Family Sporting Events in Columbus
No matter the time of year, at least one of Central Ohio’s sports teams is in action. From top professional teams like the Columbus Blue Jackets and Columbus Crew to those dressed in red and gray, we have plenty to cheer for.
Additionally, the area hosts high-profile events in bodybuilding, cycling and golf, and there’s an interesting cross-section of other live sporting action worth checking out as well.
Newcomers – and even some long-time residents – may not be aware of the strong mix of offerings, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the best opportunities to catch athletes in action – on the field, the ice, the golf course and even the streets. There’s something for almost every interest, and some of the ideas are inexpensive or free.
Before you go, check with each organization and/or location about their current COVID-19 policies.
To suggest an addition to our list, email [email protected]
American Quarter Horse Congress
Ohio Expo Center, 717 E. 17th Ave. (north side), Columbus; quarterhorsecongress.com
For more than 50 years, Columbus has hosted this competitive and trade show event, the largest single-breed equestrian show in the world. The Quarter Horse Congress attracts over 25,000 entries and over 650,000 people to the city. The event features nearly a month of competitions, including some for young riders, cupping, freestyle reining, western fun and more. The 2022 event is scheduled for September 27 through October 23.
Arnold Sports Festival
Greater Columbus Convention Center and other locations across Columbus; arnoldsportsfestival.com
When the March 2020 version of this annual mega-event was canceled due to the then-nascent COVID-19 outbreak, it was a signal that things were serious. Now, in 2022, the Arnold returns to its early spring spot on the calendar for the first time in three years.
Named for its founder, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the event has called Columbus home since 1989. The city and the bodybuilder/movie star/politician have embraced, making the event an integral part of the fabric of the town.
What began as a bodybuilding competition has expanded to include a variety of other sports and fitness related events, including the start this year of the Slap Fighting Championships, as well as martial and bodybuilding competitions. baton.
Arnold 2022 is scheduled for March 3-6, with more than 20,000 athletes from around the world expected to take part.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Nationwide Arena, 200 W. Nationwide Blvd. (Arena District), Columbus; bluejackets.nhl.com
Few things can match the speed, skill and intensity of live hockey, and the NHL features the best players in the world. For more than 20 years, the Blue Jackets have been part of the excitement.
The organization has worked hard to create a family experience around the games themselves, with lots of fun in the arena (including the Stinger team mascot) and youth hockey often played on the big ice at the intermission. The team offers bundled ticket packages, some of which include food, drink and even skating passes to the OhioHealth Ice Haus at the arena. In addition, the arena has several sets of family toilets.
New participants should be aware of the cannon that is fired each time the CBJ scores a goal. This can be surprising for adults, even more so for young children.
The regular season schedule runs from October to April.
Huntington Park, 330 Huntington Park Lane (Arena District), Columbus; clippersbaseball.com
Take your kids to the ball game at scenic Huntington Park, home of the Columbus Clippers. The minor league baseball team has been the Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians since 2006.
Strollers are allowed, and there is a play area and family restrooms. The lawn, where visitors can sit on a blanket, and the bleachers are popular places to watch the game. The team offers packages and promotions for families and groups.
LouSeal and Krash mascots add to the already family-friendly vibe.
The 2022 season begins in early April.
Lower.com Field, 96 Columbus Crew Way, Columbus; columbuvis.com
Not only was the Crew saved, but the team won a title in 2020 and a new stadium was built in the Arena District, one that hosts its second season of MLS action from spring 2022.
Games at Lower.com Field are notoriously family-friendly, with plenty of on-field action and off-field fun.
The Crew’s regular season home schedule continues through October.
Columbus Eagles FC
Capital University Bernlohr Stadium, Bexley; and Resolute Athletic Complex, 3599 Chiller Lane, Columbus; columbuseaglesfc.com
Women’s soccer also has a strong presence in central Ohio, thanks to Columbus Eagles FC. The team includes many players from central Ohio high schools.
Eagles FC compete both outdoors in the Women’s Premier Soccer League and indoors in the Premier Arena Soccer League.
Subscriptions (season passes) are available for outdoors, indoors or both. Games
Pride of Columbus
Fortress Obetz, Recreational Trail 2015, Obetz; columbusprideultimate.com
The Pride is a professional women’s ultimate frisbee team that competes in the Premier Ultimate League. The regular season is scheduled from April to June for 2022.
Columbus Rugby Club
Fortress Obetz, Recreational Trail 2015, Obetz; columbusrugby.org
Primarily a club organization, Columbus Rugby plays teams from across the Midwest in 15s and 7s (indicating the number of players in a roster). The games take place from spring to autumn.
The Memorial Tournament
Muirfield Village Golf Club, 5750 Memorial Drive, Dublin; thememorialtournament.com
For over 40 years, Jack Nicklaus has hosted the world’s best golfers at Muirfield Village Golf Club to compete in the Memorial Tournament, arguably the region’s signature sporting event outside of Ohio State football.
When the greatest golfer of all time grew up in your town and played high school and college golf there, you can bet that when he decides to host a PGA Tour event in his hometown, it will be big.
Unless it’s raining, a day at the tournament is a great walk during which visitors can see the sport’s best players up close. Guests of all ages are welcome on the course, and children 18 and under are admitted free (up to four junior tickets with each paying adult). Strollers are allowed on the course.
Many kids love getting autographs after the players have finished their games (the Wednesday after the Pro-Am is a great time). The tournament’s Clubhouse Kids program includes events and activities during the event and throughout the year.
The 2022 Memorial will take place from May 30 to June 5. The junior golf clinic held before the pandemic has yet to return.
Children’s National Hospital Columbus Marathon
Downtown Columbus and surrounding suburbs; columbusmarathon.com
You don’t have to be a long-distance runner to take part in this flagship event in the capital. Full marathons, half marathons, 5k and one mile events are offered. Plus, a kids’ race and related exhibit are part of a day of fun for kids and families.
Over 100,000 people watch this annual race which runs through downtown, Bexley, the OSU campus, Grandview Heights and Upper Arlington. Indeed, the event is notable for its champion patients from Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
It’s a full weekend of racing and fun, with the iconic races taking place on October 16, 2022.
The streets of Grandview Heights; tourdegrandview.com
This early summer event was founded more than a quarter century ago, bringing a group of international professional runners to central Ohio to compete on a course that winds through the streets of this neighborhood of North West. And the free Kids Sprints race usually attracts over 100 participants.
For viewers, the Street Party features local bands, a beer garden, and food trucks. Historically, some residences along the route traditionally host fantastic house parties.
The Tour de Grandview 2022 is set for June 10.
Don’t Forget College Sports
The Columbus area is full of colleges and universities, many of which offer numerous, sometimes champion, athletic programs. In addition to the hugely popular events at Ohio State University, there are other schools with strong fans. Even better, ticket prices are often very reasonable, even free.
Capital University Bexley has nine men’s sports and nine women’s sports, including basketball, lacrosse, football, tennis and athletics. The Crusaders compete in NCAA Division III and the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Denison University in Granville has teams and athletes in 11 men’s sports and 13 women’s sports, including cross country, field hockey, tennis, squash, and volleyball. The Big Reds compete in the North Coast Athletic Conference and NCAA Division III.
Dominican University of Ohio
Dominican University in Ohio in northeast Columbus has seven men’s and seven women’s sports teams, including basketball, golf, soccer and volleyball. The Panthers compete in NCAA Division II and are part of the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
Ohio State University
Fans rooted for the Ohio State University Buckeyes long before there were any professional sports teams in town. The most popular, of course, are its football and basketball teams (men’s and women’s), but student-athletes compete in a host of NCAA-sanctioned events at new and revered facilities across campus.
University of Otterbein
Otterbein University in Westerville fields teams in nine men’s sports and nine women’s sports, including baseball, basketball, volleyball, golf, and wrestling. The Cardinals compete in NCAA Division III and the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Ohio Wesleyan University
The Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware has 11 men’s sports and 11 women’s sports, including basketball, field hockey, soccer, golf, wrestling, swimming, and diving. The Battling Bishops compete in the North Coast Athletic Conference and NCAA Division III.