For a taste of the Emerald Isle in the heart of the American Midwest, the best place to go is Dublin Ohio. The City of Dublin Ohio is a burgeoning community just outside of Columbus, and it perfectly blends its Irish-rooted history with its modern-day amenities.
Residents appreciate that this city offers them a high quality of life, and visitors find that its charming appeal has them yearning for a longer stay. This guide will provide everything you need to know about the best things to do in Dublin Ohio.
Enjoy the Sights & Sounds of Downtown Dublin Ohio
City officials in Dublin Ohio describe the community’s downtown as both “Historic & Hip.”
While many downtown areas in the American Midwest are anchored by their historic roots and are committed to preserving the look and feel of the past, the planners in Dublin opted to blend the distinct appeal of the past with the sleek style of the future.
This innovative approach has created a downtown area that is appealing to people of all ages and at all stages of life. Historic downtown Dublin can be broken down into four distinct areas, which offer some of the best things to do in Dublin Ohio.
The original settlers in Dublin made their homestead on the banks of the Scioto River, and the village grew along its shores.
Many of the 19th-century shops and homes that were built during this time are still standing, and visitors can walk along the picturesque brick sidewalks to enjoy what Dublin was like more than 200 years ago.
While many of these buildings have existed for centuries, the businesses that are housed in them today serve modern customers. Some businesses that you can frequent in the Historic District include local restaurants, coffee houses, bakeries, boutique shops, bridal stores, and more.
If you are looking for ice cream, then Historic Dublin is the place to be. Two of the best ice cream shops in Dublin — Johnson’s Real Ice Cream and Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams — are located in this charming area.
While Historic Dublin pays homage to the community’s past, Bridge Park in the Bridge Street District is where people go to look toward the city’s future. This is the newest downtown development, and it showcases a blend of luxury living, sophisticated dining and shopping, and heart-pumping events.
The AC Marriott and the Exchange Events Center are the focal points of Bridge Park, making this part of downtown a hotbed for corporate travelers and distinguished visitors.
In addition to the events center, it’s home to dozens of eclectic restaurants that showcase international cuisine, as well as cosmopolitan shops that offer a variety of goods and services.
The Dublin Link
Dublin is a community of connections, and no connection is more obvious than the gleaming Dublin Link.
The Dublin Link was first opened on March 17, 2020 — an appropriate day to unveil the city’s latest link to the future — and it’s considered the longest-span, single-tower, S-shaped suspension bridge in the entire world.
Aptly named, this pedestrian bridge links Historic Dublin with Bridge Park, physically bringing together the two time periods and expanding the reach of the community’s historic downtown area.
Riverside Crossing Park
As a continuation of the downtown expansion, Riverside Crossing Park is currently in development on both sides of the Scioto River. When complete, Riverside Crossing Park will be a place of civic activity and natural beauty.
There will be incredible plazas with innovative features — such as peaceful waterfalls and outdoor dining spaces. In addition, the park will have valuable green space, hiking trails, and more, giving residents and visitors a place to rest and relax without straying far from the pulse of the community.
Explore Art in Public Spaces in the City of Dublin Ohio
As the City of Dublin Ohio began to grow, it was clear that the community was a draw for young people, families, and established adults. City planners, and leaders decided to take active steps to increase the quality of life for all residents.
The Art in Public Spaces Program
One of the first initiatives launched was the Art in Public Spaces program, which was created in 1988. By 1990, there was one statue in the city. As of 2022, discovering the more than 70 sculptures and art pieces is one of the most fun things to do in Dublin Ohio.
Today, the program is managed by the Dublin Arts Council. The collection — which includes both small pieces and large structures, as well as permanent and rotational pieces — is valued at more than $3.8 million. Some of the most famous public artworks include:
- Playing Through — This piece is a larger-than-life interactive street piano that travels throughout the city. In addition to being an interesting conversation starter in the city — and a treasure that’s fun to find — it pays homage to the city’s dedication to golf with its golf ball decor theme.
- Out of Bounds — This art display in Avery Park consists of seven modular structures that resemble large soccer balls. Standing at more than 10 feet high, they’re a favorite among sports fans in the city.
- Tree of Life, Future Tense — This sculpture combines the traditional beauty of art with the ethereal charm of nature. The base of the sculpture actually serves as a pot for a tree that will continue to grow in its place at the Dublin Arts Center.
