Ohio’s capital may be best known for going Buckeye wild for its Big Ten football team, but the locals are also ardent admirers of the city’s thriving art scene, the challenging hiking trails in the Hocking Hills, and the deep-fried pickles at the Rusty Bucket Corner Tavern.By Jenna Schnuer
ARCHIE GRIFFIN | Ohio State University running back (1972 to 1975) and the only two-time winner of the Heisman Trophy
Get a different view of a Buckeye game: Griffin says to sit in the “south stands, where the opposing team’s band usually sits. You get to see the holes opening up and [the game] develop.” For game grub, Griffin claims the hot dogs at OHIO STADIUM are stellar. But “if you like crazy things like I do,” he says, go straight to the RUSTY BUCKET CORNER TAVERN for an order of deep-fried pickles.
WALKER EVANS | Founder, ColumbusUnderground.com
Make light (and cool) of your holiday shopping list: Evans recommends WHAT THE ROCK?!, which sells everything rock and roll (including Mötley Crüe onesies) and items made by local craft artists. “I came close to buying guitar-pick earrings made by a local craft artist for my wife,” Evans says.
CHUCK HILL | CEO, Hill Distributing Co.
Have an elegant, old-school evening: “One of my favorite nights out is going to THE TOP steakhouse. It’s a step back in time. They’ve got a piano bar, and Sonia Modes, an entertainer in Columbus for well over 50 years, plays [Wednesday and Saturday nights],” Hill says. “The microphone gets passed around the bar, and people sing their hearts out.”
LINDA LOGAN | Executive director, Greater Columbus Sports Commission
Enjoy a drink with the locals after work: “There’s a very special restaurant [in German Village] called LINDEY’S. Tony, the bartender, has been there for years. It’s elegant but hometown. There are a lot of characters who go there,” says Logan.
TYLER WRIGHT | Player-development coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets
Keep the kids happy: Bundle up the family and wander around the COLUMBUS ZOO during the annual winter Wildlights. “There are sleigh rides and people singing Christmas carols. The kids love [it],” Wright says. They also give a thumbs-up to the zoo’s outdoor skating rink (big shock, coming from a former NHL player’s brood).
CHERYL SHER | Owner and president, Sher Bliss Wine & Chocolate Shop
Return home exclaiming Ohio is gorgeous: Sher raves that HOCKING HILLS STATE PARK “looks like northern California. People are shocked that there’s such geographic beauty.” For a challenging hike (and to get away from the crowds), Sher heads to the remote CANTWELL CLIFFS.
NANNETTE V. MACIEJUNES | Executive director, Columbus Museum of Art
Discover great works of public art (that most people walk right past): “There is a really important [work by] Henry Moore called LARGE OVAL WITH POINTS over by the Franklin County Courthouse. [It was put] in the middle of a water feature to protect it, and most people don’t know it’s a real Henry Moore.”
MARYELLEN O’SHAUGHNESSY | Member of the Columbus City Council
Work off the fried pickles: O’Shaughnessy, an avid cyclist, heads to the 1,053-acre THREE CREEKS PARK, which has 13 miles of multiuse trails to choose from. “It connects part of our Central Ohio Greenways [system]. … There’s also the [naturalist-led] Full Moon hikes at METROPARK. With the leaves down, you can really get an opportunity to see the vistas.”
DOUG PARRISH | Partner at NBBJ Design
Focus on the diversity of Columbus’s exteriors: “COSI [the Center of Science and Industry] is something people might consider just for children. But it’s a great piece of architecture … highly contemporary and very striking. The other thing I would recommend is the university campus. You get a lot of buildings [like the WEXNER CENTER FOR THE ARTS] that are unexpected and unique [for] a college campus.”
PRESS SOUTHWORTH | Executive director, Opera Columbus
Fortify yourself with food and art: Short North Arts District is Southworth’s favorite area. “Start with a little lunch at JACK AND BENNY’S, which has the best macaroni and cheese,” he says. Southworth also likes visiting the galleries that stretch along High Street; they feature everything from crafts to photography to museum-worthy oils.
If You Go...
Columbus Blue Jackets
200 West Nationwide Boulevard
Columbus Metro Parks
1069 West Main Street, Westerville
Columbus Metropolitan Library
96 South Grant Avenue
Columbus Museum of Art
480 East Broad Street
4850 Powell Road, Powell
333 West Broad Street
Franklin County Courthouse
373 South High Street
Hocking Hills State Park
19852 State Route 664 South, Logan
Jack & Benny’s
2563 North High Street
169 East Beck Street
411 Woody Hayes Drive
39 East State Street
The Rusty Bucket Corner Tavern
515 Park Street
Sher Bliss Wine & Chocolate Shop
1394 Cherry Bottom Road, Gahanna
Short North Arts District
Three Creeks Park
3860 Bixby Road, Groveport
2891 East Main
Wexner Center for the Arts
1850 College Road
What the Rock?!
1194 North High Street