Time has traveled fast and I can’t believe it was time to college shop for my daughter. More than a few of her university choices are in Columbus, so we created a Mom-Daughter getaway while we shop for schools.
Interviewing is a necessary and exhausting process. There is no better way to learn the area than to bask in all of its amenities from Spa time to shopping, to a stay in an upscale boutique hotel. After all, if she is spending time in Ohio, so am I. It is time for us to Experience Columbus.
We are about to indulge in the true spirit of Columbus, unwind in between university interviews and uncover the ‘Columbus Food Scene (a.k.a. #cbusfoodscene). Are you ready to eat, drink, travel and repeat? It’s time to lavishly live life in Columbus out loud as I prepare my daughter for the next step in her life!
Our Getaway To Experience Columbus
Columbus, Ohio is not a foreign place to me. In fact, as my son played ice hockey, we spent a lot of time in the area through tournaments. I loved what I saw then and I loved it even more now. Read on to learn about my Experience Columbus as my daughter and I visit colleges and universities and uncover the area a bit more in-depth.
Pizza and Travel Just Go Together
I’m not the only one that knows Columbus has a thriving food scene, just search it on IG with the hashtag I just gave you. Now, are you hungry? Simply put, there is no way to look at the hashtag and not get hungry, so let’s solve this and eat!
Being a foodie gal, my first priority was eating after a 3-hour drive. Our stop, 2376 E. Main St. Bexley, OH 43209 one of several HARVEST PIZZERIA locations. I love it in Bexley and it 10 minutes from our Spa appointment.
The menu is large and competes with our hunger. Parking is available all over Bexley, including side streets, etc. We parked next to the library, with ease and only a minute of a walk to the Pizzeria.
Inside, it’s very comfortable and chic. With wooden tables and the coolest bar top created of cement. I love that the bar area opens with the sliding ‘garage-like’ doors during warmer weather, it’s definitely a ‘hot-spot’ in the area for libations and eats.
Which Pizza Do We Want?
To keep this short and sweet, we both ordered the Lunch Special. Similarly, we both opted to go sauceless and with veggies. Mine was arugula and artichokes with an olive oil crust and a mozzarella/provolone blend.
While Kallie ordered, an olive oil crust, mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, and arugula. We each also enjoyed a chopped salad that comes with the pizza.
The chopped salad was ALL-STAR in my opinion. Stacked generously on the plate, with just enough dressing to taste without being overdone. Our spa appointment suggested we ‘not eat heavy or drink alcohol preceding our appointment’ so we just opted for water.
Dessert was the choice everyone needs to try a S’MORE from the heavens, just look and drool!
Salt Spa Float Tank Experience
Ebb & Float
After a drive and an early interview, it was time to just BE. Recharge, relax and float your day away (at least an hour of it) at Ebb and Float, your incredible, must visit Float Spa in Columbus. Located in the heart of downtown Columbus, at 231 North 5th Street, Columbus, OH, 43215, it’s a short walk from the boutique Hotel LeVeque.
Unlike anything we’ve experienced for spa therapy, this is distinguished tranquility. Start with a 15-minute chair massage. Please note these are atypical massage chairs because they are VERY comfortable, unlike those crappy salon experiences we’ve all had!
Enter into your salt spa tank room, shower, and begin your magnificent Float Spa experience. P.S. – yes you float naked and for one hour, you are in a soundproof room, where life just exists outside but you are unbothered and spoiled by a 94° experience.
Luxury Boutique Collection Hotel in Downtown Columbus
This castle of upscale luxury is both historic and smartly sophisticated. Located inside the LeVeque historic tower and in the center of everything. Valet parking allows you to just roll up, and check-in.
Greeted by a posh foyer, a Starbucks, a doorman, and a splashy, swanky front desk area, it’s everything you could want and more for a mom, daughter getaway. Also, I consider it my new home away from home for future visits to my daughter.
Our room was grandiose and very uptown. 2 King Size beds, a desk, coffee maker, umbrellas and an elaborate bathroom including a separated bathroom area.
After checking in we got ready for dinner, it had been more than 6 hours since we last ate and we were starved. Housed inside of this Autography Collection hotel is a bar and restaurant you must visit.
THE KEEP. Dress up a little, everyone around us was dressed, if you don’t want to hear it from me, check out the menu options and pricing and you can interpret it from there. French fare rounds out the menu and libations are all premium.
Cocktails – Pinkies Up
My sipping pleasure was a Hemmingways Daquiri and Kallie’s cocktail was a Pear Necessities. Each perfectly mixed, and dainty. We even exchanged sips to just see what we missed out on! Sip. Sip. Hooray.
Chilled or Heated Up
Elegant getaways, call for saporous beginnings and THE KEEP delivers big! Kallie decided to get heated up with French Onion soup topped with Gruyere. I, however, went ‘chill’ with a Crab Cocktail.
Either is a stupendous decision in both flavor and texture, you can’t miss. When it comes to fabulous with a side of ‘luxury’ this is your foodie destination.
Our choices ranged from vegetarian Lentils and Legumes to Beef Bourguignon. Mirepoix, fried chickpeas, hazelnuts and smoked mushrooms with a tamarind vinaigrette, za’atar labneh. Yes you can eat meat or seafood or totally vegetarian, really your choice.
The menu has plenty of options, and each one looked better than the next. Choosing is never an easy task with presentation looks like this on every order outbound from the kitchen and we watched a lot of food move through here that evening.
