AS WE WANDERED THROUGH busy art galleries and locally owned shops and boutiques on High Street in Columbus, Ohio, it was hard to imagine this vibrant area was a decaying, squatter-filled, crime-ridden section of town not so long ago.
The 18th-century brick buildings in the Short North Arts District housing shops, restaurants and residences intersperse with sleek new condo buildings, brand-new high-tech hotels and high-rises under construction. A recent infusion of millions of dollars from the city for streetscape improvements made the area greener, safer and more walkable. What began as a burgeoning arts district in the 1980s now blooms as one of the hottest, trendiest neighborhoods of this fast-growing city.
The district boasts an arts trail, three parks and dozens of places to eat and shop. Visitors can take art, brewery, food and dessert tours or enjoy live music at bars and nightclubs, where they can see the city’s popular drag queens. Short North also has some of the city’s best happy hours and rooftop bars, a relatively new addition to Columbus. The jam-packed events calendar features fitness classes, festivals, tastings, live music and performance art. Giant interactive kiosks help visitors find information on transportation, restaurants, parks, hotels and stores.
Short North, located directly north of downtown Columbus, proves easily accessible by walking or taking the CBUS, a free circulator bus service that runs through downtown and Short North every 10–15 minutes. You’ll know you’re in the right neighborhood when you spot the giant colorful murals on the buildings and lighted metal archways over High Street. These were installed in tribute to the dozens of gaslit wooden arches that first spanned the street in the 1880s, earning Columbus the nickname of “Arch City.”
Betsy Pandora, executive director, Short North Alliance, said, “Short North has grown to be a premier 18-hour area where people love to live, work and visit. We have close to 400 businesses here, double the amount in 2012. It’s a unique, diverse area filled with entrepreneurs.”
The area benefitted from the rapid growth of Columbus, the state capital, considered one of the top places to do business. With more than 2 million people, the city now ranks No. 14 in the country in terms of population.
“Short North is seeing a significant amount of development,” Pandora said. “More than 1,000 hotel rooms have been added or are under construction.” These include the new Graduate Columbus and the Moxy Columbus Short North.
Joel Pizzuti is president of the Short North Alliance and president of Pizzuti Companies, a commercial real estate company that moved its headquarters to Short North when it was build- ing a mixed-use project in the area. “Our folks wanted to be here. It’s walkable, active, fun and accessible — it’s a fun place to spend the day.”
While urban development is happening everywhere, Pizzuti said Columbus is fortunate because the Short North neighborhood was already growing on its own.
“While it was a place people spent time before, it didn’t have the office and residential component it has now. Over the last 10 years it has really evolved as a community. Being located between the core of downtown and the Ohio State campus has been instrumental. While most of the activity has been along High Street, we now see it moving [three to four] blocks on either side.”
All this development and excitement about Short North bodes well for the city of Columbus. As Betsy Pandora said, “We have a saying: So goes Short North, so goes Columbus. A lot of activity tries itself out here then spreads across the city.
Columbus’ location close to the center of the state provides easy access to Ohio’s 27 scenic byways. One of the best for scenery and fantastic hiking opportunities is the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway in southeast Ohio. This 30-mile byway makes a loop around Hocking Hills State Park, considered one of the best in the country. It has several hiking trails with rugged cliffs, huge waterfalls and ancient caves.
Travel through some of the most scenic countryside in Ohio on the Covered Bridge Scenic Highway, which parallels the Little Muskingum River south of Columbus. Stops on the self-guided tour include the 192-foot Knowlton Covered Bridge, constructed in 1887; an old country store; and a Mail Pouch barn. These were barns painted with ads for the Mail Pouch chewing tobacco company in the early 20th century.
Estimates say one in six Amish people live in the Holmes County area northeast of Columbus. You’ll most likely share the road with horses and buggies on the Amish Country Byway, featuring plenty of shops selling handmade wood products, baked goods, quilts and Amish food. Make a stop in Winesburg, a historic village settled by four German men in 1827.
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
The Global Business Travel Association, the world’s largest business travel and meetings trade organization, recently released a statement from GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang regarding the Biden administration’s recent announcement that the U.S. travel ban will be relaxed in November for vaccinated travelers from 26 Schengen countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
The Rittenhouse has long stood out as one of Philadelphia’s finest hotels, centrally located in one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods. Needless to say, I knew I was in for an afternoon of luxurious pampering when I hopped in my car and headed down I-95 from my suburban home to the heart of the City of Brotherly Love. As I drove through the seemingly endless roadwork on the highway, I realized just how long it had been since I’d driven this once-familiar route into the city as a result of the pandemic. Of course I was eager for the relaxation and bliss that was in my future, but it was also a welcome feeling to head back into Philadelphia for a moment of normalcy.