today’s second city guide comes to us from the talented eva jorgensen of sycamore street press (click here to take a tour of eva’s home!). eva created a wonderful guide to her current home town of columbus, ohio that includes over 8 pages (well, in word doc form) of great local hot spots, shopping and eating. i hope you’ll enjoy it! thanks, eva!
CLICK HERE to read the full Columbus Design Guide after the jump!
[photo above by Jason Wilson. courtesy of Metroscap]
Before my husband and I moved to Columbus, we were ignorant of its charms. It’s one of those nice, Midwestern cities that you know exists, but unless you’re into college football, you really don’t hear much about. Still, it didn’t take long for me to get excited about our new town. Columbus is home to a world-class contemporary arts venue — the Wexner Center, lots of independent boutiques, unusually warm and friendly people, and some of the best antiques/flea market/thrift store shopping I’ve seen. It has many charming, walkable neighborhoods, and is billed by locals as “the indie art capital of the world”. It’s also a great place to live because of its affordable rents and easy road tripping distance from so many major metropolises. (Which is especially nice for people on the contemporary art + crafts show circuit like us.)
Columbus is located right in the middle of the state of Ohio at the intersection of the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers. It was originally home to ancient mound-building societies, and is now home to many big name companies such as Nationwide Insurance, Abercrombie and Fitch, the Limited, Wendy’s, and White Castle. It is green and humid in the summer, freezing in winter, and beautiful with bright foliage in the fall.
This guide is organized by neighborhood. (You’ll find that most of these neighborhoods run along the north/south axis of High Street / Highway 23.) I’ve included some of my favorite places to see, shop, and eat, as well as the favorites of a few trusted friends. But I’m sure my fellow Columbus-ites will have plenty of their own preferred spots to share in the comments section.
German Village + Schumacher Place + Merion Village
Settled in the early 1800’s by mainly German immigrants, this neighborhood is now on the National Register of Historic Places. This is my favorite neighborhood in Columbus. I love walking along the brick paved streets on a sunny afternoon.
Schiller Park, 1069 Jaeger St, Named for the German poet, this park is home to a flower garden, recreation areas, and a free summer Shakespeare in the Park series, among other things. While you are here, take a look at the beautiful old homes that line the streets on each side of the park.
South Drive-In Theater, 3050 S. High St, 614.491.6771, Still going strong.
The Book Loft, 631 South Third St, 614.464.1774, With a charming little courtyard and 32 rooms full of books, this is the kind of bookstore you can get lost in…which, I suppose, could be a good or bad thing.
Caterina ltd., 571 South Third St, 614.224.7224, They carry French, Italian, and Polish artisan dinnerware, fine linens, and body care. I especially like the Pillivuyt Brasserie porcelain dishes.
Franklin Art Glass Studios, 222 East Sycamore St, 614.221.2972, One of the largest and well respected stained glass studios in the world, this place has been in business for four generations. They create gorgeous stained glass commissions for cathedrals, but they also have more affordable classes and supplies available. Ikat patterned windows, anyone?
Greater Columbus Antique Mall, 1045 S High St, 614.443.7858, My favorite antiques shop in town. I’ve seen porcelain hand forms, wooden Coca-Cola crates, and baroque style mirrors – all for reasonable prices.
Metroscap, 177 E. Beck St, 614.207.0172, This boutique/gallery features the work of local photographer, Jason Wilson. His black and white photos show that cities like Columbus and Milwaukee can be just as picturesque (well, almost) as Paris, San Francisco, and New York.
South Drive-In Flea Market, 3050 S. High St, You may have to dig through the wares here to find a gem, but in one morning, I found a milk glass cake stand, a mod, red coat rack, a Supremes record, and fresh local honey…all at rock bottom prices.
German Village Coffee House, 193 Thurman Ave, 614.443.8900, Eat breakfast at the counter for a classic diner experience. (Very cheap)
Katzinger’s, 475 S. 3rd St, 614.228.3354, This deli makes delicious sandwiches, salads, desserts, and bread, and self-serve pickles in a barrel. They also carry an enviable assortment of artisan olive oil, butter, cheese, chocolate, etc.
Lindey’s, 169 E. Beck St, 614.228.4343 I love the polished brass, mirrors, and bentwood chairs in this establishment – and they have quality, traditional food to match. This is the perfect spot for special occasions.
The Old Mohawk, 819 Mohawk St, 614.444.7204, A local favorite, this place is has a warm, convivial atmosphere, and good options for both your meat lover and vegetarian friends.
Pistacia Vera, 541 S 3rd St, 614.220.9070, It feels like a sacrilege to say it, but I think their macarons are even better than those of the Parisian institution LaDurée! Everything in their shop is spot on– including the interior design.
