Dog Friendly

No food establishment the USA can have dogs inside EXCEPT service animals. So these are all out of the question.

This is a FDA Regulation.

There are plenty of places you CAN take your dogs, but please dont bring them to restaurants. If i get chipotle, i order online, and pick it up and lock the dogs in the car. Columbus has a ton of dog parks,

All the pets stores let you bring in your dogs, Lowes and Home depot are technically not dog friendly but the cashiers who have treats in their pockets would rather ignore that stupid corporate police as they all know its a blanket policy to cover them should something happen.

Rural king lets your bring in dogs (iirc) petsmart you can go into the traning area with your dogs if no classes are going on and work with them. We do lots of training there with little to no hassle.

If you DO take your pet in somewhere and they ask that you not have the dog inside, don't fight with them, or lie and say its a service dog. Just take the dog back to the car.

Columbus is VERY pet friendly, just do over step the boundaries of social norms.

Non-Traditional and Frugal Wedding Venues

Columbus has a lot of nice and frugal wedding venues that will make you question why you would want anything else. Columbus has a lot of great non-traditional wedding venues that you can use to make your wedding reception memorable. Combine these with tips like those from Beth’s frugal wedding and you can have a one of a kind celebration that is beyond amazing.

Generally speaking, the more elegant/formal it is, the more expensive it will be. But there are unique and visually stunning options that make for a real treat.

  • Every major museum in the area has space that can be rented. In every case, it costs a fortune (several thousand dollars) just for the space.
  • The Metroparks certainly has places that could be used. Spots within the reservations would likely just need a permit (Inexpensive). The Zoo has several indoor spaces for rent (Expensive).
  • The English Oak Room (not sure about capacity) at Tower City.
  • Greys Armory
  • Mather Mansion at Cleveland State
  • Goodtime III or Nautica Queen
  • Stan Hywet Hall in Akron
  • Hale Farm
  • Lake Farmpark
  • Holden Arboretum

There are also ways to make the dream venue the venue that you can actually afford. One way to do this is to save on other aspects of the wedding.

Consider not having sit down dinner.

More creative option like just appetizers, or a tapas buffet, can be cheaper. Alternatively, depending on the mood you want to set and the attitude of your family and friends, a reception catered by friends and family always seemed attractive to me. Ask grandma flibbertigibbet to bring her world famous corn pudding, aunt jilly brings her delicious whiskey carrots, that kind of thing. It would be a great way to surround yourself with sentimental favorite foods, and to let everyone know how much you value them.

The politics could get pretty bad, though depending on your family. What if cousin Cindy gets pissed that you didn't ask her to bring her shitty Asian ramen salad?

I highly recommend the Columbus Athenaeum.

They don't "charge you" per se to use their space, you just have to meet a certain dollar minimum for the reception room. Catering is in-house and by the time you pick out table decor and the menu, you more than likely will already have met that room minimum. Their staff was super friendly and very easy to work with.

The best piece of advice that you could possibly get though when it comes to getting married is budget, and stick to it. Don't go and try to skip this step. It is about the most important thing that you can do and it will serve you well when you are married (being able to budget).

Cbus has a lot of great options when it comes to getting married for a fun and yet frugal venue.

P.S. The Great Lakes Science Center can be used for weddings, Greenhouse Tavern has a rooftop for a smallish group if you are interested in a rooftop wedding. Some hotels downtown might have a ballroom or something on a higher floor, but I don't know of any personally.

Columbus Has Other Attractions

Columbus has OSU, which means a lot of young people stuff in one area around campus. It could be convenient, especially for someone who is new in town. That's not to say Cincinnati doesn't have these areas, too. Popular destinations include Newport (technically in Kentucky, just across the river from downtown), Over the Rhine, Downtown, etc. The two cities aren't all that different, my advice would be to look into job/housing opportunities in both and make the decision based on those.

Columbus has nicer roads than Cinci, is easy to get around, has a nice nightlife, is a fantastic place to raise a family, is a newer city in general.

Cinci to me has some character but it has more job opportunities all around, more public transit friendly, beautiful homes, Kentucky is awesome, has nicer weather, and has some nice scenery (Columbus is 100% flat).

