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Discover the Charm: Your Ultimate Columbus Indiana City Guide

Welcome to Columbus, Indiana, a hidden treasure where modern architectural wonders meet the serene beauty of nature.

Fondly known as the “Athens on the Prairie,” this Midwestern haven is a delightful blend of sights and experiences.

The People Trails are my go-to for a breath of fresh air, a perfect backdrop for reflecting and finding inspiration. It’s also great to admire their designs and stroll around the awe-inspiring North Christian Church and First Christian Church. And let’s not forget the tantalizing local cuisine that always adds a special touch to my day. Plus, the community events here? They’re vibrant and full of life, just like our town. And when I feel like exploring further, Indianapolis and Louisville are just a short drive away, offering even more adventures.

If you’re planning to visit or just curious about this charming city, check out our Columbus, Indiana City Guide. It’s packed with insider tips and personal favorites I can’t wait to share!

Naomi xx

What you need to know

  • Explore Columbus’ architectural wonders, such as the North Christian Church and First Christian Church.

  • Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, fishing and biking trails in the city’s People Trails or East Fork White River.

  • Sample local flavors through restaurants downtown or unique culinary experiences while engaging with community events like Discover Columbus Festival & Discover Columbus Shopping & Dining event.

  • Columbus, IN, is conveniently located to explore nearby cities Indianapolis & Louisville.

Exploring Architectural Wonders

Discover the charm of Columbus, Ohio with this detailed map.

Entering Columbus, Indiana, you’ll immediately notice the striking modern architecture. This fascinating city, dubbed “Athens on the Prairie,” is home to seven historic landmarks, including the awe-inspiring North Christian Church and First Christian Church. With such an array of architectural masterpieces at every turn, it’s no wonder Columbus has been recognized as a mecca for design enthusiasts.

Visit the North Christian Church, a design masterpiece by Eero Saarinen, and the First Christian Church, which showcases the creative brilliance of Eliel Saarinen. Both churches exemplify Columbus’s dedication to preserving its rich architectural history.

North Christian Church

The North Christian Church, designed by the renowned architect Eero Saarinen, is a true modernist masterpiece. Established in 1955, this iconic structure has been a cornerstone of Columbus’s architectural legacy for decades. Saarinen’s unique hexagonal design, sweeping curved roof, and natural light create an atmosphere of serenity and harmony within the church.

This stunning building enriches Columbus’s architectural landscape and holds a special place in the heart of the community. As one of the city’s Modernist landmarks, North Christian Church has received support from the National Fund for Sacred Places, guaranteeing its preservation and ongoing importance to Columbus’s architectural heritage.

First Christian Church

Another shining example of Columbus’s architectural prowess is the First Christian Church, a historic landmark showcasing the beauty of modern architecture. Designed by Eliel Saarinen, this remarkable edifice occupies an entire city block and features glass walls, along with:

  • A sanctuary

  • A chapel

  • A classroom area

  • A tower

Constructed in the modernist style, the First Christian Church is a testament to the evolving architectural vision of Eliel and Eero Saarinen. Its distinct design and contribution to Columbus’s architectural legacy have earned it among its most treasured landmarks.

Embracing the Great Outdoors

Columbus’s natural beauty is not to be overlooked. The city offers many outdoor activities for those seeking adventure or simply hoping to unwind in the great outdoors. From the extensive network of People Trails to the serene East Fork White River and the majestic Brown County State Park, there’s no shortage of opportunities to explore and enjoy nature in and around Columbus.

Whether you’re an avid hiker, a fishing enthusiast, or just looking to enjoy a stroll, Columbus offers a variety of outdoor experiences that cater to all interests and skill levels. Some options include:

  • Putting on your walking shoes and exploring the numerous parks and trails in the city

  • Take your fishing gear and cast a line in one of the many lakes and rivers in the area

  • Riding your bike and exploring the scenic bike paths and trails throughout the city

These activities allow you to experience the natural wonders of Columbus and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.

People Trails

The People Trails in Columbus, Indiana, are a network of over 30 miles of walking and biking paths that weave throughout the city. These trails offer a unique way to explore Columbus and its surrounding flatlands, providing a safe and enjoyable space for exercising and connecting with nature.

Notable landmarks and points of interest along the People Trails include:

  • Franklinton Arts District

  • COSI

  • The National Veterans Memorial and Museum

  • Various museums, theaters, and parks

With an array of attractions, the People Trails cater to all, making them a favored choice for both residents and visitors.

