This post is written by Scott Peacock, public relations manager, at Experience Columbus.

With the 2011 season in full swing, Columbus Crew fans are hoping for a return of the MLS Cup to see America’s Hardest Working Team lift the Cup again this year. The team is tied for a 191st ranking out of 400+ teams in the World Club Rankings done by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), and is one of only two MLS teams on the list.

Columbus Crew

This year, the Crew is playing 17 home games, including an exhibition match against Newcastle United FC of the English Premier League on July 26. Whether you plan to join the club’s most ardent supporters in the Nordecke, or enjoy the color, pageantry and sound of a match from elsewhere in the stadium, rest assure that a Crew match is an unforgettable multi-sensory experience. No matter if you are attending with friends or the entire family, Columbus offers a variety of things to do to make a full weekend out of your trip.


If you’ve never been to a match before, watch this video to get a feel for the action and atmosphere. Come see for yourself what this MLS team is capable of and check out all Columbus has to offer you during your trip to the Black and Gold. Search here for tickets .

Where to Stay : There are several hotels at varying price points in the Arena District, Short North Arts District, Easton and Polaris.

Hyatt on Capitol Square As the official hotel of the Crew, call the hotel directly at 614-228-1234 and ask for the Crew Fan Rate. The special rate is $119 Monday-Thursday and $99 Friday-Sunday, based upon availability.

Other hotel options include . . . Arena District: Drury Inn& Suites

Courtyard by Marriott Columbus Downtown Hotel

Short North Arts District: Hampton Inn and Suites Columbus Downtown

University District: Hilton Garden Inn Columbus University Area

Polaris: Hilton Garden Inn Columbus/Polaris

Hampton Inn& Suites Columbus Polaris

Before/After the Game With Crew Stadium being the first major-league stadium built specifically for soccer in the United States, there’s no better place to tailgate before an MLS game. The parking lots, with nearly 4,000 paved spaces, open six hours before the match and the gates open 90 minutes before the match.

Best soccer bar to get a drink before/after a game or watch the game at: • Hudson Street Hooligan’s -- Voted “best soccer bar” in Columbus Alive’s “Best of 2011” • Oldfield’s on 4th4th Street Bar & Grill

Best place to get some food before/after a game and watch the game at: • Claddagh Irish Pub, with locations at Polaris and the Brewery DistrictFado Irish PubPub Polaris Michael O’Toole’sColumbus Brewing Company Barley’s Brewing Company Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus •For a complete list of fan-crazed spots, check out the Crew’s Pub Tour

Things to do before and after the game: Arena District Hop over to the Arena District to watch dueling pianos in the Big Bang Bar, grab some brews at The Half Pint or R Bar, and fill up on hearty family-style Italian food at Buca di Beppo. The Arena District, a 95-acre planned development, features restaurants, nightclubs and offices, as well as the Arena Grand Theatre, an upscale movie theater, and The LC, an indoor/outdoor music hall styled after the House of Blues. Huntington Park, the new home of the Columbus Clippers AAA baseball team, opened in April 2009 and was named the 2009 Ballpark of the Year by

Also, Experience Columbus (the visitors bureau) has a visitor center located in the Arena District at 277 W. Nationwide Blvd. So visitors can stop in to find out what else is going on while they’re in town, get recommendations on restaurants and even purchase tickets to the game.

If you’ve never been to the Arena District before, here’s a great video to give you an overview:

Short North Arts District Just south of The Ohio State University campus on High Street, visitors to the Short North Arts District will find the city’s largest and most eclectic collection of art galleries, a variety of restaurants, pubs and specialty shops. Most businesses stay open late the first Saturday of each month for the popular “Gallery Hop.”

If you’ve never been to the Short North before, here’s a video to give you a flavor for the district.

Park Street Park Street is a lively entertainment district, where you can find lots of nightlife options. – Park Street SaloonPark Street Patio – The Social Bar & Lounge – Park Street CantinaPark Street TavernCallahan’s Irish TavernBar LouieGas Werks Brothers Bar and Grill

University District Along High Street near The Ohio State University campus is the South Campus Gateway complex, near the intersection of 11th Avenue. There you'll find causal and fun dining with restaurants including Eddie George’s Grille 27, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and McFadden’sRestaurant & Saloon.

Shopping International headquarters of brands such as The Limited, Abercrombie and Fitch, Hollister, Lane Bryant, Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works, Columbus is known for its outstanding shopping with Yahoo Travel naming it the fourth best shopping city in the nation. At Easton Town Center , you’ll find 1.7-million square feet of best-in-class shopping, dining and entertainment. And visit Polaris Fashion Place to find Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora and Von Maur along with 150 other stores and restaurants.