Must-Visit Museums in Columbus, Ohio

Looking to dive into the arts and culture scene of the Buckeye State? With a rich tapestry of diverse influences, Ohio’s thriving capital city, Columbus, offers a multitude of ways to delve into its past and present. One of the most captivating avenues for exploration is through the wide array of fun, exciting museums in Columbus, OH. Scattered throughout the city, these veritable treasure troves offer insights into art, science, history, and innovation.

From world-class art collections to interactive science exhibits, Columbus’s museums cater to every curiosity and interest. Discover the region’s artistic heritage at the Columbus Museum of Art and gain a deeper understanding of Ohio’s history at the Ohio History Center.

Immerse yourself in the wonder of scientific discovery and technological innovation at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI), and explore Catholicism’s art, history, and heritage at the Museum of Catholic Art and History. From the curious explorer to the avid history buff, there’s something for everyone within Columbus’ diverse museum landscape.

For those looking for something off-the-beaten-track, Otherworld and the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum promise to delight!

Itching to dive into the cultural mosaic of this city? Plan your adventure with an in-depth guide to the top-rated Columbus museums!

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Columbus Museum of Art

If you’re an art lover, make your first stop at the Columbus Museum of Art. Located on E. Broad Street in the vibrant Discovery District, this cultural gem beckons you to explore its galleries, absorb its rich history, and immerse yourself in the diverse world of creativity.

Established in 1878 as the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, the Columbus Museum of Art boasts over 10,000 works, ranging from classic European masterpieces to contemporary American art.

Delight in the European and American paintings, where you can admire the brushstrokes of renowned artists. Discover thought-provoking modern and contemporary pieces that reflect the evolution of artistic expression. Gaze at decorative arts, sculptures, and exquisite examples of Asian and African art that showcase the cultural diversity that shapes our world.

Columbus Museum of Art

The museum’s dedication to engaging experiences extends beyond the artwork itself. You can participate in interactive workshops, engaging lectures, and special exhibitions that add layers of insight to your visit.

If you’re bringing the little ones along to the Columbus Museum of Art, don’t miss the Center for Creativity, a family-friendly space where young artists can unleash their creativity through hands-on activities. Enjoy a meal at Schokko Café, known for its artful culinary creations and cozy ambiance.

Center of Science and Industry (COSI)

Do you have a curious mind? Embark on a captivating journey through the realms of science, technology, and innovation at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI). This museum is an immersive playground of scientific discovery and exploration for all ages and promises hours of fun!

The Center of Science and Industry (COSI) has been a pioneer in bringing hands-on science learning to life for over 60 years. Over the decades, it has evolved into a dynamic center that celebrates the wonders of discovery through interactive exhibits and engaging programs.

From the moment you step into COSI, you’ll find captivating exhibits that span various scientific disciplines. Unleash your inner scientist as you explore everything from space exploration to the intricacies of the human body.

Center of Science and Industry (COSI)

Gaze at the planetarium’s celestial shows, where you’ll journey through the cosmos and witness the wonders of our universe. Dive into the world of biology and ecology at the Ocean exhibit. Get up close to aquatic creatures and gain insights into marine ecosystems.

Be amazed at the ingenuity of human invention in the Gadgets exhibit, where you can tinker, build, and experiment to your heart’s content. Keep an eye out for special workshops, classes, and events that offer unique learning opportunities for visitors of all ages.

National Veterans Memorial and Museum

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum is a poignant institution that honors the sacrifices made by veterans for their country.

Overlooking the Scioto River on W. Broad Street, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum represents a collaborative effort to honor veterans from all military branches. The museum’s architecture and exhibits were meticulously designed to capture the essence of veterans’ experiences, from their service on the frontlines to their lives after returning home.

National Veterans Memorial and Museum

Explore the museum’s exhibits that showcase personal artifacts, photographs, and oral histories, giving voice to the diverse experiences of veterans. The captivating narratives guide you through the journeys of servicemen and women, sharing their perspectives, challenges, and triumphs. Gain in-depth insights into the personal stories and sacrifices of veterans.

The Memorial Gallery offers a space for reflection and remembrance, honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice. As you journey through the museum, you’ll gain a profound understanding of the dedication and resilience that define the lives of veterans.

Ohio History Center

Step into a world where the past comes alive at the Ohio History Center, a captivating hub of history and culture. Be transported through time as you explore the exhibits, uncover the stories of yesteryears, and delve into the rich tapestry of Ohio’s history.

