Summer is my absolute favorite time of year. The days are longer and hotter (muggier too), and each weekend holds endless possibilities. However, my chaotic mind can never let me truly enjoy anything or any season without a good slap of FOMO. As my Instagram feed is filled with European voyages, beach vacations, concerts, and all the other adventures summer has to offer, a pang hits my stomach. I panic. “Am I doing enough? Am I wasting my summer?” The sweet summer days are oh-so-limited, and what have I done?! Then Reason chimes in over Evil, nagging FOMO and reminds me that every beautifully Instagrammed adventure has a price tag. My dilemma doubles. But, all hope is not yet lost. Columbus is teeming with things to do and there is still a whopping two months left to do it all. With the right plans, I can tell my FOMO to shut up and my inner Reason that my wallet will be okay. Neither summer nor my budget are endless, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have plenty of adventures and snap a few good pictures along the way.
$20: Ballin’ on a Budget
To kick off your Friday night, head to Ace of Cups in the Old North for a beer and some cornhole. Their outdoor patio is the perfect place to unwind from a long week. For the under-21 crowd, catch a movie at Gateway and enjoy the newly-renovated Gateway district. It is perfect for an evening stroll after the movie. Saturday morning, grab your swimsuit and sunscreen because we’re heading to the beach! Or more specifically, Alum Creek State Park in Lewis Center, Ohio. Fun freakin’ fact, Alum Creek has Ohio’s largest inland beach. And it’s only 30-minutes away! The park also has sand volleyball courts, hiking trails, and a disc golf course. On the way there, stop at Barry’s Bagels in Westerville for lunch. Sunday, you can unwind closer to home. Check out the Clintonville Farmers’ Market open from 9 a.m. to noon. Treat yourself to fresh fruit, cheese, or flowers, and then head over to the Park of Roses in Clintonville. This is the perfect place to have a little picnic with your farmers’ market finds. Bring a book or a friend to enjoy the afternoon.
Ace of Cups or Gateway – $6 Lunch at Barry’s Bagels – $7 Alum Creek State Park – FREE Clintonville Farmers’ Market – $7 Park of Roses – FREE
TOTAL – $20
$50: Thrifty and Thriving
Start your weekend as Columbus millennials do: Forno happy hour. In the summer the happy hour crowd isn’t as intense, but a reservation for Friday night is still a good idea. Saturday afternoon we’re heading to Westerville to visit Inniswood Metro Gardens. The 123-acre gardens and lawns have several different trails, so you can get some exercise and stop to smell the roses. After the park, you can head home to take a nap and shower, because Saturday night is the Columbus Clippers Game. The Clippers play at home three of the four Saturdays this July, and each night features fireworks. Sit back, relax and enjoy the game. Sunday morning sleep in and then grab brunch at South of Lane in Upper Arlington. During the afternoon, grab coffee at One Line in the Short North and take a walk through Goodale Park and the Victorian Village.
Forno Happy Hour – $15
Inniswood Metro Gardens – FREE
Columbus Clippers Game – $12.50 for tickets (includes processing fees) + $5 (concessions) = $17.50
Brunch at South of Lane – $15
Coffee at One Line – $2.50
TOTAL – $50
$100: Treat Yo Self
This weekend is for when you’re ready to treat yourself to a full Columbus staycation. Friday is payday and you’re ready to hit the town. Accordingly, Friday night we’re going out. To mix it up, start at Seventh Son on 4th Street. Here you can grab dinner from one of their nightly food trucks and a few beers. If the night is feeling good, walk over to the Short North to hit up Standard and Oddfellow’s. All three bars have outdoor seating so you can take advantage of the summer weather. If you’re under 21, spend your Friday night trying out Top Golf. The more people you have for a game, the cheaper it is per person. Saturday, we’re slapping on some sunscreen and spending summer like a kid again; we’re going to Zoombezi Bay. The waterpark features water slides, a wave pool, and a lazy river. You can even enjoy a cocktail as you float down Croctail Creek. After a day in the water, grab tacos and a beer at Local Cantina. While everyone has their favorite location, I suggest the Brewery District so you can stroll around the nearby German Village afterward. After all, what’s a staycation without Columbus’s own taste of Germany? Finish off your busy weekend with a trip to the Columbus Museum of Art on Sunday afternoon. It’s free on Sundays and afterward you can stop by the Roosevelt Coffeehouse.
Seventh Son Brewing Co. or Top Golf – $25
Zoombezi Bay – $42 (includes processing and parking) + $10 (concessions) = $52
Local Cantina – $18
Columbus Museum of Art – FREE
Roosevelt Coffee House – $5
TOTAL – $100