THE COLUMBUS AREA VISITORS GUIDE
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COLUMBUS VISITORS GUIDE
COLUMBUS, INDIANA : UNEXPECTED, UNFORGETTABLE
EVERY BRICK TELLS A STORY
- Visit a one-of-a-kind community that embraced the future and chose architecture as the way to express its optimism. It’s a place where every brick tells a story. Since the early 1940s, some of the world’s finest architects have left their impressions on this special place. This small, friendly town is a virtual museum of modern architecture with works by some of the most enduring names in architecture, like I.M. Pei, Richard Meier, Robert Venturi, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Harry Weese, and Deborah Berke, just to name a few.
- Not into architecture? You’ll still find inspiration in this community’s bold resolve to create a city that is both beautiful and livable.
IN THE TOP TWENTY . . . IN THE WORLD
- National Geographic Traveler’s “109 Destinations Rated” issue ranks Columbus 11th on its list of historic destinations worldwide and describes Columbus as “a world-class collection of modern architecture by master architects . . . it is authentic, unique, and unspoiled . . . this town is truly part of America’s architectural heritage.”
RANKED 6TH IN NATION FOR ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN
- Selected by a poll of members of the American Institute of Architects
2 New York
3 San Francisco
5 Washington, D.C.
6 COLUMBUS, INDIANA
A TOWN LIKE NO OTHER
- “Columbus is a creative community that truly gets it.” (Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class)
- “As I neared Columbus, I perked up, knowing that I was close to something that is unmatched in small-town America.” (Los Angeles Times)
- “Columbus is a small-town architectural mecca.” (Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin)
- “Columbus is authentic, unique, and unspoiled.” (National Geographic Traveler)
AS SEEN IN…
- The Columbus story has been featured in Architectural Digest, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Travel+Leisure, USA Today, Time, Smithsonian, National Geographic, Dwell, Wallpaper, Preservation, Midwest Living, Elle Decor, The Washington Post, and more.
THERE’S AN ENERGY HERE
- Instantly, you’ll notice there’s something different about this place. Whether you are exploring the rural reaches of Bartholomew County, or in the city of Columbus, you’ll sense there’s something different here, a special kind of energy. You’ll notice the sleek, striking lines of schools, libraries, churches, office buildings and fire stations.
- The architecture is stunning, but it is merely a symbol of the community spirit and collective energy of the people who choose to live here. Early residents made a decision to strive for excellence when they commissioned the stunning Bartholomew County Courthouse. Courthouses are commonplace, but there’s none finer than this old beauty. This outstanding building established a legacy for all the public buildings that followed.
- Start your visit at the Columbus Area Visitors Center in downtown Columbus. See a video, exhibits, and the Chihuly glass chandelier. Find answers to all your questions, enjoy shopping in the large gift shop, and learn about the variety of tour options available.
- IMPORTANT, PLEASE NOTE that reservations are needed to guarantee a seat. Tours often fill to capacity. Please arrive 30 minutes in advance of the tour to check in and view an introductory video.
MILLER HOUSE AND GARDEN TOURS
- The Columbus Area Visitors Center offers guided one-hour tours of one of the country’s most highly regarded examples of mid-century Modernist residences, designed by Eero Saarinen, interiors by Alexander Girard, and landscaping by Dan Kiley. Designated a National Historic Landmark, and donated to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the house epitomizes the international Modernist aesthetic, with an open and flowing layout, flat roof, and vast stone and glass walls.
- The Miller House and Garden is maintained and cared for by The Indianapolis Museum of Art. Tours at Miller House and Garden are made possible through the Columbus Area Visitors Center.
GUIDED ARCHITECTURE TOURS
- The Columbus Area Visitors Center offers guided two-hour city tours on a spacious bus. See historic and modern buildings and four National Historic Landmarks, and hear the colorful stories of the people who shaped the community. Go HERE to book a tour.
TOUR BY CELL PHONE
- See the town on your own schedule, use a colorful guide and your cell phone to listen to recorded messages that describe the buildings and public art and their stories in the downtown. Available for purchase in the Gift Shop. Go HERE for more tour information.
FUN FOR ALL AGES
- Enjoy the indoor playground at the new Commons, featuring the 40-foot-high Luckey Climber. Visit kidscommons, a three-story museum where kids can climb, make giant bubbles, and zoom down the giant toilet slide. Step back in time at Zaharakos, a restored Victorian ice cream parlor and museum.
- Explore more than 40 pieces of public art, including works by Dale Chihuly, Henry Moore, Jean Tinguely, Rudolph de Harak, Robert Indiana, and Dessa Kirk. Enjoy award-winning landscape designs by famed designers that soften the modern edges.
- See blocks of shady trees, bountiful flowering pots, and surprising pocket and alleyway gardens.
- Shop the thriving seasonal farm stands and downtown farmer ’s market.
- Canoe, raft, or kayak the Driftwood River.Walk or ride 20 miles of people trails and discover unique parks.
A GOLFER’S DESTINATION
- Play the 27-hole Otter Creek Golf Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones and Rees Jones, and voted among the best public courses in the nation. Then, nearby try links-style golf at Timbergate Golf Course, the unique course designed by Indiana-native Fuzzy Zoeller.
A SHOPPER’S DESTINATION
- Edinburgh Premium Outlets draws shoppers from hundreds of miles.
- Right next door, at Exit 76 Antique Mall, you can explore unexpected treasures at Indiana’s largest antique mall. Nearby, you’ll find independent, one-of-a kind shops.