Columbus celebrates its bicentennial this year—and the big birthday also marks a kind of rebirth for the city, centered around its lively, reinvigorated downtown. The local arts scene is flourishing, spurred on by the crackling energy of the Short North Arts District and downtown restaurants that foster culinary innovation (sweet-corn ice cream, anyone?).New and newly refur- bished meeting space and hotel rooms are part ofthe buzz: More than $150 million has been poured into their construction and renovation over the last two years, with more investment to come.Way back in 1812, the state legisla- ture chose Columbus for Ohio’s state capital because of its proximity to major transportation routes, and the city’s central location and easy access are still major draws for meeting planners. Half of the U.S. population is within 550 miles of the city, and the airport is just 10 minutes from downtown. For more information, visit experiencecolumbus.com.
COLUMBUS, REDISCOVERED: The Scioto River flows through downtown Columbus, where thriving new arts, entertainment, shopping, and dining districts have revitalized the 200-year-old city.
THE NEW DOWNTOWN
The Short North Arts District is packed with art galleries, cafés, shopping, and bars, all within an easy stroll of the con- vention center and hotels. (Look for the area’s 17 lighted arches
along High Street.) Also nearby, the Arena District is home to the Nationwide Arena; the 135-year-old North Market; Huntington Park, named the top new U.S. ballpark when it opened in 2009; restaurants; and more.
COLUMBUS COMMONS This recently developed nine-
acre park, formerly a mall, features gardens, a perform- ance stage, a 20-
seat carousel, a
café, and an alfres- co reading room with umbrella