Jennifer N. Dienst and Katie Kervin
This year, Columbus celebrates “200Columbus, The Bicentennial,” otherwise known as its 200th birthday. The celebration is fitting since the destination is also celebrating another 200th milestone - the addition of more than $200 million in new hotels and meeting venues to its downtown. Beyond the 1.7-million-square-foot Greater Columbus Convention Center, the centerpiece of the city’s venue offerings, Columbus has a plethora of event spaces to fit almost any interest, group size, mood, or theme.
The Bluestone, formerly a Baptist church, underwent a $5-million renovation a few years ago and now operates as a state-of-the-art meeting and event venue. Interesting touches, like soaring stained-glass windows and outdoor fire pits, liven up the venue’s five spaces. The Columbus Museum of Art, home to a variety of collections from Cubism to Impressionism, can host groups of up to 500 for a cocktail reception on its sunlit Derby Court. With natural light streaming in from a skylight and a Dale Chihuly sculpture as the room’s centerpiece, the space lends an artsy atmosphere to events.
For larger groups up to 10,000, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s team-building programs and live animal presentations are a smash hit. Pavilions, boardwalks, and even areas near the animal habitats all can be used for every type of event from meetings to company picnics. Also offering a mix of indoor and outdoor spaces, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has greenhouses, atriums, terraces, and other unique sites for events spread throughout its 88 acres.
Transport guests to an Italian vineyard at Via Vecchia Winery, just a few blocks south of the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Even closer is Dock580, with space for events of up to 250 people inside the historic Smith Bros’ Hardware building. Exposed brick, steel beams, and downtown views combined with a talented team of chefs and event professionals make this edgy loft space a standout venue. For more information: Experience columbus - Brian Ross, Vice President of Sales; (800) 354-2657 or (614) 2226108; Bross@Experiencecolumbus.com; experiencecolumbus.com
At a Glance Convention facilities
Downtown hotel rooms
- The 1.7-million-square-foot greater columbus convention center has 410,000 square feet of exhibit space and 74,000 square feet of ballroom space, and is connected to the 20,500-seat Nationwide arena.