Columbus, Ohio is a bustling city in the heart of our state. We know it, we love it, we don't want to leave. For a Midwest city, Columbus has so many diverse experiences and things to do, that you could spend your entire life trying to explore every nook and cranny in the city, and never get through everything.
Whether you're visiting the area, or considering a move away, make sure you check out all of the things you'll miss from this incredible city. Here's 10 reasons you should stay in Columbus.
1. The Food
We're willing to bet that even if you've lived in Columbus your whole life, you haven't eaten all Columbus has to offer. In fact, you probably haven't even eaten at all of the cult favorites that give Columbus its foodie reputation. We even have an entire week dedicated to restaurants in Columbus.
Columbus isn't really known for any one type of cuisine, and that's because we have everything. Grab a vegan chili dog from Dirty Frank’s, a slice of pizza at Late Night Slice, a Thurmanator from Thurman’s Cafe, a cream puff the size of your head from Schmidt’s, or anything from the boundless ethnic food restaurants around.
Not only is Columbus brimming with food, but new eateries are popping up constantly. You could spend your whole life trying to eat your way through Columbus, and still never finish.
2. The Festivals
You know that whole, "something for everyone" saying? Yea, Columbus has that in spades when it comes to festivals and street fairs. There is something going on almost every weekend of the year in Downtown Columbus or surrounding areas.
All that food mentioned above? We get it in festival form, too. There's The Food Truck Festival along The Scioto Mile, where local and out-of-state food trucks line the street and are open for business for a whole weekend, with plenty of live music and drinks to go around, too.
Did we mention we have entire festivals dedicated to mac and cheese, bacon, and even coffee?
Looking for more culture? Columbus has that too. Put on your leiderhosen and find a beer stein, Columbus’ German roots come out to play for Oktoberfest. More of a spaghetti and meatballs kinda person? Head to the Italian Festival.
Want to work off some of that food? Check out The Arnold Fitness Expo (yes, that Arnold).
We even have our very own Fashion Week, and a Fashion Meets Music Festival. See runway styles from some of the best local designers and shop for your next look. Hear from local and big name bands, while you watch models strut their stuff.
The list of festivals in the heart of Ohio is endless, be sure to spend some time adding them to your calendar so you don't miss anything!
3. The Fans
It's no secret we're nuts for the Buckeyes. One of the most common traits of the Midwest is their hometown loyalty, and that comes through in spades when we're talking about good ol' college football.
Almost any store in and around the city will be sporting Buckeye's gear, and don't be caught without your scarlet and gray on Game Day Saturdays! Even if you can't make it to The Shoe to watch the Buckeyes play, there's no shortage of local restaurants and bars that will have the game on.
Even better than watching the Bucks play? The tailgating! Ohio has basically perfected the art of the tailgate, and you won't want to miss (you guessed it) the food.
Just make just you don't mention TTUN (That Team Up North).
Football not your thing? Well good luck...just kidding. Columbus has plenty of other options for sporting events, too. Catch the Columbus Blue Jackets in the hockey rink, The Columbus Crew on the soccer field, and The Columbus Clippers on the baseball diamond. In fact, our baseball stadium won Ballpark of the Year.
4. We're Smart
No, really. Columbus was named one of the seven smartest cities in the world by The Intelligent Communities Forum. There must be something in the water.. or our incredible colleges, cultural events and library systems.
Don't take my word for it – the Intelligent Community Forum says so. The organization presented Mayor Michael Coleman with the 2015 Intelligent Community of the Year award , noting Columbus' "relentless embrace of new ideas."
This was Columbus' third year in a row as a finalist for the award, which recognizes cities for their use of "technology, culture and collaboration" for economic growth.
Full of startups and top rated schools, as well as smart transportation initiatives that help you get around, and make travel more accessible and green, Columbus is a hub for innovation and growth.
5. German Village
German Village is incredible and full of history.
Originally a large settlement for German immigrants in the mid 1800's, German Village was a thriving community. After World War I and II, the area started to decline and die out.
After some dedicated private entities took it upon themselves to restore and preserve the area, The City of Columbus recognized the preservation efforts and established The German Village Commission and the German Village Historic District and rezoned the area for residential use.
