Five unexpected spots to take in the Red, White and Boom fireworks display
Red, White and Boom, Columbus' premier Independence Day celebration, arguably serves as the peak of our city's regular summer event lineup. But for every person who lives for the monstrous energy RWB offers, there's plenty who're irritated at even the thought of trying to deal with the crowds and the traffic-marred commute Downtown brought about by the event. This year, the latter group need not be curmudgeons. Look to this list to help you find a new and perhaps more enjoyable spot to take in the fireworks display, which kicks off at 10 p.m. on Friday, July 1.
Red, White and Boom
11 a.m. Friday, July 1 (fireworks kick off at 10 p.m.)
1. Club 185 and the lawn hangs across the street
Here's an itinerary for your Boom night: Swing by Club 185 for drinks and no-nonsense bar grub and then stroll across Livingston Avenue to the lawn of Livingston United Methodist Church (at 200 Livingston Ave.) for the 'works. Make sure to bring a blanket, a lawn chair and extra snacks (or take your food from Club 185 to go) to optimize your lawn party.
185 E. Livingston Ave., German Village
2. 16-Bit Bar + Arcade
In general, you can't beat a patio with bar proximity. And if you want that for Friday's fireworks display, you can't beat 16-Bit. It also helps that 16-bit is, you know, an arcade, so it's inherently engaging regardless of whatever else is going on Downtown. If you arrive early, you're at a de facto fireworks tailgate. If you stay late, it's an after-party.
16-Bit Bar + Arcade
254 S. Fourth St., Downtown
3. Anywhere on South High Street and then a stroll to Scioto Audubon
The south end of High Street near Downtown has a loaded tavern situation that provides the perfect setting for a fireworks crawl; Local Cantina, Jimmy V's, Planks Bier Garten and Club Diversity are all located within mere blocks of each other. Once you've had your fill at your choice of watering hole, stake out a spot for the fireworks at Scioto Audubon Metro Park - just a quick walk down West Whittier Street.
Scioto Audubon Metro Park
400 W. Whittier St., Brewery District
4. "Fireworks with COSI" for the perks and fireworks science
A ticket to COSI's all-day fireworks event gets you the perks of convenient parking, decent food and a riverfront fireworks view, though it wouldn't be COSI if it weren't valiantly trying to stoke interest in science through it all. Many of its exhibitions will be open before and after RWB's main event, plus there's a sure-to-be insightful "Science of Fireworks" live show slated for one of COSI's theaters.
Fireworks with COSI
3 p.m. Friday, July 1
333 W. Broad St., Downtown
5. Leveque Tower parking garage
The Downtown parking structure has served as the site of the Red, White and Equal Rights benefit in recent years. This year, however, a last-minute cancelation has left the garage open to the public. Best yet? It's free for walk-ins. If you've got a car in tow, parking costs $15 (or $25 for the rooftop), which might sound pricy until you realize you're allowed to pack your own food and beverages for a rooftop tailgate. Additionally, Red,White and Equal Rights has pledged to return in 2017 "bigger and better than before," so take advantage of the firework views offered by the setting this year.
Leveque Tower parking garage
40 N. Front St., Downtown