Columbus, Ohio facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
|City of Columbus|
The Discovery City, Arch City, Indie Art Capital, Cowtown, The Biggest Small Town in America, Cbus
Location in Franklin County
Location in the state of Ohio, US
|Counties||Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin|
|Settled||February 14, 1812|
|Named for||Christopher Columbus|
|• City||223.11 sq mi (577.85 km2)|
|• Land||217.17 sq mi (562.47 km2)|
|• Water||5.94 sq mi (15.38 km2)|
|Elevation||902 ft (275 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Rank||US: 15th|
|• Density||3,624.0/sq mi (1,399.2/km2)|
|• Urban||1,368,035 (US: 36th)|
|• Metro||2,021,632 (US: 32nd)|
|• CSA||2,424,831 (US: 25th)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|Area code(s)||614, 380|
|GNIS feature ID||1080996|
|Website||City of Columbus|
Columbus ( kə-LUM-bəs) is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Ohio. It is the 15th largest city in the United States, with a population of 850,106 as of 2015 estimates. This makes Columbus the fourth most populous state capital in the United States, and the third largest city in the Midwestern United States. It is the core city of the Columbus, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses a ten county area. With a population of 2,021,632, it is Ohio's third largest metropolitan area.
Columbus is the county seat of Franklin County. The city proper has also expanded and annexed portions of adjoining Delaware County and Fairfield County. Named for explorer Christopher Columbus, the city was founded in 1812 at the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and assumed the functions of state capital in 1816.
The city has a diverse economy based on education, government, insurance, banking, fashion, defense, aviation, food, clothes, logistics, steel, energy, medical research, health care, hospitality, retail, and technology. Columbus is home to the Battelle Memorial Institute, the world's largest private research and development foundation; Chemical Abstracts Service, the world's largest clearinghouse of chemical information; NetJets, the world's largest fractional ownership jet aircraft fleet; and The Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in the United States. As of 2013[update], the city has the headquarters of five corporations in the U.S. Fortune 500: Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, American Electric Power, L Brands, Big Lots, and Cardinal Health. The food service corporations Wendy's, Donatos Pizza, Bob Evans, Max & Erma's and White Castle along with nationally known companies Red Roof Inn, Rogue Fitness and Safelite are also based in the Columbus, Ohio metropolitan area.
In 2012, Columbus was ranked in BusinessWeek's 50 best cities in America. In 2013, Forbes gave Columbus an "A" rating as one of the top cities for business in the U.S., and later that year included the city on its list of Best Places for Business and Careers. Columbus was also ranked as the no. 1 up-and-coming tech city in the nation by Forbes in 2008, and the city was ranked a top ten city by Relocate America in 2010. In 2007, fDi Magazine ranked the city no. 3 in the U.S. for cities of the future, and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was rated no. 1 in 2009 by USA Travel Guide.
- Parks and attractions
- Sister cities
- Images for kids
- See also: Timeline of Columbus, Ohio
The area including modern-day Columbus once comprised the Ohio Country, under the nominal control of the French colonial empire through the Viceroyalty of New France from 1663 until 1763. In the 18th century European traders flocked to the area, attracted by the fur trade.
The area found itself frequently caught between warring factions, including American Indian and European interests. In the 1740s, Pennsylvania traders overran the territory until the French forcibly evicted them. In the early 1750s the Ohio Company sent George Washington to the Ohio Country to survey. Fighting for control of the territory in the French and Indian War (1754-1763) became part of the international Seven Years' War (1756-1763). During this period the region routinely suffered turmoil, massacres and battles. The 1763 Treaty of Paris ceded the Ohio Country to the British Empire.
Virginia Military District
After the American Revolution, the Ohio Country became part of the Virginia Military District, under the control of the United States. Colonists from the East Coast moved in, but rather than finding an empty frontier, they encountered people of the Miami, Delaware, Wyandot, Shawnee, and Mingo nations, as well as European traders. The tribes resisted expansion by the fledgling United States, leading to years of bitter conflict. The decisive Battle of Fallen Timbers resulted in the Treaty of Greenville, which finally opened the way for new settlements. By 1797, a young surveyor from Virginia named Lucas Sullivant had founded a permanent settlement on the west bank of the forks of the Scioto River and Olentangy River. An admirer of Benjamin Franklin, Sullivant chose to name his frontier village "Franklinton". The location was desirable for its proximity to navigable rivers—but Sullivant was initially foiled when, in 1798, a large flood wiped out the new settlement. He persevered, and the village was rebuilt.
