No Car? No Problem!

Spring is finally here and the weather is starting to get warmer–yay! I don’t know about you, but I want to spend as much time as possible outside, enjoying the nice weather. There are some fun things to do here on campus, but there are even more ways to enjoy the weather out and about in Columbus. You could explore German Village, attend a Columbus Clippers baseball game, or take a walk through Goodale Park. Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t have a car, how am I supposed to get there?”  You have lots of options!

COTA Bus

The one option you are probably most familiar with is the COTA. This is the public bus system in Columbus, and you get to ride for free with your BuckID. The bus I use the most is the #2; it goes straight up and down High Street, making it easy to get downtown.

Car2go

If you plan on spending a lot of time out and about in the city, you might want to look into car2go. You have probably seen the blue and white Smart cars around campus. You can sign up for car2go with a onetime fee, and then pay $0.41 per minute of driving. When you are ready to go somewhere, just find a car, use your member card as a key, and drop it off in a designated space when you are done. This is an easy way to get where you want to be on your own time.

Bike Share

My favorite option is the University-affiliated bike share program! It is just $35 per year, or $6 a day, but there are additional fees for longer rides. You can download their app on your phone, and then when you want to ride you just tell the app the bike number you want, and you will get the code to unlock the bike. You can take these bikes to class or to a fun off-campus location. This is a great way to get some exercise, enjoy the weather, and explore Columbus! There are so many cool places you can ride including the Olentangy Trail and Scioto Mile. I also recommend checking out the Scioto Audubon Metro Park–they have a pretty awesome climbing wall.

Bus confusion? 5 tips and 5 routes!

It’s November and it’s about to get real cold, real quick. If you are anything like I was as a freshman, the only thing I knew about the buses was that the CABS was the Campus Area Bus System and the COTA had routes throughout Columbus…but I had no idea how to use them or the difference between routes.

CABS versus COTA

If you read nothing else, here are five tips for the bus system…

CLN versus CLS

For the CLN (Campus Loop North) and CLS (Campus Loop South), the North and South references the direction the bus travels on CANNON Drive. Since it’s a loop, it goes the opposite direction on College Road (the CLN travels SOUTH on College Road, whereas the CLS travels NORTH on College Road). They make the exact same loop–just opposite directions. Also, the CLN runs on weekends, but the CLS does not (be aware that the route is slightly different on the weekends–check the Bus app for details).

CABS bus

Requesting stops

CABS: The bus will stop at every stop (so no need to pull the yellow cord).

COTA: The bus will only stop if you pull the yellow cord around the perimeter of the bus to request a stop or if someone is waiting at that COTA stop to get on the bus.

Interior of COTA

Electronic bus tracking

CABS: You can get up to date bus information on the Ohio State mobile app or the OSU Bus app. The thing I really like about the OSU Bus app is it will utilize the location services on my phone to find stops “Near Me” and give me up to date information about how many minutes until the next bus will arrive!

COTA: If you are riding the COTA, I have found the easiest way to know when a bus is coming is to utilize the Google Maps app, and then click the icon for public transportation. It will give directions of exactly where to pick up the bus, what time it is scheduled to come, how many stops to take the bus, and where to walk once I get off the bus to reach my destination. However, this information is not updated if a bus is running behind schedule, it only gives a rough estimate based on when it is scheduled to come!Bus App Screenshot

What to bring when you ride

CABS: Nothing.

COTA: Swipe your BuckID at the front of the bus OR pay $2

Always thank the bus drivers!


…and here are five routes to know…

CABS: CLN (Campus Loop North)

Where it goes: North on Cannon (by Morrill and Lincoln Towers), left on Woodruff to the Carmack parking lots, back east on Woodruff (by Knowlton and Traditions at Scott), turns right down College Road (heading south), to the Union, and then turns right down 12th Avenue (by Baker East/West and then down past Kennedy Commons), turns left on Neil (goes by Marketplace), then turns right on 9th Avenue and travels around the perimeter of the Med Center and back up Cannon.

When it runs: All day everyday! (Less frequently during at night and on weekends)

CABS: CLS (Campus Loop South)

Where it goes: Same route but opposite direction as the CLN!

When it runs: Mon-Fri, 5:30 a.m.-midnight

CABS: NE (North Express)

Where it goes: East on 17th Avenue (the street just North of the Oval), turns left on College road (north), left on Woodruff (heading west) out to the Carmack parking lots, then comes back down Woody Hayes/Woodruff (the street name changes!), and then turns right on Tuttle Park Place down to the RPAC plaza and then back up 17th again!

