A man in front of a water fountain in Easton Town Center, an area on where to stay in Columbus, Ohio

Where to Stay in Columbus (Best Places & Areas in 2023)

👉 Jump to: Best Places to Stay in Columbus | Neighborhoods & Areas | Tips | FAQ

I’m an Ohio local here to help you figure out where to stay in Columbus. 

Downtown Columbus is usually the most popular option for visitors, as it’s near most of the popular things to do in Columbus.

However, there are plenty of areas to consider depending on why you’re visiting. For example, you’ll want to stay in different parts of Columbus for a Buckeyes game versus visiting the Columbus Zoo.

This guide will explain the pros and cons of each area in Columbus so you can make the most of your trip. Let’s dive in.

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Best Places to Stay in Columbus

Reflection of the buildings at Downtown Columbus on a body of water at night
Downtown Columbus at night – one of the best places to stay in Columbus, Ohio

Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Columbus? Here are my top picks: 

Okay, let’s do a deep dive of the best areas and neighborhoods in Columbus: 

7 Best Neighborhoods & Areas to Stay in Columbus

The heart of downtown Columbus, Ohio is located along the Scioto River with neighborhoods spread all around. When choosing where to stay in Columbus, I recommend the areas located around downtown Columbus and north of Columbus. Each of these Columbus neighborhoods offers something different and caters to different activities and attractions.

Downtown Columbus (Central Business District)

Blue sky over the buildings in Downtown Columbus during fall season
Downtown in the fall (photo: arthurgphotography / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area For First-Time Visitors | ✨ Best Downtown Columbus Hotels: Drury Inn & Suites Columbus Convention CenterHilton Columbus DowntownHotel Leveque, Autograph Collection

Downtown Columbus is the heart and soul of the city. Tourist attractions, shopping, and restaurants are all within walking distance, which makes downtown Columbus an ideal area to stay for first-time visitors. 

I especially recommend Drury Inn & Suites Columbus Convention Center for staying in downtown Columbus because of its central location, reasonable prices, and great reviews.

You’ll find many fun things to do in downtown Columbus. Popular downtown Columbus museums include the Columbus Museum of Art and COSI. The Columbus Commons and Bicentennial Park Performing Arts Pavilion are great places to catch live performances. Downtown Columbus is also home to many breweries, which are part of the Columbus Ale Trail.

As for nature and parks, pedestrians and cyclists can enjoy riverside views from the Scioto Mile River Promenade. And don’t miss the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens if you’re a nature lover.

Pros of Staying in Downtown Columbus:

  • Very close to many tourist attractions
  • Very walkable area
  • Best hotels in the city
  • Diverse restaurants, bars, and breweries
  • Only 10 minutes from Port Columbus International Airport
  • Ideal spot for business travelers
  • Close to Greater Columbus Convention Center and other business centers

Cons of Staying in Downtown Columbus:

  • Restaurants and hotels can be pricey
  • Parking can be a challenge
  • Can be crowded and noisy, particularly during times of peak activity

📚 Downtown Columbus Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay in Columbus for First-Time Visitors
Google Map

Italian Village

Flags of Italy on the Italian Village in Columbus
Italian Village is home to many Italian immigrants

👉 Best Area For Foodies | ✨ Best Italian Village Hotels: 50 Lincoln Short North Bed & Breakfast Cozy Italian Village HouseItalian Village Studio Apartment

Italian Village is north of downtown Columbus and is a great spot for foodies. Many great restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops can be found here. There’s a fantastic multicultural atmosphere in Italian Village as well. Prominent African-American and Irish communities call this area home, in addition to Italian immigrants.

Italian Village has one main bed and breakfast, but the hotel options are limited. However, there are a variety of vacation rentals worth checking out. You should also know that Italian Village is very walkable, so you can visit local eateries and enjoy the neighborhood’s charming architecture on foot. 

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church is a notable site in Italian Village, with a uniquely Italian interior and exterior. Italian Village Park is another popular spot, with a playground and picnic area for families to enjoy. 

Pros of Staying in Italian Village:

  • Close to the downtown Columbus area
  • Very walkable area
  • Many vacation rental properties 
  • A rich mix of cultures
  • Great selection of restaurants and coffee places
  • A very family-friendly area, with attractions like Italian Village Park

Cons of Staying in Italian Village:

  • Restaurants can be pricey
  • Limited hotel options
  • Traffic can be a problem going downtown

📚 Italian Village Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay in Columbus for Foodies
Google Map

✨ Best Hotels 50 Lincoln Short North Bed & Breakfast Cozy Italian Village HouseItalian Village Studio Apartment

🏠 ApartmentsBrowse Top Rentals in Italian Village

🍽️ Where to Eat Marcella’s ($$), City Tavern ($$), Forno Kitchen + Bar ($$)

🍸 Where to DrinkSoul at the Joseph, St. James Tavern, Little Rock Bar

🎟️ Top Attractions St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, Italian Village Park, Goodale Park

👉 Pro Tip: The Italian Festival is a fun event that takes place on the feast day of St. John the Baptist in autumn. This festival features parades, live music, and tasty Italian food. Be sure to check the dates to see if your visit to Columbus coincides with the festival! 