Columbus. It's got a diverse population, and is considered a microcosm of America – it gets a lot of new products early because businesses like to use it as a test market. There are a lot of businesses based out of Columbus. Columbus' airport has more flights. CD101 is a cool radio station there. It's not a bad place to be. But, it's not all that exciting.

Plus, you only have the Bluejackets, sports-wise.

Columbus – Ohio State, it drives the citys Sports and major events. Also very nice bar scene that extends into Short North and Downtown. – Much smaller city so navigating around is easier to get from part to part – Much more traditional Suburbs (Grandview, Upper Arlington, Dublin) opposed to Cincinnati (its main suburb to West Chester, which is at least 45 min from downtown) – Awesome malls Polaris & Easton are some of the best malls in the state

Overall – Cincinnati and Columbus are very different yet compair in things such as Over the Rine to Short North. Bengals/Reds and Ohio State. Dublin, UA and West Chester. Easton and Kenwood. I enjoy Cincinnati more simply because I think it offers more when it comes to night life and overall things to do.

Cbus x Cinci

They're both great.

I personally I can't imagine anything but Columbus, but my little brother that lives in Cinci would tell you Queen City all the way.

Cincinnati is just northern Kentucky with a nice river. Columbus is the state capital with a vibrant academic and medical school scene. So I guess if your best suit is a pair of overalls Cincinnati is the town for you.

If you like a bigger city, roll with Cinci. Columbus to me is a great mix of a large city with a homey feel. Cinci is fun to visit and is a wonderful city, but I love living in Cbus. People here are more personable and one thing about Columbus is that they love Columbus. Not sure how Cinci takes it, but there's a lot of pride in this city.

  1. Cleanliness: Columbus
  2. Infrastructure: Cinci
  3. Political views: I feel like Columbus is a little more left than Cincinnati, so it depends on where you lie
  4. QoL: Columbus. Cinci is great, but in Columbus, there's wonderful parks, less traffic, less pollution, and some nice neighborhoods

Both are actually quite "clean" places these days, though Columbus probably more so since it never was a true industrial boomtown. The Columbus metro area is definitely a predominately white collar city, whereas the Cincinnati metro area (extending into Northern Kentucky) is a bit of a mix of both white and blue collar jobs.

Infrastructure-wise, Cincinnati is much older, more urbanized and built-out than Columbus, with all of the road, pipeline, etc. maintenance issues that generally come with being so.

At the same time, the city has recently been focused on revitalizing several of its downtown neighborhoods, particularly Over-The-Rhine, and Clifton, where the University of Cincinnati's Main Campus is located. As for Columbus, it is and has definitely been in growth mode–upward and outward–over the past few decades. Recently the city proper at least seems to be shifting away from growth through sprawl and annexations, and more so on building upwards along High St., particularly through the Short North and Ohio State's University District.

Some suburbs, like Dublin and Grandview Heights, have also recently undertaken similar urbanization projects. Others, like Grove City, continue to sprawl out into the countryside.

Politically, both Cincy and Columbus proper are Democratic strongholds with Dem mayors and majorities on their respective city councils, although the Cincinnati metro itself is famous for being reliably conservative in every way, politically as well as socially, which often has implications for what the city proper tries to get done (e.g. the Street Car).

Nevertheless, it would be fair to say that Cincinnati Democrats are pretty conservative themselves, including the current Mayor, John Cranley, who himself was against the street car.

Columbus, meanwhile, has been trending more and more politically and socially liberal over the past few decades in no small part due to the city's steady growth, influx of young people, the presence of OSU and other educational institutions/companies, the fashion industry, and an increasingly diverse mix of people. Generally, this is most relevant within the 270 Outerbelt loop, but there has been a notable spillover effect even beyond it into some outlying suburbs and areas, particularly to the North and East, much less so to the South.

The city has increasingly been viewed as one of the more socially welcoming places in the Midwest, if not the US itself.

Medically, Cincinnati, like in most other aspects, is more established, but Columbus has seen a lot of growth and expansion recently, particularly with Ohio State and Ohio Health/Riverside.

Social/Entertainment/Arts: Cincinnati definitely has more social/entertainment "hot spots" than Columbus, from Over-The-Rhine downtown, to neighborhood hubs like Northside, Mt. Lookout, Mt. Adams, Oakley, Hyde Park, etc.

