Columbus, Indiana is an exceptional Indiana town, filled with everywhere art and unexpected architecture. Best known and recognized for excellent examples of the modernist style, you’ll see other styles of architecture here too, including Victorian and Edwardian.
Since the early 1940s, some of the world’s most talented architects have made Columbus a virtual museum of modern architecture. Be introduced to architects like I.M. Pei, Robert Venturi, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Harry Weese, and Deborah Berke. Their architectural genius is showcased throughout the city.
With so many architectural marvels in Columbus, several tours are offered. From guided and self-guided and from riding to walking, see the many architecture tour options below. Tickets are required and advance reservations are recommended for guided tours.
PHOTO BY TONY VASQUEZ
Miller House and Garden Guided Tour
The Miller House is one of the most important mid-century modern residences in the country. This unforgettable design is credited to architect Eero Saarinen, designer Alexander Girard and landscape architect Dan Kiley. Starting at the Visitors Center, a tour shuttle will take you to Miller House and Garden. Your informed tour guide will lead you through the remarkable home and answer questions. The tour is 90 minutes in length and oriented to adults and children over 10 years of age. Tickets are required.
PHOTO COURTESY WHY MAGAZINE
Architectural Highlights Tour
This shuttle tour that begins at the Visitors Center is a perfect introduction to Columbus’ important architecture. With minimal walking, you’ll explore dozens of buildings and sites with a friendly tour guide. Tourists aged 6 and older are welcome. Tickets are required.
PHOTO BY DON NISSEN
Iconic Columbus Guided Walking Tour
See how modern buildings successfully mesh with Victorian storefronts in downtown Columbus. Open to all ages, this fascinating, guided walking tour is 90 minutes in length. It begins and ends at the Visitors Center. Tickets are required and available in advance.
PHOTO BY TONY VASQUEZ
Even more tours
The Inn at Irwin Gardens Guided Tour
Tour the Irwin family home and gardens to get a glimpse of the history and lifestyle of this family that influenced modern architecture development in Columbus.
Discover when the original Victorian interior was removed and replaced by the sleeker Edwardian style. This guided tour is 60 minutes in length and commences at the Inn at Irwin, 608 Fifth Street. Tickets are required.
Self-Guided Audio Tours
Discover Columbus at your own pace using the Columbus, IN Tours App. Search for “Columbus IN Tours” in the App store or Google Play to download the app. If you use your own device, the tour is completely free, or you can rent an audio device at the Visitors Center, for a nominal fee. This walkable audio tour explores 18 architectural sites located within 5 square blocks in Columbus, Indiana’s downtown cultural district.
Self-Guided Bike Tours
Begin your two-wheeled tour at the Visitors Center. While there, pick up free map routes for a variety of biking destinations and durations, and take off to explore on your own.
Tour at Your Own Pace and in Your Own Style
To view up to 82 stops downtown and on the city loops on your own, buy a guide at the Visitors Center for a nominal fee. These guides are also available at Hotel Indigo and Viewpoint Books.
Group tours are also available and customizable to your group’s areas of interest. Contact the Director of Sales at 812-378-2622 or lwestmark(at)columbus.in.us
By touring Columbus, Indiana, you’ll discover an abundance of modern architecture excellence. Like so many visitors, you might be surprised by all the art and architecture you’ll encounter. Most importantly, Columbus is home to friendly people who are so proud to share their extraordinary town with you.
PHOTO OF IRWIN GARDENS BY DON NISSEN
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