Columbus, the capital of Ohio and nothing less than America’s 15th-largest city, is a super interesting and diverse city home to funky festivals, sports events, the important Ohio State University and at the Columbus Zoo, with the world’s oldest captive gorilla!
Even if often underrated, in Columbus you can find attractions for any taste and accommodation for any budget… What will make the difference is the neighborhood you will choose!
For this reason, I created this guide with the best hotels and areas in Columbus, OH, researching through the best booking websites.
In fact, each area can suit different travelers and price ranges… and I am sure after reading this article you will find exactly what you need for a perfect stay in Columbus!
NOTE: I strongly suggest you book your favorite hotel as soon as you can if you want to secure yourself a spot!
If you are in a hurry
If you want to book now, then waste no more time, check out this quick list with the best hotels to stay in Columbus city center, from luxury to budget:
Best luxury hotel
An Airbnb with amazing reviews
Drury Inn & Suites
Best value for money
FRONTDESK LC Riversouth
Best affordable accommodation in the center
Here’s the map with the 3 best areas to stay in Columbus Ohio that I will be talking about in this post, so you can visualize them:
the coolest area
1. Downtown Columbus – where to stay for the first time
Downtown Columbus is the pumping heart of the city, where all the business complexes, modern buildings, and luxury hotels are located, but especially where you’ll find any kind of tourist attraction… basically the perfect spot to stay in Columbus for the first time!
Here you can either watch a show in the many theaters, attend a sports event or live music performance at the Columbus Commons, or visit one of the several museums like Veterans National Monument and Museum, and the COS Science and Industry Center!
Not to mention the great dining places that you’ll find in the area, from international restaurants to craft breweries, cool bars, and hip coffee shops in every corner… in terms of food, you’ll have countless options to choose from!
Other attractions that are definitely a must during your stay in Downtown Columbus are the Scioto Mile River Promenade and Fountain, the Bicentennial Park and its Performing Arts Pavilion.
And the cool thing is that you can reach any place either by car or foot: the area offers pedestrian-friendly facilities (like bike lanes and bus stops) and many parking spots at the same time!
This area has everything you need and more… so check out the great hotels for your stay in Columbus Downtown, and remember to book them as soon as you can if you want to secure yourself a spot here:
Hotel LeVeque, Autograph Collection
If you’re looking for luxury and comfort right in the city center, Hotel LeVeque Autograph Collection is definitely where to stay in Columbus! Here you can enjoy a cocktail at the on-site bar, stay in shape at the fitness center, or even make use of the business center. This 4-star hotel has the best location if you want to stay in Columbus and visit its best attractions!
Other options in Downtown Columbus
Located just near the Greater Columbus Convention Center, this pet-friendly hotel offers free WiFi and a pool!
Enjoy spacious and modern rooms for great value in this hotel with a great location, at only 8 miles from the airport!
Open studio apartment with access to a fitness center. Guests love the location in the heart of the city!
Things to do in Downtown Columbus
- Check out some modern art at the Columbus Museum of Art
- Visit The Center of Science and Industry (COSI) and it’s cool exhibits
- Learn some history at The National Veterans Memorial and Museum
- Walk or bike in the Scioto Mile Promenade, Downtown’s best riverfront destination!
- Check out the memorials of Battelle Riverfront Park
- Gaze at the 19th-century brick homes of the German Village
- Have an adventure at Greater Columbus Convention Center
- Attend an amazing show at the Performing Arts Pavilion
2. Italian Village & Short North District – the coolest area
Located north from downtown Columbus, the Italian Village, as you can easily imagine, is the area where Italian immigrants settled and live now in Columbus. So, even more predictable, this is the paradise for the best food and coffee (and here my Italian pride comes out)!
This residential area is also home to a big Irish and African American community, so it has a special multi-cultural vibe that you will immediately feel wandering around its pedestrian-friendly streets.
The Italian Village is a great neighborhood to engage in many activities with the family! Here you can have picnics in the beautiful Italian Village Park featuring a playground and the famous St. John the Baptist Italian Church.
If you happen to be here during fall, you absolutely have to go to the Italian Festival, where you’ll taste delicious Italian dishes like (of course) pizza, live music, parades… you will forget you are in the US for some hours!
The neighboring Short North District, at not even 10 minutes from the Italian Village, is a vibrant area, special for its contemporary art exhibitions and galleries, and multicultural vibe (that’s what the two areas have in common, other than the close proximity!).
With its several bohemian cafes, vintage shops, record stores, craft beer bars and restaurants, this is definitely the coolest area in town! Here you will also find lively nightlife, due to the big LGBT community and many gay-friendly bars and clubs!
This area actually reminds me of the Covington neighborhood in Cincinnati, another city that you should check out, located at only 2 hours’ driving from Columbus!
Last but not least, the two areas are well connected by public transport with the rest of the city, so you can also have access to the best attractions of Columbus Downtown… What more do you need?
Check out the best hotels to stay in Columbus’ Italian Village and Short North:
Le Méridien Columbus, The Joseph
This 4-star accommodation has one of the best locations in the Italian Village area, and some great amenities to make you enjoy your trip to Columbus Ohio to the fullest! Here you’ll find a delicious on-site restaurant and bar where you can have the best dinners and business facilities. A plus? The hotel gives you access to free wifi and parking on site!
Other options in Italian Village & Short North District
Find the best value in this Columbus hotel. Guests love its breakfast: the right energy for visiting the area!
