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800-468-6564
Visitors Center, Columbus, Indiana - from Franklin Street, looking east
questions/answers - FAQ page

FAQS : You have questions, we have answers

HAVE A QUESTION?

You have questions? We have answers!

GENERAL QUESTIONS

Can you send me a visitor’s information packet?

So, how did such a small city end up with so much art and architecture?

  • The answer to that question, and many more, can be found on the architecture story page.
  • You may also be interested in scanning the media coverage Columbus has received over the years.

When are the best times to visit Columbus?

  • Well, Spring can be pretty magical in Columbus. The aristocrat pears, magnolias, and dogwoods have been thoughtfully placed around town by landscape architects for maximum effect, they tend to bloom around the first week in April, depending very much on weather patterns – see some photos of Spring in Columbus.
  • We also recommend you plan your trip to be here when one of the festivals and special events are happening, you can view all of the Columbus special events. 

Is Columbus a good place to live?

GETTING AROUND

Do you have maps and directions available?

Where should I park?

  • The parking lot directly north of the Visitors Center has free public parking for visitors to the community.
  • If the lot is full, there are other parking areas within a few blocks.

What is the best way to get from the Indianapolis airport, or an Indianapolis hotel, to Columbus?

  • There is no direct public transport service between downtown Columbus and the Indianapolis airport, which is a 55-mile trip, or about an hour’s drive, from the airport. The Louisville airport is also convenient, as Columbus is directly north on Interstate 65, and 80 miles, or about 75 minutes, away. Car rental is available at either airport.

What taxi services are available in Columbus?

  • Another Taxi, 812-371-0794
  • A Fast Break Taxi Service, 812-374-9279
  • Uber and Lyft are also available in Columbus

Columbus Architecture Tour Tips and FAQs

How do I purchase tickets?

  • Ticketed reservations are made online at www.columbus.in.us or https://columbus.in.us/tour-options
  • We take all major credit cards, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. Credit card fees are included in the ticket price when booked online.
  • If you use a wheelchair for mobility, please call 800-468-6564 or 812-378-2622 to make reservations. Please allow a minimum of two weeks in advance to make your reservation to ensure an available spot and wheelchair accessibility on the shuttle.
  • If you redeeming a gift certificate or tour voucher for your reservations please call 800-468-6564 or 812-378-2622.

Do I need to buy tickets in advance?

  • Purchasing tickets in advance is strongly recommended, as space is limited on each tour and tours regularly fill to capacity.
  • Purchasing tickets in advance is strongly recommended to ensure a seat for the date and time you want.
  • Walk-ins are accommodated on the day of the tour, if seats are available.

What is the tour cancellation policy?

  • All tickets are nonrefundable.
  • If you are unable to attend a tour as scheduled, please contact the Columbus Area Visitors Center prior to the tour start time to request a cancellation.
  • When you give us advance notice, we are able to rebook your reservation for later date/time, subject to availability. There are no additional fees for rebooking.
  • Cancelled reservations may be rebooked only up to one-year from the original reservation date.
  • Please note a reservation cannot be split.

Are tours offered all year round?

  • The Visitors Center operates guided tours year round.
  • April through November, we offer a variety of guided tours on Tuesday through Sunday.
  • December through March, we offer guided tours on Friday and Saturday.
  • Visit our online tour schedule (add link) to check availability for a specific day and to purchase tickets.

Are the tours handicapped accessible?

  • Accessibility varies from tour to tour because of the historic nature of some of the interiors.
  • To book wheelchair accessible reservations for the Architecture Highlights tour and Miller House and Garden tour, please call us at 812-378-2622 or 800-465-6564 a minimum of two to three weeks in advance to ensure an available spot and ensure wheelchair accessibility on the tour shuttles.
  • If you have other mobility concerns, please give us a call.

Are there any age limits? Can we bring our kids?

  • Each guided tour is different and therefore tour age limits vary. Self-guided walking tours for people of all ages are available in the gift shop.
  • The Architecture Highlights by Bus and Downtown Landmarks Walking tours are appropriate for adults and children of school age.
  • The Miller House and Garden tour is appropriate for adults and children age 10 and older; only children 10 and old are allowed on the tour. For additional details please see the Miller House and Garden FAQ section.
  • All tour guests must purchase a ticket on guided tours.

