Columbus, Ohio doesn't usually get listed on the rosters of the best places in America to visit, but it should be on your radar.
How does a bustling downtown full of art deco masterpieces, a funky and thriving university district, historic brick-lined and cobblestoned old German neighborhood and less traffic than you're likely to see in some of the bigger cities sound?
Newsweek recently did a survey of the top 25 U.S. tourist destinations, a roster that included the usual suspects--New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, but no Columbus. (Clearly the thousands of moms and dads who bring their prospective kids to Ohio State, one of the largest universities anywhere, doesn't count as "tourist.")
So why visit the 200-year-old plus Columbus?
How about Midwestern charm. People are nice and down to earth. Home to just under 1 million residents, Columbus is a “big city and a small town,” is how lifelong Columbus citizen Moishe Applebaum explained it to me, for the PhotowalksTV series. “You get a really good mix of everything.” Not too big, not too small.
Now let me give you five great reasons to visit and your Photowalk route.
We'll begin at The Ohio State University, one of the largest in the world, home to over 60,000 students. You want to have fun? Take a stroll through the trails and parks on the campus, and if you're there during football season try and get a coveted ticket to a Buckeyes game for the theater of it. Lastly, don't forget to pick up a shot of the official T-shirt, the one that just says "The."
Short North: The eating and dining hub of the city, the "Short North" extends from Ohio State University, 1.5 miles into downtown. It was originally coined by local police who dubbed it this way, because it was north of downtown and short of the campus. Now it's an official "Arts District," with tons of galleries, shops, and all those bars and restaurants.
Rich Street Bridge: This is a wonderful urban planned pedestrian spot with a statue of a deer overlooking the city skyline and the Scioto river. It's where you go to get the best photo of the city, and also just to enjoy yourself outside, taking a long walk or bike ride along the river and looking up at Columbus.
Downtown: The heart of Columbus is where you'll find the ornate Ohio Statehouse, completed in 1861 and built in Greek Revival style. Look up at the dome from the ground and try not to be impressed.
German Village: My favorite part of Columbus, built by immigrants in 1814, in beautiful brick-lined homes that still stand and look like they belong in that other era. (That's a compliment.) As I note in the video, it's a wonderful place for a photo shoot! German Village isn't a theme park at all, but a collection of vintage homes surrounded by both traditional and contemporary restaurants. Want German sausage and schnitzel? This is the place to get it (Schmidt's since 1886). We also liked the Mohawk, (since 1933 and famous for their turtle soup) and Katzinger's Deli which has been in operation since the 1980s.