Columbus, Ohio, is a large, sprawling city that offers a plethora of things to do at surprisingly little cost. Sometimes simply walking the streets of this city’s unique neighborhoods can provide extensive entertainment! Of course, some things are more popular to do than others. Here are some of the best activities and places that Columbus has to offer!
Gallery Hop in the Short North
The Short North Art District is by far one of the most vibrant and unique districts that Columbus has to offer! Known for its artsy crowd, tight community, and signature street arches, this neighborhood is one of the prime areas of the city. It also offers a number of fantastic art galleries that feature various different kinds of art and revolve around a variety of themes.
The first Saturday of every month, galleries open their doors to the thousands of people that flock to the district to see what’s new in the Columbus art scene. Many galleries open their doors around 4pm and close around 10pm, giving visitors plenty of time to enjoy the festivities taking place both inside the gallery spaces and on the streets. Street vendors and performers come out to play on these nights, creating a kind of festival environment that is hard to find at other gallery hops in the country.
Indulge Your Taste Buds at North Market
Of course, The Short North has even more to offer than just its art scene. The North Market is a popular place for those who wish to indulge their taste buds with fantastic local food! Though Columbus has plenty to offer in the way of great grub, The North Market provides an individualistic experience that you won’t soon forget. From the outside, it appears to be a simple grocery store, but inside is an entirely different story!
The interior space is huge, spanning a few hundred feet and housing over 35 different food stalls. Each stall contains different vendors, many offering foods from around the globe and other goods, such as flowers and groceries. In a sense, it is a gigantic indoor farmer’s market, with some extra pazazz thrown in! The upper floors even have a space reserved exclusively for eating, allowing you to take a breath and just enjoy your food. You can even watch shoppers milling about below you.
Get Lost in The Book Loft
First off, the German Village neighborhood in Columbus has a ton of character to offer. Its beautiful architecture and artsy feel has made it a beloved area of the city for years. One of the area’s best offerings is The Book Loft, a colossal bookstore that makes Barnes & Noble look like a roadside fruit stand!
With over 30 rooms brimming with just about every title and genre you can think of. It is so large that the store owners even provide a map to help you navigate the place. They sell both new and bargain books, so there is a little bit of something for everyone! Locals love The Book Loft because of its intimate feel, generous inventory, and vintage charm. If you’re a night owl, this place is for you. They are open until 11pm on weekdays and even later on weekends, meaning you can revel in literary heaven late into the night.
Go to Retail Heaven at the Easton Town Center
Located only a few miles out of Downtown Columbus, Easton Town Center is a high-end shopping center that attracts retail lovers and fashionistas from across the state. Its upscale feel and seemingly endless number of shops makes it a popular destination in the area, whether you have the money to spend or not. Even window shopping and people watching is a blast here.
Some of the mall is open-air, encouraging visitors to take a stroll along the wall-maintained and landscaped pathways to peek into shop windows. Even if shopping isn’t your thing, you can always grab a bite to eat, sit by one of the beautiful fountains, or enjoy some of the street entertainers performing various tricks for passers-by. There is even a movie theater boasting over 30 screens. That’s quite a selection for any move buffs out there!
Tour the Franklin Park Conservatory
The Franklin Park Conservatory is a popular tourist destination and wedding venue in Columbus. Of course, its popularity becomes obvious when you take a look at it. Located just a few miles away from downtown, this gorgeous Conservatory offers a number of beautiful garden areas and botanical exhibits, in addition to stunning architecture.
It was originally built in 1895, meaning that the place is constructed in an ornate vintage style that compliments the elaborate plants contained inside. There are over 400 species of plants and many different exhibits, including a Tropical Rainforest simulation and Bonsai Courtyard. If you’re a gardening buff or just someone who appreciates the loveliness of nature, then this Conservatory is a must-see. The only downside of this place is the high tourist population, but the crowds can be easily avoided by staying away during peak hours and on the weekends.
Bar Crawl in the Arena District
The Arena District is one of the most active and rowdy areas of Columbus. The vibrant nightlife here is a favorite for young professionals and college students alike. Bars and entertainment venues of all kinds thrive here because of their close proximity to Huntington Baseball Park and Nationwide Arena. That being said, it is the ultimate place to go bar hopping for young people in the city.
Of course, this isn’t just your usual bar hopping experience. Aside from tasting some sinfully greasy eats and getting buzzed on some great beer and cocktails, you can get some great entertainment along with it. It’s not unusual for these bars to host some pretty big musical acts as well, so bar hopping here has some extra perks. Surprisingly, the parking here is in abundance and comes at a pretty fair price (sometimes even free).
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