Columbus’ art scene is bursting with creativity, which is evident in the spectacular art that you can find throughout the city. Not only are we home to the Columbus Museum of Art, which was the first art museum registered in Ohio and home to hundreds of interesting exhibitions, but our area also boasts amazing art galleries, art festivals and public art installations.
If you want to explore the incredible culture of Columbus—read on! We rounded up some of the best art walks and annual festivals in Columbus along with some information on how to take a self-guided art tour through the city.
Monthly Art Walks + Tours
Monthly on the First Saturday, 4-10 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Short North Alliance
On the first Saturday of each month, thousands of visitors gather on High Street in the Short North Arts District for a Gallery Hop! Celebrate art by exploring dozens of galleries and non-traditional exhibit spaces, which stay open late on these nights. Additionally, hear street performers, shop with local artisan vendors, and see unique public art all along High Street.
Two Monday Evenings a Month, May-August, 7-8 p.m.
Columbus Art Walks & Landmark Talks are one-hour guided tours led by expert historians from the Columbus Landmarks Foundation. Each tour highlights local public art, architecture and historical sites in neighborhoods around Columbus. Each season runs from May through August, with tours offered on two Monday evenings a month. You can find the full schedule on their website!
The city of Columbus is passionate about our local public art. That’s why you can find a self-guided art walk guide for almost every Columbus neighborhood on the city’s website! Each neighborhood link—including Capitol Square, the Arena District and Short North—offers a printable map, public parking tips, and a downloadable audio tour that you can listen to while you traverse the area. And, for a more “on-the-go” experience, you can download the MyColumbus app to access Columbus art walks information while you’re exploring the city.
Annual Art Events
The Westerville Art Hop is an annual event in April that transforms historic Uptown Westerville into a massive art gallery. Make your way through the area and take in the work of artists from all over the area in local shops and art galleries. If you visit all of the stops on the Art Hop’s list, you can be entered to win fabulous prizes! You can find the full list of participating businesses and artists on their website.
Photo courtesy of McKenzie Stewart via the Columbus Arts Festival
The Columbus Arts Festival has been a must-see event for more than 50 years, and it’s no wonder why. It has been rated as one of the top art festivals in the nation by several national publications and features interactive activities, performances, food and beverages, and incredible work from local, national, and international artists alike. Catch it every June on the Scioto Mile.
Each June, head to the Easton Town Center and browse through unique, one-of-a-kind works of art. Local artists and crafters showcase their original work, including handmade crafts, ceramics, digital art, drawing, mixed media, painting, printmaking, graphics and so much more. The event is completely free and family-friendly so you can bring your entire entourage to see some great art each summer!
Photo courtesy of the Westerville Chamber of Commerce
For over 46 years, the Westerville Music & Arts Festival has been drawing thousands of visitors to the Columbus area to see fantastic live music performances and shop from over 100 local and national artisans. There’s also an annual silent auction where you can purchase artwork from festival artists, proceeds from which benefit the Westerville Area Chamber. The cost is just $1 to attend and kids 10 and under are absolutely free!
This annual Labor Day arts festival draws more than 25,000 visitors each year and is considered the city’s signature event! It takes place in the idyllic Northam Park and showcases the works of local, regional and national artists working a variety of media. Additionally, there is always spectacular live performances, a family-friendly activities area, and a variety of food and beverage booths.
Photo courtesy of Old Hilliardfest
This street fair takes place in Downtown Hilliard on Main Street each fall, usually the second Saturday in September. Throughout the day, you can peruse vendors from all over the area, including local businesses, organizations and artists. After you’ve shopped your heart out, you can enjoy some live music, great food, games and jumpies, a sunflower show, a car show, a kids’ fair and much more.
Arts in the Alley is one of Central Ohio’s longest-running music and arts festivals—setting up shop every third weekend in September for over 40 years. The festival’s name comes from its humble beginnings as a festival held in the back alley behind Broadway businesses. Today, the massive festival stretches all the way along Broadway and Park Streets and features over 100 juried artists and crafters. And don’t forget the music—all weekend long you can find live performances on the Heartland Stage on West Park Street along with some delicious festival food.
Have Fun Exploring Columbus’ Artsy Side!
Did we miss your favorite art event in the Columbus area? Let us know in the comments!