AS WE WANDERED THROUGH busy art galleries and locally owned shops and boutiques on High Street in Columbus, Ohio, it was hard to imagine this vibrant area was a decaying, squatter-filled, crime-ridden section of town not so long ago.
The 18th-century brick buildings in the Short North Arts District housing shops, restaurants and residences intersperse with sleek new condo buildings, brand-new high-tech hotels and high-rises under construction. A recent infusion of millions of dollars from the city for streetscape improvements made the area greener, safer and more walkable. What began as a burgeoning arts district in the 1980s now blooms as one of the hottest, trendiest neighborhoods of this fast-growing city.
The district boasts an arts trail, three parks and dozens of places to eat and shop. Visitors can take art, brewery, food and dessert tours or enjoy live music at bars and nightclubs, where they can see the city’s popular drag queens. Short North also has some of the city’s best happy hours and rooftop bars, a relatively new addition to Columbus. The jam-packed events calendar features fitness classes, festivals, tastings, live music and performance art. Giant interactive kiosks help visitors find information on transportation, restaurants, parks, hotels and stores.
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