So tell me about Columbus, Ohio.

For various reasons, personal, financial (read: cost of living), and professional, I am seriously exploring leaving the Big Apple and heading back home to Ohio. In an ideal world, that would mean going back to Cincinnati, where my friends and family are. This not being an ideal world, it’s looking an awful lot like I might land in Columbus instead, which is fine–it’s a short hop down 71 to Cincinnati whenever I feel like visiting.

I don’t know much about Columbus, though. I know y’all’ve got a hockey team, though it’s going to take some effort to throw my loyalties behind the (ugh) Blue Jackets. More better, you’ve got a triple-A minor league baseball team, which also has a stupid name, but for some reason “Clippers” offends me less than “Blue Jackets”. I know there’s some big university there that insists on using the definite article, and apparently they play football there and there’s something about Michigan. That’s… about it, though. Oh, I also know I rather dislike some of the highways, from my occasional trips up to see concerts.

And that exhausts my knowledge of all things Columbus. So tell me what y’all know. Anything and everything–good, bad, neighborhoods, attractions, the whole shebang.


I lived there until very recently.

I moved from DC, and was surprised but I really like it. I’m not much for sports, so the whole OSU Buckeye obsession is a bit annoying, but overall it’s a great city. I’ll tell you about things I’m interested in, but it’s a bigger city than people realize, so this is far from an exhaustive list!

-It’s a very gay-friendly, progressive city by midwest standards, really in general, but like many cities it gets more conservative as you go out from the city center.

-They have a good local food scene, lots of people wanting to do interesting things. The North Market is nice, Jeni’s ice cream is the pride of the city (ha - but it is awesome, and popular), and I could go on and on about specific restaurants.

-The Wexner Center for the Arts is a great modern art center, it hosts exhibits that don’t usually come to mid-size midwest cities. They have Marclay’s The Clock right now, there was a big Annie Liebowicz retrospective before that, in both cases the artists came to visit/give talks multiple times. The main art museum, the CMA, is good also.

-COSI, the science center, is very nice and the zoo is one of the best in the country.

-neighborhoods in the city: German Village is very charming, full of brick streets and 1800s houses. Schiller Park there is a great place to wander. Short North is kind of a trendy area with shops and restaurants, some art galleries (it used to be known for galleries, but rising rents have made some move). Victorian Village and Italian Village are nice residential neigborhoods near it. VV has Gooddale Park, which is great. Clintonville is a little further from downtown, probably bigger houses, but still in the city and nice. There are plenty of suburbs, of course, if that’s your thing. Close to the city, there is Grandview Heights, Upper Arlington, and Bexley - all upscale, have walkable areas, and close to downtown.

-Downtown recently added a The Scioto Mile, which is a riverfront park and walkway. The river downtown used to be kind of blah, not somewhere you wanted to go, but this is helping. Downtown also demolished the old mall and put in a park that hosts concerts ans festivals.

-It’s within three hours of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Louisville for weekend trips. Broaden that to sixish hours and you’ve added Chicago, DC, Baltimore, Nashville, Buffalo/Niagra Falls, and probably more. So that’s nice.

-The newspaper, the Columbus Dispatch sucks IMO, much of our local media also, the obsession with OSU football borders on the hysterical, there’s sprawl galore, sometimes it seems a little small and I want to move to Chicago, but it’s got a lot going for it and it’s very inexpensive, so the quality of life one can afford here vs. DC is great.

DeweyDecibel is correct. The resturants here are amazing. Thai, Greek, Middle Eastern, German, Chinese, Indian, Ethopian, Somalian, you name it. And yes, this is a big sports place and yes, football is less a sport here than a religion. The weather kinda sucks, although we miss most of the lake effect snow and It seems like it takes forever to get from point A to point B. But there are a lot of funky little places to see. Vic’s & some of the hookah bars, (if that’s your thing) Kareoke, some nice parks, all that stuff. Plus, you can come see me. I will cook for you. :smiley:

Good bookstores: two Half-Price bookstores and the Book Loft.

The board-gaming scene here is unmatched. I’m not being sarcastic. If you’re interested I can give you more details.

Woot! We’ll provisionally put that in the plus column (after all, I don’t know how well you cook). :wink:

MsWhatsit, I am intrigued. I’ve always wanted to get more into the board games, but shortage of interested friends (other than some friends who were always too ready to play Axis & Allies) sorta bollixed it up for me. How’s the tabletop RPG gaming?

