Always an important battleground state in national elections and home to the state capital and the Ohio State Buckeyes, Columbus sits in geographic center of Ohio. The convergence of the state government and higher education has fueled financial and physical growth in Columbus as well as numerous festivals and celebration events. Plus, with presidential candidates making frequent stump stops in the state, Columbus could be a great place to get a feel for the national political climate

WHAT TO DO

With the largest college campus in the United States, tourists can visit Ohio State's sprawling green campus and manicured quads. If you are a football fan, you can take a peek at Ohio stadium, where the Buckeyes take the field every fall and where in November, the hottest college football rivalry heats up against Michigan.

If you want to spend the day outside in Columbus, there are many great gardens and parks within the capital's city limits. The Inswood Metro Gardens is a botanical garden and nature preserve which contains more than 2,000 plant species and there is the Park of Roses, a beautiful 13-acre rose garden.

Columbus is also known for its many fairs and festivals, including one of the largest state fairs in the country.Tourists can enjoy a mixture of high and low brow with the Jazz and Ribs Festival on the downtown waterfront or watch the largest Midwestern fireworks display on the 4th of July. The Community Festival, which takes place over 3 days in June, bills itself as "The Party with a Purpose" and is the largest non-corporate urban music and arts festival in the entire country. The festival draws many tourists, who can enjoy hundreds of local bands, local food vendors, Ohio brewed beer and more while supporting grass-roots campaigns.

GETTING THERE

Port Columbus International Airport (CMH) is serviced by Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, US Airways and American Airlines, which means finding flights to Columbus is easy and affordable.If you are traveling by car to the airport, you can book and pay for your Columbus Airport parking ahead of time to save both time and money.

WHERE TO STAY

Downtown and near the capitol building, there are many hotels in Columbus to choose from. These range from the chain hotels to luxury to budget. There are a few hostels in Columbus as well as discount hotels throughout the city.