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Top 10 Things to do in The University District

Walker Evans Walker Evans Top 10 Things to do in The University DistrictPhoto via HeyGateway.com.
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One of the most rapidly changing neighborhoods in Columbus is the University District, which surrounds the campus of the Ohio State University. The area features everything from stately historic homes to fraternity and sorority houses, and a wide variety of independent and chain businesses that cater to the primarily young demographic found in the neighborhood.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you have to live in the University District to enjoy the area. This central city locale has many interesting landmarks that appeal to both local and regional visitors as well. In no particular order, here are ten things you need to cross off your to-do list in order to have the full University District experience:

1. Walk Through The Ohio State University Campus

Photo by Walker Evans.

First things first, if you don’t explore OSU, then you’re missing out on the most prominent feature of the neighborhood. The main campus of the college includes interesting architecture to examine, outdoor art and sculptures, plenty of greenspace, and amenities that aren’t just for students — like the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. OSU’s campus is so large though, that you might need a day or two if you want to take the time to see all of it.

2. Party like a College Student at Neighborhood Bars

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Photo by Lillian Dent.

Whether you’re visiting for a college football game, or checking things out during a slower summer evening, there are plenty of watering holes throughout the area worthy of your attention. Older alumni might gravitate toward long-standing traditions at The Out-R-Inn, The Varsity Club or The Library. If you’re looking for a younger crowd, you could always try Midway on High, Little Bar or Toos Under High.

3. Spend some time at Tuttle Park

tuttle-park-3

Photo by Walker Evans.

Tuttle Park is one of the best hidden gems in the University District, offering neighbors and visitors a quiet respite from the bustle of High Street. The park borders the Olentangy River, offering scenic views from the biking and walking trails, as well as playground areas, baseball fields, and a public pool open all summer long. For more information, visit www.columbus.gov/recreationandparks/.

4. Catch a Movie at The Gateway Film Center

gateway-film-center

Photo by Walker Evans.

The Gateway Film Center is consistently rated one of the top places to watch films in Columbus. The theater offers an upscale environment for your movie-going pleasure, and features both first-run releases as well as a mix of cult classics, documentaries, family-friendly films and other types of special screenings and events. For more information, visit www.gatewayfilmcenter.org.

5. Get Cultured at The Wexner Center for the Arts

wexner-center

Photo via The Wexner Center.

If you’re looking for a modern art museum in Columbus, then you’ve found it at the Wexner Center for the Arts. This cultural facility provides locals and visitors with a wide assortment of visual arts exhibitions, independent film retrospectives, dance and theatrical arts performances, and much much more. Regardless of your taste in modern art, you’re likely to find something interesting here that captures your attention during any visit. For more info, visit www.wexarts.org.

6. Shop Along High Street

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Clothing Underground — Photo by Walker Evans.

While The Short North might be more well known as a shopper’s haven, The University District should not go overlooked for its offerings. There’s a handful of local boutiques like Clothing Underground that sell unique finds, while chains like Buffalo Vintage and Urban Outfitters call the neighborhood home to their only regional stores.

7. See a Show at The Newport

Green Day perfoming at The Newport in 2016 —Photo by Matt Ellis.

Green Day perfoming at The Newport in 2016 —Photo by Matt Ellis.

The Newport Musical Hall is proudly known as the country’s longest continually running rock club, showcasing musical acts large and small for the better part of the past fifty years. Obviously, concerts schedules are constantly changing, so be sure to plan in advance for tickets and details if you want to see some live music. For more information, visit www.promowestlive.com.

8. Grab some Late Night Food at Buckeye Donuts

buckeye-donuts

With such a large college student population in the area, The University District is naturally home to more than its fair share of late night eats. Several restaurants keep their kitchens open until 3am (or later) on weekends, and a handful are open 24/7. The most popular of 24 hour eateries is probably Buckeye Donuts, a campus tradition since 1969. For more information, visit alwaysopen.buckeye-donuts.com.

9. Catch Some More Live Music

Photo by Matt Ellis.

Photo by Matt Ellis.

If you’re looking for something more intimate than the aforementioned Newport, then you’ve still got options within the University District. Head north of OSU and you’ll find live music at Dick’s Den, Rumba Café, Hounddog’s, Scarlet & Grey Cafe, Rambling House, Ruby Tuesday, Ace of Cups and more.

10. Dine on The Cheap

Photo by Walker Evans.

Burger from Rippers Roadstand — Photo by Walker Evans.

If you’re hunting for cheap eats, then The University District is calling your name. Many restaurants here target the college-age demographic, which means lower prices all across the board. From Hang Over Easy to Pita Pit to Rippers Roadstand, there’s a wide variety of affordable options to be found. And don’t forget about the myriad of cheap pizza you can order too!

For more information about The University District, visit www.universitydistrict.org.

Do you have other favorite things to do in The University District? Leave a comment below to share your ideas with us!

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