Columbus (lots of pics)

Do a trip report here....go to another city and want to relate it to what KC is doing right or could do better? Give us a summary in here.
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DaveKCMO
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Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by DaveKCMO »

why columbus?

1) $10 fares on skybus
2) erasure (this was before they announced their KC date)
3) never been before

first, the skybus experience: we did get $10 fares on the way to columbus, but total r/t fare was $65.11 + $25.69 in fees for each person, still a very good deal. skybus has one gate in terminal C at KCI, allowing you to board via jetway (all boarding in columbus is on the tarmac). we checked in the morning of our departure and i paid the $10 upcharge for "priority boarding" (recommended!). by the time we got off the satellite parking bus and made it into the terminal, the flight monitor revealed a 2-hour delay for our departure... thank god for free wi-fi! the planes themselves are new or newly leased airbus with a very cozy 3+3 seat arrangement that nets 144 passengers. three flight attendants (in black t-shirts) handled announcements, safety info, and selling you merchandise (including drinks/snacks)! i felt so bad for the lead attendant who had to roll the cart down the aisle and ask you if you wanted to buy a box of bon bons, a bottle of cologne, or some bad jewelry. it was like QVC invaded southwest with US airways timekeeping! you can even sponsor the in-flight announcements and the exterior surface of the planes!

since we were so late getting in (3 a.m.), the local livery service (urban express) gave up on us so we took a $20 cab ride to our hotel and crashed.

second, the city: overall impression is very good. columbus is a relatively neat and tidy mid-sized city that is easy to navigate and friendly. we elected not to rent a car and were pleased at the frequency of bus service, availability of cabs, and continuity of the pedestrian experience (especially along high street). after walking around the bustling downtown business district, we spent all day wednesday exploring the german village, a very photogenic neighborhood south of downtown and the neighboring brewery district, a light industrial area on the rebound. after working up a sweat and downing a carafe of white sangria with lunch, we went back to the hotel (columbus renaissance, $80/night on priceline) to clean up for the concert.

we stepped out of the hotel refreshed and walked over to the intersection of high and broad to catch the local #18 bus ($1.50, express routes are $2), which dropped us off right in front of the schottenstein center for the concert. OSU students ride the bus for free, which i'm sure has a lot to do with the frequency. we enjoyed the show and then walked home along high street, which has a lively and youthful (yet safe) vibe for the whole route. bars and shops line the side of the street opposite the campus until you get to the south campus gateway, a new "entertainment district" of all new construction (so we skipped it). after that is short north, the best part of town, full of eclectic local shops and eateries. at the end of short north is the infamous new cap over part of I-670 (coincidence?). it's such an ingenious design that we didn't even know that's what it was until the next day... i hope it bodes well for KC.

our skybus departure was also in the evening (9 p.m.) so we checked our backpacks and walked to short north and hit the stores that were closed the night before, especially american apparrel. on the way back we took the #2 local to cool off, then hit the north market for some gelato and iced tea. we walked along the riverfront to try and cool off again, but we were through with the heat so we found a theater in the arena district (near nationwide arena and the convention center) and watched "ocean's thirteen". a quick walk back to the hotel after the film and we were in a cab and on en route to the airport.

all in all, i was as more impressed with columbus than i was indianapolis (or the two other "C" cities in ohio). i would go back in a heartbeat, although next time i will fly midwest instead of skybus!

german village/brewery district:

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CBD:

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(the beautiful levesque building - exterior)
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(interior)
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(city hall)
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(high street)
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(city scape from the 40th floor of the ohio state building - ask nicely to go up top!)
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(capitol without a dome!)
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(cool infill)
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(you can't escape nationwide!)
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arena district, riverfront, short north:

(the unconventional convention center)
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(tower properties are you listening?)
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(wouldn't these look great over westport road or troost?)
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(this is the cap from the rear)
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(the santa maria)
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(a very thoughtful design for reuse)
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Re: Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by chrizow »

excellent report.  i've always heard great things about columbus.  its metro is about the same as the kc metro and the urbanized population is probably similar.  did it feel all that different from KC?  (i've been told that it feels like KC, if KC had a 50,000-student campus in the middle of it!)
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Re: Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by KCMax »

Nice report. As a resident of Columbus for four years, I really regret not exploring the city more, as I mostly stuck to campus and High Street. High Street near OSU has changed DRASTICALLY though. It used to be very gritty, nearly all locally owned. It has gotten cleaned up and looks nice (good!) but many local vendors have been pushed out (bad!). South Gateway was where I used to live, back when the bums were around and there were local gyro and sandwich shops. I went back last fall and didn't recognize the neighborhood at all. It really does look fantastic, even though I miss the surly old Greek family that owned the old shop. And it seemed like they did a good job maintaining a good pedestrian vibe, shuttling cars into a parking structure, and keeping it dense.

