15 Awesome Ways To Beat the Heat This Summer in Columbus & Central OH

City Guide, Family Friendly, Seasonal, Things to Do


Written by Step Out Columbus

Published on July 3, 2024
Photo by Zoombezi Bay via Facebook

It is not comfy out. We repeat – Not. Comfy. You walk outside, immediately start sweating, you get all sticky, and your hair becomes a disastrously-frizzy poof. Does this sound like you right now? 

Once again, NOT. COMFY. 

We love the warm weather, don’t get us wrong. We just don’t like when the sun has a personal vendetta against us and scorches the happiness out of our days. That’s why we’ve created a list of seriously awesome ways to beat the heat this summer, both indoor and outdoor. 

Indoor :

1. COSI 

333 W Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215 / more info

Take a trip to the Center of Science and Industry and maybe you can ask why the sun hates us so much sometimes. Get out of the blazing heat and step into COSI to see things like the Planetarium, the AMNH Dinosaur Gallery, or the Tutankhamun Tomb and Treasures (from now – September 4th, 2023).

Photo by COSI Center of Science and Industry via Facebook

2. Columbus Museum of Art

480 E Broad St, Columbus, OH 43215 / more info

Why not take a little stroll through the Columbus Museum of Art and marvel at the thought-provoking exhibits? The air-conditioning will have your mood improved in under 5 minutes, and the galleries will distract you from your previous heat exhaustion. It’s a win win, if you ask us.

Photo by Columbus Museum of Art via Facebook

3. Pins Mechanical

141 N 4th St, Columbus OH 43215 / more info

You can still have a hoot on a hot day, and Pins has all kinds of activities to keep you wildly entertained. Play a game of giant jenga, pinball, foosball, duckpin bowling, pingpong, or patio- pong and then order some shaved-ice for a little power-up. While you’re at it, order a refreshing beer and let the games begin.

Photo by Pins Mechanical Co. (Columbus) via Facebook

4. AMC Dine-In Easton Town Center 30

275 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219 / more info

There’s no need to cook dinner or spend 45 grueling minutes hopelessly scrolling through Netflix to find a movie when the AMC Dine-In has got the full package. Order an artisan flatbread, a burger, or anything else off the menu and let the food come to you while you watch the newest feature-films. 

5. AMF Stardust Lanes 

2434 Old Stringtown Rd, Grove City, OH 43123 / more info

Slip into some bowling shoes, wear your most colorful bowling jersey (not required), and get ready to strike. Play iconic arcade games, or a game of pool if your swingin’ arm needs a short intermission. If you come on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, you can bowl from 7pm to close for unlimited night-bowling. Sound cool? 

Photo By AMF Bowling Co. (Stardust Lanes, OH) via Facebook

6. Skate America 

4357 Broadway, Grove City, OH 43123 / more info

You might feel like you’re in an episode of Stranger Things while you roller skate at Skate America, and we think it’s an 11/10 idea. Get some speed and feel the breeze in this indoor skating rink.

Photo by Skate America via Facebook

7. Homemade Ice Cream

What good would a list about beating the heat be without listing off some of the best local homemade ice cream spots in the city? The answer is that the list would be no good, which is why we pulled together our favorite homemade ice cream shoppes in Central Ohio and put them in this list, so you can cool off with some sweet, creamy goodness as the temperatures soar.

Outdoor :

8. Zoombezi Bay

4850 Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065 / more info

We get the sense you may be itching to cool off in the water since the air conditioning just doesn’t always cut it. Zoombezi Bay is a waterpark with practically any kind of aquatic-fun you could possibly imagine. Take a relaxing float down Cocktail Creek which is an adults only  lazy-river, or keep things stirring with the Roaring Rapids Action River. There’s so much to do, and so many places to cool down; it’s making us cry happy tears just thinking about it.

Photo by Zoombezi Bay via Facebook

9. Groveport Aquatic Center

7370 Groveport Rd, Groveport, OH 43125 / more info

Whether you’re just looking for a spot to take a quick dip in the pool, or hoping to have a thrill and slide down a massive water slide, this is the place for you. The Groveport Aquatic Center has a lazy river with inner tubes, a zero-depth leisure pool, diving boards, and a spray ground to ensure you can escape the heat.

10. Olentangy Paddle 

92 N Front St, Columbus OH 43215 / more info

Get your paddle on, amigos. Rent a kayak and take a 2.5 hour paddle along the Scioto Mile in Downtown Columbus. Enjoy the cool splash of the river water and keep your eyes peeled for turtles! If you’re brave enough, you will want to bring your cameras since there’s outstanding views of the Columbus skyline. 

Photo by Olentangy Paddle via Facebook

11. Shale Hollow Park

6320 Artesian Run, Delaware, OH 43015 / more info

Maybe swimming pools and kayaks don’t really float your boat, and that’s ok. Shale Hollow Park has a small (and effective) stream to swim in until your heart’s perfectly content. You can also walk the wooded trails to stay shaded from the sun.. the sun is our enemy right now. Just kidding. We love you, Sun. Pls don’t hate us.

Photo by Shale Hollow Park via Facebook

12. Deer Creek State Park Beach

14403 Crownover Mill Rd, New Holland, OH 43145 / more info

If you’re willing to make a 30 to 40 minute drive for a little beach and swimming action, Deer Creek is a stellar option to beat the heat. Bring an umbrella, a beach towel, a cooler with your favorite snacks, and take a dive into the water. Just a heads up, you can only swim during daylight hours. 

Photo by Deer Creek State Park via Facebook

13. Go River Floating with Pea Ohana

126 Muskingum Ave Suite P, Zanesville OH 43701 / more info

This is definitely a top-of-the-lister for us, and we think you’ll agree. Hop into a tube, zip up your life vests, and float down Licking River with Pea Ohana. Be prepared to pass through some rapids and float under the Y-Bridge in Downtown Zanesville. Have a pint at the craft brewery above the boathouse, and check this off your list.

Photo by Pea Ohana Watersports via Facebook

14. Hang Out at a nearby Waterfront Town

You wouldn’t think of Central Ohio having lots of waterfront activities like boating, jet skiing, and fishing, but we have tons if you know where to look. And not to toot our own horns, but the best place to look would be our guide to 5 waterfront towns in Central Ohio!

15. Scioto Mile Fountain

In Bicentennial Park, 233 S Civic Center Dr, Columbus, OH 43215

After an extended period of time being closed and after a false start opening (shoutout to whomever puked in it on it’s opening day…), the Scioto Mile Fountain is finally back! It’s a great place to cool off on one of those distinctly hot summer days we seem to get for weeks on end in July and August, so if you’re on a walk downtown or just need a place to get your hair wet, be sure to hit up the Scioto Mile Fountain downtown.

Photo courtesy of Darrell James on Facebook

Did we miss one? Did one of these places close? Send us a note!

Summer Guides

We launched StepOutColumbus!

Featuring things to do, places to go, and ways to explore the beauty that is the greater Columbus area. We help connect residents and visitors to local businesses, organizations, and awesome ways to experience our region.

We hope you enjoy what we have on-site and we would very much appreciate your feedback so we can make StepOutColumbus.com *all* you want and need as your go-to resource for the best of Central Ohio!

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