Short North Arts District

View of the entrance to Short North Arts District at night
Entrance to the Short North District at night (photo: aceshot1 / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area For Arts & Culture | ✨ Best Short North District Hotels: Le Méridien Columbus, The JosephGraduate ColumbusMoxy Columbus Short North

Short North District is a hip, trendy neighborhood full of students, young professionals, and tourists. Distinctive lighted arches can be seen over the streets, marking the entrance to this cool, buzzing neighborhood. The Short North District is adjacent to Italian Village and north of downtown Columbus.

People of all backgrounds are welcome in Short North Arts District. The art scene here is rich, with many amazing local art galleries and exhibitions. You’ll also find an eclectic collection of shops for things like books, records, and vintage clothing. 

There are many restaurants, craft beer bars, and coffee shops in the Short North District. There are bars and clubs specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community as well. Overall, Short North has a friendly, bohemian vibe and is one of the best places to stay in Columbus.

Pros of Staying in Short North District:

  • Many great art galleries, specialty stores, and coffee shops
  • A friendly, welcoming atmosphere
  • Close to the attractions of downtown
  • Very walkable area
  • Many public works of art to enjoy

Cons of Staying in Short North District:

  • Finding a parking spot can be challenging
  • Can be noisy and crowded at times
  • The crime rate is higher than in other Columbus neighborhoods

📚 Short North District Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay in Columbus for Arts & Culture
Google Map

University District

View of the Mirror Lake in Ohio State University campus
The iconic Mirror Lake on the Ohio State University campus (photo: aceshot1 / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area For Sports and Nightlife | ✨ Best University District Hotels: The UrbanMarriott Columbus OSUResidence Inn by Marriott Columbus OSU

The University District is north of downtown Columbus and home to Ohio State University. University District is bustling, lively, and the main hub in Columbus for sports and nightlife. This is due to the local college and sports culture. 

High Street is a buzzing area for nightlife. Here, there are many bars and parties are frequent. Ohio Stadium is also located in the University District, which is where you can catch an Ohio State Buckeyes game. After all, the Buckeyes are one of the biggest college football teams in the country.

Overall, the University District is a great place to stay for sports fans and people interested in nightlife. 

Pros of Staying in the University District:

  • Short distance to downtown Columbus
  • A great sports town culture
  • Well-connected to other neighborhoods via public transit
  • Lively, vibrant atmosphere with a great nightlife
  • Home of the Ohio State Buckeyes football team
  • Very walkable area, with iconic landmarks to see

Cons of Staying in the University District:

  • Parking rules are somewhat inconsistent and can be challenging
  • Can be very noisy
  • Often crowded 

📚 University District Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay in Columbus for Sports and Nightlife
Google Map


An igloo like dining plaza in Polaris
Shopping and dining plaza in Polaris (photo: Eric Glenn / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area For Shopping | ✨ Best Polaris Hotels: Hilton Garden Inn Columbus/PolarisHampton Inn & Suites Columbus PolarisDrury Inn & Suites Columbus Polaris

Polaris is a great area to stay in Columbus for shopping and family-friendly activities. Polaris is located north of Downtown Columbus. The main attraction in Polaris is Polaris Fashion Place, which is an enormous shopping mall full of trendy brand names and department stores. 

Families in particular will enjoy attractions like the Magic Mountain Fun Center in Polaris. This is a family-friendly amusement park with activities like laser tag, bumper boats, and an arcade full of games. Nearby is the Polaris Founder’s Park, home to a lovely gazebo and beautiful Japanese gardens.

Pros of Staying in Polaris:

  • Great shopping
  • Hotel options for every budget
  • Many dining options
  • Family-friendly 
  • Safe area

Cons of Staying in Polaris:

  • Farther from downtown Columbus than other neighborhoods
  • Activities and attractions are more limited

📚 Polaris Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay in Columbus for Shopping
Google Map


People wandering at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, close to Dublin (photo: Fsendek / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area For Nature and Recreation | ✨ Best Dublin Hotels: TownePlace Suites by Marriott Columbus DublinHome2Suites by Hilton Columbus DublinHoliday Inn Express – Dublin, an IHG Hotel

Dublin, Ohio is a northwestern suburb of Columbus. Dublin is named after Dublin, Ireland, and is a great place to stay for visitors who want to be closer to nature and recreational activities.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is very close to Dublin and is one of the most popular zoos in America. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium features an 18-hole safari golf club, Zoombezi Bay Water Park, and 6,000 species of animals. 

