Planning a weekend getaway to Columbus? Or maybe you’re just thinking about a much needed “staycation?” Look no further. I’ve put together a sampling of my Columbus favorites, broken down by price range.
For some, this weekend getaway might be a splurge, or it might be a bit of fun on the cheap. Maybe you’re looking for something in the middle. No matter your budget, Columbus is the perfect city to explore!
Splurging? Here are some ideas:
Book a night at The Joseph, Le Meridien Columbus.
This gorgeous, luxury hotel is located in Columbus’s Short North district and is surrounded by some of the city’s BEST dining and shopping experiences. You’re a short walk away from art galleries, bars, and boutiques.
Take in a show at show at the beautiful Ohio Theater.
Here you’ll find a myriad of options as this is the home of the Columbus Symphony, Broadway series, and the BalletMet. The Ohio Theater is also home to the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA), which puts on over a hundred shows each year. Click here for their upcoming shows.
Wander through art galleries admiring all the local Columbus talent. Pick out something you simply can’t live without. A great gallery to check out is Hammond Harkins. They even feature artwork by my favorite Columbus artist, Mark Bush. What I love most about Mark’s breathtaking paintings is how he takes human imperfections – those wrinkles, furrows, or age spots that we all love to hide, and illuminates them. We can all relate to his realistic models and he’s taught me a lot of about self-acceptance and the beauty of human imperfection.
Part of the joy of the short north is exploring and discovering all the amazing bars, so instead of giving you a list to check out, I will simply encourage you to walk around and stop in any bar that catches your attention. You really can’t go wrong!
For dinner, here are a few of my personal favorites:
Basi Italia – simple Italian fare. You’ll want to sit on their beautiful terrace and sample their fun cocktails.
Lemongrass Fusion Bistro – modern Asian flavors. If you’re a sushi fan, make sure you indulge. I also love their Monsoon shrimp and Lemongrass trio.
The Pearl – hearty gastropub. I always start off with an order of their Jalepeno-corn spoon bread. They have delicious shrimp & grits and braised short ribs. Make sure you save room for dessert as they make fresh pies daily!
Mid-range? Here are some ideas:
Book a night at the Park Hyatt in Grandview.
This modern hotel is in close proximity to shops, restaurants, the Arena District, Ohio State University, local parks, and Downtown Columbus. I love that this hotel offers a free breakfast buffet including cage-free eggs, all natural bacon, greek yogurt & fresh fruit parfaits and Starbucks roast coffee.
This hotel is a great base for activities. If you’re in town during the summer on the last Saturday of the month, check out the Grandview Hop! During this fun event, you can check out local art, sample delicious food, listen to live music, and shop for unique home decor and crafts.
Nearby COSI is also a ton of fun to explore. While this is a kid-friendly spot, it’s also one of my favorite places to explore with adults. There are always interesting exhibits and demonstrations to check out.
Hofbrauhaus – German brewery and restaurant
You are right across the parking lot of one of my favorite restaurants! Delicious food, craft beer, and live music. Make sure you start your meal with one of their GIANT pretzels and bier-cheese. I’m also a huge fan of their German mustard, kase-spaetzle and sausages. Drink responsibly, but don’t feel too bad sampling the different beers as your hotel is a quick walk away!
Old Mohawk Cafe – German cafe and tavern
While the name of this tavern has changed over the years, rumor has it that this place has been serving its legendary “Turtle soup” since 1933! Make sure you sample a cup. I also love their hummus and hot brat sliders.
Mazah Mediterranean Eatery – Fresh and flavorful Mediterranean favorites
Delicious shawarma, falafel, kebabs and more. Start off with a Family Mazah – a sampling of several appetizers and move on to one of their amazing kebabs. Great place for anyone eating gluten-free, vegetarian, or on a special diet. If you’re a fan of hot sauce, ask for some of their homemade sauce here. It’s a spicy, citrusy sauce with quite a kick!
On a budget:
A quick AirBnB search will result in a ton of affordable options. If you’d rather stay in a hotel, one of my favorites is the Holiday Inn Express at Polaris. This bright, modern hotel features an awesome free breakfast buffet! Rooms also feature a mini fridge and microwave, which can be great for stocking snacks and drinks.
Explore our brand new IKEA! Even if you’re not in the market to buy furniture, it’s a fun to wander through the showroom and check out the decor and design. If you want a quick snack, the IKEA cafe is dirt cheap and they often run specials where you can even get free meals with a purchase!
Spend the day at the Columbus Zoo. They let you bring in your own food, so stop at a grocery store to grab some drinks and sandwiches to avoid paying the higher concession prices within the zoo. Insider tip: Tickets are cheaper if you purchase them at Kroger before you go. Just go to the customer service and ask for zoo tickets. Or, if you have a zoo membership to another zoo, check out the reciprocity list for savings on admission.
Pack a picnic or pick up takeout and head to Schiller Park for some live theater under the stars. You can find a show schedule here. The Actor’s Theater puts on these performances on a “pay what you can afford” basis. During intermission, they will come around and tip their hat and request donations but there’s no pressure to pay a certain amount.
So many affordable spots to try. Some of my favorites include:
Crazzy Greek. The best Greek food I’ve ever had. I always order the “Spicy Gyro on Rice.” This adorable restaurant is tucked into a strip mall, but as soon as you walk in, you’ll be transported to the Greek Isles. Each wall is hand painted with breathtaking views.
Bibibop. Quick, healthy, tasty Korean food. This is a casual “build-your-own-bowl” place.
Carfagna’s Kitchen. House-made Italian food. Quick, casual, and very tasty! Check out their daily specials.