In contrast, Columbus has High Street, from the Short North up through the University District, and a few small but growing hubs like Gay Street, The Brewery District, South Clintonville, and Grandview Ave. The arts are comparable in both regions, although Cincy's seems more established, whereas the arts scene in Columbus seems to still be evolving.

Overall, I would suggest basing your decision on what you need and are into most.

I will say that Columbus is definitely the easier of the two to "break into" since there are more entry-level job and career opportunities, as well as the fact that it is younger, with social boundaries/circles that seem to be a more open and flexible as a result.

There are also many people here genuinely looking to meet and connect with others, which not surprisingly has contributed to the city's growing social and entertainment scene. In contrast, Cincinnati is a lot more provincial, and social boundaries are fixed if not etched into stone since there hasn't been much population growth within the city or region for decades. It's actually pretty common for people there to ask you which high school you graduated from.

None of this means that you can't possibly connect with people there, but it will likely take much more time to do so than here.

The Land J-pop or K-pop Where To Travel Next

I would recommend Japan, personally. I've been to both SK (Seoul, Busan and Namhae) and Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima, Okinawa) and it's Japan that has me constantly wanting to return most.

I mean, Korea is awesome, but I got more of a feel that Japan offers a wider variety of experiences than SK did.

Of course, there's people who love K-Pop more than J-Pop, some love samurai flicks over the Vengeance trilogy, so your mileage may vary.

I love Korea a bunch, but Japan is just better for me. In Japan I spend ~$60 a day. In Korea, I would spend ~$45 a day and would include better meals too.

I have spent time in both countries. I loved both countries, but if I had to return to just one, it would be Japan. The people are straight forward and accommodating

For example, I found a quiznos buried in Tokyo (under a train track and hidden). The quiznos had a special: sandwich with bbq chips and med drink. If you wanted a different chip, no special. Not a big deal at all, but it's how Japan works. If you can adjust, then you will have a great time. Koreans, on the other hand, will not make a big deal. It's just a cultural difference. Both places are awesome, but I prefer Japan.

But, Korea is cheaper.

1 Tank Trip

I'm from Holmes County (Amish Country) originally. Berlin especially but also Sugarcreek will be the most packed and touristy especially in the summer and fall. There are also plans for road construction (not sure when exactly) so things might get worse.

The main strip of Millersburg following 39 has some fun shops and a brewery.

It also tends to be less busy than the east side. I would personally skip New Philly/Dover as it is a bit out of the way.

Mt. Hope has a huge yard sale/auction the last week of June. Also try Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen there. I prefer it to Farmstead in Berlin.

You can also try Cincy or Cleveland for a baseball game. Cedar Point if you're into thrills. In winter, Clifton Mill is worth it to see the lights come on. If you're into airplanes, the Air Force museum in Dayton is fantastic–in some ways better than the Smithsonian.

I've pondered more than once about going to Utica to the Velvet Ice Cream factory.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Peninsula, OH) has some sections of the canal system and a working lock.

There was a place where the canal once passed over the Cuyahoga River is pretty fascinating accomplishment,even by todays standards. Very scenic.

Velvet Ice Cream in Utica (on the way to/from Millersburg and Amish country). The murals on the floodwalls in Portsmouth and the mounds in Chillicothe and Newark. Fort Ancient on the way to Cincinatti has interesting history, too.

Fairport Harbor, east of Cleveland, has a great beach for swimming and boating. There are two lighthouses in town (one out in the water and another in town). The one in town has a marine history museum attached and you can walk up in the tower for a spectacular view of the area. Some very good food at a restaurant along the lake at the east end of town.

Tour some of the President's homes (Marion, Mentor, to name a few), the Neil Armstrong museum is very good. Football Hall of fame in Canton, too..

Clifton Gorge, near Yellow Springs is worth a hike, and of course Hocking Hills (plenty of cabin rentals in the region).

The Wilds, out past Zanesville, is supposed to have some really exotic wildlife out in nature (they give driving tours through the park). Zoos in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo.

There is much history in every town if you ask around. Check out weird things and unusual history. There were many inventions and innovations that started in Ohio, so explore. Pick a direction and stop at the roadside historic markers!

Pick a theme like covered bridges!

