Short North Arts District, Columbus: What to See & Do + Where to Eat, Drink & Stay

If you’re heading to Columbus, Ohio, and looking for a vibrant and culturally rich place to stay, look no further than the Short North Arts District. Known for its buzzing artistic and creative atmosphere, this hip neighborhood just north of the Arena District is packed with art galleries, specialty shops, cafés, pubs, and nightclubs.

With streets adorned with colorful murals and public art installations, like the Summer Spray Short North Murals, the vibrant district exudes a creative and eclectic ambiance. For more formal art exploration, don’t miss the Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art in the Columbus Museum of Art.

North High Street and the North Market Downtown are fantastic places for experiencing the neighborhood’s buzzy vibe, and as the sun sets, the Short North Arts District comes alive with its nightlife. Party the night away with live music, dancing, and socializing at a dynamic mix of bars, pubs, and nightclubs.

Does this funky neighborhood sound like your kind of gig? Don’t miss a beat and use this top-notch guide for what to see & do, where to eat & drink, and where to stay in the Short North Arts District, Columbus, Ohio.

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What to see & do in the Short North Arts District

North Market Downtown

There’s no better place to get a feel for a neighborhood than at the local market—and the North Market Downtown is no different! Located on Spruce Street, this historic public market has been a local staple since 1876, making it a true treasure trove of history and community.

North Market has evolved over the years, transforming from a simple market into a vibrant cultural hub. It’s also a foodie’s paradise, offering everything from farm-fresh produce and artisanal cheeses to mouthwatering international cuisine.

North Market Downtown

Explore the market stalls, sample the delicious foods, and chat with friendly local vendors showcasing their craft and creations. From gourmet chocolates and freshly baked pastries to international cuisines and Ohio-grown produce, there’s something for every taste!

The market has its fair share of iconic offerings. Be sure to try the famous Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and the mouthwatering crepes from Taste of Belgium.

The best time to visit North Market Downtown is on weekends. Saturdays can be bustling, offering a lively atmosphere and a chance to experience the market at its most vibrant. Sundays, on the other hand, offer a more relaxed vibe, perfect for leisurely exploring.

North High Street

For a fantastic blend of creativity, culture, and community, not to mention excellent shopping, head to North High Street in the heart of the Short North Arts District. Running through the center of the neighborhood, this vibrant street boasts an eclectic blend of art, culture, shopping, and dining.

Art galleries showcasing local and international artists line the sidewalks of North High Street, making it a haven for art enthusiasts. Discover unique fashion, jewelry, and handcrafted treasures at trendy boutiques, and ever-changing street art adorns distinctive brick façades. Venture into the charming side streets and alleys where hidden boutiques, cozy cafés, and intimate galleries await discovery.

North High Street buzzes with an infectious energy, making it one of the coolest places to visit in Columbus, Ohio. During the day, it’s a hub for shoppers and art lovers; at night, it transforms into a dynamic entertainment district. You’ll find an array of places to eat & drink, from cozy cafés to upscale restaurants, and the street itself becomes a stage for live performances and festivals.

Don’t miss the First Saturday Gallery Hop if you’re in town. On the first Saturday of every month, the Gallery Hop comes alive. Art galleries stay open late, the streets are filled with performers, and the vibe is electric!

Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art

Delve into the artistic tapestry of the Short North Arts District at the Pizzuti Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art. Part of the Columbus Museum of Art, the Pizzuti Collection boasts a multitude of mediums and styles, from thought-provoking paintings and sculptures to art installations.

Columbus Museum of Art

Founded by Ron and Ann Pizzuti, the collection seamlessly merges contemporary art with cultural exploration. Expect an eclectic array of artworks that mirror the complexities of the modern world. Explore gallery spaces adorned with creations that will inspire, provoke thought, and contemplate the essence of each piece.

After your journey through the Pizzuti Collection, continue your artistic exploration by venturing into the other sections of the Columbus Museum of Art. One of the must-see Columbus museums, it’s a treasure trove of diverse exhibits and artistic wonders.

Summer Spray Short North Murals

Celebrate the intersection of art and urban life at the Summer Spray Short North Murals. Scattered throughout the Short North Arts District, this open-air gallery of vibrant murals infuses the streets with an artistic vibrancy that’s hard to miss.

As you explore, you’ll find these murals adorning building walls, alleyways, and unexpected corners, transforming the district into a living canvas. Each mural tells a unique story, blending different styles, colors, and themes.

The district comes alive with creativity, extending beyond its galleries and establishments. The Summer Spray Murals invite engagement with the art, capturing it in photos and becoming part of its vibrant narrative. It’s a celebration of the district’s cultural vibrancy, and your presence adds another layer to its dynamic canvas.

While some murals are easily visible, others are tucked away in unexpected spots. Keep your eyes peeled and follow your curiosity. If you’re lucky, you might spot an artist at work. Strike up a conversation; they often share fascinating stories and insights about their art.

