranked as one of the best zoos in the United States. The collection includes more than 10,000 animals from nearly 800 different species set in seven different “regions” representing their natural habitat.
You can also opt for several tours and experiences, such as bathing the elephants and other up-close experiences with some of the Zoo residents.
Address: 309 S 4th St, Columbus
Axe-throwing is sweeping the nation with pop-up events taking place all over. It’s a fun way to learn a new skill and foster some friendly competition with friends and family.
With locations in Columbus, New Albany, and Las Vegas, this is a fun way to spend an evening with your teen, or with the entire family. The Columbus location is BYOB and you can bring in your own food, or order with free delivery from several neighborhood restaurants.
Reservations are recommended, but Dueling Axes does take walk-ins.
Easton Town Center
Address: 160 Easton Town Ctr, Columbus
Easton Town Center is your one-stop shop for entertainment, dining, and shopping in northeast Columbus. The layout is set to resemble several town squares, with fountains and parks mixed amongst the shops and restaurants.
Summer months also feature Easton Unplugged, an acoustic concert lineup with live music on Thursday nights.
You can also catch the latest film at the AMC Easton 30 movie theater or pop into Build-A-Bear for a personalized stuffed animal. My kids love them!
The German Village
Address: S. 3rd St, Columbus
A visit to Columbus’ German Village is a great way to learn about the German immigrants who settled here in the mid-19th century. In fact, you could probably spend an entire weekend exploring the neighborhood because there are so many fun shops and restaurants.
Guided walking tours and golf car tours are available, as well as a self-guided scavenger hunt.
Of course, there are several places to try yummy German food, but Schmidt’s Restaurant and Sausage Haus is the locals’ favorite, with live music Thursday through Saturday.
Tip: Use this coupon to snag a free Cream Puff when you spend $30 or more at Schmidt’s. Good through March 31, 2023.
Get Air Columbus
Address: 3708A Fishinger Blvd, Hilliard
For a fun way to exert some energy, check out this trampoline park in the northwest suburb of Hilliard. Activities include a foam pit, dodgeball, slackline, ninja course, and a special area for young children.
The park is open daily, with hourly rates for general admission so you only pay for the time you want to play.
Lots of discounts are available on certain days, so check the website before you go!
Glacier Ridge Metro Park
Address: 9801 Hyland-Croy Rd, Plain City
Another great place for outdoor adventure is the Columbus Metroparks! Glacier Ridge in northwest suburban Columbus encompasses more than 1,000 acres, with hiking trails and a boardwalk through the Honda Wetlands Area.
The 25-foot observation tower is one of the best places for spotting wildlife from above. There’s also an 18-hole disc golf course, and a fun 3-acre obstacle course with 12 different stations to challenge your physical fitness.
There’s also a smaller natural play area that’s perfect for smaller kids so younger brothers and sisters can join in on the fun.
Glass Axis Glass Studio
Address: 610 W Town St, Columbus
Sign up for a glass-blowing class at the Glass Axis Glass Studio and get hands-on instruction as you create your own masterpiece. They offer a large selection of classes from blown glass, stained glass, sculpted glass, and flameworking or kiln throwing.
Memberships are also available, giving you access to all the glass equipment plus the opportunity to sell your work in the gallery.
High Banks Metro Park
Address: 9466 Columbus Pike (US Rt 23 N) Lewis Center
By now you’ve probably figured out that my family loves to spend time outdoors.
The Metro Parks of Greater Columbus are full of cool things to see and do outside. High Banks is named for the steep banks along the Olentangy State Scenic River.
The 1,200-acre park includes a variety of hiking trails, cross-country skiing, fishing, sledding, and a nature center. Canoeing and kayaking are also available on the river.
Address: 1900 Ikea Way, Columbus
What teenager doesn’t love a room refresh? Whether they’re preparing to head off to college soon or just want a redo on their bedroom at home, IKEA is the perfect place for budget-friendly design inspiration. From furniture to bedding, decor, and even plants and artwork, let your teen loose to choose a fresh look for their space.
Before you head home, grab some Swedish Meatballs and fresh cinnamon rolls at the on-site restaurant.
Address: N. 3rd St, Columbus
Much like the German village, Columbus’ Italian Village was settled by immigrants in the mid-1800s. The Italian Village is home to several historic buildings and two breweries, and it is still the best place in Columbus for Italian food! Have a group with varied food tastes? Head to the Budd Dairy Food Hall, which features 10 unique kitchens so you’re sure to find delicious food to please everyone.
