New tour company Columbus City Adventures is ready to delight residents and tourists alike with stories of the capital city.
It brings a new element of tourism to Columbus, which had been lacking a consistent option for city tours.
“We saw a real opportunity here,” said Jeff Lafever, co-founder of Columbus City Adventures. “Since, to the best of our knowledge, Columbus is the largest city in the U.S. without regularly scheduled city tours.”
Columbus has seen its tour industry grow over the last several years. Lafever is partnering with Bethia Woolf and Andy Dehus on the venture, who are responsible for many of the current tour options that sample the food and beer of Central Ohio. Launched in July of 2010, Columbus Food Adventures explores the city’s taco trucks, alt eats, brunch options, neighborhood gems and more. A natural progression thanks to Columbus’ booming craft beer industry, Columbus Brew Adventures started rolling in 2013. But, there was still no option that really explored the city itself.
Lafever first connected with Woolf during his time as executive director of the Columbus Historical Society. During his decade tenure with the organization, the Columbus Historical Society and Columbus Food Adventures partnered on many different experiences, including a historic food tour.
Lafever shares that the tour business was actually thinking of adding more city-based options, but, “They kind of needed somebody that had the experience doing city tours.”
Over the years, Lafever had developed a deep understanding of the city both through his position at the Columbus Historical Society and previous experience and personal interests. He worked for a real estate developer for fives years and during that time also purchased a house in historic Woodland Park. He started digging into the history of the house and the neighborhood. Who built it? What’s the history of the surrounding community? Old plat maps and new plat maps collided between personal research and new developments at work.
Lafever used his culmination of knowledge to design the four tours that Columbus City Adventures currently offers:
- Columbus Central City Tour – an introduction to Downtown Columbus and its surrounding neighborhoods
- Columbus Past, Present & Future Tour – an exploration of how current development will shape the future trajectory of the city
- Columbus Architecture Tour – a guide to the city’s varied architecture, exploring private homes to prominent buildings
- German Village Walking Tour – a stroll through the historic neighborhood exploring its German origins
The first three shuttle tour-goers in a climate controlled van, meaning Columbus City Adventures is planning for year-round excursions.
“In addition to that, we do customized tours,” Lafever says.
Columbus City Adventures also plans to add to its initial lineup of tours.
“We would like to have a Military History Tour to coincide with the new Veteran’s Memorial and Museum opening up next fall,” Lafever says, noting many people don’t realize what a rich military history Columbus has.
The company is also working on African American History and LGBT History tours, with which Lafever is partnering with local community members and experts for information.
There’s an appeal for residents, newcomers and visitors to the city.
“Even if they think they know this city, [residents] will find something interesting on one of our tours,” Lafever says.
And with the explosive population growth and increased tourism traffic, “We expect our tours will be useful for helping visitors and newly relocated to understand the city and ‘hit the ground running,'” Lafever says.
To schedule a tour, visit columbuscityadventures.com.
Learn more about Columbus City Adventures on Columbus Underground!