Best of Columbus 2015: City Life

Columbus Monthly Staff

Editors' picks for the best of city life in Columbus:

Long Street Cultural Wall

The Long Street Cultural Wall is perched atop the new Interstate 71 overpass, which re-links the King-Lincoln and Discovery districts for the first time since the highway was built in the 1960s. The overpass is not just a powerful symbol but a deservedly lauded public space with plants, trees, benches and the wall itself. Designed by local artists Kojo Kamau and Larry Winston Collins, the wall is composed of 60 panels honoring 139 notable Columbus history-makers, including artist Elijah Pierce, writer James Thurber, football player Archie Griffin, former CCAD president Joseph Canzani and artist Aminah Robinson.

Columbus Crew SC

The Columbus Crew SC's new look has jump-started the team and the city alike. "We wanted to continue to be original, authentically Columbus and energetic," says Andy Loughnane, president of business operations. "We wanted to be unapologetically a soccer club. [The redesigned badge] honors our heritage and identifies the city we're proud to call home and recognizes our supporter culture," and the striking new black and gold are "unmistakably Columbus-a mark of civic pride." Columbus Crew SC has also improved the fan experience, making Hot Chicken Takeover, Jeni's and local beers available at Mapfre Stadium. But, most importantly, the new attitude is reflected in the team's playing. "We're playing a really competitive, fun and interesting brand of soccer on the pitch," Loughnane says.

Cristo Rey High School

When Cristo Rey Columbus High School bought the building at 400 E. Town St. in 2013, it had been vacant for nine years. The former Ohio School for the Deaf, built in 1899, was riddled with asbestos and mold and was in desperate need of a new roof, windows and HVAC and plumbing systems. Architecture firm Schooley Caldwell Associates and general contractor Corna Kokosing worked their magic, restoring the stunning architectural gem to its former glory while implementing modern technology. "Part of the beauty of the renovation is we're repurposing the building for its original use: a school," Cristo Rey president Jim Foley told Columbus Monthly shortly after the school opened last fall.

Independents' Day

Heading into its eighth year, Independents' Day is bigger and more passionate about all things Columbus than ever. And that energy is contagious. "The goal of the festival is to celebrate independent culture, commerce and creativity," says James Allison, this year's captain (code for head honcho). Independents' Day will host over 50 bands, including Saintseneca and The Skulks. And don't miss Kazooza Palooza, which hopes to break the world record for the most people playing a song on kazoo at one time.


Serial startup virtuoso Web Smith knows an opportunity when he sees one. He wanted to connect consumers with convenient retail options while supporting local businesses. Hence, Whence, a smartphone app that facilitated a delivery service from popular businesses like Rowe, Tigertree and Lucky's Market. We were sad to see Whence shut down early last month, but we have a feeling this won't be the last we hear from Smith. Keep an eye out for his next big idea.

The Commissary

After opening in November 2014, the Commissary has quickly become a meeting center for anyone with an interest in food, hosting events like dinners, pop-up restaurants, cooking classes, Knife Fight cooking competitions and more. "If there's a way to play with food, we'd like to be a part of it," founder Kate Djupe says. The space is home to massive kitchens, dining areas, a meeting space and even an indoor driveway to accommodate food trucks.

Columbus Audobon EcoWeekend

Founded in 1962 by Lois Day-a legend in birding and Audubon circles-Columbus Audubon's EcoWeekend is a favorite of in-the-know outdoor lovers young and old. EcoWeekend happens just once every spring, over the weekend before Mother's Day, says Dale Brubeck, who was EcoWeekend chairman for the last three years. "Usually it's beautiful spring Ohio weather," she says. The weekend takes place at Camp Oty'okwa in the Hocking Hills and is made up of five different program sessions. Led by volunteers, program topics include bird watching, mushrooms, trees, spiders and salamanders.