National Veterans Memorial and Museum
Address: 300 W Broad St, Columbus
This beautiful memorial along the Scioto River is one of the only museums in North America that honors all veterans from all branches of service. The museum offers an in-depth look at all conflicts involving the United States Armed Forces, and it’s quite extensive. If you have a teen who’s interested in history, you can easily spend a couple of hours touring the exhibits.
You can also take a guided tour; held twice daily, at 11 am and 1 pm.
Address: 59 Spruce St, Columbus
Have an aspiring chef or foodie in the family? This 145-year-old public market is in the heart of downtown Columbus. With dozens of merchants, this is more than just a farmers’ market; it’s a destination! Shop for fresh meat, seafood, produce, baked goods, and more.
The North Market is a great place to shop for ingredients, or just pick up a sweet treat after a day of exploring Columbus.
Ohio School of Falconry
Address: 7925 N. High St. Columbus
If you are looking for fun activities that are totally unique, check out the Ohio School of Falconry. It’s only one of its kind in the state of Ohio, and a really fun experience to share with your teen. Whether you want to learn falconry or just admire it, there are many different classes you can sign up for.
You can get up close with hawks, falcons, and owls, and even take a wildlife photography class.
The Ohio State University
Address: 281 W Lane Ave, Columbus
Is your teen starting to think about college choices? A campus tour at the Ohio State University is a great way to foster those conversations and see what options might be available. This is the highest-ranked public university in Ohio, and one of the best public universities in the nation.
Campus tours are available but do fill up quickly. Self-guided tours are also available. Show your teen what campus life is like in Columbus!
Olentangy Caverns – Closed for the season, opens 3/25/23
Address: 1779 Home Rd, Delaware; (740) 548-7917
Located on the northern outskirts of Columbus, Olentangy Caverns have been welcoming curious travelers since the 18th century when the Delaware tribe used the caverns for shelter. Today, there are lots of fun places to explore within the cavern complex.
An all-access pass gives you access to a self-guided cavern tour, gem mining, a petting zoo, mini-golf, and a treasure hunt maze.
Orton Geological Museum
Address: 155 Oval Drive S, Columbus; (614) 292-6896
This Ohio State University Museum is the best spot for rockhounds and budding geologists. The Orton Geological Museum is open Monday through Friday and is free to enter. Inside, you’ll find rocks, minerals, and fossils from Ohio and all over the world. See a giant sloth skeleton, glow-in-the-dark minerals, and a fun little gift shop.
This is a great addition to your Ohio State University campus tour.
Address: 5819 Chantry Dr, Columbus
I’ve included this unique immersive art experience because it’s too popular to dismiss it but it’s not my family’s cup of tea. With over 30,000 square feet of space, Otherworld at Chantry Square features over 40 rooms that have life-size art installations, with secret passageways leading from one to the next. If you like science fiction and fantasy, or just love new experiences, you may enjoy Otherworld.
My daughter found some of the installations dark and more on the creepy side to enjoy the experience. But the installations may have changed since her visit two years ago.
Address: 54 S High St, Dublin
In addition to delicious cakes, cupcakes, and other desserts made to order, Our CupCakery in Dublin also offers baking classes for adults, kids, or the whole family. You can also register for the Future Pastry Chef summer camp sessions.
Cake decorating, macaron baking, and cake pops are just a few of the classes available.
If you’re short on time, you can also pre-order decorating kits to go.
Tip: While you’re in Dublin check out the Giant Ears of Corn, Leatherlips and the Dancing Hares which are part of the Art in Public Places trail. The larger-than-life art installations provide great photo ops to share on Instagram.
Penn & Beech Candle Co.
Address: 737 N High St, Columbus
Another fun Columbus activity for teens is to make their own candle scent at Penn & Beech Candle Company. They have a wide selection of home goods that include candles, diffusers, gift sets, and more. You can also mix your own candle scent at the custom fragrance bar.
Choose from a variety of scents to blend the perfect fit for your home, and you’ll also choose from a variety of vessels to make your candle in.
Pins Mechanical Company
Address: 141 N. 4th Street, Columbus
With two Columbus locations, this gaming spot is a great place to spend an afternoon with your teen. Choose from foosball, pinball, ping pong, and duck bowling.
Pins has a full bar service with cocktails (for mom and dad) and mocktails, plus a regular rotation of food trucks outside.
After 8 pm, Pins is 21+ only, so go early to enjoy some time with your teenagers.
