This weekend Andrei and I had a little getaway to Columbus to celebrate his 30th birthday (yay!). Since it’s only a 45-minute direct flight from DC, we left after work on Friday and were back Sunday night, but it still felt like we got to do something special to celebrate a milestone.
Thanks to LifeInCbus for inviting us out to see the city and to Joe in particular for some great recommendations! Read along for my favorite spots for eating, hanging out, drinking, sleeping, and of course shopping. Warning: I went overboard on the eating part. And this was me exercising self-control, since I probably could have gone on for another five paragraphs…
Columbus City Guide
Hot Chicken Takeover in North Market / They’re absolutely dead serious about the “hot” part, you guys. Try to get there early in the day because they definitely sell out. Everything comes with free sweet tea and a river of ranch dressing, and if you get the hot wings, you’re gonna need it all… They’re really community-minded, too, which I love. Try this: wings meal, spice level warm. The hot clears your sinuses (and probably the sinuses of your generations to come), and I can only imagine that the holy would necessitate some sort of future organ transplant.
Marcella’s / Shockingly affordable, it’s a great place to share a table full of Italian small plates with friends. Definitely try to get a table at the front window if the weather’s nice; the open air is the perfect complement to the house sangria. Try this: melted pecorino with granny smith apple, truffle honey, and crostini; veggie pizza; robiola and mushrooms.
Melt / Prepare to be bombarded by an explosion of wonderfully-confused decor chaos (think cobalt tin ceiling tiles, everlasting jack o’lanterns, and cartoonish murals) en route to grilled cheese nirvana. Try this: mushroom melt, full of garlicky, port-soaked magic.
North Market / This place is where all the culinary magic happens. It’s a fantastic, bustling place to walk around grabbing a little bit here and there to munch on. Try this: quiche from Little Eater, the Belgian waffle from Taste of Belgium, anything from Hot Chicken Takeover, macarons from Pistacia Vera
Wolf’s Ridge Brewing / We showed up expecting beer and a food truck and were met instead with a seriously high-class facilities and a menu to match. You can still see the brewery works through a window across from the kitchen, but don’t expect beer bar pricing — dinner entrees range from $20-$45. Try this: the best caprese I’ve had in ages with heirloom tomatoes and an incredible balsamic reduction. While I wouldn’t go near this, Andrei enjoyed his “steak and eggs,” which is actually beef tartare adorned with a lot of fancy gear.
BLANK SPACES / These 19 mini-murals are tucked into every little brick-paved alley the in the area. The temporary art is printed on vinyl and heat-adhered to the brick buildings, giving the appearance of being painted right onto the building. My favorite part is that you can see the original works of art in the various galleries around the neighborhood!
Short North Arts District / Columbus has lots of great neighborhoods, but Short North struck me as the one with the most going on at all hours, any day, no matter what you’re planning on getting into. The dining and drinking options are just about endless, but there’s also such a crazy range of art galleries, vintage shops, indie boutiques, and anything else you can think of.
This mural here merges “see” and “drink,” as it’s giant, beautiful art on the side of Land Grant Brewery! It was painted by Mandi Ellen Caskey and Jacob Tanner, and it’s absolutely fantastic up close and in-person.
The Columbus Ale Trail / Pick up a Columbus Brew Book at one of 20 destination along the Ale Trail and then follow the handy map o’ brews in the book or on the website. Get four stamps to cash in for a free pint glass or all 20 for a t-shirt. If you’re reading this en route to beer and need a starting place, here’s a list of all the participating breweries.
The Columbus Coffee Trail / Just like with the beer book, you can grab a passport at any of the eight coffee shops along the way. You don’t have to be quite as “ambitious” with this one. Get four stamps, and you can cash in your passport for a free t-shirt that actually has a really pretty hand-lettered design!
Hyatt Regency / Andrei and I stayed at the Hyatt Regency downtown, adjacent to the Convention Center. It’s not an artsy boutique hotel by any means, but it’s a hoppin’ place with beautiful, well-maintained rooms in a location that can’t be beat. Plus, we paid well under $200/night.
The Joseph / Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph is a beautifully-appointed boutique hotel sitting smack in the middle of the Short North Arts District. They’re all about the details and have added thoughtful, artsy touches to every facet of the 135-room hotel, but the only downside is that the price tag matches the vibe.
A Gal Named Cinda Lou / This little vintage shop tucked into Short North is such a fun place to browse! It’s small but perfectly curated, filled with bright colors, pop accents, and natural light. The vintage grab bags for $5 reminded me of my childhood in a big way. But I’m totally burying the lead here. The biggest enticement for passersby is obviously Henry the Frenchie, who perches daintily on a mat or chair in the doorway, conveniently located next to a treat dispenser.
The Book Loft / This place in German Village is so quaint it hurts. After you enter through the garden courtyard, you’ll make your way through 33 rooms of varying sizes jam-packed with a hodgepodge of books, games, posters, and literary memorabilia. Good luck finding your way out…
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LifeInCbus via RhythmOne. The opinions and text are all mine.