Rediscovering Columbus on a weekend trip

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I just published my travel guide for Columbus, Ohio and thought I’d share some additional photos and highlights from my weekend trip to C-town in case you missed it. While I was visiting family in Columbus, I also had some time to do some sightseeing (and eating). Even though my sister has been saying it for years, it was finally on this trip that I learned Columbus is actually pretty cool—and even has things to offer for twenty-something travelers like myself.

Things to do and places to see in Columbus

  • Short North Arts District — The epicenter of hipstery things in Columbus. The downtown area is basically a long stretch of shopping with plenty of art galleries, knick-knack shops, restaurants and bars. There’s also a healthy dose of street art and graffiti on the sides of many of the brick buildings, so much so that you can even download a map & audio guide to the Short North’s public art.
  • German Village — This is probably the second most hipster area of Columbus. An old neighborhood of criss-crossing, cobblestoned streets with restored Victorian homes, the German Village is home to delicious restaurants and one of the country’s most interesting book stores, the Book Loft.
  • Victorian Village — On my Segway tour of Columbus I learned about this neighborhood of Columbus where there are many historical homes. A famous one is the Sells Mansion—once belonging to the owner of one of America’s most popular circuses. Rumor has it that the Sells family used to keep the circus animals in the house during the winter. Today, the city of Columbus has commemorated the Sells Brother Circus by putting a statue of two baby elephants in Goodale Park opposite the Victorian mansion.
  • Columbus Commons — A downtown park, the Commons is located in a bit of a commercial wasteland, but it’s near most downtown businesses and commercial shopping. Most importantly, during the summer you can catch free performances of Shakespeare in the Park.
  • North Market — This old shopping and food market is a great place to visit at lunchtime. Being a Midwestern city, Columbus has a long history with agriculture and food production, so expect to find some good and hearty foods at the North Market.
  • Columbus Zoo — Rated one of the top 10 zoos in America (for reals!) the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (@ColumbusZoo) is pretty spectacular. I visited one year over winter when they do their Christmas lights special, but it’s worth checking out any time of year. I even captured a video of a bat peeing! Bizarre.

View more travel tips in my hipster guide to Columbus.

columbus graffiti

The Short North is Columbus’ trendiest area. There’s plenty of street art and graffiti along the Short North. This take on an American classic was eye-catching, but even the shop advertisements painted on buildings were stunning.

jenis-ice-cream

I’ve already published about some of my favorite Columbus restaurants, but Jeni’s Ice Cream deserves another special mention. How can you go wrong with a Froot Loops flavor?

Gay Columbus

Columbus is also home to a pretty decent LGBT/gay scene. Apparently the market is strong enough that it can even withstand knick-knack shops like this catered to a gay audience.

barc-rest-columbus

Tapas at the Barcelona Restaurant in the German Village. Don’t think too hard about it: a Midwestern city has an entire neighborhood devoted to German culture, with a Spanish restaurant located in the same area. If you haven’t figured out how diverse and multicultural Columbus is yet, well, good luck.

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The Ohio Theatre in downtown Columbus hosts concerts and movie nights. It’s just opposite the state capitol building.

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I took a Segway tour of downtown Columbus where I learned about Columbus’ 19th and 20th century history. I’m always surprised to find cities with history hidden in so many places. Spots on the tour included famous points along the Civil War’s Underground Railroad and the Peanut Shoppe—a store dedicated entirely to peanut products.

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Well, they also had other nuts.

View more travel tips in my travel guide to Columbus.

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4 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. cool. i studied at OSU for 4 years, so i must recommend the Wexner Center for the Arts. been all over and still feel the cultural programming there is world-class, from the int’l films to the art exhibits to the theater and concert performances

    • I was really surprised, in general, with the art scene throughout Ohio. I went to the big museum in Cleveland which I really enjoyed, and the different galleries and Wexner in Columbus were pretty impressive. I don’t think most people think of art when they think of Ohio, but I was definitely glad to stumble into it!

  2. Looks great! You don’t really hear about this place very often. Are there a lot of tourists there?
    Lovely pics :)

    • Hey Jo,
      Thanks! You’re right – a lot of people ignore the Midwest as anywhere interesting but I found plenty of cool things to do when I was in Ohio earlier this year. Just a matter of knowing where to look and who to ask!

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