Roar & Explore in Columbus
By Lexi Sweet
When we get to the other side of the peak, “normal” may take on a new meaning. One thing is for sure though; we’ll all be looking for ways to ward off cabin fever and cure our stir-craziness come summer. The good news is you don’t have to travel far to feel far away.
Travelers looking for a respite in the coming months need look no further than Columbus, located within two hours from anywhere in Ohio, and often no more than three hours from cities in bordering states. The state’s capital and largest city, Columbus truly offers something for everyone.
One of Columbus’ most notable assets is its variety of major attractions. Get face-to-face with prehistoric giants at the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery at COSI or inspire your creativity at the Columbus Museum of Art. At Jungle Jack Hanna’s home zoo, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the new Adventure Cove is a state-of-the-art sea lion and seal habitat with a unique underwater viewing window and daily shows.
Columbus is also the only place where you can visit a living tribute to all veterans, past and present, from all eras of conflict in a single facility at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum. Of course, don’t forget to check out the Ohio Statehouse, one of the oldest working statehouses in the country, and the spot where the state’s dynamic duo of Governor Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton have been giving their daily updates.
Downtown Columbus features a spectacular riverfront with a sprawling ribbon of parkland on the Scioto Mile. Snap a selfie with any of the three bronze deer statues or follow the bike path down to the Scioto Audubon Metro Park, home to the largest free outdoor climbing wall in the country and among the best birding in the state.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens offers plenty of space to continue social distancing on its 90 acres of stunning green space. Get zen in the Bonsai exhibit, on display until November, and consider a visit for Harvest Blooms. For the little ones, the two-acre Scott’s Miracle-Gro Children’s Garden features 16 different interactive experiences celebrating the Ohio landscape and focuses on introducing and connecting children to the natural world.
Diverse Dining Options
When Food & Wine Magazine named Columbus one of the top destinations for foodies in 2019, it warned its readers: “Don’t sleep on this city. Good things are happening.” As we celebrate the re-opening of restaurants and ability to dine-in, there’s no better time to check out the diverse and distinguished dining scene of Columbus.
There are more than 40 craft breweries in the region, including Franklinton’s Land-Grant Brewing that features some of the country’s best barbecue from Ray Ray’s Food Truck, from 2019 James Beard Award Nominee James Anderson. Local liquor and farm-fresh food combine for innovative and artisan dishes at Middle West Spirits’ Service Bar, known for recreations of the chef’s childhood fast-food favorites.
Go al fresco with rooftop dining hotspots like Lincoln Social, in the Short North Arts District, and Goodale Station, atop the Canopy by Hilton Columbus or get your plant-based fix at Comune. Take a trip around the world with the global cuisine at the North Market and of course, don’t forget to save room for a scoop, or three, of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.
Lodging: Low-cost to Lavish
When we say Columbus has something for everyone, lodging options are no exception. Located right off the highway for easy access, families have plenty of space to spread out at the Drury Inn & Suites and can save money by taking advantage of the hotel’s free hot breakfast.
Couples looking to reconnect after months spent apart, or simply to relocate to a more romantic setting after not having left the house should check out Le Meridien Columbus, The Joseph. Indulge in a visit to the spa suit, clink glasses of bubbly at Soul Bar and use your room key to peruse modern masterpieces at The Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art.
Ladies in need of a getaway with their girlfriends need look no farther than Hotel LeVeque, the stunning celestial-themed Marriott Autograph Collection property located on the downtown riverfront. Add on a farm-to-fashion experience, a unique only-in-Columbus opportunity. Starting with brunch and a tour at Fairy Haven Farm, guests meet sheep whose wool they will later use during a hands-on raw wool and silk scarf-making experience with designer Celeste Malvar-Stewart at her German Village studio.
There’s so much happening in Columbus, and we invite you to join us for a fun-filled experience you won’t soon forget. Check out fun.experiencecolumbus.com for choose-your-own-adventure package deals and the best prices to help start planning your trip.