Gotcha! You were thinking this was a political post–even a rant! No, I just wanted to talk about what I thought the Republicans will miss since they have decided not to have their convention in MY HOMETOWN! I love Columbus and think they would have as well. Here are some of the things they are missing:
1. Jeni’s Ice Cream. Yeah, I know you can get Jeni’s in other cities, but in Columbus, you can get it as soon as you get off the plane at Port Columbus. And you can visit the original Jeni’s in the Short North, just up the street from the Convention Center. Recently rated the best ice cream in the country in one ranking.
2. The Short North. This is a great collection of eateries, galleries and shops, again, just up the street from the Convention Center. Admittedly, probably a bit avant garde for Tea Partiers.
3. The North Market and its great collection of 30+ vendors of a variety of foods, most grown locally.
4. The Arena District. Lots of restaurants adjacent to downtown hotels, Nationwide Arena, a cinema and downtown apartments. This is one city where lots of people live downtown!
5. Huntington Park and the Clippers. OK, we are not a major league baseball town. But Huntington Park, in the Arena District, was rated the best minor league ball park in the country the year it opened. It is a truly great place to spend a summer evening at reasonable prices. And it is great baseball without the big league crowds!
6. The Ohio Statehouse. Frank Lloyd Wright loved its Greek Revival architecture, it went through a wonderful restoration in the last decade or so, there are free, informative tours, and actually a great museum shop in the political hub of Ohio.
7. COSI. COSI (Center of Science and Industry) is one of the best hands-on science museums in the country. Kids love it and parents will learn a thing or two. Also conveniently located downtown.
8. German Village. This is a historically preserved, and revitalized community of brick homes, brick streets, restaurants and other attractions just south of downtown Columbus. My book-loving friends would love The Book Loft where you can meander through 32 rooms of bargain books.
9. The Ohio State University. Summer is a great time to wander around Ohio State. The Wexner Center for the Arts is interesting both for its architecture and for the various shows of contemporary art they host. They also have a summer film series.
10. The Columbus Zoo. This is the zoo that Jack Hanna made famous on David Letterman that was voted Number One Zoo in America a few years back. On a hot day, there is also Zoombezi Bay where you can cool off.
I’m literally just getting started. Columbus is not only a great place to live but also a great place to visit. We are not a “hub” airport and don’t have light rail (the two biggest objections I’ve heard to hosting a convention here). The lack of hub status means several airlines compete for your business which often means low fares, and it is easy via rental or cab to get downtown in ten minutes from the airport, or most anywhere else in under 30 minutes most of the time. Well, I hear the Democrats are still considering us… [Update one year later: can you believe it–the Democrats gave up all this to go to Philadelphia!]