It's safe to say that I left Los Angeles a little apprehensive about visiting the Mid-Western city of Columbus. But I couldn't turn down the opportunity for work-sponsored travel, even if that meant four days in Columbus Ohio. Now, you may be saying to yourself..."Columbus?" Travel is travel, though. Right? The truth was that I'd never really considered Columbus as a travel destination. It definitely wasn't on the "must-visit" list. But saying "no" to employer-sponsored travel seemed silly, even if it meant going somewhere off the beaten travel path. Luckily, this quirky, cool Mid-West city caught me by surprise. Check out my Columbus Ohio itinerary for all things beer, vintage, and cool culture!
Disclaimer: Some of the links included in this post are affiliate links. By purchasing products using these links, you can support a Cajun in Cali at NO cost to you. Getting the goods you want while showing support is the best of both worlds!
Making a Work Trip Count
Luckily, Columbus Ohio was a huge surprise. And, like a good traveler, I learned something. Never underestimate how much fun and adventure you can find, even in places you didn't expect to find any. By being curious about and open to the culture of the city, my colleague and I were able to leave with several travel memories and a few fun souvenirs.
Making the most out of work travel can sometimes be tough. You're typically busy during peak tourism hours and tired after a long day of meetings. Often, you may find yourself in less-than-hip areas of town because of good conference rates or easy access to airports. Time to explore is limited due to hectic schedules and meetings.
But getting out to explore a city doesn't have to be hard, especially now that Uber and Lyft make transportation a breeze. With a little research and planning, a work trip can be a great cost-effective travel experience!
Columbus Ohio Itinerary: The Best of a Cool AF City
1. The people
Columbus Ohio was full of amazingly friendly people eager to share their favorite things about the city. Several of the things listed below were recommendations made by Uber drivers, hotel staff, and barkeeps. The population was more diverse and much larger than expected, too. I had no idea that nearly 1 million people call Columbus Ohio home.
2. the beer
Expect to drink some delicious craft beer while visiting Columbus Ohio. Every single brew we had was on-point. My absolute favorite had to be The Scientist IPA by SeventhSon's Brewing. The Brewery District is full of craft breweries ready to show you their stuff. Be sure to check out Ohio Craft Beer's EPIC list of breweries to help you plan your visit.
3. the food
Be sure to check out some of the local grub. Most of the things we ate were locally grown, organic, or artfully crafted. A few standouts were Yellow Brick Pizza, Bareburger and Northstar Café. I was so stoked to find out that Bareburger was coming to Santa Monica. My burger was stellar! Another highly recommended spot was Lindey's, but we didn't have enough time to check it out, too.
4. the vintage
Columbus Ohio was filled with amazingly affordable vintage and artisan shopping. With everything from furs to jean jackets, the cool vintage shops that line the Short North will not disappoint vintage lovers. Some stand out vintage shopping can be found at Glean and Grandview Mercantile.
For more information about the stellar vintage shopping, check out my complete Short North shopping guide for vintage and artisan shopping!
5. The Intellect
One thing was evident about Columbus Ohio: the people there were smart! Most everyone we talked to seemed informed and knowledgeable about the history and culture of their city. We even talked about politics with a few! One suggestion we got from an intellectual local was to check out The Book Loft, a locally owned bookstore that has become an institution for the learned locals of Columbus Ohio.
Hopefully you've started your #holidayshopping already! Might I suggest a good book for your special someone? If you're in #ColumbusOhio, be sure to stop by @thebookloft to find a new treasure for your loved one's shelves. If you need suggestions for good reads check out my #wanderfulreads archives on the blog!
6. the local bars
This city seems filled with fun local bars and pubs. My girl and I had a blast playing trivia at World of Beer. And if you like authentic neighborhood pubs, look no further than Club 185. But, by far, the most fun was had at Arcade Super Awesome, which really should get a blog post of its own!
7. the C-bus
I loved the C-Bus, a convenient city bus that runs up/down High St. Not only is it FREE, but the C-Bus also runs frequently and stops at the major touristy areas. Columbus Ohio has made it easy for tourists to enjoy the city. Stellar service like this deserves a shout-out.
8. the historic streets
The German Village is THE spot for a glimpse of historic Columbus Ohio. This charming neighborhood is full of sweet little mid-19th-century masonry homes and stunning gardens. Stroll to your heart's delight in this pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. Bring your camera and your walking shoes.
9. the short north
And last but not least, don't miss the Short North. The artistic hub of Columbus Ohio filled my traveler's heart with glee. Everything about this amazing Arts District was awesome, from the street art to the shopping. It truly deserves recognition and attention for being such a great example of community.
Where to Stay in Columbus Ohio
Do yourself a favor and choose to stay somewhere close to all the action. The Arena District and the Convention Center area definitely had an abundance of lodging to suit any budget. Check out a few of the best boutique hotels in Columbus!
Don't Miss My other US Travel Guides!
Let's Stay in Touch
Like this post? If so, be sure to check out my other travel articles! Plus, be sure to sign up for weekly email updates. You'll get access to all my freebies, including my best travel hacks, photography tips, and more. And don't forget to connect with me on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!
Thanks for all your interest and support!