This post is written by Hannah Henthorne, convention services assistant for Experience Columbus.
Have a couple hours to spare in Downtown Columbus? Worried that your own two feet can’t compete with that malevolent minute hand as it spins around your watch? Take home an experience in Columbus to brag about. The following is a suggested agenda for those with one, two, or three plus hours of exploring the Cap City. With the majority of conferences and meetings held in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, there are plenty of local shops, restaurants, and adventures to be had right from the front doors.
You find yourself with an hour between seminars at the Convention Center, or trying to kill time before a Clippers game. You’re either hungry or just want to stretch your legs. A solution exists for both. The North Market is a quick, across-the-street saunter for the gastronomically adventurous and amblers alike. Independent merchants offering the freshest of produce, meats, cheese, and artisan breads sit adjacent to hometown favorites like Jeni’s Ice Creams or Katzinger’s Delicatesen. Additionally housed in the one room market are culinary creations from around the world, allowing the North Market to offer a plethora of options for any palate.
Have a little more time? Stroll north into the Short North Arts District or wander west down Nationwide Boulevard. Either direction will provide the pedestrian plenty of dining options. The Short North, a quick walking distance from the Convention Center, is strewn with restaurants and unique boutiques. Local restauranteur Cameron Mitchell has planted several options such as The Pearl, Marcella’s, and newcomer The Guild House. The Arena District provides even more: check out the Mexi-chic Nada, pizzas and pints at Boston’s, brews at Gordon Biersch, or surly staff at Dick’s Last Resort. Need some green space to gallop through? Nestled amidst urban buildings sit two lush local parks: Goodale Park in the Short North and McFerson Commons in the Arena District.
Enough time for an even fuller-bodied experience in Columbus? Take on the Columbus Coffee Trail or Ale Trail. These city-wide scavenger hunts offer the visitor an opportunity to try a specialized trail that showcases local coffee or beer hangouts. Complete just four stops at participating locations and win some Cbus swag. Booklets can be picked up and redeemed at the Arena District and Convention Center Experience Columbus Visitor Centers.
Or hop on the CBUS, the aptly named free transit option, and venture into other distinct Columbus neighborhoods. German Village is a Columbus artifact worthy of exploration. Quaint homes, boutique shops, and independent restaurants exhibit Columbus’ vast array of hidden gems. Stop for a big-as-your-head sandwich at Katzinger’s Delicatessen, try a world-famous Bahama Mama sausage or cream puff at Schmidt’s, and end the adventure with a smorgasbord of delicate, delectable desserts at Pistacia Vera. Burn off some calories with a trip through the Book Loft, a 32-room maze that is also one the nation’s largest independent bookstores.
There you have it. Some suggestions for how to spend some spare time downtown. Stroll the streets, treat your tummy, and chat with locals. Don’t let a lack of time twist your take on Columbus.