The cosmopolitan capital of Ohio offers a distinctive range of unique local neighborhoods to explore, each with its own personality, flavor, attractions, and appeal. From the fashionable Short North Arts District to historic German Village, Columbus is definitely a city worth discovering.
Additionally, the free CBUS circulator and CoGo Bike Share stations make it easy to navigate anywhere you want to go in the downtown region.
Short North Arts District
The epicenter of the Columbus fashion scene, Short North lays the groundwork for an artsy day of explorations. Radiating out from High Street under a series of 17 lighted steel arches stretching from Fifth Avenue to Goodale, this is prime urban territory for stylish shoppers, foodies, and culture seekers. Popular “Gallery Hop” events take place on the first Saturday of each month, the perfect opportunity for visitors to stroll in and out of the local studios, galleries, shops, and restaurants. Plan on dining at North Market, an airy public marketplace packed with food vendors, producers, farmers, and merchants all hawking their wares under one expansive roof. And don’t even think about skipping a scoop of locally-made Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams for dessert. The Short North-adjacent Victorian Village and Italian Village neighborhoods up the appeal of this buzzy area even further.
German Village/Brewery District
This near-southside historic neighborhood exudes old-world charm, preserving the heritage of the city’s earliest immigrants. Step back in time and admire the thoughtfully preserved 19th-century architecture and brick-paved streets with a leisurely walk or bike ride. To refuel, a surprisingly diverse selection of restaurants includes authentic Spanish tapas, traditional German cuisine, French pastries, casual breakfasts, and fine-dining fare. This vibrant neighborhood is also a welcoming gathering space for LGBTQ locals and visitors, and it should really come as no surprise that the German Village border bleeds into the city’s thriving Brewery District.
The beating heart of the city, downtown Columbus hums with its own energy supported by local restaurants, hotels, bars, and contemporary residential. The multi-use Nationwide Arena anchors the district, attracting scores of visitors with a full schedule of concerts, shows, Columbus Blue Jackets hockey bouts, and other performances. The Express Live! indoor music hall and outdoor amphitheater set the stage for big concerts and live music year-round. Visits to the world-class Columbus Museum of Art, bike rides along the riverfront Scioto Mile, and tours of the majestic Ohio Statehouse are worthy additions to any Downtown to-do list. The visually stunning National Veterans Memorial and Museum is another must-see, and the Center of Science and Industry (COSI for short) proposes fun STEM-focused exhibits and fun activities for all ages to enjoy.
Proud home of The Ohio State University, Columbus accommodates collegiate crowds (as well as their visiting friends and families) with eclectic theaters, bars, restaurants, shops, public art, and live music venues. Brimming with school spirit, the entire University District bleeds red and white, so it’s a given you’ll find stores stocked with plenty of Buckeye pride and merchandise. OSU fans can cheer on the home team at “the Shoe” (the on-campus stadium) during college football season or check out an ongoing slate of cultural events at the Wexner Center for the Arts. In addition, the quirky Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum featuring the world’s largest collection of comics and cartoons.
Green spaces, churches and handsome historic homes define this cultured area just to the east of downtown Columbus, encouraging visitors to go outside and play. The 88-acre park itself proposes opportunities for outdoor recreation in a well-maintained green space, and the gorgeous Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a beloved local landmark, particularly during the spring and summer months when the property bursts into full bloom.
History buffs and creative types gravitate toward Franklinton, an emerging area bordering the western edge of downtown. Not to be confused with Franklin Park, this storied neighborhood dates back to the late 1700s and is currently in the process of reimagining itself as an enclave for independent artists, makers, breweries and crafters. Forward-thinking art collectives and industrial-style co-working spaces often open their doors to visitors by hosting evening mix-and-mingle events and parties.
East of downtown and due north of the John Glenn Columbus International Airport, this well-heeled community is proof positive of the city’s reputation as a major U.S. fashion capital. Yes, really! Columbus boasts a number of fashion company headquarters including Express, Victoria’s Secret, and the Limited, along with an impressive group of talented designers, many of whom cut their teeth at the Columbus College of Art and Design. The European-style Easton Town Center is an open-air shopping paradise populated with high-end retailers like Tiffany’s, Nordstrom, Crate and Barrel, and American Girl. You’ll also find a LEGOLAND Discovery Center in the newly developed Easton Gateway area to placate the kiddos.
Looking for wholesome territory to take the family? Bexley’s got it covered with tree-lined streets and a walkable retro Main Street that houses the landmark Drexel Theater and the 1950s-era Rubino’s Pizzeria. Bullitt Park carries a rich past, and the Village of Bexley is where you’ll find esteemed homes to admire including the historic Jeffrey Mansion, the Ohio Governor’s Mansion, and The Ohio State University President’s residence.
Full of patriotic spirit and New England-style architecture, upscale Worthington sits pretty on the north side of Columbus proper. Old Worthington offers browse-able streets filled with boutiques, jewelers, and home decor shops to wander through. A handful of historic sites including the Old Rectory, the Orange Johnson House, and the Ohio Railway Museum reveal intriguing insights into the neighborhood’s past.
Bridge Street District, Dublin
As you might imagine, Dublin, Ireland celebrates St. Patrick’s Day in a big way, but visitors can also experience the luck of the Irish in this friendly Columbus suburb on the northwest corner of the I-270 loop all year long. Recent mixed-used developments have created a thriving nook of restaurants, parks and green spaces, public art installations, and retailers to peruse in a walkable region. Elsewhere in this neck of the woods, pay a visit to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the Zoombezi Bay Waterpark in nearby Powell.
Learn more at ExperienceColumbus.com.