Arnold Statue

If you’re a fan of Conan the Barbarian, Mr. Universe, and the Terminator, don’t miss the Arnold Statue on North High Street. Performing his signature ‘twisted double biceps pose,’ the eight-foot-tall, 600-pound effigy of Arnold Schwarzenegger celebrates his longtime connection to the Ohio city.

Donated by Robert M. Goldman on behalf of the International Sports Hall of Fame, the Arnold Statue marks Schwarzenegger’s Mr. World victory and his longtime connection to Columbus, Ohio, which hosts the annual bodybuilding and fitness competition known as the Arnold Classic.

The statue was unveiled in 2012 outside the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, where Schwarzenegger won the 1970 Mr. Universe. It was moved to its current location outside the Columbus Convention Center in Downtown Columbus when the auditorium was torn down.

Goodale Park

Take a break from exploring and enjoy a few hours of relaxation at Goodale Park. This picturesque haven of nature dates back to 1851 and is one of the oldest city parks in the United States.

Once a military camp during the Civil War, Goodale Park has become a green haven cherished by locals and visitors alike. The park’s expansive green spaces are perfect for picnics, reading, or simply enjoying the outdoors.

Goodale Park

Stroll along the winding pathways and explore the various sculptures and art installations that grace the park. Venture off the main paths to discover hidden corners and quiet spots that offer a sense of intimacy and solitude.

Keep an eye out for the various sculptures and art installations that dot the park. They add an artistic touch to the natural surroundings and create a unique blend of creativity and nature.

Pack a picnic basket with your favorite treats and find a cozy spot under the shade of a tree. It’s the perfect way to unwind and enjoy the park’s peaceful ambiance.

Where to eat & drink

With its wide selection of cafes, restaurants, and bars, you’ll find everything from mouthwatering pizza to traditional German fare in the Short North Arts District.

Looking for lively vibes and tasty eats like hand-tossed pizzas and killer pasta? Marcella’s is your go-to! Expect a vibrant, laid-back ambiance, superb Italian nosh, and just-as-good wine. Weekends tend to draw a crowd, so making a reservation is wise. If outdoor vibes are your thing, book a spot on the patio for people-watching.

Nestled in the heart of the action of the Arena District, Forno Kitchen + Bar is your pre-/post-entertainment hangout. It’s sleek, modern, and oh-so-chic. Their wood-fired pizzas are a knockout – give the Margherita a whirl and wash it down with a craft cocktail. Their Happy Hour is your chance to sip without breaking the bank.

Just a stone’s throw from the Short North Arts District, the Guild House is your go-to for an upscale dining affair. Classy vibes, artistic décor, and a menu of seasonal and locally sourced dishes delight. Be sure to treat yourself to their signature ‘Guilded Nut’ cocktail – it’s one-of-a-kind! Book a table to guarantee your spot.

Marcella in Short North District

Tucked into the heart of the area, Char Bar is a cozy escape with a side of nostalgia. Think charming neighborhood vibes and brick-lined streets. When it comes to the menu, their gourmet burgers are the stars, and their inventive cocktails are not to be missed. Try the ‘Smokey Old Fashioned’ for a fun twist. If the weather’s nice, their outdoor patio is the best spot in the house.

When it’s beer ‘o clock, head to Short North Pint House, where the extensive beer list is a winner. Why not try a flight to taste a variety? And while you’re at it, their pub fare, like the loaded tots, is the perfect match. Plan to arrive early on weekends to avoid the crowd and get good seating. And if you’re a brew enthusiast, chat up the staff for some hoppy wisdom.

Arch City Tavern offers a cozy retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle and the perfect place to unwind in a laid-back atmosphere. Their mac ‘n’ cheese is legendary, and they’ve got a selection of local craft beers and signature cocktails. Their happy hour is where it’s at for good deals on both drinks and bites. And if you’re in the mood for some hearty comfort food, this is the spot.

Where to stay

As one of the premier downtown neighborhoods, the Short North Arts District is one of the coolest places to stay in Columbus, Ohio. Due to its small size, however, the accommodation selection in the area is limited to just a handful of boutique hotels. If you run out of options here, head further into downtown to check out neighborhoods like the Arena District and Discovery District.

Graduate Columbus

Graduate Columbus

Conveniently located a few miles from Ohio State University and the Columbus Museum of Art, Graduate Columbus offers comfortable rooms with collegiate-themed décor and modern amenities. Upgrade to a suite for spacious living areas and stay connected with free Wi-Fi. Use loaner bikes to explore the neighborhood.

Moxy Columbus Short North

Moxy Columbus Short North

Contemporary and cool, Moxy Columbus Short North boasts laid-back facilities like an industrial-chic bar, a game room with a pool table, a 24-hour fitness center, and a lounge. Unwind in trendy rooms with city views, flat-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi. The Greater Columbus Convention Center is a short walk away.

Le Méridien Columbus

Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph

Set within a striking building a few miles from the Wexner Center for the Arts, Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph oozes style and sophistication. Chic rooms with industrial-style décor have custom-designed beds and espresso machines. Top-notch facilities include a high-end restaurant with a bar, a luxury spa, a 24-hour fitness room, and a lobby lounge with art exhibits.


Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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