Columbus, Ohio, tends to skew young thanks to a sizable student population in the heart of the ever expanding city. The vitality can be seen in the population’s style, humor, sense of inclusion, and vibrant, high-energy nightlife.
When to Go
Year-round. The hot and humid summer months are chockablock with outdoor festivals and events, while cold and windy winter weather drives people into Columbus’s many coffee shops and breweries. Spring brings a sea of color, especially at Franklin Park Conservatory, which comes alive with more than 100,000 blooming flowers. Finally, fall marks the return of students to Ohio State University (OSU) and the phenomenon known as football season.
Any Ohio State Buckeyes home game is a special event for football fans, but those who prefer the arts head to the Short North Arts District every first Saturday of the month for Gallery Hop. The vibrant neighborhood of mural-adorned buildings filled with restaurants and galleries really gets its creative juices flowing on this special night featuring artist exhibitions, street performances, and other special events.
What to Eat
While pizza may be a universally loved food, Columbus-style pie has edge-to-edge toppings on a thin crust that is then cut into squares. The anti-triangle approach baffles those diners expecting a wedge, but it's hip to be square in Columbus, as the city also had a hand in spreading the square-burger concept across the nation.
Souvenir to Take Home
Buckeye candy is so ubiquitous it can be found anywhere from high-end chocolate shops to gas stations. Buckeyes get their name and appearance from the nut of Ohio's state tree. While the real thing is inedible, the delectable combination of peanut butter balls partially dipped in chocolate makes the human-made version irresistible.
Sustainable Travel Tip
Request a free ride with Hopper Carts, which operates a fleet of eco-friendly electric shuttles that carry passengers around downtown and the Short North Arts District. Area sponsors offset the cost of the app-based service.
Stand at the southwest corner of Nationwide Arena around dusk and look south to view the Union Station Arch—the only remaining portion of the city's grand Beaux-Arts-style railway station that was demolished in the 1970s. The arch now serves as the gateway to McFerson Commons Park, not to mention the backdrop for countless selfies and wedding photos.