It’s Not Just A Hotel…
Thanks to Corey the Food and Beverage Manager for our behind-the-scenes tour of Hotel LeVeque. We are about to ascend 555 feet to the Penthouse and then to the roof! Hold on to those cameras and watch your step!
The hotel is boutique in every sense of the word and it is also known as the LeVeque Tower with condominium housing )47 floors) on one side and 150 guest rooms on the other. Further, there is a theater and office spaces built into this mixture as well.
Notable to point out: Incredible to view by day or night from the top or the bottom. By night, it’s a starry sky masterpiece for viewing, not only the sky but the city. Overlooking the Scioto River and if you walk around the top (private tours only) you will get to see all sides of the city including the Nationwide Arena.
Culture, Adventure, Food and Fun Things To Do
While we managed college visits in between all the fun things to do, we also visited more of the great #CbusFoodScene. First things first, good eats to fuel the morning and all I can say is, “Good Eats Found!”
Katalina’s – SouthLatin-Eats
What is “SouthLatin eats?” It’s foodie creations that mix that home-cooked Southern with a bit of Latin inspiration and you just want to eat till you can eat no more! Your belly be fulled up by the time you leave, no questions asked!
Fresh, innovative eats ranging from vegan to meat-laden, open all day and jamming, bustling busy! This is the way to start your Columbus mornings. I loved the Boxed Water, the writing on the wall and the funky foods.
We tried the famed pancake balls filled with Nutella (yum!), Shagbark Black Bean Soup, Tomole Soup, Avocado Toast, and the Breakfast Chick “wich”. Let me sum this up for you: Oh My Foodgasm and my other article will cover this food extensively so you can drool!
Shop It Off
There’s nothing worse than shopping on a full belly and feeling like no clothes can help that food baby, but who cares. I am about to share with the secret the ‘insider’s track’ of where to shop in Columbus for the best of the best at incredible prices.
Head on over to Grandview Avenue and suddenly you will find more upscale Thrift and Fashion shopping than you can accomplish in one day.
We spent time in Thread, One More Time, and a lot of time and money in Second Chance on W 5th Avenue. The jackpot for shopping for brand name fashion in CLEAN stores!
Flowers & Art
Next stop the Botanical Gardens the Franklin Park Conservatory where every season is in full bloom. Gorgeous indoor walkways and outdoor walkways filled with greenery, and blooms. Perfect for a rainy day or if it’s in-season (Spring through Fall) outdoor grounds.
Parking was free and the lot is large. Do plan for at least 3 hours, and if on exterior grounds even more time to enjoy everything this garden has to offer.
Time for art. Admittedly we were running out of time and had to get to Short North, we somehow managed to cram a bit of time into the Columbus Museum of Art. I consider this time as a getting acquainted situation and next time as a must spend a few hours destination.
North Market in Columbus
First stop, ice cream in the North Market. Albeit tough to find parking, there is plenty. We happened to be there on a rainy on and off day and I did not feel like getting soaked. We ended up a few blocks away and crept down an alley to find our ice cream host, Jenis.
Non Dairy heaven in a cup or for Kallie, Dairy heaven in a cup. Jenni’s offers both non-dairy and dairy-filled ice cream treats! Yum and Lilac won my heart. We walked through North Market, we were honestly stuffed from Katalina’s so ice cream was the perfect in between a belly-busting breakfast and dinner!
After shopping for a bit, it was off to make candles in Short North. It’s all driveable and super close. Nothing in Columbus is hard to find, in case you are wondering.
Short North Arts District
This place is poppin’ is all I can say. It’s cute, trendy, chic and loaded with shops, bars, and fun things to do. Put on your walking shoes, park your car (using an app to keep the meter paid up) and then enjoy.
The Candle Lab in Short North
Walk in, breathe and let the experience begin. Fill a clipboard up with your favorite scents, get creative, choose a jar, and then make a label, it’s that easy. In between the time, it is poured to the time it is set, you will have 90 minutes.
My suggestion, grab a bite! We headed to this fabulous American Restaurant inspired by New York Deli’s, meet Harvey & Ed’s.
Harvey & Ed’s – Foodie Fun
Brussel Sprouts paired with aged goat cheese. walnuts and grapes too, Hummus with Crudite platters, and a great Happy Hour. Honestly, it was super busy around 6 when we arrived, but our server TEAL was great.
She made sure we got in on the last of Happy Hour and had great suggestions for food options. We also tested the Brussel Sprouts. You might be scratching your head asking why would anyone intentionally eat Brussel sprouts, but when cooked properly they will rock your socks. These did!
One of my finds of the night, dessert. This huge black and white cookie was a statement piece. Don’t you agree? Truly, you can split this dessert easily between 2-3 people, unless you did not eat your dinner.
Exiting Columbus to the Next School Visit
Before we headed to our next destination in Ohio, for more school visits, we stopped at the doughnut destination you don’t want to miss. It’s doughnut heaven on earth. You know that everywhere I go, I stop for doughnuts.
Thanks to my dad, I never have stopped my affection with this treat. Amy’s Donuts is your stop, it is about 15 minutes out of downtown Columbus and so busy and delicious! With a line that greets you at 6 AM in the morning, you know you found the best of the best!
Columbus has an incredible amount of options for touring, trying, experiencing no matter the weather. For us, it was about spending quality time together while visiting many schools in the area for her next level of education.
My personal thanks to Experience Columbus and all the destinations that hosted us while we were there. See you all again soon! Dana XO ~