Columbus is known for three things…the state capital of Ohio, the U.S.’s largest college campus at Ohio State University, and an All-American city. So that makes it a really cool place to visit. Here you’ll discover trendy neighborhoods, fabulous restaurants, cool shops, and plenty of outdoor recreation just an hour away. And oh yeah, get in on the granddaddy of 4th of July celebrations at Red, White, and Boom!
Drive through Ohio State University, it’s humongous with a student body population of 65,000! Check out where the Buckeyes play football and basketball. But more than sports, Ohio State offers lots of cultural venues. I stopped by the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, the largest cartoon library in the U.S. See original and printed comic strips, editorial cartoons, and cartoon art. Their current exhibit shows cartoons combating racism in America. Also, be sure to visit the Wexner Center of the Arts right across the way.
Where to Stay – Hotel Leveque
Hang out at this ultimate destination for luxury accommodations, just named the “Best Hotel in Columbus.” This 149-room boutique hotel is part of the Autograph Collection, located in the historic Leveque Tower. You’ll love the spaciousness of the room with plenty of high-tech amenities to keep you connected. Have dinner at The Keep Restaurant with its Modern French Brasserie-inspired cuisine and curated signature cocktails.
Where to Eat
For a great take on local food, head to Katalina’s in Victorian Village. Known for their famous Original Pancake Balls, filled with Nutella and other delicious ingredients, Katalina’s serves a full menu of vegetarian and GMO-free options. Good reason why this restaurant has been named “the best breakfast in Columbus.” Other options include Breakfast Chick ‘Wich and Mexican French Toast. Lunch specialties feature Avocado Toast with Holy Tomole Soup and Purple Craze Hash. You just gotta taste everything!
Malabar Farm Restaurant in Lucas has been serving customers for generations with fresh, farm-to-table fare. Down the street is the “Big House” where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall got married and you can tour the place.
If you loved the award-winning 1994 film, The Shawshank Redemption, don’t miss Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield. T his imposing building will reveal where many of the scenes were shot, taking you back to the movie. See the actual (tiny) jail cells and high the cells were built. Take their self or guided tour and get the inside scoop on the movie.
Chill out at Halloween with their “Escape from Blood Prison” from October 8 – to November 1. Prepare to be haunted!
There’s also a self-guided driving tour, the Shawshank Redemption Trail to check out other filming highlights.
Stay in a Treehouse!
Are you ready to swing? Stay above the treetops at the Mohican Treehouse Resort in Glenmont. There’s plenty of room and kitchens, luxury bedding, and indoor/outdoor showers, ideal for couples. You’ll love walking across the suspension bridge that takes you to the treehouse. Cabins and country homes are available as well.
What’s Your Adventure Quotient?
About an hour’s drive from Columbus is Hocking Hills, outdoor fun to the max. Hike, zip, climb, canoe, and go river rafting. Explore Hocking Hills State Park with its towering cliffs, waterfalls, and caves. This all-season destination will take you into nature for thrills and chills.
Relax at Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls
Escape to this amazing Bed & Breakfast in Logan, Ohio, surrounded on three sides by Hocking Hills State Park. Choose from cabins, cottages, and yurts for a plush, relaxing stay at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls. Get cozy by the fireplace in one of their 1840s-style log cabins, glamp it up in a geodome or relax in the jacuzzi. Enjoy a full gourmet breakfast at Kindred Spirits to start your day. Plan for a relaxing spa treatment featuring facials, hot stone massage, couples massage, salt scrubs, and mud wraps. What gets you is the quiet as you sip a cup of coffee on your porch, hearing nothing but birds chirping. It all adds up to a real break from tech and work!
What to Do in Hocking Hills
Be sure to visit Jack Pine Studio to see his awesome glass pumpkins and have a chance to try your hand at blowing glass. Every fall, Jack Pine Studio hosts a Glass Pumpkin Fest, an outdoor art show featuring local artists and food vendors. This year, the festival is held from September 23 to September 25 where you can buy beautiful, unique, blown glass pumpkins.
Where to Eat
The Hungry Buffalo has it all; great appetizers like Fried Green Tomatoes, Buffalo Meatloaf, and sizzling steaks. For dining with a view of the back 9, check out Urban Grille at the Hocking Hills Golf Course, sister property to Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls. We dined divine on their Crispy Brussel Sprouts, Bourbon Chicken, and Blackened Ribeye, followed by Brown Butter Cake for dessert. Great meal, great views.
For more information about visiting Columbus, go to experiencecolumbus.com. Their slogan is “Live Forward Columbus” and after visiting this trendy city, you’ll want to as well.