In downtown, the best cultural value around can be found at the Columbus Museum of Art, 2000 Eighth Ave. N. (tel. 614/221-6801; www.columbusmuseum.org), which houses an impressive collection of work by impressionists, cubists, modernists and contemporary artists, both American and European. The permanent collection showcases Degas, Monet, Matisse, Picasso, Hopper, Demuth and O'Keeffe. Two highlights not to miss are the Russell Page Sculpture Garden and Ross Photography Center. The museum is also noted for its large public collection of woodcarvings by Columbus folk artist Elijah Pierce, and for housing the largest number of paintings and lithographs by Columbus native George Bellows. Children aren't forgotten here, either-there are programs and exhibits such as Eye Spy, which creates games centered around four parts of the museum. National and internationally touring exhibitions come through here; recent noteworthy shows include Matisse, Monet, and Dodo Jin Ming. Every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. they run a program called "Meet Me @ the Museum," designed as a way for people to meet, socialize, view art and enjoy live music, a cash bar, and gourmet fare. Admission is free for members, $6 for adults, $4 for students and seniors; free for children 5 and under.
Golf lovers should not miss a chance to visit the Jack Nicklaus Museum, 2355 Olentangy River Rd. (tel. 614/247-5959; www.nicklausmuseum.org), which documents the Columbus native's life as a golfer, golf course designer, businessman and family man. There are interactive exhibits, memorabilia, and the highlights of the collection include a series of exhibits that chronicle his playing career. Nicklaus won over 100 worldwide professional victories and 20 major championships; he participated in the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship and U.S. Amateur. The museum also boasts one of the top three golf memorabilia collections in America, with a display of the sport's major championship trophies. The 24,000 square-foot facility located in the heart of the Ohio State University sports complex, features traditional decor, with rich cherry wood and deep green tones, meant to reflect the rich heritage of the game. Actor Sean Connery lends his stately voice to narrate an audio/visual presentation-one of eighteen spread throughout the museum-on the golfer's life. Open since May 2002, they also have rotating exhibits, such as the collection of golf prints by artist Harold Riley and a display of all the Sports Illustrated covers featuring Nicklaus. It's closed on Sunday and Monday; admission is $10 for adults; $5 students (with valid ID).
The King Arts Complex, 867 Mount Vernon Ave. (tel. 614-645-5464; www.kingartscomplex.com) honors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and serves as a place to celebrate the influential contributions of African-Americans throughout history. The complex is comprised of performing, cultural and educational programs, three performance spaces, two dance studios, an art gallery, and three permanent interactive art galleries. Located in the Eastside, the oldest African-American neighborhood in Columbus, its mission is "to preserve and celebrate the cultural and artistic heritage of African-Americans" and has been a vibrant part of the fabric of the city. The Colonial Revival building, originally constructed in 1925 as the Pythian Temple, is on the National Register of Historic Places and was renovated in 1987. Back in the hey dey of jazz, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie, among others, frequently played there.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.