The Best Columbus Day Trip Itinerary (2024)

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Want to know the best Columbus day trip itinerary? We’ve got you covered with all the best places to go and things to do!

Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, I took day trips out to Columbus all the time.

Whether it was to visit the zoo, COSI, or for a football game, there was always a good reason to spend a day in Columbus.

Columbus Day Trip Itinerary

On our recent visit to Ohio, we decided to get out and about for the day.

We had been at home with my sister and her kids for days and working from home.

Everyone finally had a free day and the weather was better than it had been.

To start, half of us went to the Columbus Zoo during the day.

Then the rest met up with us at Hofbrauhaus for dinner and we all went to OtherWorld together to end the night.

Start Your Morning At The World Famous Columbus Zoo

We were here in January when the weather wasn’t particularly great.

It was in the low 40s, but it was mostly sunny and there wasn’t any wind inside the zoo.

We dressed for the weather and didn’t have any issues.

If it gets too cold though, there are plenty of indoor exhibits to hang out in and warm up.

The zoo is a great activity whether you’re going just as a couple or a group.

When we went it was me, JP, my brother, my sister, and her 3 kids who are all 4 and younger.

I like visiting zoos when we travel because they are all different.

They all have different animals, exhibit set ups, shows, etc.

Since the animals are all free to do as they please, it’s a unique experience every time.

You never know what they’ll do next.

This time in particular was fun because JP had never been to this zoo and we got to see how much the babies loved it.

Highlights of Columbus Zoo

Here are some of my favorite photos of the day with the babies:

Fun fact about the Columbus Zoo is that Jack Hanna essentially used to run it.

I assumed that everyone knows who Jack Hanna because he’s been all over tv like late night shows, Good Morning America, and even Maury!

BUT JP had never heard of him, so I’m not sure if he is as famous as I think he is.

JP also has no idea who Bill Nye The Science Guy is either, but that’s a whole other story.

So with a guy like Jack Hanna running your zoo, you know it’s gonna be good.

One of my favorite parts of the day was the Gorilla exhibit. They had a baby! It was the cutest!

My niece who is 4 years old learned today that she is terrified of MANATEES!

Of all the animals at the zoo, this is the one that scared her!

She said it was fat, so it was scary.

In her defense, it was one of the largest manatees I have ever seen in my life and I’ve been swimming with manatees in Florida.

Lastly, here are some other highlights of our day at the zoo.

There was a petting zoo area that the babies loved.

The elephants, polar bears, and tigers were quite active.

You can see all of it in our YouTube video below.

For more highlights of our day, including the animals playing around, check out our video on our YouTube Channel.

Enjoy An Authentic German Meal At Hofbrauhaus

Hofbrauhaus is a German Biergarten restaurant originating in Munich, with locations all over the world now.

In the US they are in Newport (Cincinnati), Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Cleveland, and Columbus.

There are also Hofbrau Beer Gardens in Miami, Panama City Beach, New York, and Milwaukee.

These locations are similar, they just don’t brew their own beer.

They have a traditional menu like Pretzels and Bier Cheese, Potato Pancakes, and Sauerkraut Balls for appetizers.

For entrees they offer dishes like Jagerschnitzel, Bierwurst, Bratwurst, Mettwurst, Jager Spatzle, and plenty more.

My favorite sides are Sauerkraut, German Potato Salad, and Buttered Spatzle.

They have the best dessert selection too with Apfel Strudel, Bavarian Cream Puffs, and Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwalder Kirsch Torte).

Obviously the beers are popular here, but I don’t drink beer, so I can’t speak to what the best ones are.

They have tons of seasonal selections available, as well as monthly beers, so each visit you’ll probably have different options.

Check out our experience on our YouTube Channel.

Fully Immerse Yourself In OtherWorld

This exhibit is amazing. It’s actually perfect for date night and for the whole family.

It is like Meow Wolf in Santa Fe and Omega Mart in Vegas if you’ve ever been.

It’s a unique experience for sure.

Once inside you can stay for as long as you’d like. Everything is interactive. There are secret doors and passageways all throughout.

Many of them you have to crawl through. It’s just a giant maze.

The babies had the best time running around in there and playing with anything they could get their hands on.

You’ll want to see our full experience on our YouTube Channel.

At one point we found a control room where you could mess with people.

One of the stations let you blast air on people going through a narrow hallway at the entrance.

It had a camera so you could hear and see everyone freak out each time.

We also came across a couple mirror maze rooms. We only had a minor incident in there with the kids. Lol.

Tips For Planning Your Visit To Columbus

If you need help planning your trip to Columbus, check out our Tips For Planning A Trip To Anywhere (A Step-By-Step Guide).

Read our Best Tips For Staying Safe When Traveling During Extreme Weather if you’re traveling during the Winter, when snow is common in this area, or even in the Spring and Summer when tornadoes are common.

Also check out our Best Tips For Staying Well While You Travel, especially if you’re traveling during the Winter when people tend to get sick more easily.

Lastly, if you’re traveling on a budget, read up on our Best Tips For Traveling On A Budget: Your Guide To Planning An Affordable Trip.

More Fun Things To Do In Columbus

If you’re staying a little longer or want to swap out some of these activities, here are some other fun things to do in Columbus.

✅ The Escape Game Columbus 60 Minute Adventure

This set of escape rooms in Columbus has themes like Prison Break, Gold Rush, Special Ops: Mysterious Market, The Heist, and more.

The Escape Game is actually a national chain of escape rooms in about a dozen cities across the country.

? Click Here To Book Your Escape Room Adventure Today!

✅ LEGOLAND Discovery Center Columbus

Check out the only Ultimate LEGO Experience in Columbus, plus a 1.5 million LEGO brick replica of Columbus.

Create and race your own LEGO car and experience exclusive rides and attractions.

? Click Here To Book Your LEGOLAND Discovery Center Tickets Today!

More Fun Things To Do In Ohio

While Columbus is the capital of Ohio, it’s not the only place to go for a fun day trip.


A Cincinnati day trip is also an easy distance for those from the Dayton area.

We visited some unique places like the American Sign Museum, which is full of old neon signs (in working conditions) and the William Howard Taft house, which is part of the National Park Service.

For someone that has visited Cincinnati hundreds of times, this off the beaten path itinerary was really fun.

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati


Being from Dayton, I have a lot of posts about things to do in the area.

The best way to break it down is by the time of year due to changes in weather throughout the year and seasonal festivals the area is known for.

Check out our posts on things to do in Dayton in Summer, Fall, Winter, or Spring depending on the time of year you want to visit.

There’s also some places in-between Dayton, Cincinnati, and Columbus that make for great day trips away from the city.

If you’re not familiar with the area, Dayton is actually home to some amazing restaurants, some of which are still my favorite after traveling the entire country for several year.

Check out all the best restaurants in Dayton, Ohio when you plan your visit.

Skyline Chili 5 way

Take A Road Trip To California


JP and I have made this drive multiple times, changing up the route a little each time to see new places.

I highly recommend doing this at least once to see the Historic Route 66, some wildly popular National Parks, and to just enjoy a good old fashioned road trip.

Check out our itinerary and tips for planning your trip.

Conclusion: Columbus Day Trip Itinerary

As you can see, this Columbus day trip itinerary is perfect for any time of year and with any type of group, or even solo.

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Columbus Day Trip Itinerary - Columbus Zoo