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Things That Make Columbus, Ohio A Hipster Haven

street musicians

Short North Arts District. Photo courtesy of Nikole Prete.

I wouldn’t exactly call myself 100 percent hipster, but I do like coffee, street musicians, and things that dare to stray from the mainstream. Until recently, I thought of Columbus, Ohio as a dull Midwest city without much to offer to hipsters. In this expert’s opinion, Columbus, while far from Seattle and Brooklyn’s hipster levels, is cool enough for the pickiest freethinking, bohemian. Here is why:

College Students

Where there are college students, there are hipsters. Ohio State University is the third largest in the country, and Kenyon College in Gambier is just over an hour away. The large student population translates into both football fever and high levels of hipsterism. All you have to do is take a walk around the artsy northern area of Columbus, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. If you have the chance, stop in at the university’s Wexner Center for the Arts, which frequently hosts exhibits that you can’t catch at the Columbus Art Museum.

Short North Arts District

This area just south of Ohio State University takes the crown as Columbus’s most hipster-heavy district. Art is everywhere, including on the sides of many of the brick buildings. You can take a self-guided walking tour of the area that shows you Short North’s best public arts displays. Of course, I’m sure your walking tour will suffer a few delays by distractions of all the fascinating shops, art galleries and cool restaurants. A highlight of Short North is the Italian Village Neighborhood, which has beautiful historical buildings and a down-to-earth vibe. Italian Village also has great coffee at places like One Line Coffee and Impero Coffee — and what better place for hipsters to gather than in a coffee shop that isn’t Starbucks?

German Village

To explore Columbus in all its hipster glory, you might want to stay in downtown or in the Arena district (which has the modern and cool Lofts Hotel). That way, you are between Short North and German Village, and can easily visit both. German Village area has an abundance of old homes with cool stories, and the food in the neighborhood is some of the best around. The true hipster highlight of the area is the bookstore. The Book Loft has somewhere in the ballpark of half a million books — all spread out across 32 rooms. Yes, you might get lost; make sure you pick up a map on your way in. If you manage to find your way out of the Book Loft, head to German Village’s other cool spots, like Via Vecchia Winery and German Village Art League. The bottom line? Roaming hipsters, don’t discount Columbus because it is in the Midwest. The city might just get your thumbs up (unless giving a thumbs up is too mainstream for you).

Author Bio

Joy Nelson is a professional freelance writer who likes to travel to offbeat places and see unexpected things. *Guest post

About Jessie Festa

Jessie Festa is an New York-based travel content creator who is passionate about empowering her audience to experience new places and live a life of adventure. She is the founder of the solo female travel blog, Jessie on a Journey, and is editor-in-chief of Epicure & Culture, an online conscious tourism magazine. Along with writing, Jessie is a professional photographer and is the owner of NYC Photo Journeys, which offers New York photo tours, photo shoots, and wedding photography. Her work has appeared in publications like USA Today, CNN, Business Insider, Thrillist, and WestJet Magazine.

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  1. Nichelle on at 1:29 am

    Sounds exciting! I like to watch and listen to street musicians. I’ve never been to Columbus, Ohio but glad that the city allows hipsters to enjoy music, food and great stories. 🙂

    • jess2716 on at 2:01 am

      @Nichelle: Street performers and art rock! 🙂

  2. I went to school at OSU and after 4 years was totally ready to leave Columbus, but it’s not as bad as people think. It’s growing into a pretty cool city.

    • jess2716 on at 2:16 am

      @Rachel: I loved the beer scene when I was there. Rockmill’s organic beers were amazing!

  3. Matt on at 11:28 am

    In Columbus for work and this helped me plan a day off to explore. Thanks!

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