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columbus design guide

by Grace Bonney

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.

To See/Do:

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.

To Do/See:

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.

To Do/See:

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.

To Do/See:

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.

Junctionview Studios, 889 Williams Ave, These art studios are home to a variety of community art shows, workshops, and events such as the annual indie design market Tiny Canary.


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.

To See/Do:

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.

To Do/See:

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!

Further Afield:

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:

The Columbus Underground
The Restaurant Widow

Suggested For You


  • What a great list! I used to live in Columbus and so many of my favorite spots are listed…Wholly Craft, the Drexel, and Indian Oven…

  • Awesome guide! Thank you!

    I lived there for eight years and travel there regularly, and I would also add these spots to the list:

    In Clintonville:
    SoBo Style

    Old furniture made new in a shabby chic/mod style, all beautifully presented.
    http://sobostyle.blogspot.com/ (with postings on new items)

    In Short North:
    Substance for Fashion Conscious People

    Cool concept: fashions that you can customize with rosettes, beading and other trims courtesy of their on-site “design lab.” And any clothes that don’t sell in the store are repurposed and launched as a Design Lab collection. (You can order online, too, if you aren’t in Columbus.) They also offer workshops on such topics as Antique Block Printing and Tee-Shirt Repurposing.

    Finally, if you are in need of a hotel to stay at (there are also several nice b&bs in town, too), my husband and I had a lovely stay at the urban boutique hotel the Lofts last month.

    Thanks for the trip to a favorite place today! :-)

  • hurrah for Columbus.! I lived there for 5 years and found it to be a great little city. I would add Clintonville restaurants The Blue Danube and Whole World Cafe to the list well as Mad 4 Mod and other Clintonville antique shops right across the street. Well done!

  • I grew up in Columbus and definitely didn’t appreciate it enough. It was fun to see some of my old haunts like Used Kids and Hounddogs on the list. Now that I live in NYC I miss how safe and convenient everything was.

  • I go to OSU and I am so in love with Columbus and I love this list! :) I have one thing to add, though…

    Moy’s (Campus)
    It’s located right next to Buckeye Donuts. Mr. and Mrs. Moy are from Hong Kong and Mrs. Moy never forgets anyone who’s been there more than once (and you may get a talking to for waiting so long to return!). She’s super friendly, the food is awesome and homemade. The eggrolls are fresh, the rice is perfect, and the General Tso’s is to die for! It’s my favorite place to eat.
    1994 N. High St.
    Columbus, OH 43201
    (614) 297-7722

  • Awsome :) So excited to see my neighboring city on here. Great Job!! You hit everything I could think of, and some I couldn’t!! Even though I’m just outside the city in Granville, it made this ohioan feel special.

    We should do a Granville Annex feature :) We have some great secrets hiding over here :) For example: Amy Butler & Art of the Midwest! A wonderful boutique called Green Velvet: 130 East Broadway, 740-507-2262, Enjoy Co.: A new business brought to us by a fab stylist, as well as Firmly Planted by Kevin Reiner. And me Brice Corder Designs!! (Shameless self plug).
    I wanted to mention a to do/see in Columbus that was missed: it is CATCO our own professional theatre company which presents cutting edge plays and classic favorites year round!!

    You know… I have been reading this wonderful blog for about a year now….it has inspired me every day!! And now after this Cbus feature I know I will for sure continue my obsession!!

    Thanks to all who work & play so hard on this gem!! It’s not a blog its more of a necessity for anyone who loves everything or anything. Can’t wait to see what’s next!!

  • Hooray for Columbus! Although, I can’t believe that CCAD (Columbus College of Art & Design) was not mentioned! Located Downtown @ 107 N. Ninth St., the Canzani Gallery always has some great exhibitions. http://www.ccad.edu
    Check it out!

  • Awesome! I currently live in Cincy, so doing a day trip to Columbus to visit some of these places is totally feasible. Thanks!

