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There's much ado in Ohio's largest city and state capital. The clean-cut metropolis keeps growing, with an influx of immigrants and a substantial gay and lesbian population. The Ohio State University – the nation's third-largest campus – adds 57,000 students to the mix. The result is a thriving young city that's still a bit of a secret.
Cobbled streets and oom-pah'ing beer halls mark German Village, a restored 19th-century neighborhood. The Short North has jazz bars, bike co-ops and markets sprinkled between galleries. The Arena District provides fertile guzzling grounds for bar hoppers. Chowhounds head to off-the-beaten-path Hilltop for ethnic eats.
The OSU campus sprawls by the Wexner Center, which puts on edgy art exhibits, and Ohio Stadium, which puts on maniacal football games. The kiddie-mobbed Center of Science and Industry is downtown. So is Topiary Park, with Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte cut out in greenery. A landscape of a painting of a landscape – unexpected, right? Columbus sneaks up on you that way.