Hanging out in Columbus’ trendy Short North district

Last week I wrote about Columbus, Ohio’s pleasant Scioto River walkway, This week, I would like to focus on the trendy neighborhood of Short North, where we were staying during our visit.

Once again, a quiet COVID environment gave us a much different view of what would usually be a more colorful and active area. Some of the bars, restaurants and galleries that make this neighborhood so interesting were open during our stay, but many more were shuttered, so it will merit a return visit.

I wanted a central location where my son and I could walk around town to explore, so it was just by chance we wound up in this emerging area.

This is an area we were told was, until fairly recently, a rather rough area of the city, but started to revive as an artistic neighborhood in the 1980s and more successfully in the late 1990s.

Short North, Columbus, Ohio / Kimberly Sullivan

In 2002, the seventeen steel arches that now identify the area were placed up. I didn’t know that they replace the original wooden arches lit by gaslight that were placed here in 1896 when Columbus was apparently known as the “Arch City”. (Who knew?)

Those arches were destroyed in 1916 to make way for more modern light posts, so it’s a nice touch to return a sliver of the past … even if I don’t know if the moniker Arch City will catch on again.

The Short North Arts District was a shadow of what I understand is is normal pedestrian traffic during our stay, but hope to see it back to normal operation – with bustling restaurants, cafes, bars and art galleries – on a future trip.

Still, even if we saw it in a slumbering state, I always love these examples of urban renewal, and it makes sense that this area – so close to downtown and the Convention center, and leading up to the sprawling Ohio State University campus, could successfully be revitalized into a vibrant urban neighborhood.

Short North neughborhood, Columbis, Ohio / Kimberly Sullivan

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