  • Thanks! I’m moving to Columbus in a few months and this makes me very excited!

    One request – could you boldface the names of the different neighborhoods so they’re easier to pick out on the webpage? Thanks!

  • I’m excited to see all the additions to the list so far. Some just slipped my mind and others are new to me….it just goes to show that this town has a lot to offer! Please continue to add more suggestions :)

  • Glad to see this! Columbus is a great city – tons to do. My husband is from Grandview and we go down there a couple of times a year.

  • SO excited to see a Columbus design guide! I’ve lived here a little over a year, but have yet to truly discover most of the city’s gems. This will definitely help.
    One thing I recommend that was left off the list is Bakery Gingham in German Village. http://www.bakerygingham.com/
    Their new location on Thurman Avenue is adorable, the people are charming, and most importantly, the cupcakes are AMAZING.

  • What a great list. It makes me miss Columbus even more than I already did!

    One yummy place to add is a small italian cafe called “Cafe Del Mondo” in Italian Village. The food is delicious and priced great. They never forget a face either and sometimes they’ll give you yummy treats just to be nice if you are a regular. The best time to go is in the summer when you can sit outside.

  • Great, great writeup on a ton of great places in the city!
    Another place you might add is Denise’s Ice Cream in Clintonville. Like Jenni’s, they specialize in unique flavors, all made there on-site. Come for the Salty Caramel, stay for the (mildly alcoholic) Maple Bourbon.

  • As someone who was born, raised, (left for a few years in college), and still lives in Columbus, I often feel the need to flee to somewhere larger or warmer. It’s always great to be reminded of how many great spots around town that I have access to!

  • What a great post. As someone who has lived in Columbus all my life – Go Bucks, I find myself day dreaming of other places being much cooler, and more happening. It’s nice to be reminded that the city I live in is just as hip and cool. Okay, maybe not as cool as a place with a beach, but still…. we do have the #1 Zoo (Colubmus Zoo) in the country and Zoombeeze Bay that just opened beside it. Thanks for the post!!

  • aw this makes me happy sad!!! i’m leaving clintonville which i LOVE (fiercely loyal? oh yeah!) to move out of state in july…looks like i have even more places to visit before i go than i thought!!! and i second jane’s addition of the blue danube and the cluster of great antique shops in clintonville on high!

  • Columbus is also home to a number of fantastic performance groups. SNAP! Performance Productions has created an artistic outlet for over 300 different singers, dancers and musicians in central Ohio. Each Spring we hold a performance to raise money for other local charities.

  • Great list! Thank you for this and the Cleveland guide. Also in Grandview, don’t forget Marino’s. They have the best fish & chips outside of England and their scallops are to die for!! Plus here’s a shout out for the French Loaf, too.

  • Yay C-bus!!
    Some other great spots are:

    the Arena District (just north of downtown/south of Short North) is always busy on the weekends/evenings for barhoppers; home of Nationwide Arena; the North Market is an enclosed “market” with many different foods available to eat right there!

    Also, the Columbus Museum of Art is fantastic! http://www.columbusmuseum.org.
    On Broad St. , just east of downtown, a block from the Columbus College of Art and Design .

    Wonderful guide. Thank you for giving our great midwestern city a shout out!

  • AWESOME!! I have lived in Columbus for 2 years now( a recent transplant from Chicago). Columbus is filled with amazing shops and restaurants and I am grateful that so many of my favorite places have been offered in this guide. THANK YOU!

  • Thanks for a great guide! I came to Cbus for college and have lived here for ten years – every time I visit New York, Chicago and San Francisco I’m always happy to come back to Cbus – great food, affordable living and easy to get around. A few additions to the restaurants listed here – G. Michael’s (upscale American) and Banana Bean Cafe (fantastic Key West inspired brunch) in German Village and Kooma (some of the best sushi in town), Rosendale’s (Chef Richard Rosendale’s creations are unbelievable and it’s easily one of the top two or three restaurants in the city), Details (attached to Rosendales; has great small plates and cool atmosphere)and the Burgundy Room (tapas and a HUGE wine list) in the Short North.

