Columbus, Ohio is a diverse, cultural playground that literally has something to offer for everyone. We went and checked out Ohio’s capital for a weekend and found great meals, strong drinks and awesome people – not to mention the best college football team in the country. Read on for our recommendations on where to eat, play and stay if you find yourself in the Buckeye State’s capital.
Congrats are in order for this Cameron Mitchell mainstay as it’s celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Putting an upscale twist on classic diner food, you can expect to feast on dishes like meatloaf with buttermilk chive mashed potatoes, wild mushrooms, broccoli, chili onion rings and BBQ gravy and classic sandwiches like an all-American cheeseburger, reuben and the Cap City Club. Don’t leave without ordering our favorite starter on the menu – potato chips topped with blue cheese, scallions and Alfredo.
Serving up locally-sourced gourmet food, craft beer and killer cocktails, Arch City is the kind of place you wish was across the street so you can make it your regular spot. They have an excellent burger and delicious snacks like lobster mac ’n cheese. Wash it down with an impressive selection of craft beers (available in flights so you can taste more than one) or their signature old-fashioned – made with Bulleit bourbon, Roake Cherry Tonic and black walnut bitters.
Adjacent to the beautiful Le Meridien Joseph hotel (which we’ll get to in a minute), this farm-to-table concept is one of the newest restaurants to hit Columbus’ Short North neighborhood. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, the menu focuses on highlighting the freshest ingredients available. Feast on dishes like cavatelli with rabbit confit, garbanzo beans, sweet peas and white asparagus and scallops served with English peas, baby carrots, parsnip puree and orange vinaigrette. Come back for breakfast and don’t miss the soft poached eggs on toast with ham, chili seared greens, buttered leeks, Tabasco hollandaise and caviar – it was one of our favorite meals of the trip.
What started as takeout windows in the Short North and Clintonville has expanded to a brick-and-mortar location downtown, and the city is better for it. Home of the Cheesus Crust — American cheese melted atop two slices of pizza and pressed together into a sandwich — this Columbus favorite serves up piping hot pies to hungry patrons until 3 am weekdays and 4 am on the weekend. Pizza be with you! (And also with you).
We could spend hours roaming around North Market, perusing for everything from hard-to-find seasonings from Spices Ltd to goodies for the grill from Bluescreek Farm Meats. After you’ve crossed off your shopping list, refuel at one of the many excellent food stands like Lan Viet Market for pho and bahn mi sandwiches or Hot Chicken Takeover which has some of the best fried birds in the game.
This is probably our favorite watering hole in Columbus, known for their awesome happy hour and $1 Grilled Cheese Monday’s. They serve snacks like pork belly nachos and a homemade veggie burger, but you’re really here for the alcohol. They have solid beer and wine lists as well as cocktails to please the most seasoned drinkers.
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This lively space is big and energetic with people from all walks of life gathering to partake in a selection of more than 100 tequilas and American whiskeys. They have a killer margarita and spacious outdoor patio right in the heart of the bustling Short North. And there are plenty of tacos on deck if you need to soak up some of that booze.
Another gem from restaurateur Cameron Mitchell, Marcella’s has been serving classic Italian fare for almost a decade. But we’re not here for the food this time around (even though you should absolutely, positively try it). Rather, we’re parking ourselves at the bar and ordering a chilled homemade limoncello. Stop by after dinner or for a nightcap if you’re in the neighborhood.
This beloved Ohio chain is known for their killer wings and extensive beer selection, and they usually have a patio where you can catch some rays while you sip an ice cold brew. If you’re a football fan, it’s the perfect place to catch an Ohio State game (or any sport for that matter).
Not only is this the chicest hotel in Columbus, it’s now one of our favorite properties the world over. A partner of the Pizutti Collection, the hotel features artwork from the private collection of Ron and Ann Pizzuti, and you’re also granted access to their gallery space a mere block away during your stay (in fact, the hotel is named after Ron’s father Joseph). Their taste is excellent, to say the least. There’s even a gallery that features rotating pieces from local artists that guests can purchase if they so desire. The rooms are airy and spacious, furnished with gorgeous custom pieces designed by an Amish family not far from the city. For those looking to have a true luxe experience, the King and Presidential suites are at your service.
One of our favorite features of The Joseph is the private spa suites. Designed to offer a unique and luxurious experience, each suite is outfitted with marble decor, rain showers and a heated mosaic tile bed with adjacent relaxation lounges to enjoy after your treatment. Downstairs in the lobby, Soul at The Joseph is a coffee bar by day and craft cocktail and wine bar by night, serving delicious drinks and bites. Room service is also excellent with food by The Guild House, so you don’t even have to leave your bed to indulge in an excellent meal.
For the big kid in all of us, this nostalgic toy shop is an absolute dream. They sell everything from vintage action figures to gag gifts like fake barf and those tin peanut cans that shoot out snakes when you open them. Stop in and play around, if even for a few minutes – it’s a dose of instant joy.
This is one of the best hybrid stores we’ve seen in awhile, and it should be a destination for every dapper gent visiting Columbus. T. David Collection sells a beautifully curated selection of antique furniture, vintage barware and unique accessories. Samson Men’s Emporium carries brands we love like Rhythm, Brackish and Tanner Goods. Put them together in the same store, and challenge yourself to leave empty handed (good luck).
A huge thank you to Chrysler for lending us this gorgeous 2016 300 to cruise through Columbus in style. Its bold design reflects a modern take on the quality craftsmanship on which Chrysler prides itself with the forward-thinking technology we all need to look into the future. Features like advanced brake assist, full-speed forward collision warning with active braking and blind spot monitoring keep you safe as you take on 292 horsepower from the award-winning 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine. To learn more about the 300, check it out at Chrysler.com.
Photos courtesy of Max Schwartz, Facebook and Instagram
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