Sitting at my computer weeks after leaving Columbus behind, I couldn’t believe the photos displayed on my screen. I generally consider myself a great photographer, but I need a great photographic subject to produce quality photos. Ohio’s capital city was one of the best subjects of the year – and helped me produce some of my favorite travel photos I’ve captured in awhile.
From the gleaming high rises downtown to the mid-1800s German Village, I traveled throughout the city with a camera in hand at all times. The city had a great story to tell – all I had to do was frame the story with my camera.
Here are my favorite travel photos I captured during my four day trip to Columbus. Leave me a comment below and let me know which of these is your favorite.
My first stop in Columbus was because of a tip I had received a couple weeks earlier – “You have to visit The Book Loft.” It was located in German Village – a neighborhood I planned to explore anyway. Although I had been warned the bookstore had 32 rooms full of books from floor to ceiling, I had no idea it was 32 rooms of books!
Columbus was a gorgeous city from any angle – but this was my favorite. From the Rich Street Bridge the entire skyline was laid out across the Scioto River. It’s not often I find a city skyline so easy to view. This bridge is also where I found the Scioto Deer – a collection of three bronze statues designed by artist Terry Allen. We hung out for awhile.
I found a lot of great coffee in Columbus. But I think Boston Stoker Coffee Co. was my favorite interior space. Large windows flooding the space with daylight and comfortable seating was perfect for getting some writing done. But when I wanted to opt outside, I found the elephant water fountain at Goodale Park the perfect place to sit for awhile.
The National Veterans Memorial & Museum is the only museum in the country solely dedicated to telling stories of America’s veterans. It was a wonderful place to explore with lots of text and video stories to enjoy.
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The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden was a surprising discovery in the city. Inside, I found a bonzai garden and beautiful artwork.
Outside, there were dozens of trails through beautiful gardens and outdoor sculptures. I didn’t have time to walk them all, but instead sat on a bench in the shade of a massive tree and watched squirrels run around with the tails twitching.
I spent one entire day walking the streets of German Village. Built in the mid-1800s by German immigrants, it was my favorite spot of the city to explore. Old brick homes, flowering window planters, and peaceful streets made it a great place to visit.
On the outside, Saint Mary Catholic Church was an unimpressive brick building with a towering steeple. But inside, it was simply stunning. Daylight flooded through the stained glass windows casting colors onto the hardwood floors. Murals painted on the ceiling drew my eyes upward while the architecture pulled my eyes every other direction.
Schmidt’s Sausage House & Restaurant has been around for a very long time. I knew I would find an authentic weinerschnitzel meal at the German-themed restaurant, but I had no idea they made these amazing chocolate cream puff desserts!
Plank’s Bier Garten was another German Village restaurant I visited. The indoor seating was rustic but comfortable. At this restaurant, I opted for a plate of homemade pierogies that was savory to the last bite.
North Market is the kind of place the locals love and tourists need to visit. Nearly two dozen shops under the roof of a giant warehouse provided fresh meats, organic foods, wine and beer, and local food. But I visited because it is the home of the original Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. I took my dessert upstairs to a large dining area and savored every single bite of the sweet ice cream.
The Columbus Zoo was unlike any experience I’d ever had at a zoo before. The Heart of Africa enclosure spanned a whopping 43 acres – the largest enclosure I have ever seen in a zoo. Giraffes, zebras, gazelles, and ostriches roamed freely across the open field. My second favorite place at the zoo was the glass tunnel through a water tank surrounded by seals.
I was eating lunch when I glanced up to see a lion roaming right outside the window! It was just another reason why I loved this zoo so much – I had never felt to close and connected with the animals at every point of the visit.
By the end of my whirlwind exploration of Columbus Zoo – I only managed to see about one-third of the zoo in four hours – I was ready for a nap like this grizzly bear.
Schiller Park in German Village was a great place to go for a walk. I found myself in this urban park on two separate afternoons enjoying the gardens maintained by a local club and watching people play with their pets and children.
The Scioto Mile is one of the latest revitalization projects in Columbus. The park features dozens of paved paths along both sides of the river with plenty of places to take a break from the city and enjoy a touch of nature. It was the last place I explored in Columbus before leaving the city behind – and its the first place I plan to visit when I return.