  • Having been a glass major at O.S.U in Cols., let’s not forget to mention the public glass blowing gem called Glass Axis off 5th Ave. that has a viewing place to watch artists blow glass, as well as offering all kinds of workshops!

  • I was born in C-bus and lived around here as a ki, but I moved back to go to school at the Columbus College of Art and Design. It really is a fantastic little city.

  • El Arepazo is so fantastic indeed! And not many people know about it. Mmmm! I love the plantains!

  • Gotta mention DeepWood restaurant, which just opened up downtown (just south of Short North) on High Street last year. Voted best new restaurant and already in the Dispatch’s Top 10!


  • Delighted at this post. This city is comprised of clever entrepreneurs and the supportive community that allows them success. In the near 15 years I have resided here, there has been so much growth, yet the intimacy remains. I am constantly inspired by the people that I meet in the shop, flattered by those who say “what a great store” and delighted by the ones who just “cannot believe” how much CMH has to offer.

    And an absolute nod to Alana’s on N. High street. Her culinary explorations are fresh and creative. Her husband is a wine whiz. My most favorite moments have been on their summer patio.

  • Eva, you did a tremendous job compiling this list! Great to see a concise list of all the wonderful gems around Columbus… the support for independent businesses is one of the reasons I have chosen to stay in Columbus for 11+ years. Suzi, I agree… the city just gets better with time. The city keeps growing, yet it still feels like a tight knit community.
    I came here to attend CCAD and stayed in town when many classmates left for bigger cities… I am glad that I stayed! :)

  • This is great- I get so stuck on the easy places to shop, like target and the Mall- this guide is inspiring- my many years in LA I rarely graced a chain store – in Columbus I have rarely graced a speciality store- So I am looking forward to visiting the stores listed in this guide. Just one suggestion for a future guide- include LaCasita, located at the corner of Bethel and GoDown Road, – a Mexican Restaurant with amazing Authentic food and a fun Quirky atmosphere- complete with an outside patio, patio bar and fountain- Martin, the owner, has added something every year since it opened and created a unique restaurant experience- once a Long John Silvers- now a Quirky Mexican experience . ( and no I don’t work there we just love to eat there!!)

  • I couldn’t have stumbled on this post at a better time!

    I just moved to Columbus from San Diego, California. I was feeling a bit down today about having to go apartment hunting etc. but this post really pumped up my spirits! I can’t wait to find a place and start filling it will all the goods that Columbus has to offer.

    Thanks for your guide, it made my day:)

  • Just what I needed. I’m visiting my family this week. I left the area 10+ yrs ago, before having the desire to really explore it, so this is terrific info. Thank you!

  • Now that the author has left Columbus can someone who’s willing to feature everyone make a more inclusive list?

  • I agree. There are many great businesses left out of the first list. I can think of a few more essential mentionables.

  • I have to mention Banana Leaf for very authentic and unusual Indian food, which is all vegetarian. It’s located on Bethel Road, across the street from Marshall’s. I’ve tried lots of Indian restaurants, but I’ve never had flavors like Banana Leaf offers!

  • I, too, am thrilled to see a CBus design guide…the heart of it all is often neglected in favor of Cincy or Cleveland. I moved here 10 years ago from NYC and find it (almost) better…affordable housing, safe suburbs and incredible convenience and access to everything you could want…all the food, theater and nightlife of NYC without the price tag. I’m staying!!

  • Here’s some other good Columbus restaurants!
    North Star Cafe(clintonville, Short North)
    Dirty Franks(Downtown)
    North Market (Short North/Downtown)
    Banana Bean (German Village)
    La Chatelaine (UA, Worthington)
    Betty’s (Short North)
    Z pizza (Short North)
    Easy Street (German Village)
    Spagio (Grandview)
    Surly Girl Saloon (Short North)
    Lemongrass (Short North)
    Shoku (German Village)
    Kooma (Short North)
    Starliner Diner (Hilliard)

  • For restaurants, definitely check out G. Michaels (German Village) and Ying’s Tea House & Yum Yum.

