Ohio’s largest city, state capital, and home to the massive Ohio State University, Columbus is a likeable place to visit. Its position in the rural heart of the state also makes it the only center of culture for a good two-hour drive in any direction. Columbus is best enjoyed for what it is — a lively college city with some good museums, gorgeous Germanic architecture, and a particularly vibrant nightlife. Surprisingly, it boasts one of the country’s most active gay scenes. The spacious, orderly, and easy-going downtown area holds several attractions, along with the new Arena District entertainment zone. The main nightlife areas — bohemian Short North Arts District and more mainstream Brewery District — are on the north and south fringes of the center, respectively.
What to do and see in Columbus? The American Whistle Corporation offers tours (by appointment) Monday through Friday at their facility. They are the only manufacturer in the USA of metal whistles. The tours last about 45 minutes. You’ll see the beginning to end of the manufacturing including some state-of-the-art equipment as well as some of the original equipment used at the beginning of manufacturing. The Book Loft of German Village is unique and quaint, and it encompasses one whole city block. Previously in the Civil War era, this building housed general stores, a nickelodeon cinema, and a saloon. The brick walk-ways are beautiful with flower gardens and benches to sit and rest on. The Ohio Statehouse has history as far back as 1861. At the beginning of the Civil War the building of the Statehouse was completed.
G.Michael’s Bistro and Bar is housed in an historic townhouse in German Village, the award-winning G. Michael’s is one of Columbus’s favorite restaurants. Feast on seasonal appetizers and entrees that might include steak Tartare with arugula salad and kettle chips, seared jumbo scallops with spicy mashed sweet potatoes, parmesan-breaded fried chicken with polenta. A winner of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, their wine list covers it all from the lightest pinot noir to full-bodies cabs to pair with everything. Basi Italia, is down a narrow street surrounded by private homes, this off-the-beaten-path Italian restaurant lives up to its location by serving creative takes on classic dishes. You won’t find red sauce here, instead the husband and wife team of John Dornback & Trish Gentile offer sensational seasonal fare such as a roasted beet carpaccio, Tuscan onion soup, or a grilled ostrich fillet with butternut squash purée in a fig-balsamic reduction. Mitchell’s Steakhouse, another popular restaurant run by Cameron Mitchell, here he offers lobster, chops, crab cakes, and heavenly mashed potatoes, but perhaps is best known for the dry-aged steak. Ornate high ceilings, soaring wood post and beam architectural details, wrought iron arches and dramatic lighting add a sophisticated backdrop. The wine list is one of the best in town.