Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Columbus Parks Series

Scioto Audobon Metro Park - Photo by OHventures

Even though Columbus is the largest city in Ohio, it's not all skyscrapers and concrete roads! In fact, Columbus Parks and Recreation notes that there are 215 developed parks within city limits. These greenspaces are all different in their own ways, and there are certainly a number of them that stand out from the rest. Below is a list of my personal favorite parks within Columbus city limits. Whether you live here or are visiting, you should most definitely stop by these spots to soak in the beauty and get active in the outdoors!!

*Please note, these are in no particular order*

1. Goodale Park (120 West Goodale Street, Short North): This is one of the most well known and well loved parks in the city. It is iconic for its beautiful pond, fountain and gazebo; and for hosting the infamous ComFest, a community festival like none other! It's complete with tennis courts, a kickball diamond, and a one-mile perimeter perfect for running.

2. Schiller Park (1069 Jaeger Street, German Village): You can find this fantastic park amongst the cobblestone catacombs of German Village, one of the most eccentric and ethnic areas of the city. Here, you can throw a frisbee, play touch football, hop on the playgrounds, stroll through the gardens, or even catch a theatrical performance in the amphitheatre.

3. Columbus Commons (160 S High Street, Downtown): The newest addition to the Columbus park scene, Columbus Commons is built on the same land where the City Center shopping mall once stood. Now, one can partake in a carousel ride, dig your nose into a book at the outdoor reading room, take a free kickboxing class, or catch a concert on the lawn.

4. Wheeler Park Dog Park (725 Thurber Drive West, Harrison West): If you are a dog owner, then this is the place for you....hands (and paws) down! The park recently became exclusively for dogs and their owners with the addition of a fence a couple of years ago, and there hasn't been a dull moment yet. The place is fantastic to meet other dog owners and for your pups to meet other canines.

5. Park of Roses (3923 N High Street, Clintonville): THE most romantic spot in the entire city, by far. There are over 10,000 roses located at this park (400 different varieties) on trellises, in flower beds and along pathways. It's one of the most picturesque and photo worthy locales in C-Bus. Head here not only to snap pics and smell the roses, but perhaps to go fishing or play some soccer too!

6. Scioto Mile (233 Civic Center Drive, Downtown): This 1.5 mile long park links together Bicentennial Park, North Bank Park, and Batelle Park so that they are essentially all a part of one ultra mega park! Runners, bicyclists and power walkers alike can be found getting their cardio on by the mighty Scioto. It's also a hot spot for chess players, diners (at the Milestone229  cafe),  concert goers, and water enthusiasts at the coolest splash park around!

7. Olentangy River Greenway: This trail is found going south to north in Franklin County from Downtown Columbus to Worthington.This 15-mile trail has many on and off points along the way so you can pick and choose exactly how long your trip will be, and what parts of Columbus you would like to see most. From  beginners to the most seasoned of bike riders, the entire trail will be enjoyable.

8. Topiary Garden (480 E Town Street, Discovery District): Think of this park as if Edward Scissorhands got a hold of a bunch of hedge bushes and hacked away at them so they resembled the people and animals from a famous Seurat painting. It's a spectacular sight. It's truly as if you were sucked into the painting as you walk amongst the sculpted bushes. This is one you can not miss!

9. Franklin Park Conservatory (1777 E. Broad Street, Bexley): The Franklin Park Conservatory added a whole new breed of garden ornaments to their greenhouse. Amidst trees and cacti lies a garden of glass. Towering to the ceiling, vibrant hand-blown glass in the shapes of plants and flowers are integrated with their real-life counterparts. You have to see it for yourself!

10. Scioto Audobon Metro Park (400 W. Whittier Street, Southwest Side): Of all of the parks listed, the Scioto Audobon Metro Park is probably one of my absolute favorites overall. There are hiking paths, an educational center dedicated to nature & birds, a dog park, a playground, a small pond, a water tower, and - best of all - an outdoor rock climbing wall (see below). Not to mention, it is one of the best views of the downtown skyline!

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