The spotlight has been on Cleveland this week, but now that the Republican National Convention is wrapping up, let's turn our attention to the capital city: Columbus, a true unsung hero of the Midwest. A surprisingly liberal and action-packed town — head two hours south from Cleveland to get there — go ahead and make a grand ole party out of these must-visit stops:
1. Take a trapeze class.
It's a little scary for those averse to the whole idea of dangling upside down to attempt difficult stunts. But at 400 West Rich, a unique co-working and artist's den, you'll be in capable hands as you torch calories (it's more core work than you think) and conquer fears.
2. Set up a suit fitting with Jones Select.
A "suit engineer" to NBA stars and politicians alike, Gary Jones creates hand-tailored custom suits that look as if they cost about ten times what you actually paid. Affable and grounded, Jones works with clients at one-on-one fittings to make suits in classic, contemporary, or trendy modern styles.
3. Enjoy some craft beer at Wolf's Ridge Brewing Co.
We know what you're thinking: It's time for a beer. Agreed. At Wolf's Ridge Brewing you may not get the most welcoming of service (warning: don't sit at the bar on a weekday), but with all the industry awards they've racked up, we almost forgive them. Cue up Untappd and try a sampler flight, accompanied by a cheese plate and garlic fries for fuel. Beer fans may also enjoy trying the Columbus Ale Trail, a fun way to tour as many of the 28 stops as you want on a suds-soaked adventure for the books.
4. Get dinner at The Pearl.
Located in Columbus's trendy Short North district, the handsome decor (think: leather banquettes, typewriters, famous literary quotes adorning the walls) should be enough to lure you in. The strong cocktails and not-to-be-skipped jalapeño spoon corn bread should be enough to convince you to cancel your dinner reservation elsewhere and continue feasting. At the end of the meal, your bill will come tucked into an old-school book, and be sure to page through it to see notes other customers have left in their bloody mary infused haze (which come served with a beer here).
5. Grab a nightcap at Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza.
Sure, they've hosted some famous acts, but the real standouts here are the impressive local talent that will have you hoping for a double encore (which they'll gladly treat you to). A mini Nashville of sorts, you'll see rising stars from Columbus's vibrant songwriting community along with national acts at Natalie's. And you'll leave wishing you made time for one more adult beverage and slice of pizza bianco on the patio.
6. Wash away your hangover at Fox in the Snow.
Feel better pretty much instantly with their $6 egg sandwich and a strong cup of coffee in Columbus's quaint Italian village. Their rotating pastry menu is hellishly good, but you'll probably want to go with the pecan sticky buns (or at least tack a few onto your order). Ready for another trapeze class?