The Village Coney, 418 E Whittier St, 614.445.9633, You’re either a hot dog person, or you’re not. But if you are, you can’t beat this place for a quick, cheap, tasty meal. As a bonus, a free oatmeal pie comes with every order.
Downtown: Sadly, our downtown is fairly deserted on evenings and weekends compared to weekdays, but the city just announced a plan for a major urban planning project that includes more shops, restaurants, and apartments to draw people into the city center. In the mean time, there are some great things to see and places to eat that still manage to draw crowds.
The Columbus Metropolitan Main Library, 96 S. Grant St, 614.645.2275, Our library system was ranked #1 in the country last year. It’s an incredible resource. I’m lucky enough to be able to walk to the downtown branch from my home, and take I take full advantage of its collection of books, CDs, and DVDs.
The Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St, It’s worth a visit just to see the opulent Spanish-Baroque interior architecture of this theater. The Columbus Orchestra and BalletMet perform here regularly, as do many touring musicians and shows. But my favorite thing is their summer line up of classic films complete with pre-show and intermission live organ performances. (Only $3.50 a ticket!)
The Palace Theatre, 34 W. Broad St, The design of this theater was inspired by the Palais de Versailles. Originally a vaudeville house, its acoustics are amazing. I’m still mad that I missed seeing the Swell Season play here when they came to town last fall.
The Skylab, 57 E. Gay St. Apt. 5, This scrappy DIY music/art venue has a busy schedule of events. Attn: artists! They’re always on the lookout for people to show their work here.
The Southern Theatre, 21 E. Main St, More intimate than the other grand downtown theaters, this beautiful venue is great for seeing acts like the Magnetic Fields and The Second City.
The Topiary Garden, 480 E. Town St, See the only existing topiary interpretation of Georges Seurat’s A Sunday On The Island Of La Grande Jatte. (You know — the famous painting featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.)
Zettler’s Hardware, 101 E Main St, 614.224.4749, My go-to shop for any hardware or gardening needs, it’s been a family business for over 150 years, and is a welcome relief from the overwhelming aisles of those big box hardware emporiums. Plus, you can’t beat the customer service at this place.
Due Amici, 67 E. Gay St, 614.224.9373, Italian food in an urban contemporary setting is this restaurant’s specialty. It’s pretty fancy – but they have a great happy hour special on weeknights – a pizza and a drink for $10.
El Arepazo, 47 N Pearl St, 614.228.4830, I am craving some of their corn arepas as I write this. This little Venezuelan place is tucked away in a colorful, street art filled alley. I could eat here every night of the week, so my only gripe is that they are mainly a lunch place with early dinners on Fridays and Saturdays.
Indian Oven, 427 E Main St, 614.220.9390, Great food meets friendly service in a chic atmosphere at this spot. I like to get the vegetarian platter…it tastes even better as leftovers the next day.
Tip Top Kitchen and Cocktails, 73 E Gay St, 614.221.8300, Always packed on weekend nights, you can usually get a seat at the bar fairly quickly. Although my husband and I think this is the kind of place that should have a hamburger on its menu, we both love the sweet potato fries and homemade pie.
Old Towne East + Bexley + King Lincoln District: If you’re in the mood for driving around and looking at some really beautiful old homes (such as the governor’s mansion), these areas are a great place to start.
Carabar,115 Parsons Ave, 614.223.1010, Local hipsters come here for decently priced drinks and to see an eclectic mix of local and touring bands play with no cover charge.
Chop Chop Gallery, 78 Parsons Ave, 614.222.2467, This little gallery was voted #1 in Columbus for 2008. It hosts exhibitions for emerging artists as well as a number of workshops and art related events. You can also hire them for graphic design or screenprinting projects.
Drexel East Theater, 2254 E. Main St, 614.231.1050, A Columbus favorite, this art deco cinema has been around since the 30’s. Its focus is on art and classic films, along with a couple of popular movie marathons each year: one for sci-fi, and the other for horror.
The Franklin Park Conservatory, 1777 E Broad St, 614.645.1800, This gorgeous conservatory is home to over 400 species of plants, a permanent Chihuly exhibit, workshops, a community garden, and rotating art and botanic exhibitions. It’s a popular place for wedding and other events as well.
Bexley Stationers and Gift, 2480 E Main St, 614.236.9022, It’s no secret that I’m a fan of paper goods, and this shop has plenty of pretty things to support my letter writing habit.
Bexley Monk, 2232 E. Main St, 614.239.MONK, My grandparents are very classy people. This is the kind of restaurant I imagine taking them for a special night out.
Bexley Pizza Plus, 2540 E Main St, 614.237.3305, Thick, chewy crust and a wide variety of quality toppings are the specialty of this casual, family-run establishment.