The goals of the Art in Public Places program are to encourage conversation and beautify the community. Not only does it make Dublin a livable place for its residents, but it also helps set the city establish itself as a worthwhile destination for travelers.
Spring Fun in Dublin Ohio
While Dublin is a flurry of activity throughout the year, seasonal attractions and activities kick off in earnest during the spring. Here are some of the best things to do in Dublin Ohio during the springtime.
Visiting Glacier Ridge Metro Park
Glacier Ridge Metro Park is a year-round attraction, but its hours increase during the springtime when the weather begins to warm up, allowing visitors to explore the park at their leisure and enjoy an afternoon picnic.
During this season of renewal, park visitors can see the wetlands come to life again after a dormant winter. Also, it’s the perfect time of year to spot wildlife waking up again and tending to their young.
Shopping at the North Market Bridge Park
North Market is a recent addition to the Dublin scene. It’s a public market that’s open seasonally at Bridge Park. The market opens for the season in early April with daily hours. Visitors to the market can purchase fresh groceries, baked goods, artisan products, and art from high-quality vendors.
Following the Irish Fairy Door Trail
One of the best-kept secrets about Dublin is that there’s a trail of hidden fairy doors scattered throughout the Historic District and Bridge Street District. Locals and travelers alike can grab a map and find these special doors to learn more about the fairies who live there.
The fairy trail is available throughout the entire year, but a new trail is created and launched each year on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s why this is one of the best spring things to do in Dublin Ohio.
Splash Into Summer in Dublin Ohio
When summer arrives, everything heats up in Dublin. Given that Midwest summers can be short and sweet, everyone tries to pack in as much as they can during June, July, and August. Two of the best summer things to do in Dublin Ohio are Indian Run Falls Park and Zoombezi Bay Water Park.
Indian Run Falls Park
Indian Run Falls is a unique natural gorge where visitors can witness the majestic beauty of the falls cascading down the sides of the gorge.
Nearby nature and hiking trails enhance the experience, but it’s important to keep in mind that these falls aren’t for jumping into or swimming within.
Zoombezi Bay Water Park
Zoombezi Bay is a nearby water park that’s open during the summer months. It’s a favorite spot among local families and vacationers alike, particularly because it has exciting activities that keep people of all ages cool.
Parents love that they can rent a cabana and relax in the shade as they watch their kids play in the waves. Activities for kids include thrilling water rides, slides, a wave pool, and more.
Gather Together During a Dublin Fall
Fall is considered by many to be the most beautiful season in Central Ohio. Dublin — which has earned a reputation for being a pristine city — becomes even more breathtaking as the leaves change to colors of gold and crimson.
Knowing that winter is on the horizon, local residents and visitors often visit some of the parks and farms in Dublin to enjoy harvest festivities. This makes leaf peeping and apple picking two of the best things to do in Dublin Ohio during fall.
Leaf Peeping at Hayden Falls Park
While the waterfall that tumbles over the rocky cliff is the highlight of Hayden Falls Park, the rushing water is made even more magnificent when it’s surrounded by colorful leaves. It’s one of the best places to enjoy the fall colors in the city.
Apple Picking at Cherry Hawk Farm
At Cherry Hawk Farm, the apple-picking season begins in late July or early August and extends into October and November. Throughout the harvest season, there are many varieties of apples to pick and enjoy.
Visitors appreciate that this farm is a relaxed and low-key locale. It operates on the belief that the best way to pick apples is the old-fashioned way, and the owners appreciate that visitors enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures from a bygone era while on their property.
While you’re at it, consider visiting the best places for Ohio fall colors.
Go Wild for Winter in Dublin
On the surface, winter may seem like a season of hibernation in the Midwest — but it’s actually a very lively time of year in Dublin. Here are a few recommendations for winter things to do in Dublin Ohio.
Shopping & the Zoo
During the coldest days, residents like to head to local shops to grab a cup of hot cocoa or explore the Celtic Cocktail Trail downtown. Those who like to experience local attractions when the crowds are low can head to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, where there’s half-price admission during the winter.