Parking is really tight on campus, so it really forces the students to become pedestrians, and that lends itself to the vibrant feeling around High Street and the bus usage (the buses aren't REALLY free for students, everyone is charged a flat fee in their tuition). Short North is really cool, I imagine its probably cooler now. Wish I would have spent more time there as a student. What's the area around Nationwide Arena like?

I'm really surprised to see Columbus has about the same metro population as KC. It sure doesn't feel that way. Columbus annexed a BUNCH of land and is a very sprawled city, and its suburbs, other than Dublin (the JoCo of Columbus) seem very small and far away.

Glad to hear you had a great time, Columbus is definitely a city on the rise. What concert did you see?
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Re: Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by DaveKCMO »

we saw the true colors tour with margaret cho, erasure, cyndi lauper, debbie harry, the dresden dolls, and the clits. it's traveling the country during gay pride month. erasure is headlining a tour next month that stops in KC.

yes, columbus did feel a lot like KC to me (and i think it suffers from the same low confidence, too). you could tell that the south gateway and short north areas used to be far worse than they are today. the area around their arena (used for NHL, i guess?) is like a bricks-only version of P+L. would be interesting to see how alive it is on a non-game weekend.

i forgot to add that pedestrian river crossings are well done. it helps that they have so many that are part of the normal street grid.
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Re: Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by staubio »

I'm headed to Columbus in July to see the Wizards and check out the town. Sounds like it'll be a fun trip. Any other tips aside from working my way from campus back to downtown along High Street and the districts just south of downtown?

I haven't done any research of my own yet.  8)
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Re: Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by DaveKCMO »

staubio wrote: I'm headed to Columbus in July to see the Wizards and check out the town. Sounds like it'll be a fun trip. Any other tips aside from working my way from campus back to downtown along High Street and the districts just south of downtown?

I haven't done any research of my own yet.  8)
how long will you be there?
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Re: Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by staubio »

DaveKCMO wrote: how long will you be there?
3.5 days, Thursday afternoon to Sunday mid-morning.
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Re: Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by ColDayMan »

Hello, I check these regional Midwest forums out from time-to-time and came across this thread (I live in Columbus) and was glad to see a great, positive reaction.  Columbus and Kansas City are two wonderful, mid-sized cities and both should be proud and get over the "low-confidence" stuff.  If you have any questions, just shoot me a PM (if you're coming to Columbus staubio, shoot me a PM for recommendations or even a possible tour if you want; ask Mr. Helicopter man or JivecitySTL here for my touring reputation).

Again, if you have any questions, ask away and great pics!
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Re: Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by staubio »

ColDayMan wrote: Hello, I check these regional Midwest forums out from time-to-time and came across this thread (I live in Columbus) and was glad to see a great, positive reaction.  Columbus and Kansas City are two wonderful, mid-sized cities and both should be proud and get over the "low-confidence" stuff.  If you have any questions, just shoot me a PM (if you're coming to Columbus staubio, shoot me a PM for recommendations or even a possible tour if you want; ask Mr. Helicopter man or JivecitySTL here for my touring reputation).

Again, if you have any questions, ask away and great pics!
Thanks for the offer. I'll drop you note when the trip gets closer.
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Re: Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by ColDayMan »

Sounds good.
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Re: Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by KCMax »

staubio wrote: I'm headed to Columbus in July to see the Wizards and check out the town. Sounds like it'll be a fun trip. Any other tips aside from working my way from campus back to downtown along High Street and the districts just south of downtown?

I haven't done any research of my own yet.  8)
If you get a chance, eat at Panini's on 17th and High and get one of their stuffed sandwiches. Man I could have lived on those things in college. They also have a pretty good selection of beer. At night though, it turns into kind of a fratty bar, although great eye candy.

http://www.columbuspaninis.com/
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Re: Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by Angel »

Oh man, I miss Columbus.  Went to OSU and bartended at Out'R'Inn (and lived right behind it) & Pockets off Kenny Rd in the early 90s.  I haven't been back in about 10 years but heard it's changed a lot...especially High St.  Some days, I'd kill for a Max & Erma's hamburger.  Or the apple strudel from Schmidt's in German Village. 
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Re: Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by normalthings »

1,000 room Hilton Convention Center hotel in Columbus. Tower is pretty good looking. 2022 open

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Watch construction

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Re: Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by GRID »

Nice. I tend to know what is happening in most mid sized cities, but somehow I totally did not know this was going up in Columbus. They need it. Their hotel stock is pretty dated.
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Re: Columbus (lots of pics)

Post by Walker »

Kansas City will need 1 new convention hotel and 1 midsized luxury hotel this decade just to keep our position in the market
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