Travelogue: Columbus, OH
Photos and stories from my trip to Columbus, OH before and during AASL15.
Whenever I go to a conference, I try to have at least twenty-four hours before or after the conference to explore the city (unless it’s Orlando. The exception being trips to Hogwarts.). For AASL, I flew in at noon the day before the Treasure Mountain Retreat, which was a preconference event I attended. I always like to stay at Airbnb and found one really close to the convention center. I had a little time before I could check in, so I got lunch at Lemongrass, which was super-delicious (I actually came back later in the trip, which I don’t often do. It was awesome). After I got settled in, I hopped on the CBUS, which is a free bus that travels from Short North to the Brewery District. It’s an excellent way to get around downtown Columbus.
My first stop was the Ohio Statehouse. We always used to visit state capitols on family vacations as a kid, so it’s kind of ingrained in me to visit them when I get the chance. The architecture inside was gorgeous, and it was fun to explore and see all of the history. I didn’t opt for the guided tour as my time was limited, and the museum wasn’t really doing it for me. I headed out and walked a little less than ten blocks over to the Columbus Museum of Art.
On the walk over to the art museum, I discovered a little gem of a park called Discovery Park. For some reason, I can’t find it on Google maps or on any official sites, but it was at the corner of Broad and 5th. It’s a beautiful park dedicated to public school educators. The sculptures depict teachers working with students, mostly younger age and maybe a bit stereotyped, but still. The park is lovely and definitely worth a visit.
Columbus Museum of Art
The Columbus Museum of Art just opened up a brand new wing when I got there. This was one of the best art museums I’ve ever visited. I plan on doing a whole post later on about their Center for Creativity. For now, I’ll say that the exhibits were beautiful and the museum strongly encourages patrons to interact with the artwork. The Center for Creativity takes this a step further by getting a statement from the artist (currently on how play influences their work) alongside their works, with an activity designed to get patrons thinking like an artist. This whole floor was basically a makerspace meets art gallery.
They also have an excellent gift shop with a carefully edited book selection. I stopped myself at this book and this book because if I got everything I liked my credit card would not have been too happy.
The Book Loft
The German Village neighborhood of Columbus has beautiful architecture and lots of character and good food. But my main purpose for visiting was to check out the Book Loft, and I was not disappointed. This charming bookstore has 32! rooms of books. It’s such a maze inside that they give you a map of how the store is laid out. I probably could have spent hours in here, but only ended up picking up a few things (including this).
Since I was staying in the Short North neighborhood, I spent a lot of time wandering around it. On my second morning, I followed an audio tour art walk of the High Street and Italian Village area. It was a great way to see a lot of the street art, but sometimes the tour led me in odd directions, like walking down an alley with no sidewalks. Still, it was a great way to see all kinds of art and interesting architecture while getting a bit of the history. While walking back from my art walk, I stopped in at One Line Coffee and learned about the Columbus Coffee Experience. By visiting at least four of the participating coffee shops and ordering drinks, you can get a free t-shirt at the Experience Columbus store in the convention center. By the end of my trip, I had visited One Line, Boston Stoker, Mission Coffee Co and Stauf’s in North Market. And my t-shirt is pretty rad 🙂
My Airbnb was across the street from Goodale Park, so I had a lot of opportunities to take walks through it. Being a Floridian, I hardly ever get to see the changing of the leaves, so this park was a pretty big deal to me. The colors were so rich and bright and beautiful that I took dozens of photos. I’m definitely glad I took some time out of my schedule to hang out here.
The North Market is right by the convention center (and only two blocks from my Airbnb) so I ate quite a few of my meals here. It’s pretty convenient, and there were only a couple of times were it was too crowded for me to get what I wanted. AASL had their closing celebration here, which was pretty awesome.
Here’s the shops I checked out during my trip:
- Hubert’s Polish Kitchen
- Stauf’s Coffee Roasters
- Pistacia Vera
- Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (um, yes. I ate a LOT of ice cream)
- Bubbles, the Tea and Juice Company
- Little Eater Produce and Provisions (bought my groceries for the week here)
Want to see more pictures? Check out my Flickr album.