Things to Do
Hocking Hills State Park: An awesome state park about 45 minutes out of downtown with absolutely beautiful, forested hiking trails with waterfalls and caves along the way! A must-do during spring or summer, plus it's an awesome activity if you're visiting with a dog!
Rockmill Brewery: Although seemingly should belong in the "places to drink" category, this is really more of a full-on activity than just a drinking spot. Location here is also about 45 minutes out of town (in the same general area as Hocking Hills, so a great add-on to that adventure), this is a gorgeous brewery hidden in Ohio farmland. The tap room is in a beautiful, redone farm house and there are acres and acres of outdoor areas to have a beer, wander by the streams, and hang around the on-site pond. Great choice both in the cold and warm months, as you can cozy up inside by a fire during the chillier seasons. This is a spot we highly recommend.
Shopping in the Short North: There are almost no major chains in the Short North Arts District, so this is a really fun area to walk around and explore all the local businesses, boutiques, artists, etc! Their fine stops include Jolie Occasions (female), Rowe Boutique (female + baby), Kiln (male), On Paper (stationary + paper goods), Tigertree (gifts and this + thats), Mission Coffee Co, and Vamp Official (female).
Clintonville: Neighborhood tucked away north of the city, with kind of has an old-school/vintage vibe that is really up-and-coming. Has some cool vintage shops, boutiques, and hip cafes!
Best Local Workouts: The Butcher Shop (Lagree Fitness) in German Village, Studio Torch (HIIT) in Grandview, and System of Strength (mix of HIIT, Strength Training, Cardio, and Small Muscle Training) with 3 locations in German Village, Grandview, and Clintonville if you're looking to break a sweat.
Places to Eat
Harvest Pizza: Columbus' favorite craft-pizza place! Harvest has 2 locations, so wherever you're staying in Columbus it's probably not too far (German Village and Clintonville). Lots of pizzas on the menu as well as a DIY option. If you're close to German Village, we recommend that location because it has an amazing craft cocktail bar attached to it called Curio. We get the Spicy Yuma Pizza, and the Shishito Peppers to start.
Lindey's: Super traditional, upscale restaurant located in German Village that has been around for years. Old-school ambiance without the stuffiness and an awesome garden-patio.
Nada: Trendy Mexican joint located in the Arena District downtown. Definitely more of a modern/trendy vibe than authentic, but so colorful (there's beautiful murals in the bathroon). Get the Kreeper Salsa, Chicken al Carbon Tacos, or any of their salads.
Third & Hollywood: Modern, chic, American-bistro with great meat and fish dishes, as well as salads located in Grandview. Cozy, upscale dinner that's great for intimate date nights. Some popular dishes are the fish sandwich, kale caesar salad, and their deserts always rotate. Plus, you get complimentary sea salt chocolate chip cookies with your bill!
Veritas: Newly opened downtown venue that everyone always raves about.
Hai Poke: Locally owned poke company that's great for a fast, casual, affordable lunch or dinner.
NorthStar: A great option for a casual lunch / brunch / dinner. The Sweet Potato Hash and Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are a must for brunch, and their cookies are the size of your face!
Places to Drink
Tip: If you're in your 20s/30s and want to bop around the Columbus scene, Saturday day drinking is your go to! People are certainly out and about every night of the week/weekend, but Saturdays are prime.
Pint House: Beer Hall located in the heart of the Short North. This is everyone's go-to for any sporting event because they have tons of TVs, huge beers, greasy bar food, and a lively atmosphere. Expect lots of dudes and a rowdy vibe. Pint House also owns Standard Hall and Food Hall located in the Short North, which are also great options with similar vibes.
Italian Market: This is a really unique Italian grocery + restaurant + wine shop. You can dine in and order their amazingly unique Italian food or you can grab booze to go! We usually sit around for hours ordering charcuterie and pizzas while we keep making trips to the wine fridge and taking advantage of their great wine prices and no corkage fee!
Soul at the Joseph: Chic, low-key cocktail bar located in the Joseph Hotel downtown. Great for a classy, quiet drink in a beautiful hotel lobby-bar!
Juniper: Rooftop bar close to the Short North. Warning -- they aren't always open on the weekends, sometimes they're rented out for events/weddings! When they are open, this is a BEAUTIFUL place to have a drink and see the city from the top of an old building. They usually post on their Instagram when they are open/closed!
BrewDog Dog Tap: The BrewDog American headquarters is located in Canal Winchester, an easy 15 minutes from downtown. It's a massive brewery with a huge tap room + restaurant. There's an expansive outdoor area with fire pits, a dog park, and tons of picnic benches. An awesome choice to bring a big group of people because there's plenty of seating, space, and great beers!
Places to Stay
Airbnb: Best areas to stay would be Short North and Downtown. These areas are pretty close to each other and are where all the hotels are located. You can pretty much get anywhere you need to be in 15-20 mins from these central locations.
The Joseph Hotel: New, boutique hotel located in the heart of the Short North. Artistic, chic vibe and the prices aren't too crazy. Also, it has a wonderful restaurant and cocktail bar in the lobby (The Guild House Restaurant, Soul Cocktail Bar).
The Hilton Downtown: Classic, centrally-located Hilton hotel that is absolutely huge!
Lyft or Uber is the most popular way to get around, and if you're downtown or close you'll get picked up within 5 minutes. If you're out in the suburbs, you can expect a few minutes longer.
Public Transit (buses) exists, but isn't the fastest option for visitors.
If you're coming for more than a night or 2, its not a bad idea to rent a car!
Seasons: This probably comes as no surprise, but weather can be very seasonal in Columbus. Especially, if you're not used to cold weather then winter is not the best time to visit. Spring is wonderful from a weather and activity standpoint, and fall is great too because its Ohio State University (OSU) football season and there is always stuff going on!
OSU Football: Football season is LIFE for everyone in Columbus. Whether going to the game, watching at a bar, tailgating with friends, or watching from home, everyone makes a day out of every game day. Be warned, the streets, stores, and restaurants are filled with red. Game days are the only times we will venture to OSU campus and go to bars there.
Memorial Tournament: Huge golf tournament that happens every year the week after Memorial Day. If you're big on golf you definitely already know about this, but it's super fun for everyone even if you don't follow golf! It's located in Dublin, an upscale suburb 20 minutes outside of Columbus. Everyone goes to the tournament during the day and the Bogie Inn at night.