The last of the Columbus posts is here! Here is a little bit about all of my favorite places to go and things to do in Columbus, Ohio.
I am not a big shopper, but here are the big shopping spots!
The Book Loft
This place is probably one of my favorite finds in Columbus. The Book Loft is located in the German Village. The Book Loft has a total of 32 rooms full of all sorts of books. For anyone who likes to read, it is heaven. All the rooms are themed, so if you have something you are looking for specifically you can go to the specific room it is in, or you can just stroll around and see what you find. There is definitely something for everyone. I usually just stroll around and look at all the options. I have bought a couple books from there, mostly cook books, but it can get a bit overwhelming with how large and varied their stock is. The last time I was in I spent about an hour just browsing, taking notes of titles of books I think I would like. Unfortunately I did not buy any because I did not want to have to move them all in my move to Texas, my car is already going to be pretty full. I’ve never actually price checked any of the books, but they always do have books that have stickers saying like 5% or 20% off publisher’s list price. In my opinion, if you want the book and can get it that day and not have to wait to have it shipped it to your house it’s worth, as long as it is not too much more than what you could get it for somewhere else. But since I’ve learned how much books have actually cost I’ve been using the library a lot more.
Easton is an indoor/outdoor mall with not only lots of shopping, but entertainment as well. They recently opened up Legoland, which is supposed to be an indoor play park with rides and I imagine all the legos you could ever play with. Along with Legoland they have a very nice theater inside the mall. It has the nice theater seats and food service to your seat if you decide to splurge on yourself. The mall itself has many big brand stores, as well as some smaller, less well known stores. You can really find something for everyone if you go to Easton to shop. And you can’t forget to eat on your shopping spree. Easton has many food establishments within the mall. They also have good restaurants surrounding the outskirts of the mall. Although my gluten free friends can’t eat it, I’ll mention it anyways. There is a Hot Chicken Takeover across from the mall. This is a Columbus Favorite and from the reviews I have heard I would suggest it, compared to a chain restaurant that you might find in the mall. Easton is personally my favorite mall to go to. I enjoy getting to be outside when possible and it makes the whole shopping thing less overwhelming. Some stores that are in Easton include all the L Brand Stores (Les Wexner the owner is from Columbus), American Girl, Buckeye Corner, and American Eagle to name a few. No matter what your motivation is, shopping, entertainment, or food I’m sure you can find it at Easton.
Polaris is the other big mall in Columbus. It is huge and honestly I have not shopped here too much. My favorite store in Polaris has to be Dry Goods. It is a new store, but their clothes are quality and are for the most part reasonably priced. They also have a great clearance section, if you want to browse for a bit. Polaris has a wide range of stores and vendors. I am sure you could find whatever you are looking for in the mall, it is that big. They also have a few good restaurants in the mall, and many more surrounding the mall. For my graduation we ate at Molly Woo’s Chinese Restaurant which is in the mall. That is really all I have to say on Polaris. I am not a big shopper, more of a money hoarder, so I’ve only been a handful of times. They do have a variety of stores and food establishments that make for a good experience when you do go.
The Short North
The Short North has so much to offer. It not only is full of shopping, but also food and bars as well. The pull to go shopping in The Short North as compared to other places is that most of the businesses in The Short North are small businesses. Each storefront has their own unique feel and you feel good after shopping from small businesses. There are also events throughout the year in The Short North, which are supposed to be super fun. The first Saturday of every month they have what is called Gallery Hop. All of the galleries open up in the evening and people just mosey around looking at local art and visiting with friends. Another fan favorite is Highball Halloween. It is a huge costume party that raises money to keep The Short North safe and enjoyable for the residents. Lastly the Pride Parade goes through The Short North in June. The Short North is filled with a lot of younger people, because of this it is a very inclusive place to live and go out and have fun. The Short North has a lot to offer and I highly suggest checking it out, even if you just go window shopping and walking through the district.
Columbus has so many parks and outdoor spaces it is amazing and part of the reason I love this city so much. Whether you are just looking for a place to talk a nice walk, or a place to have a family gathering you are sure to find a park in Columbus that will fit your needs!