Winter is also a wonderful time of year to explore a Dublin park — such as Scioto Park on Riverside Dr with the Leatherlips Monument, Dublin Veterans Park on North High St, and even Ballantrae Park — as they transform with the cold weather.
A lucky few may get to catch a glimpse of a frozen waterfall during the winter. Surprisingly, Dublin has four of the best waterfalls in Ohio.
Check out more Central Ohio winter things to do near Dublin.
Annual Festivals in Dublin Ohio
Dublin is full of life, and there’s always something to celebrate. This community hosts a variety of well-attended festivals and special events throughout the year, but the two most famous festival things to do in Dublin Ohio are the Memorial Tournament and Dublin Irish Festival.
The Memorial Tournament
Summer officially begins in Dublin with the Memorial Tournament in late May or early June. This PGA golf tournament was founded by Jack Nicklaus and is hosted annually by the Muirfield Village Golf Club. The golfers who play in the tournament do so in honor of the great legends of the sport who have passed.
It’s a unique tournament because the best golfers in the United States come together to support those who came before them on one of the most challenging courses in the country. For spectators who are passionate about golf, it’s one of the most exciting and interesting tournaments on the PGA schedule.
Dublin Irish Festival
For more than three decades, the Dublin Irish Festival has been the highlight of the social calendar. What began as a small outdoor concert in Coffman Park has been transformed into the largest three-day Irish Festival in the world.
The festival takes place each year in Coffman Park, and it includes a variety of seasonal events and activities, such as concerts, Irish dancing competitions, dog shows, children’s crafts and play areas, beverage tasting, and more.
The Dublin Irish Festival is beloved by the people who call the city and Central Ohio home. But, it also brings in more than 100,000 visitors from around the United States who want to celebrate the beauty of the Irish culture.
The Best Places to Eat in Dublin Ohio
Dublin, Ohio is an eclectic city — one that’s rife with history and brimming with potential for growth and development. Not surprisingly, this unique mix of old and new has ushered in an era of dining the likes of which the city has never known.
In many respects, Dublin could be considered a foodie destination. There are many local restaurants to visit and support, each of which offers a unique menu that’s full of flavor. Let’s take a look at some of our favorite Dublin Ohio restaurants.
Matt the Miller’s Tavern
To get a taste of the authentic Dublin experience, consider heading to Matt the Miller’s Tavern. This family-friendly restaurant boasts four locations in Central Ohio, but the Dublin restaurant is the original.
Best described as casual American dining with a twist, the tavern has something for everyone — including the little ones who are in tow. Named after a restaurant that’s located in Ireland, Matt the Miller’s Tavern fits in perfectly with the city’s love of all things Irish.
Oscar’s of Dublin
Those who are looking to celebrate a special occasion will appreciate that there are several fine dining restaurants in Dublin Ohio. Locals know that one of the best is Oscar’s of Dublin.
Located in a Victorian home in Historic Dublin, Oscar’s of Dublin is a charming, yet rustic, locale. Its menu is full of unique creations, many of which are based around steak, veal, and seafood.
Craft Beer & Pizza
Of course, there are other types of restaurants and diners to enjoy in Dublin. For example, 101 Beer Kitchen is an innovative gastropub that helped launch the craft beer scene in Dublin.
Enrico’s Pizza & Restaurant is a local mainstay that has been operating in Dublin since 1988. It has grown along with the community itself.
Johnson’s Real Ice Cream
No day in Dublin is complete without a stop by Johnson’s Real Ice Cream. It’s known for having some of the best Ohio ice cream that’s full of flavor in Dublin Ohio.
Places to Stay in Dublin Ohio
With so many things to do in Dublin Ohio, and given the fact that the city is located just a short drive from Columbus, visitors can easily find lodging options. From affordable Dublin Ohio hotels to bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals, every traveler can find a place that feels like home in this city.
However, there are a few places that stand out from the rest.
AC Hotel by Marriott Columbus Dublin
The AC Hotel by Marriott Columbus Dublin is the shining star of the Dublin hotel scene. This luxury, high-rise hotel is situated in Bridge Park and is one of the most convenient places to stay for travelers who want to explore every inch of Historic Dublin, Bridge Park, and Riverside Crossing Park.
The Timbrook Guest House
Travelers who prefer to stay in a homelike environment will love the welcoming atmosphere at the Timbrook Guest House. This bed and breakfast is located in a historic mansion just outside of Dublin, and it’s considered one of the most unique places to stay in the area.
