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Exploring Columbus, the San Francisco of the Midwest

There’s a hip vibe to Columbus, OH, that draws in a fair share of travelers looking for an eclectic urban getaway in America’s heartland. This open-minded capital city is a melting pot of culture, from the culinary food tours to the outdoor festivals. With so much to experience in this vibrant city, it can be hard to squeeze in the must-see attractions when you’ve booked a short stay in one of Columbus’s many great hotels (such as the Hyatt Regency). So immerse yourself in the trendy scene and narrow down your list to these things unique to Columbus.

Columbus Skyline by trdesignr, on Flickr
Columbus Skyline by trdesignr, on Flickr

There’s a hip vibe to Columbus, OH, that draws in a fair share of travelers looking for an eclectic urban getaway in America’s heartland. This open-minded capital city is a melting pot of culture, from the culinary food tours to the outdoor festivals. With so much to experience in this vibrant city, it can be hard to squeeze in the must-see attractions when you’ve booked a short stay in one of Columbus’s many great hotels (such as the Hyatt Regency). So immerse yourself in the trendy scene and narrow down your list to these things unique to Columbus.

German Village

This historic neighborhood is situated a few blocks south of downtown area hotels, making it a convenient stop for any visitor staying in the area. Settled by German immigrants in the 19th century, German Village is a slice of urban living at its finest. Pick up a tourist map at the German Village Meeting Haus and stroll around 233 acres of narrow brick streets, historic architecture, and lush parks. This unique district is home to one-of-a-kind shopping boutiques, art galleries, confectionary shops, cafes, and restaurants – and that includes authentic German cuisine.

Aside from German Village, Columbus boasts an explosive immigrant population, which means you can enjoy the diverse ethnic food scene at virtually every meal.

Urban Hiking

Stretch your legs in this pedestrian-friendly city by utilizing one of the many walking-tour brochures, forging your own path through the capital’s distinct neighborhoods, or hiring a local to get the inside scoop on the best places to see. You can’t miss the Short North Art Walk Tour, which maps out a route that takes you past vibrant green areas, historic architecture, and the best public art the city has to offer. Pose for a photo in front of the American Gothic Mural on Lincoln Street, view the implemented LED technology on the High Street Arches, and discover the sideways Mona Lisa staring back at you on Pearl Street.

If you’re really feeling adventurous, look for the Gates of Hell drainage tunnel underneath North High Street, a graffiti-covered landmark in the Blood Bowl area behind Tim Horton’s.

The Foodie Experience

Aside from the ethnic diversity of the Columbus food scene, there are plenty of unique food-related experiences a foodie would drool over from the moment your flight lands. Don’t miss A La Carte Tours, a van-based tour that takes you into Columbus’s finest shops, restaurants, and back-of-house operations. You’ll learn about the city’s food via the hands-on approach, and there will be plenty of taste-testing to make it worth your while. There’s also the North Market Food and Ohio Wine Festival each July, not to mention Columbus Oktoberfest and the Dublin Irish Festival.

Columbus also presents some food challenges you can’t find anywhere else, like the Thurman Burger from The Thurman Cafe. This massive baby is loaded with toppings and ham, piled so high your inner glutton may shrink back from the overload.

Columbus is an eclectic mixture of world-class cuisine, trendy shopping experiences, and unexpected works of art. An ideal destination for history buffs, hipsters, college students, and families, there’s something here for everyone.

Author Bio:

Born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, Jennifer McKnight grew up in the Southern tradition of day-tripping. When she’s not writing for Hipmunk, you can find her exploring the sights and tastes of the Blue Ridge Mountain region.