There are so many things to do and see in Columbus, Ohio, how can I possibly fit everything into a 24-hour period? Bottom line is as hard as you try, you simply can’t. If you only have one day to visit the city, there are a few things that need to be on your itinerary.
Begin your trip with a visit to the Columbus Museum of Art. The museum is one of the only fine art institutions in the Midwest to have a permanent collection of queer art. The works in this gallery, among them some of the most significant in the Museum’s collection, are by artists who participated in LGBTQ culture in the early decades of the 20th century. Some painted under pseudonyms to avoid criticism and in some cases harsh punishment, as any form of LGBTQ expression was not socially accepted.
After your cultural journey, swing by Budd Dairy Food Hall for some incredible food. The space, a Cameron Mitchell creation, recently opened just outside downtown Columbus and contains over a dozen dining options including: Boni Filipino Street Food, Tacos Rudos, Modern Southern Table and Cluck Norris.
What would a day in Columbus be without shopping? Columbus is one of the top fashion capitals of the United States, behind New York and Los Angeles. Stroll down High Street and stop in SAMSON, an LGBTQ-owned men’s clothing store. The two-story boutique sells a variety of clothing from high-end shirts and trousers to tank-tops perfect for showing off your summer body.
Further on up High Street is Stonewall Columbus, the city’s LGBTQ Community Center. Columbus is blessed to have such a facility, which serves as a hub for the city’s LGBTQ population. The Center includes 12,000 sq. ft. of public space for community programming and private events. The building is easy to recognize as they recently unveiled a permanent art installation created by artist Lisa McLymont called Pride Circles.
On warm days in Columbus, nothing is better than a trip to Jeni’s ice cream. A Columbus institution, Jeni’s has expanded to other states in the country, but the original is located right here in Columbus. You can sample many flavors, but I always go back to their Brown Butter Almond Brittle served in a waffle cone of course.
Check in to The Graduate Hotel, one of the city’s newest properties. Graduate Columbus is perfectly located on High Street, in the heart of the city’s LGBTQ nightlife scene. The hotel features a welcoming lobby, fitness center and a Shake Shack. The rooms at The Graduate are appointed with oversize flat screen televisions, luxurious linens and huge walk-in showers complete with Malin + Goetz amenities.
For dinner, head across the street to Forno Kitchen + Bar and try one of their many stone-fired pizzas which range from traditional options such as Wild Mushroom, Burrata and Carne pizzas to Hawaiian and Forno Chicken for the more adventurous diner.
End your stay in Columbus with a visit to some of the city’s LGBTQ hotspots. Start off with a cocktail at Union Café, one of the most popular gay bars among the locals before heading across the street to Axis to dance the night away. Axis throws many theme parties and hosts numerous celebrity guests throughout the year, so be sure to check their special events calendar before going.
I hope you enjoy your visit to Columbus, Ohio. The city has become my home away from home.