The Cultural Side to Columbus Ohio

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Until recently, I thought of Columbus, Ohio as a dull Midwest city without the “hip factor” however there’s plenty to keep the culturally interested engaged. If you have the chance, stop in at the university’s Wexner Center for the Arts, which frequently hosts exhibits that you can’t catch at the Columbus Art Museum. Additionally, here’s a few things worth exploring.

Short North Arts District

This area just south of Ohio State University takes the crown as Columbus’s most hipster-heavy district. Art is everywhere, including on the sides of many of the brick buildings. You can take a self-guided walking tour of the area that shows you Short North’s best public arts displays. Of course, I’m sure your walking tour will suffer a few delays by distractions of all the fascinating shops, art galleries and cool restaurants.

A highlight of Short North is the Italian Village Neighborhood, which has beautiful historical buildings and a down-to-earth vibe. Italian Village also has great coffee at places like One Line Coffee and Impero Coffee — and what better place for hipsters to gather than in a coffee shop that isn’t Starbucks?

German Village

To explore Columbus in all its hipster glory, you might want to stay in downtown or in the Arena district (which has the modern and cool Lofts Hotel). That way, you are between Short North and German Village, and can easily visit both.

German Village area has an abundance of old homes with cool stories, and the food in the neighborhood is some of the best around. The true hipster highlight of the area is the bookstore. The Book Loft has somewhere in the ballpark of half a million books — all spread out across 32 rooms. Yes, you might get lost; make sure you pick up a map on your way in.

If you manage to find your way out of the Book Loft, head to German Village’s other cool spots, like Via Vecchia Winery and German Village Art League.

Contributed by freelance writer Joy Nelson who likes to travel to offbeat places and see unexpected things.

Photo credit: Experience Columbus.

Jessica Festa
Jessica Festa is the editor of the travel sites Jessie on a Journey ( and Epicure & Culture ( Along with blogging at We Blog The World, her byline has appeared in publications like Huffington Post, Gadling, Fodor's, Travel + Escape, Matador, Viator, The Culture-Ist and many others. After getting her BA/MA in Communication from the State University of New York at Albany, she realized she wasn't really to stop backpacking and made travel her full time job. Some of her most memorable experiences include studying abroad in Sydney, teaching English in Thailand, doing orphanage work in Ghana, hiking her way through South America and traveling solo through Europe. She has a passion for backpacking, adventure, hiking, wine and getting off the beaten path.
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One Response to The Cultural Side to Columbus Ohio

  1. Stacey Smith September 29, 2014 at 4:29 am #

    There is so much more culture in Columbus than you present. This didn’t even scratch the surface of what Columbus offers.

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