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Columbus Gay Guide

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Getting to Know Columbus, Ohio
Columbus Gay Guide

A skyline view of downtown Columbus, Ohio

photo by Andrew Collins

Here are quick links to the other pages that make up the Columbus Gay Guide:
Getting to Columbus - the Lay of the Land
Columbus 2014-2015 Events Calendar - Columbus Gay Travel Resources
Exploring Columbus - Cool Neighborhoods and Attractions
Columbus Restaurant Guide
Columbus Gay Bar Guide
Columbus Hotel Guide

Welcome to Columbus

Ohio's biggest city (population 800,000), Columbus is also the 15th largest city in the nation. Given its size, it probably shouldn't come as any huge shock that it's home to a sizable gay and lesbian community, and more than 20 gay bars and clubs. But as a GLBT vacation destination, Columbus still lags in reputation behind many other cities its size, in part because many gay travelers don't realize it has so much to offer.

To be sure, Columbus isn't the most dramatic looking city in the country - it isn't surrounded by mountains or set along one of the Great Lakes, although downtown does enjoy a picturesque setting on the Scioto River. It's more popular with business travelers than vacationers. That being said, it's a terrific weekend destination, with plenty to see and do, and it has one of the most visible gay communities in the country. If you're looking for a relatively affordable vacation spot with a sophisticated and independent-spirited food scene and lots to offer in the way of arts and culture, nightclubbing, and shopping, Columbus fits the bill.

There is quite a lot that's remarkable about Columbus. It's one of the only cities in the Midwest or Northeast that has enjoyed steady growth and relative prosperity during every decade since World War II. Leading employers include the state government, the Ohio State University, and the banking, insurance, and retail industries. The high levels of education, political awareness, and economic success are perhaps key reasons that Columbus has long fostered such an active and open gay community.

The city, and particularly the gay community, supports a superb culinary scene as well, with a number of stellar restaurants in the gay-popular Short North and German Village districts. Other neighborhoods (or adjacent suburbs) where you're likely to find a selection of diverting shops, eateries, and attractive residential blocks include Victorian Village, Clintonville (with a particularly strong lesbian following), Grandview, and Upper Arlington.

Throw in a slew of art galleries, a handful of excellent museums, and one of the best-attended Pride celebrations in the country, and it's easy to see why Columbus is such a gem.

When to Go

Columbus is a four-season destination, although because the Ohio State University adds plenty of energy to the city and its gay scene, you may want to visit from fall through spring, when school is in session. College football is hugely popular here, so be sure to book well ahead if you're planning a weekend trip here in fall.

Like most of the Midwest, Columbus has warm and often humid summers, cool and occasionally snowy winters, and moderate fall and spring weather. January highs average 35 deg F, with lows around 20 deg F. In summer, highs average around 85 deg F, with lows in the mid-60s.

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