The City Beyond the Tournament: Explore Columbus

Now that our beloved Hoyas know where they’re headed for March Madness, it’s time for the most rabid of basketball fans to make their way to Columbus in time for Friday afternoon’s game against Belmont. While most of us will remain in D.C. (though we’ll glue ourselves to the television come 3:10 Friday), some may choose to indulge in Hoya Blue’s bus trip to Columbus or book an individual trip to Ohio’s state capital. But what do you do when 40 minutes of basketball is over? 4E — despite the fact that we’ve never actually been there — is here to help with some of the best things to do in Columbus this weekend (besides watch the Hoyas at Nationwide Arena).

It promises to be a beautiful weekend, with highs in the 70’s, so get outside. Enjoy the best zoo in the country — the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (4850 W. Powell Rd. in Powell, just outside Columbus) — complete with 7,000 animals, a water park, amusement park and golf resort. Why is the zoo here so great? It’s directed by TV personality Jack Hanna. If you can’t make it all the way out to the zoo, try the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (1777 E. Broad St.)

Columbus is home to Ohio’s best ice cream cone — at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream (various locations, but the original is at 59 Spruce St. near the Nationwide Arena). Jeni’s ice cream is so good that it’s regularly profiled by news outlets like The New York Times and food magazines like Food and Wine Magazine. A quick Google search of Jeni’s revealed that her salted caramel ice cream seems to be the most popular.

Check out historical Columbus at German Village, one of the city’s first neighborhoods first settled by German immigrants in the decade after the city’s founding. German Village — just south of Downtown — used to be one of the city’s worst neighborhoods, but has since been revitalized to the city’s trendiest. Local restaurants, bars and breweries line 3rd St. and High St. in German Village.

Some Fun Columbus Facts:

  • Columbus celebrates its bicentennial this year, having been established in 1812 as the planned location of Ohio’s capital. For the previous nine ears of Ohio statehood, political infighting among Ohio politicians moved the state capital between Chillicothe and  Zanesville several times.
  • In 1908, Columbus became the site of the first water plant in the world to implement filtration and softening in an effort to reduce the city’s notorious cholera problems. The plant was wildly successful and its basic design is still in use today.
  • While Dayton lays claim to America’s most famous aviators, a 14-year-old Columbus resident, Cromwell Dixon, invented a pedal-powered blimp in 1907 and flew it over the city’s Driving Park.
  • Columbus is the largest metropolitan area in the United States without either an intercity rail or an intracity rail link.
  • According to Men’s Health, Columbus is the second-most sexually satisfied city in the United States. The first? You might be surprised to hear it’s Indianapolis.


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