After Ohio achieved statehood in 1803, political infighting among prominent Ohio leaders led to the state capital moving from Chillicothe to Zanesville and back again. The State legislature decided a new capital city in the state's center was a necessary compromise. They chose Columbus because of its central location and proximity to major transportation routes (primarily rivers). The legislature chose it as the capital over a number of other competitors, including Franklinton, Dublin, Worthington, and Delaware. Prior to the state legislature's decision in 1812, Columbus did not exist. The city was designed to be the state capital. Named in honor of Christopher Columbus, the capital city was founded on February 14, 1812, on the "High Banks opposite Franklinton at the Forks of the Scioto most known as Wolf's Ridge." At the time, this area was a dense forestland, used only as a hunting ground.
The "Burough of Columbus" [sic] was officially established on February 10, 1816. Nine people were elected to fill the various positions of Mayor, Treasurer, and several others. Although the recent War of 1812 had brought prosperity to the area, the subsequent recession and conflicting claims to the land threatened the new town's success. Early conditions were abysmal with frequent bouts of fevers and an outbreak of cholera in 1833.
The National Road reached Columbus from Baltimore in 1831, which complemented the city's new link to the Ohio and Erie Canal and facilitated a population boom. A wave of European immigrants led to the creation of two ethnic enclaves on the city's outskirts. A large Irish population settled in the north along Naghten Street (presently Nationwide Boulevard), while the Germans took advantage of the cheap land to the south, creating a community that came to be known as the Das Alte Südende (The Old South End). Columbus's German population constructed numerous breweries, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and Capital University.
With a population of 3,500, Columbus was officially chartered as a city on March 3, 1834. On that day the legislature carried out a special act, which granted legislative authority to the city council and judicial authority to the mayor. Elections were held in April of that year, with voters choosing one John Brooks as the first mayor. Columbus annexed the then-separate city of Franklinton in 1837.
In 1850, the Columbus and Xenia Railroad became the first railroad into the city, followed by the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad in 1851. The two railroads built a joint Union Station on the east side of High Street just north of Naghten (then called North Public Lane). Rail traffic into Columbus increased—by 1875, eight railroads served Columbus, and the rail companies built a new, more elaborate station.
On January 7, 1857, the Ohio Statehouse finally opened after 18 years of construction.
Before the abolition of slavery in the South in 1863, the Underground Railroad was active in Columbus; led, in part, by James Preston Poindexter. Poindexter arrived in Columbus in the 1830s and became a Baptist Preacher and leader in the city's African-American community until the turn of the century.
During the Civil War, Columbus was a major base for the volunteer Union Army. It housed 26,000 troops and held up to 9,000 Confederate prisoners of war at Camp Chase, at what is now the Hilltop neighborhood of west Columbus. Over 2,000 Confederate soldiers remain buried at the site, making it one of the North's largest Confederate cemeteries. North of Columbus, along the Delaware Road, the Regular Army established Camp Thomas, where the 18th U.S. Infantry organized and trained.
By virtue of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act, the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College (which became The Ohio State University) founded in 1870 on the former estate of William and Hannah Neil.
By the end of the 19th century, Columbus was home to several major manufacturing businesses. The city became known as the "Buggy Capital of the World," thanks to the two dozen buggy factories—notably the Columbus Buggy Company, founded in 1875 by C.D. Firestone. The Columbus Consolidated Brewing Company also rose to prominence during this time, and might have achieved even greater success were it not for the Anti-Saloon League in neighboring Westerville. In the steel industry, a forward-thinking man named Samuel P. Bush presided over the Buckeye Steel Castings Company. Columbus was also a popular location for labor organizations. In 1886, Samuel Gompers founded the American Federation of Labor in Druid's Hall on S. Fourth Street, and in 1890 the United Mine Workers of America was founded at old City Hall. In 1894, James Thurber, who would go on to an illustrious literary career in Paris and New York City, was born in the city. Today the Ohio State's theater department has a performance center named in his honor, and his youthful home near the Discovery District is on the National Register of Historic Places.