East Fork White River

The East Fork White River, flowing through Columbus’s heart, presents a range of recreational activities for nature lovers. Whether you’re looking to cast a line, navigate the river by kayak, or enjoy the scenic beauty, the East Fork White River provides the perfect setting for outdoor adventure.

In addition to fishing, kayaking, and canoeing, the East Fork White River is also home to a diverse array of wildlife, making it an ideal spot for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. With its breathtaking views and abundant natural resources, the East Fork White River is truly a gem within Columbus’s city limits.

Brown County State Park

Just a short drive from Columbus, Brown County State Park offers nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts a heavily forested oasis. As the largest state park in Indiana, Brown County State Park boasts over 15,000 acres of stunning landscapes, providing ample opportunities for hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing.

The park features a variety of amenities, including:

  • Cabins

  • A restaurant

  • An aquatic center

  • Swimming pools

  • A saddle barn for guided horse rides

With its varied activities and scenic beauty, Brown County State Park is an ideal destination for those seeking a break from city life in a swampy valley.

Savoring Local Flavors

Columbus, Indiana, prides itself on a varied culinary scene that satisfies all tastes and preferences. From mouthwatering downtown eateries to unique dining experiences, the city’s vibrant food culture will satisfy even the most discerning palate.

Whether you’re in the mood for Vietnamese delights at Pho Shiki, a hearty grinder from Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders, or want to explore the myriad dining options in downtown Columbus, there’s no shortage of delectable dishes to discover.

Downtown Columbus Dining

Downtown Columbus is a veritable smorgasbord of restaurants and cafes catering to various tastes and preferences. From casual eateries to upscale dining establishments, there’s something to suit every palate and budget.

Some highly-regarded restaurants in downtown Columbus include Ye Olde Fish House, an iconic seafood joint, and Lucabe, a speciality coffee shop perfect for a midday pick-me-up. With such diverse dining options, downtown Columbus will satisfy your culinary cravings.

Unique Culinary Experiences

Columbus is home to unique culinary experiences that are not to be missed. Pho Shiki, a popular local eatery, offers a delightful fusion of Vietnamese and Japanese cuisines, featuring dishes such as salmon nigiri, spring rolls, and a steaming bowl of pho.

Another standout dining option is Mancino’s Pizza & Grinders, renowned for its premium quality meats and freshly baked rolls. With a selection of delectable sandwiches and pizzas, Mancino’s is the perfect spot for a quick lunch or a satisfying dinner. The laid-back atmosphere only adds to the overall dining experience.

Engaging in Community Events

Columbus, Indiana, hosts various community events that unite residents and visitors to celebrate the city’s rich history, culture, and artistic achievements. From the annual Columbus Festival to the Discover Columbus shopping and dining event, there’s always something happening in this vibrant community.

Joining these events allows you to interact with locals and experience Columbus’s spirit and supports local artists, businesses, and community organizations that shape the city’s unique cultural identity.

Columbus Festival

The Columbus Festival is an annual event that celebrates the city’s rich artistic, architectural, and cultural heritage. The festival includes:

  • Columbus Arts Festival

  • Stonewall Columbus Pride

  • Juneteenth Ohio Festival

  • and many more

The festival, taking place near the iconic Stewart Bridge, offers diverse activities, performances, and public art to suit all interests.

In addition to showcasing the works of local and regional artists, the Columbus Festival also highlights the city’s architectural landmarks, such as the North Christian Church and First Christian Church. With its varied and captivating program, attending the Columbus Festival is necessary for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the city’s unique artistic and cultural offerings.

Discover Columbus

Discover Columbus is a shopping and dining event in the city’s bustling downtown area. The event offers a unique opportunity for visitors to explore the city’s vibrant retail scene while sampling the diverse culinary offerings from local restaurants.

Discover Columbus offers a shopping experience to suit all tastes and budgets, ranging from high-end national brands to locally-owned boutiques. With a wide array of dining options, from eclectic eateries to international restaurants, there’s no shortage of delicious dishes to tempt your taste buds during this lively event.

Conveniently Located for Exploration

A significant advantage of visiting Columbus, Indiana, is its proximity to key cities like Indianapolis and Louisville. This makes Columbus an ideal base for exploring the wider region, providing easy access to many attractions and activities just a short drive away.

