One thing that I love about Columbus are the grocery stores. If you go to the right one on a Friday evening, it’s like a huge party. Lots of people wandering around, a live band playing, wine and food tasting, people hanging out at the bar – yes, the bar in the grocery store – and it is SO fun.
Thinking about Friday evening grocery store hangouts brought to my attention that there are some pretty unique hangout spots in Columbus. These causal outings were not things I learned about from googling “things to do in Columbus.” It came from word-of-mouth and just plain ‘ol leaving the house and checking out something new.
For all my C-bus friends that haven’t tried these outings yet, or have and love them, this one’s for you. Also, please feel free to pass along to any “newbie” to Columbus so they may start enjoying these right away rather than finding out about them a year after they move here.
There are many, many things to do in Columbus, especially for special occasions, but this post is focused on more causal and “every-day” sort of options.
Outing #1: Grocery Store Wine Tasting
Giant Eagle Market District and Whole Foods are the best places to go. Every Friday evening walk around the store sampling wines, beers, and foods.
This outing is SO much fun! It’s very relaxed and allows for lots of friends to gather and chat. It is also very family friendly! You will see lots of parents with youngsters there. Wear your baby, bring a stroller, or pop them into a cart. They’ll be content a lot longer than sitting at a dinner table.
Outing #2: Mini ‘zerts and Cookie Bar
This is another Whole Foods outing. Did you know that Whole Foods in Upper Arlington has a cookie bar?? Did you hear me? A COOKIE BAR. AND a mini-dessert bar. They also have a regular bar too. So, head out to Whole Foods, grab an array of ‘zerts and cookies, grab a drink, and hang out in their dining area. Also, super kid friendly. Kids love the grocery store when they can just wander around and not have to “shop” for groceries.
Outing #3: Giant Eagle Cafe Seating Area
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking, another grocery store thing? Yes, my friends, because like I said before, the grocery stores in Columbus rock faces off.
This outing is for a pretty casual sort of thing, but I find it so unique and quite perfect for the right occasion. If you want to study, work online, meet a friend for coffee or food without all the fuss of a restaurant or coffee shop, give this place a try. You can get coffee/tea at Starbucks downstairs, grab some food from the market’s expansive options, then head upstairs to the “cafe seating.” It’s quiet, but not too quiet. It’s populated, but not too busy. Works great for larger groups and families! I found out about it because all the medical school students liked to study there, but I find it perfect for my online work time and easy meetups.
Outing #4: My favorite happy hour, Marcella’s
Marcella’s in Short North is a must. Their Happy Hour is ridiculous. So much good food and so many drinks all half off. The atmosphere is great and the quality is always dependable. It’s a safe bet to take any out-of-towners to, or to be sure to have a great happy hour experience. Just note that the happy hour is early: 4-6pm.
There’s also an amazing chocolate shop right next store for you to grab a couple truffles post-dinner!
Outing #5: Pick a Brewery, you can’t go wrong
Columbus has some pretty great beer options as well as my favorite, MEAD. Brother’s Drake, North High, Four Strings, Columbus Brew – just to name a few. Columbus is unique when it comes to local breweries because almost every township has there own microbrewery, or has plans to open one. I even got a “tasting passport” at a Brewery Tour (that was AWESOME btw) to help guide you. Pick one – you can’t go wrong.
Outing #6: My Japanese Happy Place
I’ve only been to Japan once and it was for 3 days, but I fell in love with it and loved being surrounded by some of the culture when I lived in Hawaii. When I found this little Japanese haven in the Kenny Centre Mall, and that it’s down the street from my house, I started going there about every other week. Why?
Tensuke Market has delicious nigiri and rolls, made fresh and sold at the back of the grocery store. It’s legit and a lot cheaper than visiting the actual restaurant across the street which granted, is also delicious, but has a higher price tag.
Belle’s Bread – the most delicious green tea latte you’ll ever have. My favorite item though, are their fruit tarts. Best ever.
On a warm day, it’s fun to get sushi, get some Belle’s treats, and head out to a nearby park for a picnic.
Outing #7: Slice of Columbus (once a year)
Slice of Columbus is an annual fundraiser, held in September, put on my Nationwide Children’s Hospital featuring great crowds, live music, and tons of pizza. All proceeds go to support the hospital. It’s a unique way to get out, be part of the community, and give to a great cause. Very family friendly!!
Outing #8: Pride (once a year)
Columbus has several fabulous festivals. My favorite is Pride, which is a very big deal in Columbus. The parade is the largest I’ve ever seen and the festival at Goodale Park is always a great time. Family Friendly!
Alright, that’s my fun and unique list of Columbus outings for right now! Let me know if you try out any of these, or have others you want to share! <3