One of my favorite places to visit at Christmastime is the historic German Village in Columbus, Ohio. Something about the snowy brick house on cobbled brick street puts me in a mood to read Dickens while sipping on a steaming, aromatic cup of mulled cider.
I’ve waxed poetic about two of my favorite Ohio cities: Cincinnati and Dayton. But Columbus is another favorite spot, and I love visiting any time of year.
Like any city, Columbus has its unique personality. It’s a college city, home to The Ohio State University. Walk down any street, and you’ll hear chantings of “O-H” with a returned “I-O” no matter the time of year. It’s a city of pride- the annual Columbus Pride Parade is one of the largest in the Midwest. The parks here are gorgeous- one of them being among the top three oldest parks in the U.S. Another grows topiaries in the fashion of the famous Georges Seurat painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. There are so many fun spots in Columbus, but come Christmas, I’m craving the classic, garland trimmed German Village neighborhood illuminated with twinkle lights and carrying a festive air of warmth.
Experience Christmas in German Village
Strolling Through the Neighborhood Trimmed in Christmas Cheer
German Village isn’t German Village without the unique architecture that makes up this charming nook of Columbus. Redbrick makes up the roadways and homes. Lantern lights create a warm, classic glow on a home’s facade. It’s a little like stepping back in time, especially at Christmas time when pine boughs trim archways, red velvety bows don street lamps, and wreaths rarely miss a front door. Every time I’m here, I expect to see Ebeneezer Scrooge lurking around a cobbled street corner. It all makes for a pleasant stroll.
Enjoying a Classic Deli Lunch at Katzinger’s
I always look for a good deli whenever we’re on the road. And whenever we’re in Columbus, we have to stop at Katzinger’s Delicatessen. It’s a non-negotiable as far as my husband is concerned. And he has good taste- this delicatessen is NYC level good. Every time I’m here, I get the same thing: Katzinger’s Reuben: hot corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing grilled on rye. Why mess up a good thing? They also have shelves full of freshly baked bread and cases full of artisanal cheeses, meats, and salads to stock the kitchen up with.
A good destination at Christmastime must provide some good shopping options. And German Village delivers with a variety of shops that are good to know about all year round, not just at Christmas. Here are my favorites:
- The Book Loft, for the book lover: With 32 rooms full of bargain books, The Book Loft is one of the largest independent book stores in the U.S. A good bookstore is a must for holiday shopping, and this place fits the bill. You can find a book to fit just about anyone on your list. Plus, I always seem to find one or two for myself.
- The Kitchen, for the foodie: I’m all about gifting experiences and that’s what The Kitchen does. They host “Participatory Dining Events,” a space for you and your party to cook together. How fun is that? And they also host public events, like “A Taste of Winter” which includes four courses that are southern inspired and feature Maker’s Mark Bourbons. You can purchase gifts cards, as well as gift bags including things like a bottle of wine, aprons, and fresh baked cookies.
- Tiki Botanicals, for a pampering gift: If you pass by the shop, you’ll stop in- trust me. The lovely smells will stop you in your tracks and beckon you inside. There are so many good gift options here, like their Sinus Soothing Bath Bombs or the best-selling Ewe Shampoo with mint and eucalyptus.
- Helen Winnemores, for the art lover: In operation since 1938, this beautiful shop is full of artisan goods made from all kinds of material- from paper to ceramics to wood to glass… The collection of glass ornaments is gorgeous!
- Vernacular, for the fashionista: You’ll find chic, trendy items- lovely clothing and home decor.
Warming up with a Stauf’s Coffee (or Hot Chocolate)
I’ll admit, I’m that one person out of 100 that doesn’t like coffee. But my husband is a self-described caffeine addict and no matter where we end up, there must be a coffee shop nearby. It’s in our travel companion contract. Stauf’s is a lovely coffee shop next door to The Book Loft- could the location get any better? Grab a coffee (or, in my case, a very yummy hot chocolate) and crack open that read from next door. Or get it to go on your stroll through town to keep your hands warm.
Shopping for a Christmas Tree at Saint Mary’s
Does it get any Christmasier than shopping for a live, fragrant Christmas tree? By the time we visited German Village this year, we’d already found our home sweet tree. But that didn’t stop us from perusing the lovely rows of pine lining St. Mary’s lawn.
Sitting Down to a Classic German Dinner at Schmidt’s
If you’re visiting German Village for the first time or the fifth, a stop at Schmidt’s is a must. Schmidt’s serves genuine, traditional German cuisine in a jovial and celebratory atmosphere which is perfect for the holidays. I’ll never forget the first time we stopped here for dinner. We heard the muffled music from the street before we entered. Once inside, the party unfolded before our eyes. An accordion musical group, fully suited in Bavarian getup serenaded the diners while we were ushered to a spot to wait for a table and quickly served a foamy glass of German beer. There was music, laughter, joy, and good food. You can expect this kind of atmosphere every time you’re here.
German Village in Columbus, Ohio is magical any time of year, but it does seem to shine a little brighter at Christmas. You’ll find small-town charm here in the middle of a large capital city. I definitely recommend a visit if you haven’t already!
Till next time, have a very Merry Christmas!