I know we’re inundated with gift guides, but I can’t resist showing some love to the great businesses, restaurants, food-makers, teachers, and creators of our city. I put together some ideas for gifts, including suggestions for mini itineraries, but here’s the gist of it: GIVE THE GIFT OF EXPERIENCES.
My goodness, we all have enough stuff. Instead, figure out creative ways you can spend time with the people you love. Sign up for a class, explore a new neighborhood, join a tour, have coffee, enjoy a great meal together.
Create your own gift packages that are neighborhood-centric. Schedule fun classes, buy gift cards to coffee shops or restaurants, block out time to just be together. For instance:
- Old Worthington: grab coffee at Highline Coffee, take a class at Igloo Letterpress, get lunch or dinner at the Whitney House or the Worthington Inn, then get drinks at House Wine
- Grandview: snag coffee at Stauf’s or Grandview Grind (or have afternoon tea at Cambridge Tea House!), stroll Grandview Avenue, have dinner at Mazah, Spagio, or Third & Hollywood, see at movie at the Grandview Theater
- Short North: go shopping at Big Fun, Tigertree, Rocket Fizz, or any of the art galleries, then get lunch at Philco, Forno, The Guild House, or Tasi Cafe, make your own candles at The Candle Lab, take a board game break at Kingmakers
- Short North (bonus!): get dinner at The Table or Service Bar, catch live music and cocktails at Brothers Drake
- Clintonville: go shopping at Wholly Craft, Global Gallery, or What the Rock?!, grab dinner at Harvest Kitchen, Old Skool, or Mozart’s, finish up with beers at Lineage and a movie at Studio 35
- Dublin: stroll Historic Dublin, poke your head in the shops, get dinner at Tucci’s or the Dublin Village Tavern, dessert at Jeni’s
- Brewery District: grab dinner at Rockmill Tavern, Smoked on High, or CBC Restaurant, then catch a show at Shadowbox Live
- Easton: go shopping at Celebrate Local, Homage, Bink Davies, and other local shops, then grab lunch at Northstar Cafe, Zest Juice Co., Hot Chicken Takeover, Condado, or Fusian
- Give gifts that keep giving more experiences, like a year-long membership to COSI (with the new dinosaur exhibit!), the Columbus Museum of Art, Franklin Park Conservatory, Wild Goose Creative, the Columbus Zoo, and the Wexner Center
- Buy them seats on a culinary or cultural tour: a variety of cuisines and neighborhoods from Columbus Food Adventures, breweries and distilleries with Columbus Brew Adventures, or historical and architectural tours from the new Columbus City Adventures
- Buy someone a drink and enjoy it with them! Bring them a growler from the new Draft Room, Growl, The Daily Growler, or The Ohio Taproom
- I love getting interesting whiskeys or bourbons from Watershed Distillery and Middle West Spirits. Better yet – book a tour and a tasting at one of the distilleries, then stay for dinner at their restaurants!
- Pick up a couple Columbus Ale Trail passports and buy them giftcards to their first two stops!
- Whet their appetite with a six-pack or bomber of brews from local breweries like
- Seventh Son, Zaftig, Rockmill, Platform, North High, Land-Grant, Four String, Mad Moon Cider, Columbus Brewing Company, Sideswipe, or others
- Look for products from local makers, like the unique Laine Avenue Backpacks, restored axes from Yellowood Designs, leather products from Branch Line Leather
- Seek out businesses that offer helpful pre-packaged gifts, like restaurants that pair T-shirts with giftcards, or like Goldfish Swim School‘s special package with 20 products bundled together.
- Get someone into great coffee by buying them a giftcard, a pound of beans, and even coffee brewing equipment from Columbus roasters like Brioso, Crimson Cup, Ramble Coffee, Thunderkiss, One Line, Luck Bros, Stauf’s, Mission, and Florin Coffee. Many of them, like Crimson Cup, offer classes in roasting and brewing.
- Take a cooking class or join a participatory dining event at The Kitchen, 1400 Food Lab, Flowers & Bread, or Sur la Table
- Even better, get them seasonings and sauces for cooking, like spices from North Market Spices, hot sauces from CaJohn’s, and new sauces and seasonings from Double Comfort
- Find recipes or local cookbooks and introduce them to great local ingredients for cooking, like eggs and sausage from Copia Farm, Saddleberk pork, North Country Charcuterie, milk from Hartzler Dairy or Snowville Creamery, and mushrooms from Tiger Mushroom Farms.
- Learn fun ways to create cocktails using local products like ROOT 23 simple syrups.
- Give giftcards for spots where you can buy ingredients, like bakeries, creameries, or butcher shops: The Butcher & Grocer, Hills Market, Weiland’s, Dough Mama, Sassafras, Laughlin’s, Omega, Dan the Baker, North Market