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How Columbus is becoming a top tourist destination

Take a look at various tourism and travel data about Columbus, Ohio on National Tourism Day, which is on Tuesday, May 6.

CBUStoday downtown skyline

Downtown Columbus, Ohio. | Photo via Canva

Columbus isn’t often thought of as a tourist city, but this data to proves that needs to change.

Today is National Tourism Day, an observation and celebration of travel and tourism across the US. We’ll never pass up the chance to brag about Columbus, and this time we dug into national publications and local stats to show how top-tier the Capital City is.

Visitor report card

Visitors take 49.6 million trips to Columbus each year, according to the 2023 State of the Visitor Industry report. These visits range from conventions and trade shows to sporting events and festivals, creating $6.6 billion in spending. That’s enough to support roughly 75,000 local jobs.

CBUStoday Buckeye Country Superfest

Buckeye Country Superfest at Ohio Stadium generates millions of dollars in visitor spending each summer. | Photo via @buckeyecountrysuperfest

Nationally recognized

The city was recently recognized by USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards for seven different categories:

  • Columbus Food Adventures was ranked the No. 1 Best Food Tour in the US.
  • Worthington Farmers Market was ranked the No. 1 Best Farmers Market.
  • OhioHealth Capital City Half and Full Marathon was ranked the No. 2 Best Half Marathon.
  • Columbus was ranked the No. 3 Best Beer City.
  • Budd Dairy Food Hall was ranked the No. 3 Best Food Hall.
  • North Market was ranked the No. 8 Best Public Market.
  • Scioto Mile was ranked the No. 10 Best Riverwalk.

CBUS is heating up

According to Bank of America, Columbus is the fastest-growing city in America. Columbus currently ranks as the No. 7 hottest housing market in the US, according to

CBUStoday Cobra

Cobra was one of the highly recommend restaurants by Forbes. | Photo by @614foodchecklist

What the pros say

Here’s what national publications had to say about CBUS:

  • “No wonder people from all over the U.S. have been flocking here,” wrote Katie Chang for Forbes.
  • "[My son had] somehow mistaken Ohio for O‘ahu when I told him we were going on a fall trip. But Columbus delivered so deeply on family fun that there was never a regret,” wrote Terry Ward for AFAR.