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My First Columbus, Ohio Experience – Not What I Expected

Turns out, Columbus is surprisingly young and hip. It could be because of the proximity to Ohio State University, the third largest university in the US, or it could be just because of the open minded and easy going nature of the locals. Either way, we were pumped to experience the incredible restaurants, shopping and queer friendly nightlife of the area. We were able to grab the best of both worlds while experiencing Pride but also getting to see Columbus through the eyes of visiting travelers. Here are a few of my favorite things to do in and around Columbus.


The Candle Lab

The Candle Lab is a custom candle store making shop. We got to make our own hand-poured candles and take them home with us. The process was the best part. We got to choose from more than 120 fragrances to create our own custom combinations. Along with the pour-your-own custom-scented candles, they also offer customizable home fragrance products, and small-batch natural bath and body products. The Candle Lab was one of my favorite parts of our Columbus Experience.

Short North

The Short North arts district on High Street is home to a variety of boutiques, galleries and restaurants. While it’s a bit bougie (and gentrified) we stumbled upon a bunch of cool vintage shops, antique stores and art galleries that we really enjoyed. The neighborhood is cute with polished street art and brightly lit arches. We were pleasantly surprised by the number of adorable Menswear shops selling high quality clothes and accessories.

The Book Loft

I fell in love with The Book Loft, a winding maze like bookstore filled from floor to ceiling with titles of every variety. I felt a bit like Belle from Beauty and the Beast as I wondering around browsing each of the 37 rooms. The Book Loft has a charming green garden with cobble stone walkway outside its entrance which makes for the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee and read. The Book Loft is located in the German Village which in itself is a cool destination.   


Union Cafe is not an exclusively lesbian bar but it did have a solid mix of LGBTQs. Granted, our visit was during Columbus Pride but we enjoyed the relaxed patio, brunch fare and laid back vibes. Check out the House Punch for a drink that is deceivingly strong and a touch of dangerous after two or three.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

Jeni’s is an ice cream shop filled to the brim with unique flavors and textures in their scoops. Try some more traditional styles like Salty Caramel or Milkiest Chocolate. If you’re feeling more adventurous try some of their more colorful options like Sun Popped Corn or Sweet Cream Biscuits and Peach Jam.  

Queer Behavior

Queer Behavior is a networking group providing cool activities and events for queer folks in the Columbus Community. While all inclusive, Queer Behavior is, at its core, a network for self-identified queer peoples. All events created or sponsored by Queer Behavior are dedicated Safe(r) Spaces.
This article was made possible through the generosity of Experience Columbus.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Experience Columbus. The opinions and text are all mine.

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