Creole Kitchen, 1052 Mt. Vernon Plaza, 614.372.3333, Chef Henry Butcher grew up in Louisiana Bayou country, and has years of restaurant experience under his belt. His crawfish etoufée and beignets aren’t exactly good for you, but they taste great.
Jeni’s Ice Creams, 2156 E. Main St, 614.231.5364, See Grandview section for description.
Grandview: Quiet tree lined streets and a charming little commercial district characterize this area. It’s technically a suburb, but is still very close to downtown and feels more like a cozy urban neighborhood.
Grandview Theatre, 1247 Grandview Ave, Slated to re-open early this year after changing hands and a face-lift to the art deco decor, this is the oldest movie theater in the Columbus area and an intimate venue for independent and foreign films.
Peabody Papers, 1261 Grandview Ave, 614.485.9855, I love their clean white interior and lovely selection of cards, wrapping paper, ribbon, and other paper goods and gift items.
Columbus Architectural Salvage, 1270–A Edgehill Road, 614.299.6627, A treasure trove of vintage doorknobs, solid wood doors, and porcelain sinks, if you’re anything like me, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy shop here.
Figlio, 1369 Grandview Ave, 614.481.8850, Their wood-fired thin crust pizzas are my favorites in town, and their vinaigrette Caesar salad is amazing.
Jeni’s Ice Creams, 1281 Grandview Ave., 614.488.2680, Ever since I tasted my first bite of Jeni’s deliciousness, I’ve judged all other ice creams against it. I haven’t found one that measures up yet. It’s made from 100% grass fed, organic Ohio milk, in a variety of artisan flavors like salted caramel, black currant yogurt, and Thai chili. As if that wasn’t enough, everything from their signage to their website is impeccably designed. They have locations in Bexley, the Short North, and inside the North Market, but I prefer the Grandview location, with its sidewalk café ambience.
Chocolate Café, 1855 Northwest Blvd, 614.485.CAFE, It’s a chocolate café. Do I really need to say anything else to convince you to check it out?
Short North + Victorian Village + Italian Village: This is the artsy district of Columbus, with a Gallery Hop the first Saturday of every month. There are lots of restaurants, galleries, and boutiques to choose from – all mainly clustered along High Street.
Goodale Park, 120 West Goodale Blvd, With its view of the Columbus skyline, large variety of trees, and big pond, this park is a popular place to walk dogs or go for a jog. It’s also home to Music in the Air – a free summer concert series – and the popular Comfest in June.
Mahan Gallery, 717 N. High St, 614.294.3278, Director Jacquie Mahan’s exhibition schedule rivals those of up and coming contemporary art galleries in larger metropolises. She also carries a well-edited collection of art books, periodicals, and objects.
Roy G Biv, 997 N High St, 614.297.7694, This gallery is great resource for local emerging artists, with frequent opportunities to enter group shows and apply for solo exhibitions.
Third Hand Bike Co-op, 174 East Fifth Ave, 614.299.2984, The place to go for DIY types needing help with bike repairs, finding spare parts, or even an entire bicycle. Friendly volunteers help you through the process.
Collier West, 787 N High St, 614.294.9378, Their displays featuring stuffed peacocks, chandeliers made from branches, and stationery peeping out of tiny antique drawers are always inspirational. They carry Matteo bedding, John Derian homeware and other high end lines.
Luxe de Vie, 720 N. High St, 614.421.0589, I’ve only window shopped here, but if I were to venture out of my drugstore routine of Dove, Cetaphil, and Method for more luxurious bath and home treatments, this is where I would come.
On Paper, 737 N. High St, 614.424.6617, I worked here when I first moved to Columbus, and I think I’d spend most of every paycheck on all their lovely paper goods! They also carry a wonderful assortment of jewelry, body care, and other gift-y type items. Check out their full line of stylish, eco-friendly paper products from Green Paper Company.
Paradise Garage, 941 N. High St, 614.299.0899, They carry bikes and bike clothes for the urban cycler. I’ve got my eye on an upright Dutch bicycle with a wicker basket.
Tigertree, 771 N. High St, 614.299.2660, This is where I first clapped my eyes on Shinzi Katoh’s work, and it was love at first sight! They’ve got a happy assortment of clothes for him and her, as well as items for the home.
Rowe, 718 N. High St, 614.299.7693, If Carrie Bradshaw lived in Columbus, this is where she would shop.
Jeni’s Ice Creams, 714 N. High St, 614.294.5364, See Grandview section for description.
Marcella’s, 615 N. High St, 614.223.2100, Local food tycoon Cameron Mitchell opened this stylish Italian restaurant to raves. The small plates are fun to share, and the profiteroles dessert (basically a cream puff with gelato instead of cream) is to die for.
