One Day in ColumbusAAA editors suggest these activities for a great short vacation experience. Those staying in the area for a longer visit can access a 3-day itinerary at AAA.com/TravelGuides.
Morning One of the country's top-rated zoos, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (4850 W. Powell Rd.), in nearby Powell is a must-see. It's preferable to spend a day here, but even a few hours will give you a good sampling of the zoo's top exhibits. Arrive early as there's a lot to see. If time only allows an abbreviated tour, don't miss the kangaroos; dozens of these bouncy marsupials hop about freely on the grass or lounge under trees in a fenced-in area. A roped-off path is all that separates you from the roos. Be sure to also see the polar bear and the koala; for the rest of your tour, choose your favorites from a cornucopia of wild beasts, birds, and reptiles, including moose, gorillas, bison, a variety of wild cats, African lions, Asian elephants, Arctic foxes, sharks, manatees, penguins and flamingos.
Afternoon Head back to the Short North Arts District for lunch and stimulate your taste buds with Asian fusion dishes at Lemongrass Fusion Bistro (641 N High St.) (think sushi, lemongrass soup and pad thai).
While away the afternoon with a stroll on North High Street. Wander in and out of independently owned shops in this bohemian district; you'll find merchandise ranging from affordable antiques to trendy and expensive designer denim.
The North Market (59 Spruce St.) is a mostly-indoor farmers market that will delight foodies. Marked by a huge neon sign, the bustling market holds local vendors hawking everything from farm-fresh produce to spices to bakery treats.
If time allows, drive over to German Village (588 S. 3rd St.) for a little taste of old Europe. The charming brick homes and shops complete with flower-filled window boxes are a visual treat; just watch your step as you tread along the village's equally charming yet uneven cobblestone sidewalks. Stop in at Kittie's Hand-Crafted Cakes (495 S. 3rd St.) for a coffee-and-cupcake break, then wend your way through 32 rooms at block-long The Book Loft (631 S. 3rd St.), a literature-lover's delight.
Evening Time for dinner? Martini Modern Italian (445 N. High St.) wins points for its ambience alone, with red and white modern décor, white leather chairs and massive sparkling chandeliers, but its menu earns it a gold star. Albeit pricey, the restaurant offers a palate-pleasing range of pasta, chicken veal and seafood entrées as well as martinis in offbeat flavors.
If you're near the German Village, try Schmidt's Restaurant und Sausage Haus (240 E. Kossuth St.), with German favorites like Wiener schnitzel, bratwurst, potato pancakes and Schmidt's signature jumbo cream puffs. On weekends, the high-energy oompah duo Squeezin' n' Wheezin' performs.
For a more casual evening, grab a brew and a hot dog while cheering on the National Hockey League's Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena (200 W. Nationwide Blvd.). If minor league baseball is your thing, watch the Columbus Clippers, Triple-A National Champions in 2010 and 2011, play at Huntington Park Stadium (330 Huntington Park Ln.).
Time for dessert? If you've supped at one of the fine restaurants of the Short North, walk off your recently consumed calories and make room for the frozen treats at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams (714 N. High St.). It's open till 11 p.m. daily, and the menu features such out-of-the-ordinary flavors like wildberry lavender, beet cake with black walnuts, and coriander raspberry.
For the incurable chocoholic, stop in at Le Chocoholique (601 N. High St.) open until 10 or 11 on most nights. A bakery case holds a massive collection of exquisitely decorated chocolates that look like miniature works of art. The flavors are equally artful and include Velvet Elvis (peanut butter, banana and bacon-flavored), chipotle cherry and limoncello espresso. Or have a Picasso-esque slice of cake with a cappuccino; it's all served by chic, well-mannered college girls. Take a window seat to watch the locals stroll by.
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Members save 5% or more and earn Marriott Bonvoy™ points when booking AAA/CAA rates!SpringHill Suites by Marriott Columbus Easton Area
4048 Morse Rd. Columbus, OH 43230
Columbus has a sales tax of 7.5 percent and a lodging tax of 10 percent. There is an 11 percent concession fee on rental cars picked up at Port Columbus International Airport.
Time and Temperature
Doctors Hospital, (614) 544-1000; Grant Medical Center, (614) 566-9000; Mount Carmel Medical Center (Mount Carmel West Hospital), (614) 234-5000; The Ohio State University Hospital East, (614) 257-3000; The Ohio State University Medical Center, (614) 293-8300; Riverside Methodist Hospital, (614) 566-5000.
277 W. Nationwide Blvd. Suite 125 Columbus, OH 43215. Phone:(614)221-6623 or (800)354-2657
Port Columbus International Airport
Hertz offers discounts to AAA members; phone (614) 239-1084 or (800) 654-3080.
Greyhound Lines Inc., (614) 228-2266 or (800) 231-2222, 111 E. Town St. between S. 3rd and S. 4th streets, serves Columbus.
Yellow Cab, (614) 444-4444, is the largest cab company. Fixed fares are $3 base rate, $4.50 for the first mile, 45c for each additional 2/9 mile and $2.25 for each mile outside Franklin County. A $3 surcharge is added for fares originating at the airport.
Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) provides bus transportation throughout the city and suburbs Mon.-Fri. 5:30 a.m.-11:45 p.m., Sat. 6 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun. 8-7. The basic fare is $2, express fare is $2.75 and transfers are free. Multiday passes and reduced rates for children and senior citizens are available. Passengers must have exact change.