Growing up two hours to the north of Ohio’s state capital, Columbus was mostly a place to drive through. My family felt there was no reason to stop or stay overnight. Even as a young adult, it wasn’t really a place that appealed to me, not the way other cities drew me with their diversity and energy.

But Columbus today is on a fast-growing streak, and this once-quiet town is making noise as a queer destination. Pre-pandemic, its annual Pride celebrations were attracting almost 500,000 people and up, putting it on par with events in places like Chicago. My husband and I recently spent a long weekend in Columbus to see what the fuss was all about, and we came away impressed with the city’s dynamic nature and interesting mix of attractions.