Whether you’re looking to soak in the sights and sounds of Indianapolis or venture further afield to the bustling city of Louisville, Columbus’s prime location makes it easy to experience the best of what the Midwest has to offer.


A mere hour’s drive from Columbus, the bustling city of Indianapolis provides a plethora of attractions and activities for all interests. Some of the highlights include:

  • The sprawling White River State Park

  • The renowned Indianapolis Zoo

  • The fascinating Indianapolis Museum of Art

  • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

There’s no shortage of exciting experiences waiting to be discovered in Indianapolis, including a visit to the historical site of General John Tipton.

Thanks to convenient transport options from Columbus, including bus services, day trips to Indianapolis are accessible, allowing you to experience everything this bustling city provides.


Louisville, Kentucky, is another nearby city that’s well worth a visit. Just a short drive from Columbus, Louisville offers many attractions and activities for visitors, including the iconic Churchill Downs, the Muhammad Ali Center, and the Kentucky Derby Museum.

The quickest route from Columbus to Louisville is via I-65 South, making the journey simple and convenient for those eager to experience the region’s offerings.

Living in Columbus

Columbus, Indiana, provides a cozy and inviting atmosphere for residents and visitors in the Columbus area. Living in Columbus is pleasant and convenient, with diverse housing options, including Quail Run Apartments, and access to resources from Indiana University and Bartholomew County.

Whether you’re seeking educational opportunities or employment possibilities or simply looking for a vibrant community to call home, Columbus, Indiana, has something to offer everyone.

Quail Run Apartments

Quail Run Apartments provides a comfortable living experience in Columbus, Indiana, with amenities designed to make residents feel right at home. Some of the amenities include:

  • Sparkling swimming pool

  • Fitness center

  • Welcoming clubhouse

  • Laundry facilities

Quail Run Apartments, located near the nearest commercial airport, offers a little something for everyone.

With various floor plans available to suit any requirement, Quail Run Apartments is an excellent choice for those looking to make Columbus their home. Unfortunately, the pet policy for Quail Run Apartments couldn’t be located, but the complex could provide this information upon inquiry.

Indiana University and Bartholomew County Resources

In addition to comfortable housing options and a favorable capita income, Columbus is also home to Indiana University and Bartholomew County, both of which offer valuable resources for education, employment, and community involvement. From access to top-tier academic programs to job opportunities in various industries, the resources provided by these institutions play a critical role in enhancing the quality of life for Columbus residents.

Whether you’re a student pursuing a top-tier education or a professional aiming to progress your career, Columbus, Indiana, provides numerous resources to assist you in achieving your goals and flourishing in this lively community.

Local Businesses

There are many local businesses in Columbus, Indiana – including my own studio!

Boudoir by Naomi

624 3rd St STE 202, Columbus, IN 47201, United States


Columbus, Indiana, is a city that enchants visitors and residents with its stunning architecture, picturesque natural landscapes, and vibrant culinary scene. From the awe-inspiring designs of North Christian Church and First Christian Church to the serene beauty of the People Trails and East Fork White River, Columbus offers a unique blend of experiences that will leave a lasting impression. So why not embark on a journey to discover the charm of Columbus, Indiana, and experience all this delightful city offers?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Columbus Indiana worth visiting?

Columbus, Indiana, is an architectural haven and worth visiting. With over 90 buildings and public art pieces, the city offers an impressive variety of international artists and architecture. An architectural tour can help get an overview of this exciting area.

What’s it like to live in Columbus Indiana?

Columbus, Indiana, offers its residents an enjoyable living experience, with a population of nearly 82,000, an average commute time of 19.5 minutes, and a median home price of $270,038. It also has a dense suburban feel, many parks, and low unemployment.

What is the nickname for Columbus Indiana?

Columbus, Indiana, is affectionately known as “Athens on the Prairie” for its contemporary architecture and public sculpture collection, including Henry Moore’s “Large Arch”.

Is Columbus Indiana a town or city?

Columbus, Indiana, has a population of 50,000, making it the 20th largest city in the state. It is located in Bartholomew County and is the county seat on the East Fork White River 43 miles south of Indianapolis. Columbus offers residents a dense suburban feel; most own their homes, with numerous parks for leisure activities.

What is the driving distance from Columbus, Indiana, to Indianapolis and Louisville?

The driving distance from Columbus, Indiana, to Indianapolis, is 175 miles and takes 2 hours and 47 minutes, while the driving distance to Louisville is 207 miles and takes 3 hours and 40 minutes.

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