There are many still accessible. Just outside Ohio: The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Falling Water (Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous house) in Ohiopyle, PA. Pittsburgh also has some great architecture and museums.

Sunday Brunch Buffets

'm a big fan of Sunday brunch buffets, but it seems there are only a handful of them in Columbus. Here are the ones we regualarly vist:

  1. Bel Lago
  2. Matt the Miller's
  3. The Worthington Inn
  4. J. Liu
  5. Hilton Garden Inn
  6. 94th Aero Squadron

Rosa & Rocco's up here in New Albany has one; I haven't tried it yet, but reports are that it's pretty good but a little pricey.

I have heard that Marshall's in Grandview is also good, read OK. It is a less expensive option similar to Matt the Miller's, but the food quality is not nearly as good. I am going to try this one myself though soon.

Update: We tried Marshall's this past Sunday and I think that it is definately a good option. The food was good, much better than what people said. The thing that I noticed is that is wasn't as varried. If you just want a ton of pancakes and scrambled eggs, Marshall's is the spot. We'll be adding it to our regulars list.

Tuttle

Tuttle declining is laughable, and City Center being gone is great. Tuttle was plopped into Dublin by Wexner as part of his plan for Easton. Tuttle mall is still a Class A mall that does very well and serves the West/Northwest side of Columbus. Wexner intentionally put the mall there, so that when Easton was built nobody could try to compete with him on that side of town.

City Center served its purpose, and once the shopping moved out to the suburbs its sales declined. There was nothing that special about City Center…It was just a mall. Now thanks to it's demolition we have a great green space downtown which is spawning lots of new development downtown.

First off, Tuttle lost one of its 3 anchors and had it replaced with another of the same company, and there are empty storefronts starting to pop up. Macy's bought out Marshall Fields, Kauffmans, and Lazarus. All those stores merged into the same brand, none of them "left" the mall.

Second, it's not just the mall I'm talking about. The offices behind the mall are 1/3 empty, and are about to take a huge hit when Nationwide leaves in the next 2 years. Wexner was one of the leading factors behind the mall, and it was developed by the Georgetown company, who has worked on Easton, Market Square, Bath and Body Works, Nationwide Children's, Columbus Commons, and the renovation to the Lazarus building.

This is leeds certified, and one of the largest leeds projects in America at the time.

City Center was nice, but it was a failure. It never worked as planned, and essentially during its peak operation in the early 90's there was nothing keeping people downtown. They wen't to shop, left and returned to their suburbs.

I would not classify anything about City Center "special."

Last I checked the city of Columbus has a 25 million dollar rainy day fund. I would say the city is in good financial shape

Yet.

The quick decline and loss of City Center was a huge financial loss for downtown and the city government from which the former has never recovered.

The mall was special because it was supposed to draw people into the downtown area, which at that time was still lacking anything interesting there.

It also was supposed to cause development, and failed. And to that point, what development had Commons led to? It was supposed to give us retail and restaurants and nightlife… well, there's a Burgers Dogs and Fries! We win, right?

To the people who are reading this and downvoting because you don't like it.

I'm calling it like I see it. I love my city and hate to see these things happen but if we deny the problem we can't fix it. How to fix it? I'm not a city engineer/zoning official; I don't know. But there are issues that need to be addressed and saying they aren't happening doesn't help at all.

They did not plan those storefronts properly.

They had the right idea, but we have come a long way in 13 years when the Arena district was born. in 1999/2000 the economy was booming, and there was a lot of opportunity. What they built were large restaurant spaces in terms of square footage and the only things that can survive in a place like that are chain restaurants/bars.

If they could go back and do it all over again, I am sure they would chop up those spaces to allow for smaller pubs and restaurants that would give a more unique feel to the Arena District. The Arena district won't die.

The club has a lease with the city through 2039, some of the restaurants will change, as most that open up fail.

The thing the city needs to work on is trying to get local places down there, so that when there is a Jackets away game, or the teams are not playing there is a reason to go down to a bar for either great away game atmosphere, or a good burger.

Moorea to Bora Bora

We've stayed in French Polynesia a few times and both in Bora Bora and Moorea. I think Bora Bora is more geared towards the service.