20th century to the present
"The Columbus Experiment" was an internationally recognized environmental project in 1908, which involved construction of the first water plant in the world to apply filtration and softening, designed and invented by two brothers, Clarence and Charles Hoover. Those working to construct the project included Jeremiah O'Shaughnessy, name-bearer of the Columbus metropolitan area's O'Shaughnessy Dam. This invention helped drastically reduce typhoid deaths. The essential design is still used today.
Columbus earned one of its nicknames, The Arch City, because of the dozens of wooden arches that spanned High Street at the turn of the 20th century. The arches illuminated the thoroughfare and eventually became the means by which electric power was provided to the new streetcars. The city tore down the arches and replaced them with cluster lights in 1914 but reconstructed them from metal in the Short North district in 2002 for their unique historical interest.
On March 25, 1913, the Great Flood of 1913 devastated the neighborhood of Franklinton, leaving over ninety people dead and thousands of West Side residents homeless. To prevent flooding, the Army Corps of Engineers recommended widening the Scioto River through downtown, constructing new bridges, and building a retaining wall along its banks. With the strength of the post-World War I economy, a construction boom occurred in the 1920s, resulting in a new Civic center, the Ohio Theatre, the American Insurance Union Citadel, and, to the north, a massive new Ohio Stadium. Although the American Professional Football Association was founded in Canton in 1920, its head offices moved to Columbus in 1921 to the New Hayden Building and remained in the city until 1941. In 1922, the association's name was changed to the National Football League. A decade later, in 1931, at a convention in the city, the Jehovah's Witnesses took that name by which they are known today.
The effects of the Great Depression were somewhat less severe in Columbus, as the city's diversified economy helped it fare marginally better than its Rust Belt neighbors. World War II brought a tremendous number of new jobs, and with it another population surge. This time, the majority of new arrivals were migrants from the "extraordinarily depressed rural areas" of Appalachia, who would soon account for more than a third of Columbus's rising population. In 1948, the Town and Country Shopping Center opened in suburban Whitehall, and it is now regarded as one of the first modern shopping centers in the United States.
The construction of the interstate highway signaled the arrival of rapid suburb development in central Ohio. To protect the city's tax base from this suburbanization, Columbus adopted a policy of linking sewer and water hookups to annexation to the city. By the early 1990s, Columbus had grown to become Ohio's largest city in land area and in population.
Efforts to revitalize downtown Columbus have had some success in recent decades, though like most major American cities, some architectural heritage was lost in the process. In the 1970s, landmarks such as Union Station and the Neil House Hotel were razed to construct high-rise offices and big retail space. The National City Bank building was constructed in 1977, as well as the Nationwide Plazas and other towers that sprouted during this period. The construction of the Greater Columbus Convention Center has brought major conventions and trade shows to the city. The Scioto Mile is a showcase park being developed along the riverfront, an area that already had the Miranova Corporate Center and The Condominiums at North Bank Park. Corporate interests have developed Capitol Square, including the local NBC affiliate at the corner of Broad and High.
The 2010 United States foreclosure crisis forced the city to purchase numerous foreclosed, vacant properties to renovate or demolish them–at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. As of February 2011, Columbus had 6,117 vacant properties, according to city officials.
In 1907, 14-year-old Cromwell Dixon built the SkyCycle, a pedal-powered blimp, which he flew at Driving Park. Three years later, one of the Wright Brothers' exhibition pilots, Phillip Parmalee, conducted the world's first commercial cargo flight when he flew two packages containing 88 kilograms of silk 70 miles (110 km) from Dayton to Columbus in a Wright Model B.
Military aviators from Columbus distinguished themselves during World War I. Six Columbus pilots, led by top ace Eddie Rickenbacker, achieved forty-two "kills" – a full 10% of all US aerial victories in the war, and more than the aviators of any other American city.
After the war, Port Columbus Airport became the axis of a coordinated rail-to-air transcontinental system that moved passengers from the East Coast to the West. TAT, which later became TWA, provided commercial service, following Charles Lindbergh's promotion of Columbus to the nation for such a hub. Following the failure of a bond levy in 1927 to build the airport, Lindbergh campaigned in the city in 1928, and the next bond levy passed that year. On July 8, 1929 the airport opened for business with the inaugural TAT west-bound flight from Columbus to Waynoka, Oklahoma. Among the 19 passengers on that flight was Amelia Earhart, with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone attending the opening ceremonies.