Dublin is home to 60 parks and over 100 miles of trails. Golf is another popular attraction in Dublin. The Memorial Tournament, part of the PGA Tour, is located here.

Overall, Dublin is a nice suburb with a downtown area and many food and entertainment venues. Downtown Dublin even links to Bridge Park, which is another outdoor recreation attraction. 

Pros of Staying in Dublin:

  • Family-friendly suburban atmosphere
  • Many outdoor recreation attractions, including parks, trails, and proximity to the zoo
  • Unique culture based on the Irish history of the town
  • Relatively peaceful and quiet
  • Away from the bustle of downtown Columbus

Cons of Staying in Dublin:

  • Fewer activities than in other Columbus areas
  • Further from downtown Columbus
  • Further from other Columbus neighborhoods

📚 Dublin Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay in Columbus for Nature and Recreation
Google Map


A table and chairs with view of the water fountain in Easton Shopping Center
An outdoor view of the Easton Shopping Center (photo: aceshot1 / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area For Families | ✨ Best Easton Hotels: Aloft Columbus EastonResidence Inn Columbus EastonHampton Inn & Suites Columbus – Easton Area

Easton is about 15 minutes east of downtown Columbus. Easton is a safe suburban area and is a great place to stay for families. This area is primarily known for the Easton Town Center, which contains over 300 stores and restaurants. These businesses are indoors and outdoors, creating a fun and unique shopping experience.

There are great entertainment options at Easton Town Center as well. LEGOLAND Discovery Center is a favorite attraction among children. I recommend checking out Columbus Funny Bone if you love comedy clubs. There are also dine-in theaters in Easton where you can sit and relax after a long day of shopping.

Pros of Staying in Easton:

  • Safe suburban area
  • Family-friendly
  • Close to other popular areas like Gahanna 

Cons of Staying in Easton:

  • Fewer activities than in other Columbus areas
  • Further from downtown Columbus
  • Further from other Columbus neighborhoods

📚 Easton Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay in Columbus for Families
Google Map

Tips for Staying in Columbus

Make Sure to Visit at the Right Time of Year

Clear blue sky over one of the parks in Columbus, Ohio
A Columbus park close to downtown on a spring day

Try to visit Columbus between May and October if you’re planning on doing outdoor activities. However, there are things to do in Columbus year-round. You should also know that winters in Columbus tend to be less severe than in other Midwestern cities. 

Try to Stay in Downtown Columbus

It’s easiest to stay in downtown Columbus if you’re visiting for the first time. The central location makes it easy to find landmarks, and this is where public transit is most efficient. Downtown Columbus is home to many great eateries and breweries in addition to North Market, which is a popular Columbus attraction.

Be Familiar with the Public Transit System

View of a public bus in Columbus, Ohio
The Columbus public transit system is efficient and extensive (photo: Eric Glenn / Shutterstock)

I recommend looking into what COTA (Central Ohio Transit Authority) has to offer before renting a car. Buses run frequently and are extensive throughout Columbus. COTA also has a free bus system known as CBUS, which runs through popular downtown areas. Bikeshare and rideshare programs are available as well.

Plan Out Your Itinerary Before Your Visit

Figure out which Columbus attractions interest you the most before your trip and create an itinerary around them. Especially if these attractions include popular museums, sports games, or other ticketed events. Planning these activities ahead of time can help you make the most of your trip.

Planning to visit more of Ohio besides Columbus? Check out my list of the best places to visit in Ohio.

Be Aware of Flight, Hotel, and Attraction Deals

Clear blue sky over the Columbus Museum of Art building in Ohio
Enjoy free admission to the Columbus Museum of Art on Sundays! (photo: Eric Glenn / Shutterstock)

You are more likely to get deals on flights and hotels if you visit Columbus during January or February. Additionally, there are many Columbus museums that you can enjoy for free. These include the Orton Geological Museum and Wagner-Hagans Auto Museum. The Columbus Museum of Art offers free admission on Sundays.

Get Your Shopping Done Here!

Surprisingly, Columbus, Ohio ranks third for the highest number of fashion designers in America after New York City and Los Angeles. This is because Columbus is home to many large retail brands’ headquarters. This means that you can shop at many designer brands in Columbus.

FAQs About Where to Stay in Columbus

What part of Columbus is nice?

Downtown Columbus, Short North Arts District, and University District are all nice parts of Columbus. Read the rest of this guide to learn more about nice places to stay in Columbus.

Is Columbus, Ohio worth visiting?

Columbus, Ohio is worth visiting for its interesting museums, family-friendly attractions, and buzzing sports scene.


Thanks for reading my guide on where to stay in Columbus! The neighborhoods in Columbus all have unique things to offer. For more information on Columbus, check out my article on Columbus facts!

(Featured Image Credit: Marianne Campolongo / Shutterstock)

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