Short North--the ‘HeART and Soul’ of Columbus
Columbus Ohio Arts District Full of Galleries, Shopping, and Nightlife
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When you find yourself in Columbus Ohio’s famed Art District there are many things to do. We’ve gathered the best fun activities to enjoy the area:
- How to Navigate Short North
- Murals and Galleries to Enjoy
- Parks to Enjoy Nature
- Fun and Innovative Eateries
- Places to Shop
Where is it and What is it?
Are you looking for an artsy and trendy place to hang out? Short North in Columbus Ohio is a bustling arts district known as Columbus’ “Heart and Soul,” which appeals to locals and visitors. It’s conveniently located between Victorian Village and Italian Village, as well as accessible to downtown and Ohio State University.
How do I get to Short North’s Art District?
This location is on the C-Bus line, parking is reasonable, and it is walkable once you get there. If you are looking to enjoy gallery crawl Saturdays, bar hop on weekends, or places to shop and eat during the week--this is the place for you!
One of the ways to navigate this area is through the Smart Columbus app, which connects you to transit and makes custom itineraries to help the visitor explore or you can book a private group tour given by Short North Alliance. Some of the tour options include an arts tour, a history tour, a shopping tour, and the ultimate tour experience which combines all of those areas. Also, feel free to go to Short North and choose your own adventure.
Short North Gallery Hop
Every first Saturday of the month, locals venture to see new exhibitions of Ohio-based artists, street performers, and special events. This artistic craze is known as the Gallery Hop. The Gallery Hop occurs from 4pm-10pm, but the galleries are open during the week for a casual walk through, as well. If looking at art is your thing or people gazing, this vibrant gathering of people is a fun weekend activity.
- District Art and Apparel
- The Gallery at Stonewall Columbus
- 29 W. 3rd Gallery and Studio
- Sarah Gormley Galleries
- Lindsay Gallery
- Sean Christopher Gallery Ohio
- Marcia Evans Gallery
- Sharon Weiss Gallery
- 24 Lincoln Street Art Studios at Found
- Sherrie Gallerie
- Studios on High Gallery
- Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art
- (Not) Sheep Gallery
- Hammond Harkins Galleries
- Brandt-Roberts Galleries
- Greater Columbus Convention Center
- Gallery Denmark
- Hilton Columbus Downtown
Virtual Gallery Hop
In lieu of the in-person Gallery Hop because of COVID-19, the May 2020 Gallery Hop was virtual. The virtual Gallery Hop is still available on Instagram and aimed to carry on the tradition of supporting the arts in Columbus. The Gallery Hop’s virtual space is on the Short North Arts District Facebook page and under the Instagram account @ShortNorthArtsDistrict. Viewers enjoyed seeing the behind-the-scenes preparation of the gallery hop, artists, exhibitions, and works for sale.
This is something that you do not want to miss in the future if COVID-19 progresses, especially if you would like to get a taste of the Gallery Hop before attending in person or are no longer in the Columbus area.
Murals and Public Art
The other art forms that Short North Arts District is famous for is its array of murals and public art installations. On 13 buildings on High Street, there are printed vinyl art murals. These murals demonstrate the community’s commitment to the arts because of the collaboration of the galleries and the arts institutions in the city, as well as the artworks do a great job in beautifying the city.
If you are looking for an instagramable aesthetic and want to enjoy outside, this activity is for you. Perhaps, you have a background in the arts and art history, these murals travel through time stylistically, illustrate many types of media, and echo the famed works of antiquity. Regardless of the background, these murals are for the public enjoyment and have a variety of messages.
For instance, the two permanent murals that showcase the diversity within the types of art and message are These Words Aren’t Enough for Us by David Skeens and Passing Through Logtown, Georgia by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson. Skeens displays a conceptual idea that demonstrates the struggle of language to reflect intimacy. Robinson’s work illustrates a story of the African Diaspora through the lens of her family that built roots in Ohio after the Great Migration.
Park it Here
If all the activities start to overwhelm you, take a relaxing stroll in one of the three parks in Short North--Goodale Park, Italian Village Park, and Poplar park. These parks have playgrounds for the kids (or adults for that matter, who enjoy swinging and enjoying nature), picnic tables, gazebos, performers, and paths to walk. There are many acres to enjoy and places to park when a break is needed.
Restaurants and Nightlife
There are tons of delicious options in Short North. It is a culinary destination with the ambience of art to support the trendy atmosphere. Everything from a sit down formal dinner to ice cream on a hot summer day is available. Short North attracts all types of eaters with its selection of cafes, dive bars, formal dining, and breweries.
There really is a place for everyone in Short North!