In 1964, Ohio native Geraldine Fredritz Mock became the first woman to fly around the world, leaving from Columbus and piloting the Spirit of Columbus. Her flight lasted nearly a month, and set a record for speed for planes under 3,858 pounds (1,750 kg).
The confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers occurs just north-west of Downtown Columbus. Several smaller tributaries course through the Columbus metropolitan area, including Alum Creek, Big Walnut Creek, and Darby Creek. Columbus is considered to have relatively flat topography thanks to a large glacier that covered most of Ohio during the Wisconsin Ice Age. However, there are sizable differences in elevation through the area, with the high point of Franklin County being 1,132 ft (345 m) above sea level near New Albany, and the low point being 670 ft (200 m) where the Scioto River leaves the county near Lockbourne. Numerous ravines near the rivers and creeks also add variety to the landscape. Tributaries to Alum Creek and the Olentangy River cut through shale, while tributaries to the Scioto River cut through limestone.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 223.11 square miles (577.85 km2), of which 217.17 square miles (562.47 km2) is land and 5.94 square miles (15.38 km2) is water.
The city's climate is humid continental (Köppen climate classification Dfa) transitional with the humid subtropical climate to the south characterized by hot, muggy summers and cold, dry winters. Columbus is within USDA hardiness zone 6a. Winter snowfall is relatively light, since the city is not in the typical path of strong winter lows, such as the Nor'easters that strike cities farther east. It is also too far south and west for lake-effect snow from Lake Erie to have much effect, although the lakes to the North do contribute to long stretches of cloudy spells in winter.
The highest temperature ever recorded in Columbus was 106 °F (41 °C), which occurred twice during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s—once on July 21, 1934, and again on July 14, 1936. The lowest temperature ever recorded was −22 °F (−30 °C), occurring on January 19, 1994. (wind chill was −63 °F (−53 °C)). Columbus is subject to severe weather typical to the Midwestern United States. Severe thunderstorms can bring lightning, large hail and on rare occasion tornadoes, especially during the spring and sometimes through fall. A tornado which occurred on October 11, 2006 caused F2 damage. Floods, blizzards, and ice storms can also occur from time to time.
|Climate data for Columbus, Ohio (Port Columbus Int'l), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1878–present|
|Record high °F (°C)||74
|Average high °F (°C)||36.5
|Average low °F (°C)||22.6
|Record low °F (°C)||−22
|Precipitation inches (mm)||2.73
|Snowfall inches (cm)||9.2
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||14.0||11.4||12.8||13.7||13.9||11.2||10.6||9.2||8.4||9.4||11.4||13.2||139.2|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||9.1||6.6||4.5||1.2||0||0||0||0||0||0.1||1.8||6.5||29.8|
|Source: NOAA (sun 1961–1990)|
|U.S. Decennial Census
|Black or African American||28.0%||22.6%||18.5%||12.4%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||5.6%||1.1%||0.6%||n/a|
In 1900, whites made up 93.4% of the population. Though European immigration has been on a decline, the Columbus metropolitan area has recently experienced increases in African, Asian, and Latin American immigration, including groups from Mexico, India, Somalia, and China. Although the Asian population is diverse, the city's Hispanic community is mainly made up of Mexicans, though there is a notable Puerto Rican population as well. Many other countries of origin are represented in lesser numbers, largely due to the international draw of The Ohio State University. 2008 estimates indicate that roughly 116,000 of the city's residents are foreign-born, accounting for 82% of the new residents between 2000–2006 at a rate of 105 per week. 40% of the immigrants came from Asia, 23% from Africa, 22% from Latin America, and 13% from Europe. The city had the second largest Somali and Somali American population in the country, as of 2004.
Columbus was ranked as the 15th most literate city in the country in 2008 by Central Connecticut State University, and the 19th best educated. In 2006, Columbus was ranked by CNN Money as the 8th best big city in the country to live in. In 2012, Columbus was ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek as America's 20th Best City, the highest-ranked city in Ohio.