Scene 75 Entertainment Center
Address: 5033 Tuttle Crossing Blvd, Dublin
One of the largest entertainment centers in the country is right here in the Buckeye State. Attractions include a video game arcade, indoor go-karts, laser tag, blacklight mini-golf, mini-bowling, bumper cars, inflatables, and a laser maze.
There are also several snack shops serving pizza, burgers, sweets, and more.
Address: 1069 Jaeger St, Columbus
One of Columbus’ oldest parks is the hub of the German Village. Schiller Park has baseball fields, a stocked fishing pond, and a summer theater guild that offers free performances of “Shakespeare in the Park.”
They also have lighted tennis courts, a rec center, walking trails, and floral displays. At times, various art installations are on display.
The Seasoned Farmhouse
Address: 3674 N High St, Columbus
Prefer cooking over baking? Sign up for a cooking class at The Seasoned Farmhouse. Cooking and sharing delicious food is a great way to bond as a family, without the stress of deciding on a recipe, shopping for ingredients, and cleaning up after the meal!
Class options include Indian food, Peruvian cuisine, taco night, and other fun themes.
Adult classes are open to students aged 16 – 17 who come with an adult chaperone.
Sew to Speak
Address: 752 High St. Worthington
Rediscover the lost art of sewing with sewing classes at Sew to Speak in suburban Worthington. They have a huge selection of classes, from embroidery to quilting, tie-dying, sewing, and knitting. You can also choose fun projects like sewing a pair of pants or a pencil pouch.
Sewing is a lost art, and a great skill to teach your teen before setting them off into the world.
Short North Arts District
Address: 875 N High St, Columbus
Short North is the “art and soul” of Columbus. It’s a great neighborhood to explore, and there are several murals and art galleries to check out along the way.
You’ll find tons of shops selling cool vintage clothing and decor, coffee shops, record stores, and plenty of places to eat.
If you’re looking for a unique place to spend the day with your teen, the Short North is perfect.
Tabletop Board Game Cafe
Address: 4316 N High St, Columbus
Looking for a fun rainy day activity with your teen? The Tabletop Board Game Cafe is a great place to spend an afternoon. Just $5 gives you access to all of the games, and food and beverage purchases reduce the amount you pay.
Reservations are recommended during the week, while weekends are walk-in only.
Each night has a different theme, like Dungeons & Dragons night or Story Leagues.
Address: 480 E Town St, Columbus
One of my favorite free Ohio attractions is the Topiary Park in downtown Columbus. This park is one-of-a-kind and is the only known topiary park based on a work of art.
As you stroll through the garden, you will see characters from the Seurat painting “Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte.”
The park is within walking distance of the Columbus Museum of Art, so you can combine both in one day.
Address: 2000 Ikea Wy, Columbus
No matter your golfing skills, Topgolf is a great spot to spend an evening with your family. Each group gets a private, covered bay from which to shoot golf balls. The balls are electronically tracked, so you can score each drive and participate in various competitions.
They also have a menu of great food, so you don’t go hungry while practicing your golf skills.
uPaint Pottery Studio
Address: 1205 Polaris Pkwy, Columbus
Another artistic endeavor that you can pursue with your teen is at the uPaint Pottery Studio. No artistic skills are required for this fun activity. Several classes and events are offered each month, and you can choose from dozens of different pottery designs to paint.
Special themes include teen nights, daddy/daughter, mother/son, and more.
If you’re looking for a rainy-day activity with your teen, this is a fun option at Polaris Place.
Address: 6513 Kingsmill Ct, Columbus
Is your teen an aspiring rock climber? Head to Vertical Adventures where you can test your climbing skills on 16,000 square feet of climbing space. They have auto-belaying so you can climb without a belayer; they also have classes for first-time and more experienced climbers. They also have youth climbing classes, camps, and clinics.
Tip: The online occupancy meter shows when it’s most crowded so you can choose your time when it’s less crowded.
Address: 4850 Powell Rd, Powell
Zoombezi Bay water park is part of the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium and is one of the best things to do in Columbus in the warmer months. The 22-acre park offers hours of family fun for all ages.
Whether you prefer a lazy river, a wave pool, or a mega water slide, you’ll have the best time at Zoombezi Bay. The amusement park also has several snack bars and restaurants, plus shops and cabana rentals. Special events include summer movie nights, Christmas in July, and sensory-friendly hours.
Hopefully, you found some ideas that will help you spend quality time with your teen in Columbus. And if you find an attraction that isn’t on our list that your teen really enjoyed, please share it in the comments below.