If business travel takes you to Columbus, be sure to factor some fun time into your schedule. With its happening nightlife scene, culinary attractions and one-of-a-kind shopping, Columbus offers too much fun to stay chained to your laptop. Make the most of your trip with our guide to business in Columbus.
Where to stay: Stay downtown in the swanky Hilton Columbus Downtown, connected to the Greater Columbus Convention Centre and easy walking distance to the Arena District, home to sporting events and live music. Even though the Hilton is a worldwide brand, this location is uniquely Columbus with artwork from Central Ohio artists spread throughout the hotel – and even on the ceiling of the rooms. Also downtown, The Lofts is a former warehouse turned boutique hotel with a personal concierge service and large, well-appointed rooms. The new boutique hotel, Le Meridien Columbus, The Joseph, which opened recently in the hip Short North Arts District, is also a good choice for business travellers. Inside you’ll find one of the hottest restaurants in the city, The Guild House, and modern artwork from international artists.
Where to eat: Columbus is gaining a culinary reputation for its abundance of locally owned and highly acclaimed restaurants. Steaks don’t come better than at Hyde Park – with locations around Columbus including downtown adjacent to the convention centre – while seafood lovers won’t want to miss The Pearl for oysters or The Guild House, for farm-to-table fare. Mingle with the city’s movers and shakers at Lindey’s and GMichael’s Bistro in historic German Village, just south of downtown. Get a seat at the bar and enjoy happy hour pricing and unbeatable networking, or enjoy a more private setting at Basi Italia, hidden away in the residential Victorian Village. For breakfast, seek out Tasi Café; located on a back alley in the Short North Arts District, this is a local favourite for its freshly baked breads and house-made jellies. Alternatively, head to the Hilton’s Gallerie Bar & Bistro, a destination all-day dining spot, or pick up some lunch at Café Brioso, one of the city’s top coffee roasters and a popular spot for business deals.
Where to go for evening cocktails: One of the best views of the downtown Columbus skyline can be found at M, owned by top restaurateur, Cameron Mitchell. Visit during happy hour Monday-Saturday from 5-7 p.m. for special pricing on their specialty drinks and extensive wine selection. Enjoy people watching and one of the city’s best Bloody Marys at Eleven, with indoor seating and a large patio overlooking High Street – the city’s main downtown thoroughfare. Denmark on High, meanwhile, located across from the convention centre, is known for its seasonal custom cocktails, many using Columbus-made liquors.
Top sights: Two of Columbus’ most happening neighbourhoods surround downtown. Visit art galleries, one-of-a-kind boutiques, parks and restaurants in the Short North Arts District, and see live music and professional hockey and baseball in the Arena District, just north of downtown. You can also enjoy the best in contemporary visual and performance art at the internationally acclaimed Wexner Center for the Arts, located on the campus of The Ohio State University.
Great gifts: Bring home a gift that says Columbus from Celebrate Local at Easton Town Center, where you’ll find local favourites like microbrews, salsa and fun Cbus T-shirts. Easton itself has more than 100 best-in-class retailers, or head to Columbus’ top attractions for more unique gifts. The Columbus Museum of Art sells locally made jewellery, as well as artsy scarves and posters, and COSI, the city’s science centre, has fun and intellectually stimulating gifts for the young and young-at-heart. Get endless gift options at the boutiques in the Short North Arts District, like gorgeous semiprecious chandelier earrings at Star Jewelers or rare toys at Big Fun.
Going local: After your meeting, explore the downtown riverfront with a walk or run along the Scioto Mile, connecting downtown to the Arena District entertainment area. See a free concert at Bicentennial Park or stop to admire the colourful fountains. Meet up with the locals in German Village, a restored neighbourhood south of downtown, brimming with buzzing restaurants and shops. Lose yourself inside the 32-rooms at The Book Loft, the city’s renowned independent bookstore, and stop for macaroons at Pistacia Vera before catching a free performance of Shakespeare classics at Goodale Park.
Where to break curfew: Listen to local bands and enjoy a few slices of pizza at Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza, a popular restaurant in suburban Worthington, or see some original sketch comedy and live music at Shadowbox Live, the largest resident theatre troupe in the United States (they perform most nights in the Brewery District). Downtown, head to the Arena District, where you can hear live music most nights, either in the bars along Park Street or at A& R Music Bar or The Basement, while top touring acts can be found at The LC and Nationwide Arena. Stop in at any of the five breweries on Brewers Row, all walking distance from downtown. The Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus is popular with locals for its Horny Goat porter aged in whiskey barrels, while Wolf’s Ridge Brewing offers gourmet dining and small batch brews.
Connecting you with a wide range of destinations across the United States and Canada through our partnership with Delta, travelling to Columbus on business couldn’t be easier.
Have you been on business in Columbus? Where are your favourite places to go between meetings? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Claudia Plumley