North Market, 9 Spruce St, 614.463.9664, This year-round covered market is home to 3 dozen local purveyors of everything from artisan bread to Vietnamese cuisine to hormone free meat and dairy items, as well as a farmer’s market during the growing season. Grab groceries and lunch all in one place.
Northstar Café, 951 N High St, 614.298.9999, They have the best veggie burger I’ve ever eaten. In fact, it might be the best burger, period. And I’m not a vegetarian. But whatever you choose from the menu will be delicious, wholesome, made from local, organic, and artisan ingredients. There’s a second location in Clintonville.
Tasi, 680 N Pearl St, 614.222.0788, A fantastic place for fresh, seasonal food that always tastes great. I’d love to take their chalkboards and red enamel French bistro chairs home with me.
Campus area: Home to the largest university in the country (Ohio State), this district has seen better days. Among the frat houses and hookah lounges are a few great places to visit, though.
Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N High St, 614 292-0330, When you come here, you get a world class contemporary art museum, art house cinema, café, bookshop and cutting edge design boutique all under one roof. This institution alone makes Columbus a cool place to live.
Ohio Historical Society, 1982 Velma Ave, 614-297-2300, Come see the striking modern architecture of this museum and the permanent collection of antique quilts, cars, clothes, crockery, and other items from Ohio’s past for some unexpected design inspiration.
Used Kids, 1980 N. High St, 614.421.9455, They have a great selection of vinyl, and on Monday nights, there’s a DJ and free pizza.
Blue Nile, 2361 N High St, 614.421.2323, Tasty Ethiopian fare served the traditional way – on a shared platter for the whole table.
Buckeye Donuts, 1363 S. High St, 614.443.7470, A favorite with students, this place is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition to their signature buckeye donut, they have a lot of vegetarian friendly food like falafel and veggie gyros.
Clintonville: Its residents are fiercely loyal to the neighborly atmosphere and independent spirit of this area. Its western edge is bordered by the Olentangy River and a picturesque bike trail.
Studio 35, 3055 Indianola Ave, 614.262.7505, A Columbus institution since 1938, this one screen independent theater shows a great mix of new and classic films.
Whetstone Park of Roses, 3923 N. High St, 614.645.3350, Featuring over 11,000 rose bushes, this municipal park is free and open to the public. I’m itching to break out my Holga camera when the blooms arrive in June.
Wild Goose Creative, 2491 Summit St, This local arts collective started by 6 college friends puts together regular concerts, workshops, lectures, and other events aimed at sponsoring the arts and bringing together the community.
Rag-o-rama, 3301 North High St, 614.261.7202, It’s been named best thrift store and best clothing store by the local paper several years in a row. If you’re in the mood for some spring cleaning, you can sell them some of your old clothes, too.
Seagull Bags, 3343 N High St, 614.223.0272, When Daniel McKewen couldn’t find a unique looking, highly functional, quality messenger bag, he spent hundreds of hours in his basement perfecting his own design. Now he sells his bags here and all over the world. You can get one customized with your choice of colors and artwork.
Sew to Speak, 4610 N. High St, 614.267.3011, This small fabric boutique carries a great selection of colorful mod fabrics from Ohio-based design star Amy Butler and others. I bought sunny yellow fabric for my kitchen curtains here.
Wholly craft, 3169 N. High St, 614.447.3445, This is the adorable local emporium of handmade goods with a few vintage items thrown in. I found an out of print book full of sewing projects from the 70’s that seem very fresh again.
Clintonville Community Market, 200 Crestview Rd, 614.261.3663, Member owned, this non-profit market gets its food from eco-friendly and socially responsible sources.
Hound Dog’s Pizza, 2657 N High St, 614.261.4686, When you want really satisfying, greasy pizza at 2 in the morning (or any time, really) this is the place to go…just ignore the drunk frat boys sitting in the booth next to you.
Northstar Café, 4241 N High St, 614.784.2233, See Short North section for description.
Pattycake Bakery, 3009 N High St, 614.784.2253, According to my sister in law, the brownies, cupcakes, and cookies in this vegan-friendly establishment are so good it’s scary.
Wildflower Café, 3420 Indianola Ave, 614.262.2233, I haven’t been here yet, but I’m told by a good source that it’s a great place for home style cooking in a cozy neighborhood setting at affordable prices. I’m sold!
I have to mention the incredible Antique Show & Flea Market that goes on every month in the small town of Springfield about 45 minutes west of Columbus. May, June, and September are the biggest months with over 2,500 vendors sprawled across the entire fairgrounds. People drive from all over the country to attend. There are also a lot of antiques malls and shops in the surrounding area. Definitely worth a road trip if you’re in the market for some well-priced vintage finds.
And finally, recommended online reading about Columbus: