10 Inexpensive Fall Activities in Central Ohio

Lisa Viertel Author - Lisa Viertel

Here's a list of ten free and inexpensive activities to do in the central Ohio - Columbus area: try one, or be ambitious and do them all!

Fall colors, leaves scattered on the ground.

Fall is here!!!! That means pumpkin spice everything, sweaters, and cuddling under blankets! But what else can you do to get into the fall spirit without breaking the bank? Here are 10 fun and inexpensive fall activities you can do in Central Ohio.

1. Apple Picking

Waking up in the morning to a crisp chill in the air and the trees alive with colors starts you off on the right foot. Keep the atmosphere going by heading out for apple picking at Lynd Fruit Farm, and Hann Farms! If you’re looking for something else PickYourOwn.org has a complete list of other U-Pick farms all over the area.

2. Pumpkin Patches

Pumpkin patches often offer more than just pumpkin picking. Corn mazes, hay rides, and face painting are all everyday events at pumpkin patches!

3. Food Festivals

Visit a local food festival, and enjoy the harvest from farmers right here in Central Ohio…nothing could be fresher!

4. Cook an Autumn Feast

You can take the produce you find at the farms or at local food festivals and cook up an autumn feast! Juicy apples can become homemade apple sauce, apple pie, or tarte tatin. Robust pumpkin makes wonderful curried pumpkin soup, or pumpkin ravioli. Don’t forget kale and spinach! These cool weather greens make fabulous kale soup, or spinach salad with hot bacon dressing.

5. Autumn Colors Tour

You can do your own autumn colors tour by whipping up a batch of hot mulled cider, pouring it into insulated cups, grabbing some cookies or trail mix, and jumping in the car for a tour of our town’s beautiful fall foliage.

6. Take a walk in the woods!

Central Ohio has 19 Metro Parks so make sure to arrange your tour with a stopover at one of the parks! The parks have over 230 miles of trails from easy strolls to demanding hikes. It’s a sensory wonderland and the crisp scent of autumn, the crunch of leaves, and being outside is sure an inexpensive activity to get you in the spirit of fall!

7. Metro Park Programs

While you’re there check out their programs. They’ve got everything from nature talks for little ones, classes about nuts or wildfowl, group hikes with a naturalist, and night-time strolls.

8. Take advantage of your memberships

Be sure to take advantage of memberships you already have too! The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Franklin Park Conservatory, COSI, the Columbus Art Museum, and more offer programs, seasonal displays, or that special autumn feel. Make your memberships work for you!

9. Season Passes

Speaking of memberships, don’t forget your season passes: King’s Island and Cedar Point both have seasonal hours and programs to make Halloween events more fun. (Even further afield, think about the passes you may have bought to attractions such as Williamsburg or Hershey Park. Those summertime purchases may allow you to explore autumn values now).

10. Crafts

We’ll wrap up with one final inexpensive way to get into the spirit. Crafts! They’re perfect for a chilly, rainy day. You can collect beautiful leaves and nuts from your walks and keep an eye out for other things to use in crafts so that when the weather keeps you indoors you can create fall décor, rubbings, Thanksgiving cards, and other autumnal crafts. Sites like Good Housekeeping, or Country Living can give you great craft ideas and instructions.

Which of these 10 fall activities is your favorite? We hope you can try many of them. Have a great season, and maybe we’ll see you on a nature walk sometime soon!