Goodale Park is probably one of the better known parks in Columbus. It is located near The Short North. Goodale Park is very well known in the city of Columbus because many different events are held here throughout the year. Throughout the summer it feels like they have events every weekend. This past year I went to ComFest for the first time. I always thought it was like a comic book fest, or something to that affect. I learned that Com in this case stands for Community. It is a community festival. They had live performances, local vendors selling food and art. It was an awesome experience. If you are around for any of the events in Goodale Park I would suggest going and checking it out. If they are all as fun as ComFest I can assure you that you will have a good time. When there aren’t big festivals and activities going on the park is nice and quiet. It has a good sized playground area for kids and many different benches and tables for sitting.
Columbus Park of Roses
The Park of Roses is located in Clintonville, right off of High Street. I have personally only been once, but would have like to have gone again. It is free to the public and is easily accessible. Like the name suggests it is a park full of roses. It is a nice park to walk through and enjoy the beauty. There are benches throughout if you just wanted to sit and enjoy the beauty a little longer, or make a sketch if that is something you like to do. When I went the flowers were not in bloom anymore so that was a bit upsetting, but I enjoyed my time walking and enjoying the presence of my friend that I was with. If you are around when roses bloom, I’m not quite sure when that is, but I would definitely suggest going and checking this park out.
This Metropark is fantastic. The first time I went was with my scholars group, but I have visited many times since because it is so amazing. You would never know it is so close to such a big city. There is so much to do at the Scioto Audubon. They have the Audubon center where there are educational classes, and different events. They also have an outdoor climbing wall that is open through the summer season. I have never climbed here because I was always made to believe I had to bring my own climbing gear. Recently someone told me this information was wrong and that they will provide gear. The website still makes me believe I would need my own gear, so maybe call if you are hoping to climb. At the park there is also a dog park area as well as a physical training area/obstacle course. On top of all of that there is volleyball courts and play areas for the kids. This park has pretty much anything you could imagine. It is located right next to the Scioto River and you can jump onto the Scioto trail from here. If you do not want to walk the trail, but do want to enjoy the river you can fish it. It does seem that there is a boat ramp here at the park, but I have never actually been on the Scioto River, although I believe it would be fun to do that. In my opinion this is the best park in Columbus. It has a little bit of everything and it is always full of joyful people spending time with loved ones in the outdoors. Although it would be way too expensive, if I could get married in this Audubon Center I would, it’s just that great!
This is another of the parks I’ve only been to once, but would have loved to have gone again. It is located downtown, and would be a nice place to take a lunch break if you work downtown, or a nice morning walk if your hotel was downtown. There are many well thought out and beautifully prepared topiaries in the park. Honestly before I went to the park I did not even know topiary is what those were called. Having a shrub made into art only seemed like something you would see on someone’s property that had an abundance of money. It was really cool seeing all the different topiaries. They also had a visitor center with more information on the topiary park itself.
All of these other things I do suggest doing, but do not know how to categorize them well.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
I love the zoo. I’ve only ever been to the Columbus and Cincinnati zoos as far as I can remember, but Columbus Zoo is my favorite of the two. The whole park is divided into regions from which the animals came from. My favorite is Africa, because this is where the giraffes are located. My second favorite exhibit is probably the polar bears. It is super cool because they have an underground area next to the polar bear pool so you can watch them when they are swimming underwater. Throughout the year the zoo has many different events that they hold. The most well known of these is the Zoo Lights. They light up the whole zoo for the holiday as well as have select exhibits open. It is fun for all ages and I recommend it. I have not been to any of the other events throughout the year, but there is a full calendar on their website. The Zoo also has a waterpark that is connected to it called Zoombeezi Bay. I have never checked out Zoombeezi Bay, but it could be fun if you have kids that got bored, or it was a really hot day to stop over and cool off for a bit.
