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15 Surprising Facts about Columbus

1. Columbus is making headlines. During your visit, you’ll see why Forbes named Columbus a “hidden gem in plain sight,” Thrillist called the city a “queer oasis” and why Essence named Columbus one of the Best Destinations for Culinary Travel in 2024.

2. Our food and drink scene is thriving. Columbus is a rising culinary city. Our chefs and restaurants are making headlines in publications like Food & WineForbes and Bon Appétit and beer scene was named the third best in the country by USA Today 10Best in 2024. Near the convention center, be sure to check out FYR, which USA Today named one of its 2024 Restaurants of the Year, and North Market, our nearly 150-year-old vibrant public market named one of the 10 best public markets in the country.

3. We’re home to several culinary stars. Restaurateur Cameron Mitchell, James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and founder of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams Jeni Britton, Top Chef Season 18 contestant Avishar Barua and Alexis Nikole Nelson, aka “Black Forager,” all call Columbus home. In 2024, BJ Lieberman and Avishar Barua are nominated for James Beard Awards. Food and chefs in Columbus


4. We’re a top LGBTQIA+-friendly city. Columbus boasts the largest Pride celebration in the Midwest, more than 100 LGBTQIA+-owned businesses and organizations and the 15th largest LGBTQIA+ population in the nation. In 2023, Columbus scored a 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index. In fact, the Short North Arts District was named one of the “9 Best Gay-Friendly Cities in the U.S.” by Matador Network in 2021.

5. We’re open and welcoming. Columbus has been a haven for immigrants since its founding in 1812. This is seen in historic neighborhoods like German Village, Italian Village and Hungarian Village. We're home to more than 155,000 residents who were born in nations including Bhutan, Somalia, India and Mexico, among others. In fact, we have the second-largest Somali community in the U.S. 

6. We support minority-owned businesses. Through initiatives like our Minority Business Program, CBUS Soul® and our numerous other curated itineraries, we shine a light on Columbus’ amazing minority-owned businesses and encourage visitors to support them. 

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7. We have vibrant and diverse neighborhoods. Visitors can explore the “Five on High,” five neighborhoods and districts that are within a five-mile stretch of High Street, Columbus’ main thoroughfare. These neighborhoods include the Short North Arts District, the Arena District, picturesque German VillageDowntown, and the University District, home to The Ohio State University. Go beyond the Five on High to discover even more local favorites and bustling neighborhoods. 

8. Four professional sports teams are on one dynamic street. We’re the proud home of four professional sports teams—the Columbus Crew (MLS and 2023 MLS Cup champions), Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL), Columbus Clippers (AAA) and Columbus Fury (Pro Volleyball Federation)—with stadiums just a few blocks of each other on Nationwide Blvd., nicknamed “Sports St.” in the Arena District.

9. Fashion is a focus. Columbus is the #1 metro in the U.S. for concentration of professionals working in the apparel and fashion industry. We’re also home to the No. 1 retail experience in the country, Easton Town Center, according to Chain Store Age. Retail giants like Express, Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret, DSW and Bath & Body Works are also headquartered for full experience


10. We’re home to nature trails, distillery trails and more. Men's Journal named the Scioto Mile as one of the “21 Best Urban Parks + Trails for City-Dwellers,” and with more than 20 Metro Parks, visitors can hike, bike and paddle throughout our city. Experience Columbus also has curated experiential trails for coffee lovers, bourbon connoisseurs and more.

11. Columbus is one of the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest. In fact, Columbus has the most population growth out of any metropolitan in U.S. Vibrant and alive, Columbus is known for its public-private collaborations and entrepreneurial spirit.

12. The Columbus Region is home to five Fortune 500 and 16 Fortune 1000 companies. Notable brands that are headquartered in Columbus include Nationwide, Huntington, DSW, Express, Wendy’s, Big Lots and more. Intel is one of the latest companies to announce plans to invest in the region with the construction of two new leading-edge chip factories.

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13. We’re a four-season city. From beautiful fall foliage to a mild winter to a colorful spring and a sunny summer, visitors enjoy Columbus year-round.

14. World-class hospitality is at our core. Columbus offers a destination-wide culture of world-class service. The Experience Columbus Insider (ECI) Program ensures all groups will experience superior visitor satisfaction in Columbus. Visitors are also invited to stop by our Visitor Centers at Easton Town Center and in the Arena District.

15. There’s plenty of meeting space. The 1.8-million-square-foot Greater Columbus Convention Center offers 373,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, 75 meeting rooms and the largest ballroom in the state. Downtown, Columbus has more than 5,000 hotel rooms to support the package, 2,700 of which are connected or adjacent to the Greater Columbus Convention to exceed expectations