Even though I live in a neighboring state, I haven’t spent much time in Ohio. So when I was sent to Cleveland to lead an anatomy lecture, I decided to take a little detour to drive south and check out Columbus. On my drive into the city, I really had no idea what to expect. I heard they had great food, but that’s about the extent of it (that’s enough to get me there!). So besides checking out a new yoga studio, my itinerary was wide open, so I researched lightly and allowed my intuition to guide me the rest of the way.
Out of the Closet $
While driving down High St. one of the main roads that leads to downtown, I was immediately captivated by the neon sign that read “free HIV testing”. I cannot even begin to explain how happy this made me, as I cannot stress the importance of accessibility to these types of services enough. More than 1.1 million people in the US are living with HIV, with 1 in 7 unaware of it. Accessibility to free testing is crucial, particularly in LGBTQ youth who struggle to have access to these services. 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, and 80% of which are homeless due to family conflict and rejection. This lack of support leads to lack of resources, pair that with HIV stigma meaning we NEED more of these places in the world. With the cutest pun around, Out of the Closet is an LA based non-profit thrift store whose revenues provide medical care for patients with HIV/AIDS. Win win IMO.
Native Cold Pressed $$
I needed an afternoon pick me up and I’ve heard plenty of rave reviews about this juice bar. Upon arrival, I stepped right into wellness fantasy: adaptogenic lattes, cold pressed juice, superfood bowls and protein bites. I literally wanted to eat and drink everything under this roof. Not only do they have an extensive beverage and snack menu, but they also sell top wellness products that are rare and hard to find on shelves, such as Sun Potion adaptogens and probiotic yogurt by the Coconut Cult.
Bursting with flavor with their plant forward cuisine, Commune offers small plates made with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients with an extensive menu for any appetite. I arrived late after hanging in my comfy clothes at my AirBnB: I was tired, it was cold and snowy AF and I almost didn’t go; but I am SO glad I pushed through to have dinner here. As a nondrinker I was pleased to find they have house made Italian sodas, and there are plenty of craft cocktails if you fancy a boozy. I didn’t save room for dessert this time but the menu was beyond impressive and I’ll definitely save room on my next visit.
Fox in the Snow Cafe $$
When asking around for cafe recommendations, this spot was highly recommended by all. I woke up bright & early so I could spend time journaling and soaking in the atmosphere, and once I arrived I was glad I planned ahead. With an extensive amount of artisanal baked goods and a carefully selected hand pours, less is definitely not more when we’re talking croissants and scones. With a few locations around Columbus, I landed at their location on Thurman Ave. as it was closest to where I was staying. Made from a renovated garage, the open, airy vibe suited the cheerful attitude of staff. I spent almost three hanging out, journaling and people watching.
On the low, taking class at The Space is what sparked my idea to take trip to Columbus. Owner Josie is spoken highly in the yoga community, and after taking her workshop back home in the fall, I knew I had to check out this space. I’ve been to plenty of yoga classes and studios throughout the US and beyond, each specializing in their own “niche” or style. If heart & soul were a niche, this would be it. She opened her doors just this past October and has already created a space that offers a deep sense of community paired with technique that stands out from anything else I’ve experienced on my mat. Rooted in the practice of Katonah yoga, her teachings offer a mixture of pranayama (breath) and dynamic movement with an emphasis on organ function to invigorate your prana (life force) to walk out leaving revitalized. Ahhhhhmazing.
Karavan Treasures From Turkey $-$$$
I stumbled upon this store while walking through the Short North Arts District and couldn’t resist stopping in to look through the extensive selection of Turkish textiles, glass blown light fixtures and unique jewelry. The owner travels to and from his home country to delight Ohioans with beautiful home furnishings Turkish culture has to offer. Considering the prices of Turkish rugs at modern home stores, these numbers weren’t bad considering as he marks a lot of his prices down. I didn’t purchase anything on this trip but I would absolutely make another run to Columbus just to come here again. This place was a dream!
Eden Burger $
Before hitting the road to Cleveland, I needed something quick and sustaining. I’ve head amazing things about this place but it is truly one to experience first hand. This vegan fast food joint serves burgers that taste like the real thing, and disguise the fact that they’re animal free in hopes of tricking a hungry meat eater into exposure to the plant based world. I had to confirm two times that this cheese was in fact vegan.
Overall, my interactions with folks in Columbus were quite positive and real. I felt a true sense of authenticity and truth in each and everyone I met. The city is sprawling with new development with new restaurants/cafes pop up regularly. I look forward to taking a trip back to Columbus in the warmer months to visit the local parks and spend more time outside.
What are your favorite things to do in Columbus?