The best budget hotel in the area, offering free wifi and free parking: perfect for visiting Short North District
Enjoy your comfy room in this apartment in the Italian Village area: you’ll have the best location in Columbus
Things to do in Italian Village & Short North District
- Visit the St. John the Baptist Italian Church, in the Italian Village Park
- Have a picnic with the family in the Italian Village Park
- During Halloween, attend the HighBall Halloween and Masquerade
- Check out the cool artworks of the Gallery Hop
- Take cool pics of the many murals in High Street
- Go bar crawling among the best gay friendly bars in Short North District
- Bring your kids to have fun at the indoor LEGO playground
3. University District – where to stay in Columbus for nightlife
Where to find the best nightlife in town, if not near the University? The big University District, made of 13 different neighborhoods, is located north of both the Italian Village and Downtown Columbus (check out the map!).
Here is where you’ll find Ohio State University, one of the most important universities in the whole country!
This is mostly a residential neighborhood, but it has a super lively atmosphere, due to the animated student life! In fact, Columbus Campus is the third-largest university campus in the United States, hosting more than 1,000 student organizations and the biggest college football programs.
And with the many cool clubs and bars with live music, the area is a perfect choice where to stay in Columbus to enjoy some good nightlife! But that’s not all: the University District is home to many green parks, restaurants, and shopping options… so you have plenty to do even during the day!
Talking about shopping, at 15 minutes by car from the area there is the famous Columbus Polaris Fashion Center, which is a two-level shopping mall and retail plaza, offering countless restaurants, shops, and entertainment options!
But Columbus Polaris is also the perfect place to relax and take a break from the city, featuring Japanese-style gardens, waterfalls, and a pond.
And with the very well-connected public transport system, you will reach the other neighborhoods in Columbus very easily, so you take a break from partying and enjoying everything this cool city has to offer you!
Columbus Marriott Residence Inn
One of the best hotels for your trip to Columbus Ohio, is located in the University District at only one mile from the Ohio State University! This pet-friendly hotel offers an indoor pool where to relax after visiting the best attractions in the city and even a business center. Guests particularly love the delicious breakfast… don’t forget to try it, it’s free!
Other accommodation options in University District
Best hostel if you want to stay in Columbus on a budget, at 15 minutes drive from the Polaris Botanical Gardens!
The perfect place to stay in Columbus Ohio for travelers in town for working, or just visiting the city!
Things to do in University District
- Go watch an Ohio State Buckeyes football game at the famed Ohio State Stadium
- Stroll along the historic Oval (a circle of five historic oak trees) in the Campus
- Attend a cool event or a sports game at the Schottenstein Center
- Gaze at the art performances of The Wexner Center for the Arts
- Go crazy shopping in the Columbus Polaris Fashion Center!
- Check out the Ohio State Fair
- Visit The Park of Roses, the largest public rose garden in the US
- Buy local goods at The Clintonville Farmers Market
- Go crazy shopping at the Columbus Polaris Shopping center
|👑 Luxury price:||$200|
|💵 Mid Range:||$150|
|💰 Accommodation prices:||Medium|
|📍 Best area:||Columbus Downtown Area|
|👪 Best area for families:||Italian Village and Short North|
|🛎️ Best luxury hotel:||Hotel LeVeque|
|🧳 Best mid-range hotel:||Drury Inn & Suites|
|👛 Best budget hotel:||FRONTDESK LC Riversouth|
Frequently asked questions about Columbus
📍Which is the best area where to stay in Columbus, Ohio?
The best area to stay in Columbus, the capital of Ohio, is Downtown Columbus, perfect for first-time travelers and to explore Columbus. Here you can stay in Hotel LeVeque, the best hotel to stay in Columbus for luxury or the more affordable Columbus Marriott.
🚦Is downtown Columbus Ohio safe?
Yes, the Columbus Downtown area is safe, hosting the best hotels in Columbus, and you can generally feel comfortable exploring Columbus Downtown by night.
🧳 Is Columbus Ohio a boring city?
No, it’s not! Even if often underrated, Columbus Ohio has many attractions to offer to its visitors, like the Columbus Convention Center, the Bicentennial Park and its Performing Arts Pavilion, and the Columbus Polaris Fashion Center, offering many shops and restaurants!
💵 Which are the best hotels where to stay in Columbus Ohio on a budget?
The best hotels in Columbus to stay on a budget are The Wayfaring Buckeye, in the University District area, or the 50 Lincoln Short North, in the Short North Area. They range between 60$ and 130$ per night per room.
👪 Which is the best area where to stay in Columbus Ohio for families?
The best area to stay in Columbus, Ohio for families is the Italian Village area, located north of Downtown Columbus. Stay in the luxurious Le Méridien Columbus or the cozier Refurbished Duplex, featuring the best location in the area!
Here we are at the end of this extensive neighborhood guide with the best hotels to stay in Columbus city, the capital of Ohio.
Among the central Columbus Downtown, the international Italian Village, the vibrant Short North, and lively University District, there’s for sure the right area for your stay in Columbus!
But if you’re still undecided about where to stay in Columbus Ohio, here are my favorite hotels with a central location in the Downtown area:
- Hotel LeVeque – one of the best hotels in Columbus for luxury, with a great location in Downtown Columbus, offering also business facilities!
- Drury Inn & Suites – one the best hotels to stay in Columbus if you’re looking for great value and a central location near the airport… guests love it!
Just don’t forget to book them as soon as you can… places here sell out super fast!
I hope you enjoyed reading my article as much as I did writing it, and I am sure it will help you find the perfect place to stay in Columbus for a great holiday!
If you’ve already been to Columbus, Ohio, or you simply have any question about an area or a hotel, please leave it in the comment, I’ll be very happy to answer you!
Have an amazing trip!
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