With a population of over 2 million in the greater metropolitan area, Columbus offers all the excitement and entertainment options of a large city. At the same time, it has a laid-back atmosphere with the comfort and ease of a smaller town. A thriving, diversified economy has fueled vibrant arts, music, food, and sports scenes. A good deal of information about the city and its attractions can be found at the Experience Columbus website.
For food and drinks, there are a number of options easily accessible from the conference site. The campus area boasts a variety of bars and pubs. While these tend to become crowded with students at night, they are frequently relaxed and affordable spots for happy hours. To the north of campus, Old North Columbus and Clintonville offer a variety of restaurants, bars, and breweries with a laid-back neighborhood feel. To the south of campus, the Short North Arts District fits an extensive selection of restaurants, shops, and galleries into a walkable space. Farther to the south, the Arena District and Downtown areas both offer further dining and entertainment options.
Columbus also has an active sports scene. In addition to the famed Ohio State Buckeyes, the city boasts professional hockey (Columbus BlueJackets) and soccer teams (Columbus Crew), as well as Triple-A baseball (Columbus Clippers). For fans of participatory athletics, the Scioto and Olentangy River trails offer miles of paved pathways, parks, and green space easily accessible from the conference.
While Columbus might be known for its sports, it has an equally active arts and culture scene. The city boasts professional orchestra, ballet, and theater, with frequent additional performances by touring theater and musical acts. The Columbus Museum of Art features excellent collections of art from a variety of eras and styles. On campus, the Wexner Center for the Arts features rotating exhibits of modern art, as well as frequent performances, film screenings, and lectures. Also on campus, the Gateway Film Center shows current blockbusters as well as independent cinema and screenings of classics. For science enthusiasts, Columbus’s science museum, COSI, offers interactive exhibits designed for all ages.
Navigating these attractions is generally an easy process. With the possible exceptions of the Short North and campus areas, street parking in the city is typically plentiful. On campus, the CABS bus system offers free rides for students and visitors alike. Columbus’s public bus system, COTA, runs regular bus service throughout the city, as well as an airport shuttle to and from downtown and a free bus that loops between the Short North and downtown areas. Taxis, Uber, and Lyft are also plentiful in the city.
Neighborhood Food and Drink Suggestions
Clintonville: Clintonville is a largely residential neighborhood on the north end of Columbus. While it is quieter than the Downtown area, it has a number of good food and drink options.
Old North: Located between the Ohio State campus and Clintonville, the section of High Street that runs through Old North Columbus offers a concentrated selection of bars.
Campus: Ohio State’s campus features a good number of restaurants and bars. While these generally cater to undergraduate students, several offer good happy hours and tend to be low key earlier in the evening.
Short North: One of the trendier parts of town, the Short North is known both for its arts scene and its large number of food and drink options.
Downtown: The greater Downtown area (including the Arena and Brewery Districts) begins just south of the Short North and extends past the State Capitol building. While this area tends to be quieter in the evenings, pockets of food and nightlife include the areas around High & Gay Streets and 4th & Rich Streets.
Additional Neighborhoods: The above sections of town are all easily accessible with COTA’s #2 bus line. Additional neighborhoods slightly off this main path include German Village, Victorian Village, and Grandview. Like the others, these neighborhoods also feature extensive food and drink options.
Italian Village Walking Tour
On Friday, June 16th, we invite everyone to join us on a walking tour of Italian Village Breweries after the conference activities have ended for the day.
We will start our tour at Wolf’s Ridge Brewing’s Tap Room (215 N 4th Street) on the south end of the Italian Village. Wolf’s Ridge is widely regarded as one of the best breweries and restaurants in Columbus. Wolf’s Ridge offers a relaxing environment with community seating, and a wide variety of drinks and gastropub faire. It stands out as an establishment that has received national attention for both their beer and food. Try their flagship Dire Wolf Imperial Stout or Clear Sky Cream Ale and garlic fries, house-made pork kinds, or falafel.
From Wolf’s Ridge we will proceed to Hoof Hearted Brewery and Kitchen (850 N 4th Street). Specializing in fruit-forward pale ales, unconventional gastropub faire, cocktails, house-roasted coffee and outrageous art, Hoof Hearted provides an open environment to socialize and enjoy a drink or snack. Try their nationally-renowned IPAs and delicious poutine, or roasted shishitos if you’re feeling adventurous.
From Hoof Hearted, we will move to Seventh Son Brewing Company (1101 N 4th Street). Seventh Son is known for their open and relaxing atmosphere and patio area.