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Cheap of the Month gives a snapshot of a cheap weekend getaway each month.

The Midwest is a fantastic place to visit in the summer. The humidity can be a pain some days (though nothing compared to the South), but you’ve never seen anything as green and verdant as an Ohio cornfield in the summertime, rising up to meet the cloudless blue sky. Columbus, Ohio’s capital city, is teeming with life in July, when summer is still exciting and folks haven’t yet grown tired of the heat. There’s plenty to do and lots to experiencein the heart of it all.

Courtesy of Sam Howzit.

Courtesy of Sam Howzit.

Plane, train or automobile — Port Columbus International Airport is a 15 or 20 minute drive from the city, and likely your best bet for incoming transportation (find your flight here), unless you can drive in. Traffic in Columbus rarely gets jammed, and parking downtown is relatively cheap. If you are patient enough, you can find free parking around downtown—just make sure to abide by the posted signs to avoid a ticket or towing, especially if you are near Ohio State University.

Courtesy of Sam Howzit.

Courtesy of Sam Howzit.

Cheap local transit — The Central Ohio Transit Authority buses run the length of the city. It’s $2 to ride once and $4.50 for a day pass. If you plan to stay near downtown, the CoGo Bike Share system might be a better bet. It’s only a few years old and offers a 24-hour pass for $6. Walking is doable to an extent, but with plenty of parking and uncongested streets, driving is the best way to get around Columbus.

Courtesy of Dustin Tinney.

Courtesy of Dustin Tinney.

Nibble on North Market — Summertime and farmers markets go hand in hand in Columbus. Farmers yielding homegrown strawberries, Ohio sweet corn and a slew of other Midwestern delicacies populate the white tents that speckle neighborhoods throughout the city, and they’re not just limited to Saturdays. The granddaddy of them all is North Market, located in Columbus’ Arena District near downtown. It’s open every day but Sunday and features permanent stands and restaurants. Come hungry for free samples.

Courtesy of Sali Sasaki.

Courtesy of Sali Sasaki.

Satisfy your sweet tooth — The award-winning Jeni’s Ice Cream hails from Columbus, and her one-of-a-kind, locally inspired creations are not to be missed. Find her shops throughout the city, and sample to your heart’s content. If specialty ice cream isn’t your thing, try some scoops from the Cincinnati-born Graeter’s Ice Cream. It offers selections a little heartier and cheaper than Jeni’s. For milkshakes, try United Dairy Farmers, a convenience store with exceptional (and exceptionally cheap) ice cream.

Courtesy of Bob Hall.

Courtesy of Bob Hall.

Stroll through the Short North — The city’s art district has surpassed its hip stage and grown wildly popular, featuring some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, art galleries and shopping. It’s walkable and quaint, and makes for a great free activity in window shopping. All the galleries extend their hours and open their doors on the first Saturday every month for Gallery Hop, another great free activity.

Courtesy of Marada.

Courtesy of Marada.

Catch a Clippers game — Hanging below the prestige of the major leagues are the Columbus Clippers, a Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. You may not know all the player’s names, but going to a game at Huntington Park is a cheap and fun way to spend the evening outside. Tickets for the lawn or bleachers can be had for as little as $7, and they have Dime-a-Dog nights on Mondays.

Courtesy of Mike Marotti.

Courtesy of Mike Marotti.

Rock climb with the skyline — A hidden gem on Columbus’ south side is the Scioto Audubon Metro Park. Nestled along the Scioto River, the park is a treasure chest of free activities, and all with the backdrop of the gorgeous yet understated Columbus skyline. Rock climb for free, play on the sand volleyball courts, run through the obstacle course (which is more like an adult playground), or just sit back and watch it all unfold.

Related: Cheap of the Month-Madison in May

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Tagged: Cheap of the Month, City, Family, Food & drink, FREE!, Last minute travel, Seasonal, Sports, Tips & advice

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