What should I wear? What should I bring?

  • Since a portion of all tours take place outside, we recommend wearing comfortable shoes and season appropriate clothing.
  • In terms of what to bring, depending on the seasons, we may recommend bringing sunscreen or an umbrella.
  • Generally, the fewer items you carry with you, the more comfortable you will be.

What about inclement weather?

  • Tours run rain or shine. Walking tours will be cancelled only if lightning occurs.

Are restrooms available along the tour?

  • Restrooms are available on the lower level of the Columbus Area Visitors Center.
  • There are no scheduled restroom stops on any of the tours and the Miller House does not have public restrooms.
  • We recommend using the Visitors Center facilities prior to the departure of your tour.

Are drinks allowed on tours?

  • Water in a resealable container is permitted on bus tours; open containers are discouraged on the bus and during interior portions of all bus and walking tours.
  • No drinks of any kind are allowed at the Miller House; however, you are welcome to leave your bottled water on the shuttle while at the property.

Do you allow photography on the tours?

  • Casual photography is welcome and guests are encouraged to take photos on tours, with the exception of the Miller House and Garden tour where photography is only allowed out of doors. See more at the Miller House and Garden FAQ section.

Is there parking available?

  • Yes, there is a complimentary parking in the lot at the Columbus Area Visitors Center.

Are pets allowed?

  • Certified service dogs are always welcome; pets are not permitted on tours.
  • Also, there is limited shade in our parking lot and pets should not be left in vehicles while guests are attending tours.

Is smoking allowed?

  • Smoking is not permitted near the Columbus Area Visitors Center.
  • Smoking is prohibited on the grounds of any of the tour sites and the Miller House and Garden.

Are there any restaurants nearby the Visitors Center?

  • Yes, located downtown and very nearby the Columbus Area Visitors Center, you’ll find a variety of restaurants.
  • Please see the Eat/Drink section on our website for a complete list of area restaurants.

Do you have a gift shop?

  • Yes, the gift shop is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5:00pm and Sunday from Noon to 5:00pm during our regular season from April through November.
  • From December through March the gift shop is closed on Sunday.

Do you offer gift certificates?

  • Yes! Gift certificates are available in our gift shop and because they can be used for tours or merchandise they make perfect gifts for holidays, birthdays or any other occasion!

Do you offer group tours?

  • Yes, in addition to offering tours to the general public, we also welcome larger groups.
  • To schedule a large group or private tour please contact Becky Harper at 812-378-2622.

Can we do a private tour?

  • Yes, private tours for large group and/or for specialty tours.
  • To schedule a large group or private tour please contact Becky Harper at 812-378-2622.

 

Miller House and Garden Tour Tips and FAQs

Do I need to buy tickets in advance?

  • Purchasing tickets in advance is strongly recommended, as space is limited on each tour.
  • Tours regularly fill to capacity and purchasing tickets in advance is strongly recommended to ensure a spot for the date and time you want.
  • Walk-ins are accommodated on the day of the tour, if seats are available.

How do I purchase tickets?

  • Ticketed reservations are made online at https://columbus.in.us/tour-options/
  • We take all major credit cards, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. Credit card fees are included in the ticket price when booked online.
  • If you use a wheelchair for mobility, please call 800-468-6564 or 812-378-2622 to make reservations. Please allow a minimum of two weeks in advance to make your reservation to ensure an available spot and wheelchair accessibility at the house and on the shuttle.
  • If you redeeming a gift certificate or tour voucher for your reservations please call 800-468-6564 or 812-378-2622.

When are the Miller House and Garden tours?

  • The Visitors Center operates Miller House and Garden tours year round.
  • April through November Miller House and Garden tours are offered on Tuesday through Sunday.
  • December through March Miller House and Garden tours are offered on Friday and Saturday.
  • Visit the online tour schedule to check availability for a specific day and to purchase tickets.

When should I arrive for my tour?

  • Please arrive 15 to 20 minutes before your scheduled tour at the Visitors Center (506 Fifth Street). This will allow you time to park, check in, visit the restroom, and meet your volunteer tour guide before your tour begins.

How long is the tour?