Dating back to 1885, the Ohio History Center has evolved into a comprehensive repository of Ohio’s heritage. The center is part of the Ohio History Connection, dedicated to preserving and sharing the stories that shape the state’s identity.

Ohio History Center

The museum’s immersive exhibits journey into the past and highlight the growth and evolution of the state, from its indigenous roots to its industrial era and beyond. Walk through the Natural History exhibit to encounter mammoths and mastodons that once roamed the Ohio landscape.

Explore innovation and industry, discovering Ohio’s pivotal role in shaping the nation’s progress. Dive into the realms of art, culture, and technology, gaining insights into the lives of Ohioans across generations.

Take a break at the café and explore the gift shop for souvenirs and books about Ohio’s history.


If you want something unusual and off-the-beaten-track, visit Otherworld, an extraordinary immersive art experience. Located on Chantry Drive, this unique museum boasts a fantastical world of interactive art, mind-bending installations, and sensory exploration that challenge perceptions.

Born from the minds of a collective of artists, engineers, and creators who envisioned a space where art becomes an immersive adventure, Otherworld is just that – otherworldly! Step into a multi-dimensional landscape filled with awe-inspiring installations. Wander through rooms that defy reality, featuring optical illusions, vibrant light displays, and intricate sculptures that blur the lines between art and experience.


Venture into the Portal, a mystical gateway that marks the entrance to this surreal wonderland. Meander through dreamlike environments, from enchanted forests to futuristic cityscapes, each designed to elicit wonder and curiosity.

Engage with interactive elements that respond to your touch, movement, and imagination, creating a personalized journey that evolves with each step. Due to its popularity, booking tickets in advance is a good idea, especially during peak times.

Kelton House Museum & Garden

Experience the elegance of the Victorian era and uncover the stories of a bygone era at the Kelton House Museum & Garden. Nestled on East Town Street, this charming historic treasure is a beautifully preserved example of 19th-century architecture and is one of the coolest places to visit in Columbus, OH, for design and history buffs.

Built in 1852, the Kelton House Museum & Garden served as the home of the Kelton family and now serves as a window into their lives and the broader historical context of the time.

As you explore the Kelton House Museum, you’ll journey back to the 1800s and be transported to a time of elegance, grace, and historical significance. Explore a carefully curated collection of artifacts, furnishings, and memorabilia highlighting the daily lives, values, and aspirations of the Kelton family and their contemporaries.

Kelton House Museum & Garden

Marvel at the meticulously preserved interiors, from the intricately designed parlors to the charming bedrooms that capture the essence of the Victorian lifestyle. As you explore the various exhibits and displays, gain insights into the family’s involvement in social causes, including their role in the Underground Railroad.

Spend some time in the tranquil garden, a hidden oasis that provides a peaceful respite from the city’s bustle. The Kelton House is in the charming Discovery District, so why not combine your visit with other nearby attractions and cultural sites?

Orton Geological Museum

If you’re a karsts, quartz, and clastics fan, visiting the Orton Geological Museum is a must! Located in the South Oval Mall on Ohio State University’s campus, this hidden gem delves into the fascinating world of geology and uncovers the mysteries of our planet’s history.

Established in 1893, the Orton Geological Museum is home to an incredible collection of geological treasures, from ancient fossils to dazzling minerals that tell the story of Earth’s evolution.

Explore exhibits that highlight the Earth’s ever-changing landscapes, from the formation of majestic mountains to the processes that shaped vast oceans. Wonder at the museum’s collection of fossils, from ancient marine creatures to prehistoric mammals that once roamed the land.

Witness the dazzling array of minerals and gemstones showcasing the vibrant colors and intricate formations within the Earth’s crust. Interactive displays and educational materials invite visitors of all ages to engage with the science of geology.

The museum offers free admission, making it a perfect educational outing for families, students, and curious minds. Combine your visit with a stroll around the Ohio State University campus to soak in the academic atmosphere and discover other cultural attractions.

Ohio Craft Museum

Arts, crafts, and beautiful handmade creations your thing? Put the Ohio Craft Museum on your list! This excellent museum celebrates the incredible talent of artists and artisans from across the state and beyond.

The Ohio Craft Museum features an eclectic collection of fine craft art that spans various mediums – from ceramics and glass to textiles and woodwork. Excellent rotating exhibitions highlight both traditional craft techniques and contemporary expressions of creativity.

Examine the intricate details of handmade jewelry, explore the delicate interplay of color and form in glass art, and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into every piece of ceramics on display. Engage with interactive exhibits and gain insights into the creative processes that drive the artists’ work.