In 2010, the city was ranked as the second most manly city in the country by Sperling's BestPlaces, up from number 7 in 2009. Also, that same year, the Dole Nutrition Institute named Columbus as a top city for salad consumption.
In 2013, the Intelligent Communities Forum named Columbus the most intelligent city in the United States.
Parks and attractions
The Columbus and Franklin County Metropolitan Park District includes Inniswood Metro Gardens, a collection of public gardens; Highbanks Metro Park; Battelle-Darby Creek Metro Park; as well as many others. The Big Darby Creek in the southwestern part of town is considered to be especially significant for its beauty and ecological diversity. Clintonville is home to Whetstone Park, which includes the Park of Roses, a beautiful 13-acre (5.3 ha) rose garden. The Chadwick Arboretum is located on the OSU campus, and features a large and varied collection of plants. Downtown, the famous painting Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is represented in topiary at Columbus's Old Deaf School Park. Also near downtown, a new Metro Park on the Whittier Peninsula opened in 2009. The park includes a large Audubon nature center focused on the excellent bird watching that the area is known for.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is world-renowned for its collections that include lowland gorillas, polar bears, manatees, Siberian tigers, cheetahs, and kangaroos. Its director emeritus, Jack Hanna, frequently appears on national television, including on The Tonight Show and the Late Show with David Letterman. In 2009, it was ranked as the best zoo in the United States. Also in the zoo complex is the Zoombezi Bay water park and amusement park.
Fairs and festivals
Annual festivities in Columbus include the Ohio State Fair—one of the largest state fairs in the country—as well as the Columbus Arts festival and the Jazz and Ribs Festival, both of which occur on the downtown riverfront.
June is a popular festival month in Columbus. During the first weekend in June, the bars of Columbus's trendy North Market District play host to Park Street Festival. The event attracts thousands of visitors from the surrounding neighborhoods and beyond, creating a massive party both inside the bars and on the street. The second to last weekend in June is one of the largest gay pride parades in the Midwest, reflective of the sizable gay population in Columbus. During the last weekend of June, ComFest (short for "Community Festival") is an immense three-day music festival, the largest non-commercial festival in the U.S., in Goodale Park, with art vendors and live musicians on multiple stages, hundreds of local social and political organizations, body painting and beer.
The Hot Times festival is held annually in Columbus's historic Olde Towne East neighborhood—a celebration of music, arts, food, and diversity.
Restaurant Week Columbus is the city's largest dining event, held for a week in mid-July and mid-January each year. This popular event featured over 40 restaurants in January 2010. Over 40,000 diners went out during the week, culminating with a $5,000 donation made to the Mid-Ohio Foodbank on behalf of sponsors and participating restaurants.
The Juneteenth Ohio Festival is held each year at Franklin Park on Father's Day weekend. JuneteenthOhio is one of the largest African American festivals in the United States, started 19 years ago by Mustafaa Shabazz. The festival is three full days of music, food, dance, and entertainment by local and national recording artists. The festival holds a Father's Day celebration, honoring local fathers.
During Memorial Day Weekend, the Asian Festival is held in Franklin Park. Hundreds of restaurants, vendors, and companies open up booths, traditional music and martial arts are performed, and cultural exhibits are set up. In recent years, attendees have numbered over 100,000.
The Jazz and Rib Fest is a free downtown event held each July featuring jazz artists like Randy Weston, D. Bohannon Clark, and Wayne Shorter, along with rib vendors from around the country.
The Short North is host to the monthly "Gallery Hop", which attracts hundreds to the neighborhood's art galleries (which all open their doors to the public until late at night) and street musicians. The Hilltop Bean Dinner is an annual event held on Columbus's West Side that celebrates the city's Civil War heritage near the historic Camp Chase Cemetery. At the end of September, German Village throws an annual Oktoberfest celebration that features authentic German food, beer, music, and crafts.
The Short North also hosts HighBall Halloween, Masquerade on High, a fashion show and street parade that closes down High Street. In 2011, in its fourth year, HighBall Halloween gained notoriety as it accepted its first Expy award. HighBall Halloween has much to offer for those interested in fashion and the performing and visual arts or for those who want to celebrate Halloween and with food and drinks from all around the city. Each year the event is put on with a different theme and it increases in size and popularity.
