Introduction to Columbus, Ohio
Columbus, the state capital and largest city in the state, is located in central Ohio on the Scioto River. Originally settled by Native Americans, the area that became Columbus (named after Christopher Columbus) was settled by white explorers in the 1700s and made the state capital in 1816. Roads, railroads and the Ohio Canal energized the city. During World War II, aircraft manufacturing brought additional growth. Today, Columbus is a fast-growing, major American city with a population of more than 700,000 and a strong economy that is not dependent on any one industry. Its leading employers include government agencies and manufacturers of transportation equipment, textiles, metals and consumer goods.
Columbus Symphony Orchestra, BalletMet and Opera Columbus brighten the arts scene. Popular museums include the Columbus Museum of Art, the Center of Science and Industry and the home of satirist/cartoonist James Thurber, all located downtown. Upper Arlington has the Wexner Center for the Arts (a work of art unto itself) and the Ohio Craft Museum. On the east side of the city is the Martin Luther King Arts Complex, which offers exhibits and performances showcasing the talents of Columbus's African-American community. The Jack Nicklaus Museum, in the Ohio State University sports complex, chronicles the career of the great golfer from Columbus. On the north side, the Ohio Historical Center houses a museum focussed on Ohio history, along with a library and archive helpful for genealogical research projects. An hour away in Wilmington, Williams Memorial Park hosts an annual festival saluting the birthplace of the banana split.
Columbus Sports and Leisure
Columbus is home to the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets, who play at 18,500-seat Nationwide Arena. The lack of a league franchise in football, baseball and basketball is more than made up for by the Ohio State Buckeyes, whose nationally-ranked programs in football and basketball have rabid local support. During the football season, legendary Ohio Stadium seats more than 101,000 fans. In baseball's minor leagues, the Columbus Clippers are the triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. Other Columbus teams include the Crew (Major League Soccer) and the Destroyers (Arena Football). For major league sports, Cincinnati (baseball's Reds, NFL's Bengals) and Cleveland (baseball's Indians, NFL's Browns, NBA's Cavaliers) are both less than a 2-hour drive away.
There's plenty of outdoor recreation available in the central Ohio area. Columbus has world-class golfing, with three courses within a 1/2-hour drive. In the winter, skiing is popular and accessible. Mad River Mountain, 41 miles away in Zanesfield, has a 1,460-foot mountain elevation with a 300-foot vertical drop, with over 20 trails for skiing or snowboarding, and a terrain park and a tubing park. The Seymour Woods State Nature Preserve has more than 100 acres of wildflowers, oaks, sycamores, elms and other trees with hikable trails. Blendon Woods in Dublin offers activities and solitude in a 650-acre park with forests, 11-acre Thoreau Lake and a 1.2-mile trail specifically designed for walking dogs.
Columbus at Night
Columbus has an energetic nightlife, with the most popular bars and dance clubs scattered downtown, along High Street and in the Brewery District.