Less a single, coherent metropolis than a collection of freeway exits, Columbus crept past Cleveland in 1990 as Ohio’s most populous city. White-collar workers hit the freeways at 5pm and make for the inner-ring suburbs, while immigrants and young artists keep parts of downtown aglow after dark. The capitol’s museums and galleries are well worth a day or two of exploration. Although many residents in Columbus have a strong sense of pride associated with their neighborhoods, everyone unites in support of the Buckeyes (Ohio State football).
The city is laid out in a simple grid, and its low speed limits help when navigating unfamiliar territory. High Street, running north-south, and Broad Street (US 40), running east-west, are the main thoroughfares. High St. heads north from the towering office complexes downtown to the lively galleries and restaurants in the Short North, continuing on to Ohio State University (OSU). South of downtown lies historic German Village. There is little free parking available in Columbus except on evenings and weekends at certain meters. There is free parking available in German Village and some of the more residential areas. Lots downtown tend to be expensive. Meters proliferate on almost every street, but time limits and prices vary widely.
Evidently, interesting sites are not limited. OSU rests 2mi. north of downtown. The Wexner Center for the Arts, was the first public building by controversial modernist architect Peter Eisenman. The Columbus Museum of Art, hosts a growing collection of contempory American art and one of the most renowned collections of early Modern art in the country. Lastly, the submarine-shaped Center of Science and Industry (COSI) allows visitors to explore space from the safety of an armchair, create their own short stop-animation film, and bring it back to the old school with arcade games like Pong, Centipede, and Space Invaders.
Columbus has so much to see – we’ve narrowed it all down for you so you can make sure to hit the best the city has to offer. Click the links to explore and book tours or local guides.
For great eats, there’s no beating the North Market, in the Short North Arts District, which is packed with fresh produce and food vendors selling everything from falalel to gourmet chocolate. High Street features a variety of tasty budget options.
In the US, good table manners means quiet eating. Loud chewing, talking with food in your mouth, or slurping are seen as rude, and burping or flatulence is not seen as complementary to the chef. Servers at sitdown restaurants usually expect to be tipped 15-20%.
Dress in the US tends to be more modest than in Europe. Toplessness, particularly in women, should be avoided. Many establishments will require a customer to wear a shirt and shoes. The most acceptable forms of public affection are hugging and holding hands; kissing in public will usually draw some glances. Although most cities are tolerant of homosexuality, gay or lesbian couples should be aware that they may receive unwanted attention for public displays of affection, especially in rural areas. Also, note that many American will say “see you later” without really intending to make future plans.
One of the most offensive gestures in the US is extending your middle finger at someone. Known as “giving someone the finger,” this gesture is considered not only rude, but obscene. On the other hand, a “thumbs up” gesture is a sign of approval and a widely recognized signal for hitchhiking, which Let’s Go does not recommend.