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Wilkommen! Through his tranquil courtyard, you'll find the 32 wonder-filled rooms that make up The Book Loft of German Village. Peruse-a-palooza! [Image: Leyla Shokoohe]

Travel Guide: 36 Hours in Columbus

We're back! It's time for another edition of "Nearcation Escapades."

This time, the trip was just about 36 hours, start to finish. As we've said before, sometimes that's all it takes to get a good taste of what a city's bringing to the table. (Plus, it sets you up to dive in even deeper and more prepared, should you want to make a bigger meal out of the experience next time.) We'll be heading back to Columbus before you know it.


Leaving for a quick trip right after work on a Friday gets you into town right around dinnertime, and that's always the best time of day, regardless of where you are.

Head straight to Dirty Frank's Hot Dog Palace (on the outskirts of downtown) for some really awesome hot dogs. "Load 'em up and serve 'em hot" has to be their unofficial mantra. We recommend the Deluxe Tater Tot-chos (warning: comes w/ a smattering of jalapenos) and a Slappy Pappy's Super Sloppy dog, washed down with an Oberon.

If you can, plan to catch a show at Skully's, located in the happenin' Short North district. This venue is seriously rad. An open-layout bar greets you upon entering, and you've of course got your pick of booze. Head to the front to rock out at the stage, or head upstairs to enjoy a great view and a whole other bar.

The action in Short North, btw, resides mostly on High Street, and there is so much stuff to check out on this street. It's like the Bardstown Road of Columbus (see: Louisville Nearcation).

Post-concert, head to Press Grill and grab some late-night sustenance. Get the cottage fries. They're phenomenal. The whole menu is solid & inexpensive and the vibe is super fun.

End your evening with a nightcap at House Beer. This bar is the perfect ending to a raucous night: good beer selection, relaxed atmosphere, dim lighting, dark wood interior, and a record player providing the jams. Different events happen throughout the week, too.


Put on your hiking shoes (after grabbing an appropriate amount of rest, of course), because there are a bunch of colorful, character-rich neighborhoods to explore.

To carb up and prepare for your day, head to Skillet, located in German Village. This farm-to-table eatery's motto is "Rustic. Urban. Food." And that pretty much sums it up. If there's a wait, leave your name on the sign-in sheet and hang out under the awning until you're called. Once inside, you can choose from a ton of amazing-sounding dishes. The carefully curated menu changes daily, and we suggest (read: strongly suggest) trying, oh, at least four different items. You know, to get the full experience.

Next? Wander a few streets over and stop in Stauf's Coffee. This minimalist-snazzy cafe has a very friendly vibe and some pretty great java. (Be indulgent and Instagram the red outline of Ohio on the window. "Ohio Is For Coffee Lovers" indeed.)

Step outside, take a right, and head through a beautiful garden into The Book Loft which boasts 32 (32!) rooms of books. It's a labyrinthine building with tons of little nooks stuffed to the ceiling with books of every kind, arranged by genre. Prepare to spend at least two hours perusing.

Head back to High Street and take in the myriad eclectic shops, including Flower Child, the coolest vintage shop you've ever seen. (Outside of Cincinnati, of course.) This delightful boutique is filled with amazing clothing, accessories, dishware, furniture, and ephemera.


Close out this Columbus Nearcation by grabbing dinner at Bodega, which boasts a huge variety of beer on tap (in the neatest, beer-tinted color gradient we've seen yet), lively atmosphere, and a covered street-side patio for dining al fresco (a.k.a. people-watching). And they're got a varied, tasty menu to boot.

Until we meet again, Columbus! Stay awesome, stay close.

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Want to find out more fun spots, events, & activities in our great state's capital? Here ya go!