Thursday, December 31, 2009

Things To Do In Columbus


Columbus is the geographical center of Ohio. It is the state's capital, and its metropolitan population of 1.75 million makes it the state's largest city as well. While rarely thought of as a tourist destination, Columbus is far from being a dull place, and its central location and economic importance do attract many visitors.

The German Village

This neighborhood began as a German immigrant's district in the 1830s and 1840s. It went into a slump and decline through the first half of the 20th century, but began to revive with the 1960s preservationist movement. That culminated with the village becoming a national historic landmark in 1974. It is now a lovely residential neighborhood of red brick homes and wrought iron fencing, and is located adjacent to the lively Brewery District. The latter was home to the small breweries that quenched the thirsts of the aforementioned German immigrants, and is now a trendy restaurant area.

Noted Buildings

There are a handful of strange and noteworthy buildings in Columbus. On the strange side is the Longaberger headquarters, located nearby in Newark, Ohio. Longaberger is a housewares maker with German roots, and particularly well known for its maplewood baskets. Its company headquarters is designed to look like one of those baskets, making it a peculiar spectacle.

Columbus also is home to the Ohio Stadium. This is worth a drive-by look, as it is the third largest college sports stadium in the country.

Touch of Class

Even if you are not staying there, you should think about stopping into the Great Southern Hotel and Theatre. The theater is a 19th century marvel with its decorative gold trim and foil fittings, while the hotel (now a Westin) offers a touch of southern grace in the heart of the midwest.

Another place to consider taking in a show is the Ohio Theatre, the other of the city's great surviving playhouses. It opened in 1928, and stands as one of America's few surviving great Spanish-Baroque buildings. It is now operated by the Lowes chain, and hosts both live performances and a summer classic movie series.

Finally, make a point of having dinner one night at the Refectory. This old church has been converted into a restaurant with a delightful ambiance created by its solid wood, pew-like furnishings, white tablecloths and candlelight. The menu is expensive, but well worth it.