Located in central Ohio, Columbus is a small city with its own quirky charm. It has developed its own small-city alternative scene, with amater artist collectives like “Outsider Art” taking over local galleries and Project Runway contestant Kelli Martin hosting an Alternative Fashion Week each July. Search for Ohio State University in any search engine, and you’ll come upon results listing it as a nationally-ranked athletic power (you’ll also find plenty of viral YouTube videos showcasing the Ohio State Marching Band).
There’s also a flourishing distillery and brewery scene, a growing bicycle presence helped along by the annual Mayor’s Twilight Ride event and a BikeShare program, and many parks, conservatories, and galleries for the artistically inclined.
Must see: Take a stroll through the German Village, a neighborhood of preserved cottages dating back to 1814, when German immigrants formed a cultural enclave. The area has been a protected historical site since the 1950s. You’ll have to get there early, but if you don’t mind waiting in line, Germantown restaurant Skillet serves up some of the best breakfasts in the city.
Lodging: Stay at The Lofts, a warehouse that has been converted into spacious hotel suites with ultra-modern urban design elements. The Lofts is right across the street from the Columbus Convention Center.
Cuisine: Sample the fresh delicacies that change with the season, and enjoy al fresco dining at the Refectory Restaurant and Bistro, just northwest of downtown. The restaurant is housed in a renovated church, originally built in the 1850s.
Ground Transportation: Renting a car makes the most sense here during your visit. Just make sure you’re aware of the sports event schedule at Ohio State University - there’s sure to be a crowd and lots of traffic if you visit on a football night!
Packing Tips: Check the weather before you leave your hotel in the mornings for rain - especially during the spring. May is the wettest month here, on average.
Recommended Books: If you haven’t experienced the spooky craze around the Goosebumps series, which grew to huge popularity among pre-teens and young adults in the 1990s, here’s a perfectly good excuse to start reading: R.L. Stine, author of the series, was born and raised in Columbus, and attended Ohio State University.
Currency: The US dollar is the local currency.
Calling Code United States: 1
Best Travel Dates: Summers in Columbus are usually pretty temperate, and the temperatures rarely reach above 90 degrees F. Summer is also the least busy time of year for the neighborhoods around Ohio State University - most students return home from the summer, outside of this college town.