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Living In Columbus, OH
Getting to Know Columbus, OH
Columbus is at the geographical and cultural heart of Ohio. It's the home of the largest public university campus in the United States, and also the seat of Ohio's state government and several major companies. What's more, Columbus is just a short drive from Ohio's most scenic region. If the thought of living in Columbus doesn't excite you, you probably haven't been there.
The single biggest Columbus attraction is undoubtedly the sprawling campus of The Ohio State University. The 1,800-acre expanse impresses visitors with architecturally significant buildings such as the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library. It also delights college sports fans who come to see the Buckeyes play football, basketball, baseball, tennis, ice hockey, gymnastics and more. Meanwhile, the Ohio Statehouse attracts thousands of visitors to the downtown every year. The Columbus Museum of Art and the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, to name a few, round out the artistic side of the city's cultural diversity.
Neighborhoods around Columbus
- Forest Park East: Have kids and looking for a family-friendly area? Forest Park East is a more suburban area of the city, with more private homes and parks than most areas in the city.
- German Village: As you might guess from the name, there was a rush of German immigrants to the neighborhood now known as German Village in the 1830s. There are still some remnants of those German origins, but today it's known for a large variety of restaurants of all types. It's also known for great architecture, with several areas keeping the early 19th century German architecture, making for a very distinct looking neighborhood.
- Brewery District: Located right next to German Village, this was named because it was the home of the beer brewing industry brought over by those German settlers. It still lives up to that name, with craft breweries and all sorts of lively dining and entertainment options.
- King-Lincoln Bronzeville: A historically African-American community, King-Lincoln Bronzeville has seen a large revitalization effort in recent years. It's still in relatively early days, but starting with the restoration of the King-Lincoln Theatre, it looks like reviving this musically significant neighborhood is well on its way.
- Short North: Short North is the center of the Columbus art scene. If you're even remotely interested in galleries, theaters, museums or any other form of art, this is where you want to be. Even the entry to the neighborhood is a distinctive set of arches, making sure you know you've entered the creative neighborhood of the city.
Free Things to Do in Columbus
Many of our favorite things to do in Columbus are completely free. Here are our top five picks for fun afternoon activities:
- Ohio Statehouse: Go on a guided tour of the Ohio Statehouse for the gorgeous architecture and to learn about influential Ohioans such as George Washington Williams.
- Short North Arts District: Even if you choose not to live there, you can still take a stroll through the Short North Arts District to see the area's best public art and to check out more than a dozen galleries, all of it free.
- James Thurber House: Head to the childhood home of cartoonist and author James Thurber to satisfy both the history buff and the bibliophile in you.
- Browse the Shops: Window-shop at more than 200 retailers at the Easton Town Center, an outdoor shopping mecca just north of downtown.
- North Market: Get a feel for the local flavor at North Market, the city's only public market. You'll enjoy the smell of freshly made international foods while you peruse gourmet groceries, artisanal gifts and handcrafted housewares.
Activities for Families in Columbus, OH
If the little ones in your life love animals, drive north of downtown to Columbus Zoo or spend the day at the Center of Science and Industry to get an up-close view of a T. Rex skeleton. We also recommend checking out the kid-friendly activities at one of the nearly two dozen Columbus Library locations.
Columbus's Natural Beauty
Columbus is known for the winding jogging and biking trails lining the riverfront, stretching into the gently rolling suburban neighborhoods surrounding the city. Nearby Slate Run Metropark and Alley Park boast picture-perfect picnicking spots. Further out, the rugged hills to the south and east of town delight hikers, mountain bikers and rock climbers with their seemingly endless nooks and crannies. Popular protected areas in this region include Hocking State Forest and Lake Logan State Park. Don't miss the Scioto Mile, a 175-acre riverside area, with its bike paths, walkways, playgrounds, and the famous whimsical fountain at Bicentennial Park.
Weekend Getaways from Columbus
When you feel like taking a family road trip, head an hour west to Dayton, the birthplace of aviation, or explore the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, a 2.5-hour drive northeast of Columbus.
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