Columbus, Ohio is one of those surprisingly über-gay cities in the American midwest. Being a massive university town with plenty of diversity, it shouldn’t come as a surprise at how open-minded and diverse the city is. And even, in 2011, Columbus was the winner of Logo’s Best “NewNowNext” Destination and also named by as its Up-and-Coming Gay City.

I only had a few days in Columbus on my most recent weekend trip, but definitely had a good time. I spent most of my weekend in Columbus eating and drinking, but I did spot a few gay-specific things. Here’s a photo summary of my weekend in Columbus.

Short North graffiti

Started my weekend off by walking through the Short North neighborhood. Lots of gift shops, restaurants, bars and vintage shopping. It’s also where you’ll find some of Columbus’ more interesting street art and graffiti.

gay gift shop in Columbus

While in the Short North, I popped into a gay gift shop. The Columbus “gayborhood” is in this area and there are a handful of gay bars. During the day, most of the shops are open and selling tchotchkes. This was at the relatively new Maotef Gifts. A pretty simple shop selling assorted things, mostly with rainbows, fur and glitter. A bit over-the-top, but hey, that’s probably what sells. Read their reviews on Yelp.

LGBT Columbus

Also in the Short North there are plenty of coffee shops and cafes. I visited the popular chain North Star Café which has lots of vegetarian and vegan options.

Columbus restaurants

In the evening, rather than party hard at the Union Cafe & Axis Nightclub (Columbus’ most popular gay nightlife), I opted for a more laid-back evening of Spanish tapas and classic cocktails. Started the night at Barcelona, a tapas restaurant with a beautiful outdoor patio. It’s located in the German Village which is worth walking around regardless.

Diversity Club

My evening continued at the popular LGBT bar, Club Diversity. It’s in a house in Columbus’ German Village and hosts a popular karaoke night. I was there for the martini, though, which was strong and made to perfection. The bar’s slogan “home of the best martinis and jello shots” lived up to its name…though next time I’ll have to come back to try the jello shots!

Segway tour Columbus

My next day in Columbus was all about sightseeing. I went back and visited the German Village to check out the Book Loft, a popular indie bookstore, and have lunch at Katzinger’s Deli—a Jewish deli that came highly recommended. (If you go, get a half sandwich & soup combo!). In the afternoon I took a segway tour of Columbus through the capital city’s downtown area.

The segway tour was interesting because I discovered quite a bit about Columbus I never knew before. The downtown area has several historical buildings (including the state capitol) and early skyscrapers. Read my full review of the Segway tour here.

Jeni's Ice Cream

My weekend in Columbus ended as most of them do…with ice cream. This “fruit loop” scoop from Jeni’s Ice Cream was the perfect way to end my weekend. It was probably the gay-est scoop I could get (and with sprinkles on top, no less)!

My weekend in Columbus was supported in part by Experience Columbus. Visit the official tourism website for more information about LGBT tourism in Columbus.