    For retail, check out The Candle Lab, with two stores in Worthington and Grandview. You can blend 100+ scents together and pour your own candles. It makes for a fun night out and a great gift.

  • Moda Verite clothing store. Dorri does great clothing. Used to shop there all the time when we lived in Cincinnati. I think Columbus rocks!!!

  • This is so great- thanks so much! There are a ton of wonderful restaurants still to mention- Newly opened Knead, Black Creek Bistro, Dragonfly, Barcelona, Clever Crow pizza (inside Circus), plus the North Market (kind of like Pike Place in Seattle), and lots of food trucks (tacotruckscolumbus.com can help you find one).
    For music venues, check out The Summit, Bourbon St, Rumba Cafe, Skully’s, and the burgeoning Outland.
    Columbus has so much to offer!
    Columbus does rock- whoduthunk it?!

  • Downtown Columbus has new stores moving in! Check out B1 Bicycles, Casey Karnes started the shop after being a bike messenger for 4 years. Knowledgeable and friendly staff!

  • Check out Da Levee in the Short North! Cheap and delicious cajun/creole food!

    +1 for shopping at Tigertree. One of my favorites!

  • I am so faithful to the D*S city guides for when I travel or when people on FB need recommendations when traveling. So huzzah to D*S for including this wonderful lovely city I’ve called home for my whole life!

    Grandview area-
    Second Chance- Jcrew, Banana, name brand + a new entirely expanded storefront attached with vintage designer finds

    CoCo Couture- All vintage designers- absolutely amazing finds

    Grandview area-
    Byrne’s Pub- live Irish music (banjos, violins, etc.) every Saturday night

    Short North area-
    Betty’s & Surly Girl Saloon- same owner (a female!) and TONS of drafts on tap
    Haiku- awesome sushi and an even better garden/outdoor dining area

    Upper Arlington area-
    The Wine Bistro- The staff are the friendliest people I’ve ever met. They know their wines and can narrow down hundreds off the top of their head for you to try. Amazing appetizers to accompany wines.

    TO DO:
    Short North area-
    Middle West Spirits Micro Distillery tour- Wednesdays- $5. All local ingredients to make an incredible whiskey and vodka called “OYO” (O-why-O)

    Brothers Drake- (next door to Middle West Spirits)- tastings & tours. Meadery (wine made from honey). PLUS live local music.

    Downtown area:
    The Commons- Thursday evenings. Live local music, cornhole, large open park, children’s area, beer, food, carousel.

  • i’ve used the guides as a travel guide to so many cities while traveling and it’s fun to read one for the city where i live. great job – this stands the test of time. good stuff!

  • Great list. Columbus is a cool town with a lot to offer. I would also check out Rivet art gallery, Surly Girl Saloon, (for food and drinks), Bodega (for a great Happy Hour) and What the Rock?! a small rock and roll boutique that has all kinds of cool and fun kitschy things, if you are shopping in the Short North.

  • Love this list! My family and I just moved to Columbus and we love it here so far. We will have to check out these spots. Columbus is cute quirky city with so many gems.

    Our favorite spot right now is this tiny Korean restuarant in the back of a grocery store called Arirang. This place is so cute. To order you have to go to the back and see what you want to eat, then go to the front and pay for it, then go to the back again and give the ladies who cook all the food your ticket.

    It is the best Korean we have had in the city so far and was a lucky accident that we found it while grocery shopping!

  • Great post! Columbus’ major neighborhoods include Arena District, Brewery District, Clintonville, Downtown Columbus, East Columbus, Easton, Forest Park etc. It has prominent tourist attractions are – Wexner Center, Greater Columbus Convention Center, LeVeque Tower and Rhodes State Office Tower. Thanks for sharing your post.