Today, German Village is a model of urban neighborhood preservation and revitalization – a nationally recognized success story. German Village is mostly a quiet neighborhood of red-brick homes with wrought iron fences along tree-lined, brick-paved streets.
It has plenty of authentic German food (duh), and has many German inspired restaurants and pubs with plenty of beer and bratwurst to go around. It is also home to Schiller Park where you can explore or even catch a free show put on by the Actor’s Theatre.
6. The Art Scene
There is really a shortage of words for how rich and exciting the arts scene is in Columbus.
The Columbus Museum of Art is a work of art in itself, and has pieces from late nineteenth and early twentieth-century American and European modern works of art. They also house the world’s largest collections of works by beloved local artists and renowned collections like the American Social Commentary Art.
Not good enough? Check out the Wexner Center for the Arts, which started as a research center for all of the arts and is now The Ohio State University's multidisciplinary, international laboratory for the exploration and advancement of contemporary art.
While you're busy eating, head to the Short North Arts district especially on a Saturday for the Gallery Hop. Or head to the Columbus Arts Festival. We also have the Columbus College of Art and Design, which brings in the best young artists around.
More into theatre? Great! The Ohio Theatre and the Palace Theatre gets tons of traveling shows and musicals, including the hit Broadway musical Hamilton in 2018.
7. We've Got Plenty of ShowsCan't get enough of the arts? We have a booming music scene, too. In fact, we have an entire neighborhood dedicated to shows and live entertainment. Head to the Arena District
Promowest Productions, a local events organization, brings in local bands, indie and rock shows, and even bigger names to the amazing Express LIVE! venue. One of the first indoor and outdoor venues, Express LIVE! is the perfect mix of versatile and intimate, where any show is bound to be a blast.
Want bigger? Nationwide Arena brings in the giant shows and concerts. Columbus usually pops up on the tour locations for large, big name bands and singers like Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Ed Sheeran.
There's also plenty of music festivals like the CD 102.5 Summerfest or the Fashion Meets Music Festival.
8. Nature? We've Got Plenty of That Too
Do you like butterflies? Flowers? Glass sculptures? Who doesn't?? Head to Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden for a double dose of beauty. The conservatory and gardens consists of over 12-acres of botanical biomes, gardens, unique plants, and art exhibitions.
The Conservatory hosts special, temporary exhibitions of works by national and international artists each year, and seasonal exhibits like Blooms and Butterflies.
Columbus is also home to several metro and state parks, that have hiking, paved walking trails, waterfalls, and even dog parks.
9. Craft Beer to Cocktails
For a place so rich in food, and so skilled at tailgating, it wouldn't make sense to not have an awesome selection of places to drink. From local craft brews, to hand crafted cocktails, to just all around awesome places to drink; you name it, we've got it.
Into Space Invaders and Mortal Kombat? Head to 16-Bit for cleverly named cocktails and a slew of old school arcade games. Want something more hearty? We've got several local breweries that are open for tours and even eating.
Not only do we have an entire neighborhood for German stuff (which is right next to this), and one for live entertainment, but we have one for alcohol. Head to the Brewery District for plenty of pubs and nightlife.
Local breweries are also on tap, so be sure to check out BrewDog Dog Tap, Land Grant, North High Brewing, Wolf's Ridge Brewing, and more if you want a taste of Columbus (and of course, some good food).
10. We're Diverse
Columbus is an incredibly diverse city. The city has a large LGBTQ+ community and many neighborhoods are known for being very LGBTQ+ friendly.
With Stonewall Columbus actively preserving the gay community and one of the largest Gay Pride Festivals held annually, this is the place to be if you want to feel included.
And did we mention The Columbus Gay Men's Chorus? Just go listen to them.
Not only is Columbus an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, but we are very diverse in ethnicities and religions. You know we love our festivals, so it makes sense to celebrate the diversity in our community with The International Festival.
We can't get away from diversity without talking about the food, so it's safe to say our food scene is influenced by the different people that make up the city. From Indian food, to Italian, to Mediterranean, to Jamaican, and so on and so forth, we have a little sample of everything you could wish from around the globe.
We can't make you stay in Columbus, but after reading about all of these awesome opportunities and experiences, how can you not fall in love with the city?
Don't take our word for it, get out there and experience Columbus!