If a bit of a drive doesn’t discourage your adventuring spirit, head to our lovely capital of Columbus, Ohio! About a 50-minute drive on I-70, Columbus has a lot to offer; if you plan your trip right, you can even take advantage of some free activities and student discounts.
My favorite areas in the city are the Short North area and the Arena District. From cute boutiques and North Market to Nationwide Arena, the areas have a lot to offer for entertainment.
My usual ventures start with a trip to High Street to look at some of the local shops, like Cinda Lou and On Paper. These stores have a mix of cute vintage wares and stationary goods. I always like to browse and see what’s in stock, even if I’m not really looking for anything. My last trip left me with a cute pink cardigan with gold Boston Terriers printed along the collar.
After a bit of window shopping, head to North Market for a delicious and cheap meal. There are dozens of vendors that sell a variety of food from Polish and Thai to Vietnamese and barbeque. I always stop by Lan Viet Market to get a rice and noodle bowl with veggie ham. The dish is a mix of rice, vermicelli noodles, vegetables and your meat (or non-meat in my case) of choice. There are many different sauce options, but my favorite is a mix of Hoisin Sauce and Sriracha for a kick of sweet and spicy.
If you’re in the mood for dessert, you can wander around the market to Jeni’s. The local favorite has many different ice cream flavors, with many changing seasonally. My new favorite is the Lemon Buttermilk Tart frozen yogurt. Imagine fluffy fro-yo with chunks of lemon curd and bites of shortbread crust, and you’ve got this delicious flavor down. I get it every time I go, and I’m already dreading the time when they will stop offering it.
After filling up at North Market, head over to Nationwide Arena for a Blue Jackets game. With your student ID, you can pick up $15 or $25 tickets to see NHL hockey. Even if you’re not a huge hockey fan, it’s always a fun time and the price is right. There’s parking in local garages and you may get a free meal if the Jackets score. If the Jackets score three or more goals at home, you can get a free bowl of chili at Bob Evans. If the Jackets win, you can get a free large coffee from Tim Hortons. Not too shabby!
Although Columbus is a bit further from campus than some other cities I’ve toured, it’s well worth the ride. There’s so much to do, and I find new things every time I go. If you wanna explore CBus, hop onto I-70 east and get ready for the ride. Happy exploring!