While you might flyover The Arch City on your way to the more perceived-to-be-exciting gay city destinations of New York or West Hollywood, Dan Allen gives us his reasons why Columbus may be a city to discover for gay folks in his December 2013 Edge Article:
With some 800,000 inhabitants, Columbus is both Ohio’s capital and its largest metropolis. It’s also the 15th biggest city in U.S., home to a bustling economy (Abercrombie & Fitch is among the many major corporations based here), a vibrant arts community, a rich culinary landscape and a shockingly large and diverse gay scene spread across multiple neighborhoods.
In late June, Short North is the setting for Columbus Pride, with a two-day festival at Goodale Park and a Saturday parade down High Street. It’s all organized by Stonewall Columbus, which also operates the city’s drop-in LGBT center at its home base on High Street. Just a few blocks down are the headquarters for Outlook, Columbus’s own monthly gay magazine and a mandatory read for visitors. Several of the city’s top gay hotspots are also on High Street, including dining/drinking destinations Union Cafe and Level, as well as full-on dance club Axis.
Mainly a residential neighborhood, German Village isn’t as loaded with gay-specific businesses as Short North, but you’ll see queer folk just about everywhere. Many of the city’s best restaurants are here, including Harvest Pizzeria, the Spanish-inspired (and gay-owned) Barcelona, and Pistacia Vera bakery and café.
Downtown is home to one of the best-known gay-owned Columbus-based businesses, Sugardaddy’s. Founded by Mark Ballard and Tom Finney, Sugardaddy’s and its scrumptious brownies and blondies were the winners of the Food Network’s Throwdown with Bobby Flay, and were also green room fixtures on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Sugardaddy’s has now expanded to three Columbus locations and ships throughout the country (from oven to door in 24 hours or less). Next door is the upstart Columbus wallet maker Zeroz, with its cool line of micro-wallets created by Paul Westrick.