By Joey Amato
This was my fourth visit to Columbus, Ohio and every time I visit, I discover something new. What a lot of people don’t realize about this thriving mid-west city is that its LGBTQ community is one of the largest in the United States and growing every day.
Here are a few LGBTQ attractions and events to explore while visiting The Arch City.
Stonewall Columbus – Few cities the size of Columbus offer an entire building dedicated to the local LGBTQ community. I got a chance to visit Stonewall Columbus, their LGBTQ community center, located in the Short North neighborhood. The building, which recently went through a major renovation, offers a number of health and wellness services in addition to hosting numerous events throughout the year. Stonewall also houses an art gallery dedicated to local LGBTQ artists.
German Village – German Village is a cute neighborhood just south of downtown which boasts a wonderful selection of restaurants, bars and bookstores, most notably The Book Loft, which offers an extensive collection of LGBTQ literature. A few blocks away are some of the city’s neighborhood gay bars including Club Diversity, Boscoe’s and Tremont Lounge. Club Diversity is located in a converted house and really does welcome the most diverse crowd I have seen at a gay bar in recent memory. The establishment makes everyone feel comfortable regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Boscoe’s is also quite unique. On the evening I visited, the bar had a drag show and male strippers alternating performances throughout the night.
Columbus Pride – Columbus Pride is one of the largest pride festivals in the country, drawing over 800,000 revelers every year and according to local sources, their pride parade is now larger than Chicago’s. Not a bad accomplishment for a city much smaller than Chi-Town. Plan on attending the next festival which is scheduled for June 19-21, 2020.
The Columbus Museum of Art – The Columbus Museum of Art will open an Art After Stonewall exhibition in March 2020. The exhibition, which previously visited Miami and New York was actually curated by the Columbus Museum of Art and will end the tour right where it all began. The entire process of curating an exhibition of this size, which includes about 250 works of art by LGBTQ artists, took around 7 years to complete. The collection includes a combination of well-known artists as well as some lesser known names.
Barcelona – For dinner, check out a gay-owned restaurant in German Village called Barcelona. The tapas-style restaurant offers a large indoor dining room as well as a lovely patio that makes you feel as if you are in Spain. I tried a variety of tapas in addition to a delicious charcuterie board which nicely completed the white sangria. Barcelona offers four types of paella to choose from including a vegetarian option.
If you are looking for an easy, affordable and fun city to visit, check out Columbus. You may be surprised at what this city has to offer, and you may keep coming back to experience its warmth and hospitality.
Enjoy the Journey!
Joey Amato is the publisher of Pride Journeys, a website dedicated to LGBTQ travel. Joey has spent over a decade in LGBTQ media and public relations and currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org