Sounds so far like it’s a good town, and I won’t be too unhappy with it if I land there (though that whole football thing is annoying; my least favorite sport, perhaps).

Thanks for the info so far, guys. :slight_smile:

I dunno. The board-gaming scene here in Rochester is pretty strong.

Long-time Columbus resident here. I second everything Dewey said. I’d point out that living in Columbus is very different from downtown to the suburbs.

I live near downtown. It is cool, great restaurants, fun and social neighborhood/neighbors, very progressive, arts and cultural events, Gallery Hop, fun summer festivals (Pride, ComFest, etc.), the new Columbus Commons downtown, Arena District/hockey games, Columbus Clippers minor league baseball in their new downtown field, shit… you get the point. It is a great and fun urban lifestyle.

My friends in the suburbs? Park the car in the garage after work, go inside, watch t.v., go to bed, drive car out of garage and head to work. Do not say hi to neighbors, only vaguely know who they are. Friday or Saturday night? Dinner at a chain restaurant and then to a cheesy bar in a strip mall. Wish they lived my life.


Columbus Area Boardgaming Society. Please excuse the 1990s-era web design; the guy in charge is somewhat, shall we say, exuberant. Anyway, CABS meets pretty much every weekend and typically 100+ gamers show up for tabletop boardgaming action. Everything from Dominion to Settlers of Catan to old-school Avalon Hill war games to Battlestar Galactica the board game to you name it. CABS maintains a board game library on-site, so you can just show up and pick something out of the cabinets and then find some people to play it with. It’s extremely newbie-friendly. CABS also runs Buckeye Game Fest, which is a weekend-long gaming event in the fall, and runs the Board Room at Origins, which is a major gaming convention held in Columbus every summer.

CABS doesn’t host tabletop RPGs per se, but a lot of the people in the group are into that kind of thing and can direct you to where to find groups.

Ever since we had kids, I tend to send MrWhatsit to CABS on the weekends and stay home playing computer games myself, but one or both of us is typically there most meetings. It’s really a lot of fun, and full of good people. One of the best things Columbus has going, IMO.

PS: I can’t stand football. If you just avoid the downtown/campus area on game days, you should be fine.

Don’t forget about the village bookshop!

(BTW MsWhatsit, we gotta get together one of these days! :))

& I’m a pretty good cook… noone’s died yet! :stuck_out_tongue:

Geez, we oughta have a Columbus Dopefest! I am perfectly positioned to go to both an NE Ohio Dopefest and a Columbus Dopefest!

Lots of good fine arts/crafts festival in the area – Columbus Arts Festival, Riverfront Arts Festival, Easton Art Affair, Winterfair, plus bunches of good ones in the 'burbs, like the Upper Arlington Labor Day Arts Festival and festivals in Westerville and Worthington. Dublin has a huge Irish (surprise!) festival.

A few weird things about Columbus, and yes I live here in Worthington:

People are really bad drivers. They don’t pass in the left lane, they drive in it slowly. There are also way too many accidents on the beltway, 270.

At the end of a phone conversation, they make a weird sound like “hmmmmm.” So they say “hmmm bye.” Nobody here notices it though.

I also might add that Cbus has a tough time cleaning roads when the snow is heavy.

Like everyone said, there are some good eats: Surly Girl, Northstar, Tip Top (get the Ohio Nachos,) Barcelona, Katzingers, Dirty Franks, El Arapazo, Banana Leaf, etc

And there’s a little local university with a sports-ball team who have a good shot this fall.

Well, wish me luck on my interview there next week. We’ll hope for the best. :slight_smile:

As the Steelers are to Pittsburgh and Da Bears are to Chicago, the Buckeyes are to Columbus. It’s not a college thing. Their most diehard fans have never enrolled there.

Triple A Minor league Baseball… College Football… Hockey?!?

Don’t you realize they have a real professional sport!!!

MLS (Major League Soccer)… Columbus Crew!

Isn’t Major League Soccer an oxymoron?

I agree. I’ve wanted to do a C-bus Dopefest forever!

3.5 Billion fans worldwide can’t be wrong.

Sorry, mate. I went to undergrad at Pitt and law school was at U. Cincy. I may hate football, but I don’t know as I can ever be a Buckeyes fan with that pedigree.