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About Columbus

Ohio, nicknamed the "Buckeye State" and "Birthplace of Aviation," is the seventh most populous state in the United States. It takes its name from the Ohio River, which originated from the Seneca word ohiːyo', meaning "good river", "great river", or "large creek".

Ohio's capital of Columbus is a friendly city of sleek, modern high-rises and century-old buildings along the banks of the Scioto River. In addition to being home to one of the finest universities in the nation, its attractions range from a rich visual and performing arts scene and renowned zoo to exciting sports, fine restaurants, and enough specialty shops, outlets, and malls to satisfy even the most avid of browsers and buyers.

"What we don’t talk about enough is Ohio’s unique and remarkable quality of life. We are a state of cities, small towns and growing suburbs where life is affordable and destinations within reach. There is no better place to raise a family." – Bob Taft

Life in Columbus

Do you like ethnic food? Independent movies? Sports? What about modern dance? Installation and performance art? Maybe even medieval music played on period instruments?

If so, you'll not be bored in Columbus. We're the largest city in Ohio—over three quarters of a million people—and there's a lot going on. Far be it from me to suggest that you should do anything during your graduate school years except study, study, study, but if you go looking for less constrained pursuits, you'll find them. Here's a sampling.

The Wexner offers incredible examples of contemporary performance and installation art, as well as contemporary art in more traditional media. The Franklin Park Conservatory boasts 88 acres of indoor and outdoor art- and nature-based exhibits, greenhouses and landscaped grounds. The Short North offers a Gallery Hop on the first Saturday of each month, during which galleries, restaurants and other venues stay open late to encourage flaneurs. There are also a lot of galleries in the German Village area and the area around the Columbus College of Art and Design. The Columbus Museum of Art has excellent collections of American art and visiting shows, in addition, it has free admission on Sundays; exceptional collections of ancient art are found nearby in ClevelandCincinnati and Toledo. And every summer the Columbus Arts Festival transforms the downtown Columbus riverfront.

There are Metro Parks, a bike path that stretches for almost twenty miles through Columbus and past campus, and if you go further South of the city, you can find hiking, birdwatching, and climbing on the largest free climbing wall in the country at the Scioto Audubon Park and Grange Insurance Audubon Center.  Or stay on campus and enjoy a workout at the Recreation and Physical Activity Center (RPAC) or go indoor rock climbing at the Adventure Recreation Center (ARC).

Tired of blockbuster vehicles starring Scientologists? The Wexner Center for the Arts has numerous movie series during the academic year and a couple each summer, featuring films that often are not released elsewhere (Vincent Gallo's "The Brown Bunny"), unusual foreign fare (Tarkovsky's "Solaris") and film classics (Jacques Tati's "Playtime"). The Drexel Theatre focuses on contemporary independent film-makers—including documentaries. The Gateway Film Center at the South Campus Gateway is central Ohio's first dedicated film center and features a diverse mix of independent and commercial film.

Let's take just one area, the Short North, as an example. You'll find lots of restaurants and coffee houses that break the culinary rules to good effect. We also have one of the oldest—and best—farmers' markets in the country: the North Market, which is now under one large roof and open all year round, selling fresh fruits and vegetables, locally raised meats, fresh fish, etc. It also has small restaurants offering a variety of ethnic foods. 

Columbus is extremely diverse; we are considered one of the most gay and lesbian-friendly cities in the country, for example, and we have one of the largest populations of neo-pagans anywhere. Like most college towns, our population is ethnically mixed. There are also affordable neighborhoods near campus for young families. Check out an issue of one of our local alternative publications: Columbus Monthly and 614 Columbus.

Jazz and Blues are available in the Brewery District and the Arena District; alternative rock and many others can be found at the Newport and the Schottenstein in the campus area and the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion in the Arena District. There's far more classical music around here than I can mention—look at Chamber Music Columbus for a taste. ComFest, which is held for three days every June in Goodale Park, highlights local talents—both musical and culinary.

The Wexner Center presents contemporary and traditional dance performances, experimental and mainstream theatrical pieces and some other form of live entertainment that, well, can't be defined very easily. Ohio State has one of the top-ranked dance programs in the country; our local Ballet Met is strong in contemporary Dance. CATCo, (The Contemporary Theatre of Ohio) has great stuff, too. There's Shakespeare in the Park. And then there's always the DooDah Parade

Columbus boasts a rich sports history and has become a leading sports destination. From its hometown teams - the Columbus Blue JacketsColumbus Crew SC, and Columbus Clippers - the Greater Columbus Sports Commision brings amateur, collegiate and professional sports events to town each year.  Of course we can't forget our very own Ohio State Buckeyes.

If you can't bring yourself to leave the books behind completely, there are ways to have fun while improving your mind. Over the years, a number of informal reading groups have come into and out of existence, led by faculty members but oriented towards grad students in Classics, Ancient History, History of Ancient Art, etc. They last as long as the student interest lasts. For the past two years, for example, a group has met every month to read methodologically challenging scholarship on ancient religions. Take an intensive summer course on epigraphy or attend guest lectures and seminars.