I'm not from here. So why Columbus?

A reporter from USA Today was recently in town, working on a story about our fine city. Why, she asked, do I love it?

I get the question a lot, actually.

I'm not from here. So why Columbus?

I love Columbus because the people are friendly, the vibe is warm and the energy is high. Because the arts are celebrated, the shopping is exceptional and the food is fantastic. Because we can afford to own a home in a neighborhood where kids walk to school-alone-and still have enough money to see football games at The Shoe, drink wine and travel.

I love Columbus because I can run the trails at Highbanks. Because I can enjoy lunch meetings in German Village over Harvest's spicy yuma pizza. Because when I'm home by 5:30 in the summer, there's time to drive my 3-year-old down the road to visit the polar bears at the country's best zoo (which he may or may not think we own).

And I love Columbus for a thousand reasons more. My hope is that in this particular issue, you can find a few of them, because we put it together to celebrate this city-and to help you best enjoy it, too.

Inside, you'll meet strong women-from a farmer to a restaurateur-who put their stamp on the city. You'll notice your neighbors giving back at events like Black Tie Blue Jackets and Stefanie's Champions, and you'll find opportunities on how you can, too. You'll see fresh fashion modeled at the stunning Hilton Downtown. You'll read about five of the Columbus College of Art & Design's star design students. You'll admire one woman's makeover transformation.

And you'll find much more, too: Our guide to Granville, market-inspired recipes and life tips from a meditation guru.

If you tear out one story to keep, I hope it's this: The Columbus Bucket List-25 ways to get the most out of where you live. And if it prompts you to try something new, go somewhere different or smile about a gem you didn't know was in your backyard, let me know.

At a recent event, a woman walked up to kindly compliment the magazine.

"It makes our city seem so fabulous," she said.

I hope so, I told her.

Because it is.