Columbus also hosts many conventions in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, a pastel-colored deconstructivist building on the north edge of downtown that resembles jumbled blocks, or a train yard from overhead. The convention center was designed by architect Peter Eisenman, who also designed the aforementioned Wexner Center. Completed in 1993, the convention center now has 1,700,000 square feet (160,000 m2) of space.
Developer Richard E. Jacobs built the area's first three major shopping malls in the 1960s: Westland, Northland, and Eastland. Of these, only Eastland remains in operation. Columbus City Center was built downtown in 1988, alongside the first location of Lazarus; this mall closed in 2009 and was demolished in 2011. Easton Town Center was built in 1999, and Polaris Fashion Place in 2001.
Grid and address system
The city's street plan originates downtown and extends into the old-growth neighborhoods, following a grid pattern with the intersection of High Street (running north–south) and Broad Street (running east–west) at its center. North-South streets run 12 degrees west of due North, parallel to High Street; the Avenues (vis. Fifth Avenue, Sixth Avenue, Seventh Avenue, and so on.) run east–west. The address system begins its numbering at the intersection of Broad and High, with numbers increasing in magnitude with distance from Broad or High. Numbered Avenues begin with First Avenue, about 1 1⁄4 mi (2.0 km) north of Broad Street, and increase in number as one progresses northward. Numbered Streets begin with Second Street, which is two blocks west of High Street, and Third Street, which is a block east of High Street, then progress eastward from there. Even-numbered addresses are on the north and east sides of streets, putting odd addresses on the south and west sides of streets. A difference of 700 house numbers means a distance of about 1 mi (1.6 km) (along the same street). For example, 351 W 5th Avenue is approximately 1⁄2 mi (800 m) west of High Street on the south side of Fifth Avenue. Buildings along north–south streets are numbered in a similar manner: the building number indicates the approximate distance from Broad Street, the prefixes 'N' and 'S' indicate whether that distance is to measured to the north or south of Broad Street and the street number itself indicates how far the street is from the center of the city at the intersection of Broad and High.
This street numbering system does not hold true over a large area. The area served by numbered Avenues runs from about Marble Cliff to South Linden to the Airport, and the area served by numbered Streets covers Downtown and nearby neighborhoods to the east and south, with only a few exceptions. There are quite few intersections between numbered Streets and Avenues. Furthermore, named Streets and Avenues can have any orientation. For example, while all of the numbered avenues run east–west, perpendicular to High Street, many named, non-numbered avenues run north–south, parallel to High. The same is true of many named streets: while the numbered streets in the city run north–south, perpendicular to Broad Street, many named, non-numbered streets run east–west, perpendicular to High Street.
The addressing system, however, covers nearly all of Franklin County, with only a few older suburbs retaining self-centered address systems. The address scale of 700 per mile results in addresses approaching, but not usually reaching, 10,000 at the county's borders.
Other major, local roads in Columbus include Main Street, Morse Road, Dublin-Granville Road (SR-161), Cleveland Avenue/Westerville Road (SR-3), Olentangy River Road, Riverside Drive, Sunbury Road, Fifth Avenue and Livingston Avenue.
Columbus is bisected by two major Interstate Highways, Interstate 70 running east–west, and Interstate 71 running north to roughly southwest. The two Interstates combine downtown for about 1.5 mi (2.4 km) in an area locally known as "The Split", which is a major traffic congestion point within Columbus, especially during rush hour. U.S. Route 40, originally known as the National Road, runs east–west through Columbus, comprising Main Street to the east of downtown and Broad Street to the west. U.S. Route 23 runs roughly north–south, while U.S. Route 33 runs northwest-to-southeast. The Interstate 270 Outerbelt encircles the vast majority of the city, while the newly redesigned Innerbelt consists of the Interstate 670 spur on the north side (which continues to the east past the Airport and to the west where it merges with I-70), State Route 315 on the west side, the I-70/71 split on the south side, and I-71 on the east. Due to its central location within Ohio and abundance of outbound roadways, nearly all of the state's destinations are within a 2 or 3 hour drive of Columbus.