In addition to enjoying a comfortable and inviting room, guests can use the on-site swimming pool, greenhouse, and covered front porch.
Cross Creek Camping Resort
Campers who want to enjoy a vacation within a vacation will love everything about Cross Creek Camping Resort. This privately-owned, family-friendly campground is located in Delaware, which is about 25 minutes from downtown Dublin.
This campground is known for not only its beautiful grounds but also its fun-filled amenities, which include a pool, playground, clubhouse, and many recreational facilities.
In addition to hotels and campgrounds, you’ll also find many vacation homes available to rent in Dublin. Whether you hope to secure a luxe townhome near the vibrant downtown area or to stay in a quaint cottage close to one of the fabulous parks in Dublin, you can find a rental on Airbnb or VRBO.
The Rich History of Dublin Ohio
The first European settlers arrived in the area that would become Dublin in the early 19th century, making this city one of the oldest communities in central Ohio. However, it may come as a surprise that these settlers were not of Irish descent.
A German Village
Dublin was likely a German village in the beginning. The Sells family, which first settled in the region in the early 19th century, was probably of German descent. However, the Sells family worked with an Irish surveyor when they decided to parcel their land and sell lots for other families to build homes.
That surveyor — John Shields of Dublin Ireland — was given the honor of naming the newborn town. He chose to name it Dublin after his place of birth. From there, the Irish roots began to grow in this community.
A Fast-Growing Dublin Village
With a plethora of natural resources and more settlers arriving in the community by the day, Dublin quickly became one of the fastest-growing towns in Ohio. Its early settlers thrived as a result of the agriculture and lumber industries.
The community became a close-knit group of residents who relied on one another and were there for one another when times got tough, and that dedication remained in place for much of the next century.
Residential Growth & Corporate Development
By the late 20th century, Dublin was still considered by many to be a small village just outside of Columbus. In 1970, the population was just more than 650 people. However, it quickly became a hot spot for residential growth and corporate development.
Corporations from around the United States found Dublin’s prime location to be the perfect spot for their headquarters, and companies such as Wendy’s and Ashland Chemical Company relocated their operations to the community.
A Destination City
In 1987, Dublin was named a city, and by the 21st century, the city was home to more than 47,000 people. Today, Dublin is a vibrant suburban city that has preserved its rich history while also looking to the future.
It may seem like time has stood still in preserved Historic Dublin, but nearby, the modern parks and sparkling downtown area provide proof that this city is dedicated to growing with the times.
Attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, it has grown from a quaint small town in the American Midwest to a destination in its own right.
Frequently Asked Questions About Things to Do in Dublin Ohio
Where is Dublin Ohio?
Dublin Ohio is a thriving suburb located just northwest of the state’s capital city of Columbus. By car, it takes about 25 minutes to get from downtown Dublin to downtown Columbus.
Given its location in Central Ohio and its proximity to Columbus, it’s no surprise that Dublin is a popular destination for people who are interested in experiencing the beauty and atmosphere of the Midwest.
Is Dublin Ohio a family-friendly vacation destination?
Yes, Dublin Ohio is a wonderful place for families to visit and enjoy together. Regardless of the age or stage of life, you’re sure to make memories that will last a lifetime during your stay in Dublin.
Is Dublin a good place to stay if you are visiting Columbus?
Dublin is located just north of Columbus, and it takes about 25 minutes to drive from downtown Dublin to downtown Columbus. If you want to enjoy both of these beautiful cities and make the most of your time in Central Ohio, Dublin is the perfect place to stay.
Is Dublin Ohio a pet-friendly city?
Both local residents and visitors alike consider Dublin Ohio to be a pet-friendly city.
With more than 60 parks — including the designated Nando’s Dog Park in Darree Fields Park — as well as many local businesses that welcome four-legged family members, Dublin is a great place to go if you want to take your dog on an adventure.
When is the best time to visit Dublin Ohio?
There’s no bad time to visit the city because there are exciting things to do in Dublin Ohio throughout the entire year.
However, many people prefer to vacation in Dublin during the late spring, summer, and early fall months. This is when the weather is best and when most of the seasonal attractions in the community are open.