There isn't a large reef system (only off site from the resorts by boat), and aside from languid activity there isn't much to do. The view of Otemanu from the motus is fantastic, and the color of the lagoon is amazing.

However, I wholeheartedly recommend Moorea. If I were to go back, I would skip Bora Bora. Moorea is a bigger island, and more laid back. Bora Bora is stunning and is worth a visit. We did five nights in Moorea and three in Bora Bora. I felt that was the perfect ratio of the two.

We stayed at the Hilton Moorea in a panoramic overwater villa. The best feature of Moorea is the lagoon, and the Hilton has the best reef. Over water bungalows are very nice, but I don't think it is worth it to stay in one for 14 days since they are pricey.

The bungalows are a decent size but no where near the size of the St. Regis villas in Bora Bora, but very comfortable. The lagoon was the highlight, and the amount of sea life we saw was amazing. Every moment of every day, there were fish, stingrays, sharks, some jellies, everything.

We spent all of our mornings, afternoons, and evenings in the lagoon.

Breakfast was included and good, and in the evening we often had crepes which were the best we've ever had of anywhere. The chef is a fantastic French guy.

One of my favorite memories is sitting on the lower deck while a full moon illuminated the lagoon and the water was totally calm, watching the sharks and rays swim around the property. We did the 4×4 tour (I recommend this) and got to see most of the island and visit old temples. We did not eat lunch but bought snacks in the gift shop.

Bora Bora, on the other hand, had beautiful water with little sea life. Most of our activities were in tours in the lagoon which were more expensive than in Moorea.

We almost booked the Sofitel Moorea because it has a beautiful view of Tahiti, but were ultimately very satisfied with the Hilton. Those staying at the Sofitel said they enjoyed it but not the food. They had decent snorkeling, but not the variety of wildlife we had at the Hilton. I thought the Hilton property looked nicer, and was more spread out.

If you have any questions, please feel free to message me. I'm a French Polynesia enthusiast and am happy to answer what I can. We have only gone to BB and Moorea but have done a great deal of research on Taha'a, Raitea, and Tetiaroa.

Use a travel agent.

You will get the best bang for your buck. I've used two companies, one for my honeymoon and the other exclusively for our return trips since she has gotten us everything we've wanted. Shop around, find who you like. They can even save you money by skipping a plane ride from Fa'aa and taking the water ferry to Moorea. Also, we are from Chicago as well.

Book your LA flight separately from the travel agent since they are just booking from LAX to Papeete. We've historically found the best and most comfortable deals on Virgin America out of O'hare. The red eye midnight flight from LAX leaves you plenty of time to get to Los Angeles on Virgin, they have an evening flight that comes in I think at 7PM. Air Tahiti Nui desk in LAX does not open until like 10PM, so you have no choice but to sit and wait. There are no lounges to use prior to getting checked in.

The overnight flight from Papeete to LAX arrives at the same time as other international flights, run to customs if you are connecting or leave enough buffer time for an hour or more of waiting.

I Do Love This Town

Columbus is a great place to get married in! Some friends of mine had their ceremony and reception in the room upstairs at the north market.

It was nice.

You can do free walk up weddings at Inniswoods if I recall correctly. No chairs or anything allowed.

Wedding Venues In Columbus

Depending on the size of the wedding, the MetroParks have some nice rentable lodges and shelters that aren't terribly expensive. Scioto-Darby park is particularly good, or the one at Sharon Woods is lovely. I think rentals generally run between $100-400.

For cost savings, book your wedding/reception on any day other than a Saturday.

Do yourself a favor and get a wedding budget setup and get a wedding worksheet. It will make planning a lot easier to know your actual numbers and where your priorities are in costs.

Call the folks at the Columbus Athenaeum. Prices are very reasonable. My cheap might not be the same as your cheap but their prices were significantly lower than other reception halls in the city.

They are very flexible and can help you work within your budget.

I personally wanted something real small and personal.

We only wanted immediate family involved. They have a nice small classic aged feel at their worthington chapel. You can have it inside or outside in their rose garden.

As for cheap I don't know if you'll find much better than their elopement package. Plus they take care of a lot of hassles including invitations and rsvp's. We had a dry reception, and later that night we met up with the couple that made upour wedding party and a few friends down at Double Happiness for booze and yakitori.