Arch City: A Beginner’s Columbus Guide

By: claudia

January 20, 2014

Scioto Mile Columbus Ohio

Dubbed the Arch City, Columbus is the 15th largest city in the United States and the nation’s second-fastest growing metro area. And with one of the United States’ largest universities, The Ohio State University, there’s no shortage of newcomers around town. Take a look at our beginner’s Columbus guide for some of the city’s top spots.

Columbus was founded in 1812 along the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, which brought commerce to the region. Five Fortune 500 businesses are headquartered in Columbus, including Limited Brands that run fashion favourites such as Victoria’s Secret, PINK and Henri Bendel.


Arch City | Columbus Guide

The Short North Arts District is the creative heart of Columbus © Ohio Stock Photography

Explore Columbus’ downtown districts to get a real flavour of the city. North of downtown in the Short North Arts District, you’ll find art galleries surrounded by boutiques, hip bars and the city’s top restaurants. The Short North connects downtown to OSU with lighted arches (the city’s namesake structures) spanning High Street to mark the way at night.


Huntington Park | Arch City | Columbus Guide

The Columbus Clippers play at beloved Huntington Park © Randall L. Schieber

Nearby is the Arena District, home to Columbus’ National Hockey League team, the Blue Jackets. Another pro team, the Clippers, play Triple-A baseball at Huntington Park, named one of the top stadiums in the United States. See live music most nights at four concert venues featuring regional and international acts.


Arch City | Columbus Guide

Columbus has a popuular nightlife scene, and its own meadery © Brothers Drake

South of downtown is German Village, a charming, historic district. Art galleries, the city’s largest independent bookshop and popular restaurants are tucked between restored brick homes. Just a few blocks away you’ll find the Brewery District, home to microdistiller, the Columbus Brewery Company.


See a show at Shadowbox Live, the nation’s largest resident theatre troupe, which performs original comedy skits and musicals nearly every night of the week.


COSI science centre is a top spot for families – test your bravery by riding the world’s only high-wire unicycle. (Hint: gravity keeps you from falling.) The Columbus Museum of Art is known for its strong American art and photography permanent collections, while the Wexner Center for the Arts has built an international reputation for hosting innovative performing and visual arts. Art lovers also should check out Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, home to a huge permanent collection of Dale Chilhuly glass and a colourful light display by James Turrell that illuminates the conservatory from dusk to dawn daily.

Every city says it has great food. Columbus really means it. No trip is complete without stopping at one of the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams locations and tasting for yourself why Time Magazine calls it “America’s best.” No one does salty caramel better.


Written by Claudia Plumley


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Have you ever made a trip to Arch City? From the culture to the restaurants, what was your favourite part of the city? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.



Claudia Plumley is a travel writer, life-long Columbus resident and a lover of all-things Ohio. Claudia is the senior editor for Ohio Magazine’s custom publishing division, where she produces visitors guides and magazines promoting the Buckeye state. She previously worked for Experience Columbus, the city’s convention and visitors bureau.

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