  • The complete tour experience takes approximately ninety minutes, including the shuttle ride and introductory video.

How much walking or standing will there be? Will I be able to sit down?

  • You will be standing or walking during the majority of the tour.

At the house there are 2 lightweight, portable stools available for use at the house during the tour on a first-come, first served basis.

  • To request one of the folding stools, we ask that guests please call the Columbus Area Visitors Center in advance.

Is the Miller House and Garden tour handicapped accessible?

  • Yes, and because of its historic nature, the property can present challenges to individuals with mobility concerns, but in most cases there are means available to ease possible difficulties.
  • In order for us to provide you with the best possible service, please let us know your needs approximately two weeks in advance by calling 812-378-2622. The shuttle to the house is equipped with a wheelchair lift.
  • The tour route through the house is all on one level, with no stairs or changes in elevation. There are minor variations at thresholds and points of transition from carpeted to uncarpeted surfaces.
  • Doorways in the house are narrow, averaging approximately 30” in width; one wheelchair accommodating these dimensions is available at the Miller House on a first come first serve basis.

Is photography allowed on the Miller House and Garden tour?

  • Outdoor photography is permitted and encouraged on the general tour (tag your photos with #MillerHouse and #ColumbusIN).
  • Photography inside the house is limited to a designated area to protect the fine furnishings and copyrighted items.
  • Your tour guide will apprise you of the guidelines either on the shuttle or upon arrival at the house.
  • More extensive photography is permitted on the Curator’s Tour and on the Photo Tour.

Anything else I should know about the tour?

  • COATS AND BAGS – Visitors must place coats and large bags in a shared closet inside the Miller House; no individual or lockable storage is available.
  • BACKPACK – The tour through the Miller House will include moving through some constrained spaces; backpacks are not permitted.
  • UMBRELLAS – Umbrellas are not permitted in the house; storage for umbrellas is provided.
  • COMFORT SEATING – A limited amount of lightweight, portable seating is available for use during the tour.
  • SURFACES – The tour will traverse hard-surface floors, carpeted areas, outdoor paved surfaces, and gravel-covered areas. Terrazzo terraces surround the house. These are smooth and become slippery when wet; please use caution. Comfortable shoes will make the tour easier and more enjoyable.

Can we explore the Miller House and Garden on our own or do we need to take a tour?

  • The Miller House and Garden is accessible only on a guided tour
  • The property is location in a residential neighborhood; no visitors can be received directly at the Miller property, whether arriving by vehicle or on foot.
  • Tours begin and end at the Columbus Area Visitors Center, located in downtown Columbus at 506 5th Street, Columbus, IN 47201.

How do I get to the Miller House and Gardens?

  • All tours depart from the Columbus Area Visitors Center, located at 506 5th Street and tour guests are transported to Miller House and Garden via shuttle as a part of the tour.

Can I leave the Miller House and Garden tour early?

  • Guests are shuttled from the Columbus Area Visitors Center to the Miller House, so guests will not be able to leave during the tour.

Are private and group tours of the Miller House and Garden available?

  • Yes and because tours are limited to 13 persons, groups seeking to accommodate larger numbers may contact Becky Harper with the Columbus Area Visitors Center. See more information about Private and Group Tour Options.

GENERAL ARCHITECTURE

Does Columbus have any Frank Lloyd Wright buildings?

  • Good question. The Columbus Architecture Program was just getting underway in 1957 with the building of Schmitt School, and Frank Lloyd Wright was near the end of his career (Wright died in 1959). However, the story goes that Frank Lloyd Wright was being considered as architect for First Christian Church when it was in its planning stages in the late 1930s, until church leaders learned of his relationship with Mamah Borthwick Cheney.
  • On the other hand, if you are a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, be sure to make a stop at the Columbus Regional Hospital, and go inside. Robert A.M. Stern’s design references Wright’s style in Stern’s own stunning manner.

How many architects have worked in Columbus?

  • Many more than you would imagine for such a small city. See the complete list of architects. 

OTHER GOOD QUESTIONS!

Where can a person park a forty-foot RV within walking distance to the Visitors Center and downtown attractions?

  • The Mill Race Park parking lot off of Lindsey Street – see the parking guide

Is Columbus a good place to settle down and retire?