Definitely not known for being a “glamorous” vacation spot, Columbus might be the least likely place to pop up on your radar as somewhere to spend a long weekend. However, it is filled with amazing food finds, an awesome bar scene, cute spaces to explore, and tons of unique shops and boutiques.
I was lucky enough to call Columbus home during four years of college when I was a student at The Ohio State University. Campus makes up a huge portion of the city, it takes up 2.6 square miles alone! Walking around campus should not be missed when visiting, the Buckeyes are a huge part of this city’s culture and everyday life.
Photo via Experience Columbus
Getting There and Getting Around
John Glenn Columbus International Airport is located just 15 minutes outside of the city, making it the easiest way to get in and out. Columbus is incredibly walkable, so once you leave the airport and make your way to the city you won’t really need a car.
Getting from the airport to downtown will likely cost about $20 via Uber or Lyft.
Image via The Joseph
Where to Stay
Depending on the type of experience you’re looking for, there are four major areas within the city that are popular for lodging – University District, Short North, German Village, and Downtown. I’ll provide a few hotel recommendations below, but I highly recommend Airbnb in this city to get the full experience.
If you want to stay in the midst of all The Ohio State University has to offer, this is the hotel should be your pick. Located on campus not more than a stone’s throw from Ohio Stadium, The Blackwell is incredibly modern, has an amazing restaurant, and is also convenient to campus and the University District.
Le Meridien Columbus, The Joseph
A boutique hotel set in the heart of the Short North arts district, The Joseph combines all things modern, metropolitan, and chic. It is located near some of the best restaurants and cocktail bars Columbus has to offer and provides incredibly easy access to art galleries and shopping.
Hotel LeVeque, Autograph Collection
If you’re looking for something downtown, this stately hotel overlooks the Scioto River as well as the Ohio Statehouse. With elegant rooms and a cute French restaurant and bar, you’ll be living in luxury during your stay here.
Photo via Experience Columbus
Explore + Experience
For a bit of exercise, make your way to Ohio State for a beautiful stroll through campus. With gorgeous brick buildings, a lusciously green quad (also known as “The Oval”), and the newly renovated Mirror Lake, campus is a huge part of the charm of this city.
Insider Tip: Start at the top of The Oval and make your way to the bottom of campus by walking through the Thompson Library. Once inside, don’t forget to look up!
For sports fans, be sure not to miss a game at Ohio Stadium if you’re lucky enough to visit from September – November. A Saturday in Columbus revolves around the Buckeyes regardless if the game is home or away. The Columbus Blue Jackets and Columbus Clippers also draw a lively crowd outside of football season.
Insider Tip: Check out the Columbus Clippers schedule for when you’re in town to see if it’ll be Dime-A-Dog Night! For a handful of games each year, you can get hot dogs at the park for just 10 cents.
For arts and shopping lovers, grab a coffee from Fox in the Snow Cafe and take a walk down High Street through the Short North. This area of the city is filled with boutique shops, small bakeries, craft cocktail bars, and art galleries. You could easily spend the afternoon popping in and out of different spots!
Insider Tip: The Short North starts on 4th and High. Work your way down one side of the street until you reach Goodale and High and then find your way back on the other side.
For shopping within the city, don’t miss Ladybird, Rowe Boutique, Vernacular, Homage, and Tigertree. If you want an all-day shopping extravaganza, head to Easton, an outdoor complex of shopping, restaurants, and bars.
Insider Tip: Vernacular is a little ways outside the city, but has amazing finds for clothing, home, and gifts! This is my absolute favorite boutique in the city and a must every time I visit.
For a cultural stroll, make your way to German Village, one of the prettiest parts of the city. This little district is home to gorgeous homes, pretty spaces, an amazing book shop, and great coffee.
Insider Tip: Pop into Stauf’s for a coffee and find your way to The Book Loft to get lost in the amazing rooms filled with books.
Image via Short North
Eat + Drink
German Village: Barcelona, Katzinger’s Delicatessen, Lindey’s Restaurant and Bar, Schmidt’s Sausage Haus, Stauf’s
Short North: Bakersfield, Black Point, Bodega, Brassica, Condado Tacos, Fox in the Snow Cafe, Hubbard Grille, Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, Katalina’s, Laughlin’s Bakery, Marcella’s, Melt Bar and Grilled, Mission Coffee Co., Northstar Cafe, The Pearl, Zest Cold Pressed Juice Co.
University District: Buckeye Donuts, Ethyl & Tank, First Watch, Hang Over Easy, Sloopy’s Diner, The Little Donut Shop