Happy Little Treats
Imagine waking up in the morning and taking the C-bus to work, but you forgot your breakfast. No need to panic. Check out the vegan donut coated in one of your favorite breakfast cereals as a kid--fruity pebbles from Happy Little Treats Bakery. There are many options to choose from.
Native Cold Pressed
If you are more of a light breakfast and more of a cold pressed juice person to give you that extra morning boost, Native Cold Pressed is for you. Yay, it’s locally sourced!
Hello We’re Bareburger
Around lunch time the favorites are Hello We’re Bareburger (they have wild boar and duck patties as well as a gourmet traditional burger). These sophisticated twists on American classics will be sure to satisfy for tastebuds.
When afternoon tea time is calling, there are many options to explore. If tea time is something that you do on a regular or would like to try, Short North has it all. ZenCha Tea, as well as local cafes have tea delights. ZenCha Tea Salon observes tea arts by creating a Zen atmosphere and allowing patrons to engage in cultural festivities.
Rooh Fine Dining
For a wine-drinking crowd, there are several places to enjoy. One of the most beautiful restaurants in Short North is Rooh. Rooh is a contemporary take on traditional Indian food and is known for their creative cocktails and bottles of wine for sale. Their cocktails blend the ‘old world’ taste with new techniques. For instance, some of the favorites are Kerala which contains a blend of rum, pineapple, aloe and hibiscus, Kashmiri Kahwa which contains scotch, a red wine reduction, lime, and honey, and Pink City which contains tequila, guava, chilli, and Rooh masala. The drinks on a sweet to astringent index. This upscale restaurant excites the culinary palate in its array of drinks and food.
Skully’s Dinner Time Dive
During dinner, there are many selections to choose from and activities that accompany dinner, such as karaoke singing, bar crawls, live music, and tastings at local breweries. If you want to dance, eat, and hear live music Skully’s is for you. Skully’s is the quintessential American diner and club. It was voted the number one best dance club. It is famous for rock n roll and hip hop live music, DJs, and a party atmosphere.
For a formal dinner with visiting friends, Fireproof on 1026 N. High St. is the place for you.
Fireproof Restaurant and Fine Dining
According to the Columbus Navigator, it will feel like a home away from home for friends from big cities, such as NYC and LA. Fireproof is a Tapas bar and lounge that has classic American favorites with a gourmet twist--Wagyu dumplings, crispy cod and potatoes, fried chicken, and pork belly.
Entice your Playful Side at SeeSaw
There are upwards of 60 bars for every type of bar-goer. There are breweries, dive bars, and wine bars. The famous SeeSaw bar definitely has a play on words. SeeSaw combines creative drinks and an ode to everyone’s childhood by having an actual seesaw to enjoy. SeeSaw has delicious menu items as well, such as cold brews, wings, burgers, and cocktails.
This bar and food destination allows diners to bring up feelings of a great picnic--amazing food and a trip to the playground. The playground feeling is met with a chic vibe on the rooftop for the fun and adventurous.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream
To satiate that sweet tooth one of the local favorites is a twenty-year establishment--Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. This is the literal manifestation of “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.” People cannot get enough of it. Join the fan club by trying the special edition ice creams, supporting its zero waste model, and tasting the favorites like brambleberry crisp, brown butter almond brittle, and skillet cinnamon roll.
Services and Shopping
One of the local boutiques that makes the shopping experience fun is Thread Boutique. Thread evokes a Parisian and London small clothing store experience. This store that showcases the latest fashion of local Ohio vendors in their Movers & Shakers series. You can enjoy the store individually or enjoy a Sip & Shop experience with friends, in which, Thread makes it possible for private parties to savor the ambience and indulge in the retail experience. The store is giving back is by providing fashionable masks during the pandemic at a reasonable price. Lift your spirits during this time is by buying a snakeskin, leopard, or camouflage print mask that will go with many ensembles.
There are many boutiques, toy stores, antique shops, and other retail gems. Another aspect of the arts district to fall in love with is its fashion scene, which “ is quickly being recognized as fashion forward, due in part to the discerning taste of Short North Arts District fashion retailers.” Not only is the Short North fashion eye-catching, but you can find any item of clothing to endure the varying temperatures of Central Ohio.
This is one of the few shopping places that the variety is astounding. High Street curates a unique shopping experience that values giving back. It is possible in a stroll down High Street to purchase gifts for your furry friends in order to support animal shelters, buy vinyl and guitars, and pay it forward by buying thrifted items that supports the greater good by providing funding for HIV/AIDS testing. You can do it all!
Learn More About Vibrant Short North
Short North is a wonderful place for all ages. Its chic artistic aura is inviting and inclusive. It includes art walking tours, murals, festivals, gallery hops, live music, a booming night life, and shopping all in one location. Short North is a vibrant community. What’s your favorite thing to do in Short North? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Hero image courtesy of Franklin County, Ohio.