The Columbus riverfront hosts a few notable bridges which have been built since 2000. The 700 ft (210 m) Main Street Bridge opened on July 30, 2010 and is the first bridge of its kind in North America. The bridge is located directly south of COSI on the Scioto river, featuring three lanes of traffic (one westbound and two eastbound) and another separated lane for pedestrians and bikes. The Rich Street Bridge opened in July 2012 and is adjacent to the Main Street Bridge connecting Rich Street on the east side of the river with Town Street on the west. The Lane Avenue Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge that opened on November 14, 2003 in the University District and spans the Olentangy river with three lanes of traffic each way.
The city's primary airport, John Glenn International Airport (CMH), is located on the east side of the city, with several smaller airports in the region as well. John Glenn, formerly known as Port Columbus, provides service to Toronto, Canada and Cancun, Mexico (on a seasonal basis), as well as to most domestic destinations, including all the major hubs except San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and Seattle. The airport was a hub for discount carrier Skybus Airlines and continues to be a home to NetJets, the world's largest fractional ownership air carrier. According to a 2005 market survey, John Glenn Columbus International Airport attracts about 50% of its passengers from outside of its 60-mile (97 km) radius primary service region. It is currently the 52nd-busiest airport in the United States by total passenger boardings. Rickenbacker International Airport, in southern Franklin County, is a major cargo facility and is utilized by the Ohio Air National Guard. Allegiant Air offers nonstop service from Rickenbacker to various Florida destinations. Ohio State University Don Scott Airport and Bolton Field are significant general-aviation facilities in the Columbus area.
Columbus maintains a widespread municipal bus service called the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA). Intercity bus service is provided by Greyhound, Barons Bus Lines, Miller Transportation, Megabus, GoBus, and other carriers.
Currently, Columbus does not have any type of passenger rail service. Columbus used to have a major train station downtown called Union Station, most notably as a stop along Amtrak's National Limited train service until 1977. The station itself was razed in 1979, and the Greater Columbus Convention Center now stands in its place. The station was also a stop along the Pennsylvania Railroad, the New York Central Railroad, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the Norfolk and Western Railroad, the Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati Railroad and the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad. Columbus is now the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. without either a local rail or intercity rail connection (Phoenix opened a light-rail system in 2008, but still lacks an Amtrak connection.) however studies are underway towards reintroducing passenger rail service to Columbus via the Ohio Hub project. Plans are in the works to open a high-speed rail service connecting Columbus with Cincinnati and to the proposed hub in Cleveland which offers rail service to the East Coast, including New York and Washington, DC.
Cycling as transportation is steadily increasing in Columbus with its relatively flat terrain, intact urban neighborhoods, large student population, and off-road bike paths. The city has put forth the 2012 Bicentennial Bikeways Plan as well as a move toward a Complete Streets policy. Grassroots efforts such as Bike To Work Week, Consider Biking, Yay Bikes, Third Hand Bicycle Co-op, Franklinton Cycleworks, and Cranksters, a local radio program focused on urban cycling, have contributed to cycling as transportation.
Columbus also hosts urban cycling "off-shots" with messenger-style "alleycat" races as well as unorganized group rides, a monthly Critical Mass ride, bicycle polo, art showings, movie nights, and a variety of bicycle-friendly businesses and events throughout the year. All this activity occurs despite Columbus's frequently inclement weather.
The new Main Street Bridge features a dedicated bike and pedestrian lane separated from traffic, as does the Rich Street Bridge.
The city has its own public bicycle system. CoGo Bike Share system has a network of 335 bicycles and 41 docking stations (2016). PBSC Urban Solutions, a company based in Canada, supplies technology and equipment.
Columbus has ten sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International. Columbus established its first Sister City relationship in 1955 with Genoa, Italy. To commemorate this relationship, Columbus received as a gift from the people of Genoa, a bronze statue of Christopher Columbus. The statue, sculpted by artist Edoardo Alfieri, overlooks Broad Street in front of Columbus City Hall.
Images for kids
Map showing radio market areas in Ohio.
Mapfre Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium in the U.S., and home to Columbus Crew SC.
Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, Arena District
The Ohio Stadium, on the OSU Campus, is the 7th-largest non-racing stadium in the world and one of the largest football stadiums in the United States.
The Ohio Statehouse, Capitol Square
Franklin Park Conservatory, Franklin Park
Columbus, Ohio Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.