Join one of the museum’s workshops, demonstrations, and artist talks to understand craft techniques and processes better. Explore the museum’s gift shop for unique pieces crafted by local and national artists – a great place to find unusual souvenirs.

Jack Nicklaus Museum

Bunker boss? Birdie hunter? Greens guru? Then the Jack Nicklaus Museum should be top of your museum list! Swing into the world of golf and celebrate the legendary career and impact of one of golf’s greatest icons, Jack Nicklaus.

You’ll find the Jack Nicklaus Museum on Olentangy River Road on the Ohio State University campus. Opened in 2002, the museum honors the legacy of Jack Nicklaus, a golfing legend with an unrivaled record of achievements.

The museum boasts a wealth of exhibits that chronicle the life and career of the Golden Bear. From his early years and triumphs on the golf course to his contributions off the fairway, the museum offers a comprehensive journey through the world of golf and sportsmanship.

Jack Nicklaus Museum

Admire Nicklaus’ collection of golfing memorabilia, including trophies, clubs, and personal artifacts that have marked his remarkable career. Test your golf skills at interactive exhibits and better understand the sport’s intricacies.

Find out the stories behind Nicklaus’ most significant victories, philanthropic endeavors, and lasting impact on the world of golf. Explore the museum’s gift shop for unique golf-related merchandise and souvenirs.

The Museum of Catholic Art and History

Delve into Catholic art, history, and heritage at the Museum of Catholic Art and History. The rich tapestry of faith and culture comes together at this unique museum to showcase the spiritual and artistic aspects of the Catholic tradition.

Set on N. High Street in the heart of Downtown Columbus, the Museum of Catholic Art and History is a haven for those seeking to explore the deep roots of Catholicism. Established to showcase the artistic and historical contributions of the Catholic community, the museum is a tribute to the enduring legacy of faith and creativity.

The museum is home to a collection that spans centuries of religious and cultural expression. From exquisite religious artifacts to stunning works of art, each exhibit offers a glimpse into the artistic vision and spiritual devotion of generations.

Intricately crafted religious sculptures, paintings, and textiles adorn the museum’s galleries. Explore the stories of saints, the evolution of liturgical practices, and the profound symbolism that has shaped the Catholic tradition. Engage with exhibits celebrating the connection between faith, art, and the human spirit.

The Museum of Catholic Art and History offers a serene environment for quiet contemplation, so take your time to absorb the art and atmosphere. Explore the museum’s gift shop to find unique religious and artistic items that support its mission.

Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art

Nestled within the Columbus Museum of Art, the Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art is a treasure trove of artistic marvels where contemporary art and cultural exploration merge. Established by Ron and Ann Pizzuti, the collection accentuates their passion for modern art and desire to share its beauty with the world.

Seamlessly integrated into the Columbus Museum of Art’s vibrant tapestry, the Pizzuti Collection features an eclectic array of contemporary art that spans various mediums and styles. The collection celebrates the dynamic interplay between artists and their work, inviting you to explore the depths of human imagination and innovation.

Applaud the thought-provoking paintings, sculptures, and installations that grace the gallery spaces. Encounter works that reflect the modern world’s complexities, from social issues to personal introspections. Immerse yourself in the diversity of artistic voices that converge in this curated haven of creativity.

Extend your art exploration by visiting the Columbus Museum of Art, which houses even more captivating exhibits and artistic treasures. After your visit, explore the surrounding Short North Arts District, a hip, culture-rich area brimming with converted-warehouses-cum-galleries, and the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum

Take a ride into motorcycle history at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. This motorhead haven explores these iconic two-wheeled machines’ evolution, innovation, and global impact. Located on Yarmouth Drive in Pickerington, OH, the museum celebrates the rich heritage of motorcycling and honors those who have significantly contributed to the sport and industry.

The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum has an impressive collection of motorcycles spanning various eras and styles. From vintage classics to cutting-edge models, the museum showcases the evolution of design, engineering, and cultural significance within the world of motorcycling.

Examine meticulously restored bikes that once ruled the roads, from iconic Harley-Davidsons to legendary race bikes. Learn the stories of the pioneering riders, mechanics, and enthusiasts who have shaped the motorcycle landscape.

Enjoy interactive exhibits that provide insights into the mechanics, innovations, and cultural phenomena that define the world of motorcycles. Pop into the museum’s gift shop for motorcycle-related merchandise and souvenirs for fellow motor-maniacs.


Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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