We spoke to Columbus leaders, business owners and visionaries about what makes the city special.
My Favorite Thing: Celeste Malvar-Stewart | Founder of the Malvar = Stewart fashion line
“One of my favorite things in Columbus is the Main Library, with its beautiful old facade and expansive modern addition. During my rare breaks from creating, I relish the chance to visit,” says Malvar-Stewart. “I often enjoy starting my visit at their little café for a nice cup of coffee and scone while I sketch in my notebook, then saunter over to the gift shop to check out their latest cool and clever products along with my favorite section of discounted books. … To add to its vast resource of inspiration, there is a wonderful art gallery in its old wing that often holds exhibitions that feature work from local artists.”
My Favorite Thing: Nannette V. Maciejunes | Executive director of the Columbus Museum of Art
“My favorite Columbus experience was a Columbus Symphony Orchestra performance of ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' at one of my favorite places, the Ohio Theatre,” says the author and art historian. “Three generations of women in my family—myself, my daughter and my granddaughter—went together. My 6-year-old granddaughter is an absolute Harry Potter fanatic, so the event was a very special way to introduce her to the symphony and the theater. We were right up front in the loge where she could move around. She sat there with her Hermione wand in her Gryffindor scarf, completely entranced by the whole experience. I can't wait for the next one.”
My Favorite Thing: Abdilahi Hassan | Owner of Hoyo's Kitchen
“I really love the fact that Columbus has grown,” says the owner of the fast-casual Somali restaurant in Columbus Square. “And with that comes a lot of hope and potential, and people learning about different cultures—more diversity in the city. You can see it. If you compare to 10 years ago, we're growing in numbers and representation, especially in regards to cuisine. … There's a nice mix of everything, especially in the growing restaurant scene.” As for his favorite destination to find the wealth of worldwide cuisine, he says Minerva Park contains some of the best hole-in-the-wall places with cultural dishes around.
My Favorite Thing: Chris Holtmann | Ohio State men's basketball coach
“Olentangy Trail for my jogging/biking—when the weather is even remotely nice I want to be outside. Fresh air is cathartic for me and a great [way] to clear my mind,” says Holtmann, whose inaugural season at Ohio State ended in March. He also enjoys Easy Living Deli and The Original Pancake House in the Campus area, and he praises the local schools—his 8-year-old daughter just finished her first year—as well as the reception he received from residents. “Whether it has been out and about or a stop at the gas station, the people of Columbus have been welcoming to our family, and we really appreciate that.”
My Favorite Thing: Frederic Bertley | COSI president and CEO
“As there are so many wonderful things to do in Columbus, I will cheat and mention two.Of course, one has to involve food—my wife, Heather, and I love to get breakfast at Tommy's Diner in Franklinton. Their specials are terrific, and the atmosphere set by [owners] Tommy, Kathy and Michael [is] just unbeatable—hoping to get my photo on the wall one day soon! The second really cool thing is the Franklin Park Conservatory. To have such a large and spectacular resource right near Downtown is truly unusual for a large city. The conservatory's expansive horticulture is matched only by the diversity of people who enjoy it.”