City Guides

Welcome to the least clicked page on the whole ECS website.  If you are here, you must really like to explore, just like Columbus, am I right?  Right?!  Anybody?!?!


Being the 15th largest city in the U.S., it is easy and inexpensive to fly into (and not over) Columbus.  Unfortunately the only three major hubs that do not have direct flights are Seattle, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City.  Flights typically average $400 RT, though if you cruise the cheaper airlines like Frontier or Spirit you can get under $250 RT.  Although it used to be a giant pile of poo (not literally), the newly upgraded John Glenn International Airport is surprisingly easy to navigate.

Columbus has the the largest percentage of the U.S. population within 500 miles of it than any other U.S. city.  So there's a good chance you're actually driving here.  Ignore the above paragraph.


Rental Car

This is probably the best way to get around town, as Columbus is a typically-sprawled Midwestern city.  The airport has most rental companies available and run from $22/day for economy to a wallet-shattering $30/day for an SUV.

Now that Kansas City built a street car system, Columbus is the largest metropolitan area in the country without a local rail system.  ODOT is currently exploring the idea of Ohio Hub, which would be high-speed rail linking Cincinnati and Cleveland through Columbus, which may give more flight options as well.  

COTA is the city's bus system, and is, well.. ok.  You can purchase a day pass for $4.50.  Or you could get a beer.

If you brought your bike, or want to use CoGo Bike Share, Columbus is actually an easily bikeable city, nearing 165 miles of trails.

City transit should be improving rapidly, and soon.  In June 2016 Columbus beat out 77 other cities to win the $40 million "Smart City Challenge."  They also were awarded a $10 million Vulcan Inc. Grant from Paul Allen.  This will all be put directly to integrating innovative transportation into the city's system, including self-driving cars, connected vehicles, smart sensors, and upgrading to electric buses.

Both operate in Columbus.  If planning on being out on the town, this is probably your best bet anyway.  Practice safe surge price awareness, kids.


Arena District
Just north of downtown, the Arena District is location of several large venues.  Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL's Blue Jackets, Huntington Park the home of the Cleveland Indians AAA affiliate Columbus Clippers, and Lifestyles Pavilion (formerly PromoWest), an indoor/outdoor concert venue, all call the Arena District their home.  The Arena District also is home to several bars and restaurants and hosts the Columbus Jazz & Rib festival, typically in late July.

German Village
Just south of downtown is German Village, with the Brewery District just to the west.  This was named one of America's Great Neighborhoods in 2011 by the American Planning Association.  A collection of historic homes, small eclectic shops, and some of the best restaurants in Columbus, German Village is a walkable must-see.  Don't miss Schmidt Sausage Haus for the all-you-can-eat sausage buffet (cool it..) and the best cream puffs (seriously, cool it..) you've ever had.  Also, just click this link for another place you cannot pass on:

Short North
This is by far the most unique part of Columbus.  It is essentially a non-ending line of art galleries, specialty shops, restaurants, pubs, nightclubs, and coffee houses extending from downtown to Ohio State's campus.  It has a monthly "gallery hop," and is the location of the yearly Pride parade.

Thanks to the undying efforts of Jack Hanna, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is consistently ranked in the top 3 of zoos in the country.  Though easy to see an area or two in an hour, if you want to see the whole zoo then plan an entire day.  Zoombezi Bay is an attached water park.

The Center of Science and Industry is a 320,000 sq ft building just across the Scioto River from downtown that hosts over 300 interactive science exhibits.  It is also operates the largest outreach education program of any science museum in the country.  Keep an eye out for any of the special exhibits that may be hosted when you are in town.

Cedar Point
If making a weekend or longer trip of it, do not miss out on the opportunity to drive 2 1/2 hours north to Sandusky and go to the best amusement park in the world.  No, seriously.  Cedar Point is consistently topping the charts with the most innovative roller coasters, all on the shores of Lake Erie.

Should a match happen in June, check to see what festivals are happening in town.  This month typically plays host to Park Street Festival, Pride, ComFest, and Juneteenth.


Columbus is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the Midwest, and its demographics nearly match the national average.  This makes Columbus one of the nation's premiere test markets for stores and restaurants.  Add to that a robust immigrant population, and Columbus has nearly any style of food you could wish for.  This is good, as there is no "stereotypical Columbus cuisine" other than the tears of That Team Up North.

To be honest, there are so many places to try, so here are a few links to explore:,

Columbus also has a burgeoning craft brewery scene, changing the whole game from being "just another Anheuser-Busch brewery town."  There are a couple dozen, all with taprooms and most with food.  Most recommended would be Wolf's Ridge and Land Grant.


Forget staying close to the stadium or airport.  It is completely worth the price to stay at a nicer place near downtown.  You will more than make up for the difference in transportation costs to other things to do.


It made sense back in 1999 to make a stadium at the fairgrounds that could easily be converted to something else when MLS folded.  However, there are high school football stadiums in town that are better than Crew Stadium (what's a Mapfre?).  Anthony Precourt has yet to make good on his plans for a downtown stadium, so in the meantime we have to deal with a bad stadium in the worst part of town.  At least it's in our town, right Dallas?  Red Bulls?  Rapids?

Matchdays typically have consisted of either a Heartland Horde hosted or non-hosted tailgate.  Depending on the size of the group for certain matches, we can also look into a pre-func location with a bus to and from.  And never forget: #hatweek 


Three points. Family. Hats.