If Columbus, Ohio isn’t on your list of “must see” spots in the US, it needs to be! Columbus is no longer a hidden gem among the big midwestern cities. The word is out, and here are just a few reasons why I love living in this vibrant, eclectic city.
We love food, a lot. All kinds of food. Columbus serves as America’s test market for companies researching new menu items and restaurant concepts. It’s not uncommon for new (sometimes odd) items to pop up on menus at places like Starbucks, Wendy’s, Panera and Piada. It’s fun to sample new foods that the rest of the country may never get, like a beer flavored latte I had one morning at Starbucks. One sip was enough for me that time!
As fun as these test products can be, the true restaurant scene is anything but chains and fast food. The North Market is a public market in downtown Columbus filled with bakeries, local grocers, and a diverse range of ethnic restaurants. Other celebrated spots include Service Bar, ran by executive chef Avishar Barua, a recent contestant on Top Chef Portland. The Refectory, a French European standby often hosts adventurous wine tasting and dinner parties.
One of my favorite facts to share about Columbus, is that it’s been home to more resident fashion designers than any other city in the US (outside NY & LA) and has graced many lists as a top city for new, innovative fashion. Take an afternoon and stroll the sidewalks in trendy neighborhoods like the Short North and Clintonville popping in and out of the many boutiques.
Vintage and resale shops are growing in popularity, and luckily we have great ones selling clothing, accessories and home goods. New to the scene is The Little Light Collective, a vintage co-op of 35 local vendors selling their best curated finds.
If visual art is more your thing, be sure to visit on the first Friday of the month to join the Short North Gallery Hop. Art galleries and pop up exhibition spaces line the main street, boutiques stay open late, and special snacks and drinks are served along the way.
The best time of year to visit Columbus is in the fall, to take advantage of the foliage filled parks and festivals.
Just 40 min south of the city is Hocking Hills, a state park known for its incredible features. Natural rock bridges, waterfalls, rick formations, and scenic views create endless photo ops. All the spots become extra special in the fall, when the autumn colors illuminate the forest.
If you make the trip, and I hope you do, consider staying at the Doghouse. It’s the world’s first craft beer hotel, run by Scottish brewing company, Brewdog. Rooms come fully equipped with their own taps.