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What’s New and Noteworthy in Columbus This Summer

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Stonewall Columbus Pride in Columbus, Ohio | Photo by Stewart Blake
Photo by Stewart Blake

Columbus, Ohio, June 14, 2024 – Named a favorite U.S. family destination for 2024 by Afar, home to a twice-ranked best zoo and the third best beer city in the country, it’s time to put Columbus on your summer travel list. Through its new brand campaign, “yes, Columbus,” Experience Columbus is inviting visitors to be surprised by the amazing and sometimes unexpected accolades and experiences the city has quietly been stacking up in recent years. From matches featuring soccer’s biggest stars to new trails and experiences to some of the Midwest’s biggest summer festivals, keep reading to see what awaits in Ohio’s capital this summer.

“Many people underestimate just how much Columbus has to offer,” said Sarah Townes, Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer at Experience Columbus. “Our Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival and March is celebrated as one of the best in the country by Condé Nast Traveler and U.S. News & World Report. We host the biggest Fourth of July fireworks show in the Midwest with Red, White & Boom! But beyond these beloved summer staples, Columbus also offers fresh, new reasons to experience—or re-experience—the Arch City this season.”

New Reasons to Visit

Experience the Summer of Soccer
Home to the 2023 MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew, the reigning best in the league will host the 2024 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target on July 24. Fans are invited to vote now through June 10 on what players they want to see in Columbus. Leading up to the game, fans can experience a week of festivities, from interactive fan experiences to the MLS All-Star Concert presented by Target featuring Marshmello and PinkPantheress on July 21 at Nationwide Arena. The MLS All-Star Game is just the beginning. On July 27, the Crew takes on Aston Villa, and on Aug. 3, Columbus welcomes Manchester City vs. Chelsea at Ohio Stadium.

Enjoy the Scioto Mile Fountain’s Splashing Return
The iconic Scioto Mile Fountain has undergone a breathtaking $15 million transformation, and it’s ready to wow visitors once again. This family-friendly attraction, along one of the nation’s best riverwalks, is free and now boasts a spectacular new lighting system, water features that shoot jets 75 feet into the air and additional seating areas with ample shade for comfortable enjoyment.

Sip and Stroll Downtown with a New DORA
Thanks to Columbus’ new Center City DORA, you can sip and stroll in parts of downtown and Franklinton. The Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) spans 0.62 square miles covering popular spots like the Scioto Mile, Columbus Commons, Gay Street, Franklinton and more. Enjoy a cold drink in a place USA Today has named one of the top three beer cities in the country.

Support Local Minority-Owned Businesses
Launching in the summer of 2024, Ground Floor Growth is a program aiming to support small, local, minority- and women-owned businesses in downtown Columbus. Notable openings include Black Kahawa Coffee Roastery & Patio and Three Bites Bakery + Little Cat Boba.

Re-launching this Juneteenth, Experience Columbus’ CBUS Soul® Sculpture Trail is adding several new components so visitors can experience local African American art in an even more interactive and engaging way. While the nine sculptures featured on the trail will stay the same, new additions include accompanying audio storytelling, gamification of the trail so participants have the chance to earn a new CBUS Soul-themed tote bag and a curated itinerary pairing the trail with nearby recommended minority-owned businesses to support.

Festival Favorites Return

Amidst all the new offerings, some of Columbus’ most iconic events are making their annual return. In addition to Stonewall Columbus Pride (July 14-15) and Red, White & Boom! (July 3), immerse yourself in art at the 62nd annual Columbus Arts Festival along the downtown riverfront (June 7-9), meet your favorite authors at the Columbus Book Festival (July 13-14), savor award-winning barbecue and jazz at Jazz & Rib Fest (July 19-21) and celebrate Columbus’ vibrant Black culture at the third annual CBUS Soul Fest (Aug. 17). These summer highlights, along with many others, promise an unforgettable experience filled with art, literature, music and delicious food.

A Summer of Unforgettable Flavors

Named one of the Best Destination for Culinary Travel in 2024 by Essence Magazine, this summer Columbus will sizzle with the opening of several new restaurants. Cameron Mitchell Restaurants will open Butcher & Rose downtown, bringing an upscale steakhouse to the redeveloped Preston Centre with an innovative design connecting to a below-grade garden element. Chouette by Makeready will add French flair to downtown with an authentic experience that infuses art, culture and history and aims to inspire curiosity, lively conversation and a sense of community. And for those seeking a fun, new food hall, The Little Grand Market by Thrive Companies will open in August in nearby Grandview Heights, boasting 10 local vendors, expansive social bars and relaxing patios with stunning city views.

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