In the almost four and a half years I have been living in Columbus I never made it to COSI. I had been before as a child, and it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Columbus so I wanted to tell you a bit about it. COSI is an interactive museum. It’s mostly geared toward kids, but adults are welcome to. They even do events just for adults like COSI after dark, no kids are allowed so the adults get to enjoy all the fun activities COSI has to offer. My parents took my sister, cousin and I to COSI once. The one thing I did not do, but wish I would have is the tightrope unicycle. I do not remember many of the other exhibits from that trip, just remember wanting to do the unicycle. I honestly can not remember why I didn’t. I either chickened out, or was too small. But that just means next time I visit Columbus I’ll have to check out COSI after dark. COSI also will host groups. My sister’s Girl Scout Troop did many different trips to COSI where they stayed the night. COSI also does COSI on Wheels, which is where I got most of my exposure to COSI living in the Dayton area. They would come to our school and put on interactive experiments and demonstrations. Those were some of my favorite days in elementary school. COSI is a bit pricey, but I do recommend it especially if you have children and you don’t want to do something outside for the day. It’s hands on learning while also having fun which is what I imagine a lot of parents want (I would not know because I’m not a parent). And even if you don’t have a kid, but want to act like one for a day go check out COSI or COSI after dark, you’ll have fun!
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Do you love plants? If so this is your go to place in Columbus. The Conservatory is so nice. I’ve been multiple times and do not regret any of those times. They have multiple different rooms with different climates showcasing plants from many different areas of the world. Another really cool feature of the Conservatory is the Bonsai exhibit. Bonsai’s are cool in my opinion because of the way they grow and for their long life span. It is really awesome to see multiple of these beautiful trees all in one place. At the Conservatory they do have rotating exhibits and different events held. Depending on when you will be in Columbus and visiting you will see something different than others. In the courtyard part of the Conservatory they have all the equipment for a glassblower. At least once I have been there when a glassblower was actually working and he gave us a bit of a demonstration on how he blows glass. It was pretty neat to watch. They also have classes on subjects like glass blowing among other things. The Conservatory itself is a bit pricey, but there is so much to see and do I believe it is worth it. Especially if you are a plant person you’ll love it. It can even be a learning experience, all of the plants have a plaque with the name on it and some even have some background information as well. This is a beautiful place to go especially in the dead of an Ohio Winter.
German Village is a community within Columbus that was once where German immigrants settled in Ohio. I do not remember all of the history, but there is a visitors center that has a nice informative video that you can watch and learn all about it. The volunteers at the visitors center are knowledgeable about the history and can answer all of your questions. They will also give you a pin that you can show to any business in The German Village and many will give you discounts or free samples. I believe Pistacia Vera gives you a free macaroon, so definitely go there. The German Village is a fun place to walk around and see the architecture of all the buildings. It really feels like you aren’t in Ohio anymore when you are walking around. There are many businesses throughout the community as well as Schiller Park. German Village is a residential area, so this is a good place if you just want to walk around and see the sights. Also located in The German Village is The Thurman Cafe, a legendary Columbus burger establishment. Unfortunately the burgers do have breadcrumbs within so if you are gluten free skip this one. It is so good and so famous it was even featured on Man vs. Food.
Ohio State Campus
I am very biased on this one. I believe I went to a university with an amazing campus. I fell in love the first time I stepped foot on campus for my first tour. It has been the place I have spent the most time these last four years. There are so many sights to see on Ohio State’s campus. If you are a football or sports fan you definitely want to go visit THE Shoe. It is so large and beautiful, and even more fun to visit on a game day. Visiting on game day, even if you don’t have a ticket is wild, I do suggest it. My first year at Ohio State I lived in Morrill Tower which is right next to the Shoe. From my dorm room window I could look onto the field. This was the year we won the National Championship. I watched from my window as people tried to break into the stadium that night. It was crazy. Other sights that are worth checking out on campus include Thompson Library, The Ohio Union, The Oval, Mirror Lake and The Scarlet Skywalk/RPAC. Even if you are not an Ohio State fan, I believe you would enjoy walking around campus. During times when school is in session it is such a lively place to be. If you have a couple of hours to kill and don’t want to spend a whole bunch of money touring campus would be a perfect thing to do. Parking will cost you a bit of money, unless you can find a side street that has free parking, but it is a magnificent place.