When it runs: Mon-Fri, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

COTA: #2 (#21 at night)

Where it goes: This bus runs up and down High Street. The different letters after the number 2 distinguish how far north and south it will go. This bus comes about every 9 minutes. The 21 is the “Night Owl” version of the 2 and comes about every 30 minutes.

When it runs: #2–everyday! #21–Thu-Sat, 7 p.m.-3 a.m. (depending where you are on the route)

COTA: #52

Where it goes: This route is the OSU Airport Express and runs a special route on peak travel days from campus to the airport. It has 6 stops around campus and then goes to the airport. Be aware that it only runs certain days of the year!

When it runs: Check this schedule for dates and times.

CABS Routes

Fall Break in Columbus

Fall break will be here in less than a week, and we can unwind and relax from the hectic semester this has been so far–it is much needed! While many students are going home for the first time to reconnect with family and friends, some of you might be staying on campus for break. This is a perfect time to explore the amazing city that surrounds us. Whether you are from out-of-state or outside of the U.S., here are some fun things to do during fall break in Columbus.

Explore the city

From the time you first visited Ohio State (or maybe at orientation), you have heard incredible things about the city of Columbus. Get out the campus bubble and dive into the fun activities, amazing restaurants, and sights that are conveniently right down the street from us. With just a short ride on the COTA bus, you can discover some cool parts of Columbus. Not only will you have fun, but you’ll feel even more connected to the city, making Ohio State feel more like home.

As a first-year student, I was pretty intimidated to take a bus downtown, but I can assure you that it is a really simple process and well worth your time. The easiest way for me to explore downtown Columbus and the Short North is to take COTA route #2, which runs up and down High Street–I promise you won’t get lost. A convenient place to hop on the bus is the stop outside of the Ohio Union. All you need is your BuckID and you are on your way! The COTA website includes routes frequently used by Ohio State students.

For the outdoor lover…

ohio-columbus-franklin-park-conservatory

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden. Special fall exhibit, “Scary Plants“, where you can explore creepy pumpkin carvings and strange plants like you’ve never seen before!

  • Oct. 5- Nov. 15 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Cost is only $10 with a student ID.

Goodale Park. A beautiful park located in the Short North district, decorated with fountains, park benches, and paths.

Olentangy Trails. Head outside to take a walk with a friend, a fitness run, or even a bike ride on this 13.75 mile stretch of paved trails.

For the shopaholic…

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Explore the shops of the Short North District: Take the COTA bus #2 right down High Street until you get to the arches that say “Short North”. Here you will find many shops that specialize in clothing, stationery, Columbus gear, antiques, and even chocolate!

For the foodie…

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North Market. A classic favorite! If you love food (who doesn’t?) then you will love North Market. Explore different vendors and flavors from around the world such as Asian, Indian, and Polish cuisine. They also have this awesome vendor where you can get fresh homemade donuts…seriously the best donut I have ever had.

  • Open Sun-Mon, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Tue-Sat 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Explore their fall Farmer’s market in the parking lot of the venue. Stock up on some fresh vegetables and fruits and you could cook a meal or create a fresh salad in your residence hall kitchen.

One Line Coffee. Are you a coffee fanatic? Cozy up to a cup of your favorite coffee and dessert on a cool fall day, located in the Short North district. Check out their website for more information!

Jeni’s Ice Cream. We all scream for ice cream! Jeni’s ice cream made its founding roots in Columbus, and is now a huge sensation! A quick bus ride down High Street and you can try a delicious treat such as the crowd-favorite, Salty Caramel.

Final thoughts…

Just have fun! The more time you put into getting to know Columbus, the more you will get out of it. If you have further questions or need more suggestions, contact a Peer Leader and we would love to share some of our favorite places. In addition you can check out Experience Columbus for an extensive list of places to go. I hope you have a wonderful fall break–be sure to take the time to refresh in order to finish the second part of the semester strong.

Happy exploring!

Columbus: The place to be in the summer

We are so close to summer I can almost taste the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and hear the crack of a bat at a Columbus Clippers game. Whether you find yourself in Columbus for the summer or just here for the end of the school year, there are countless opportunities to quench your boredom and explore the city. Here are some of my favorites:

The Short North:

For those of you who have not visited the Short North on High Street south of campus, I implore you to pull out your BuckID, hop on a COTA bus, and get on down there. Some of my favorite memories at Ohio State have been on the first Saturday of every month when all the art galleries and stores in the area open up their doors for Gallery Hop.

A store called Flower Child is my personal favorite in the Short North. Often described as an up-scale thrift shop, Flower Child has an outfit for any occasion and it has the best vintage selection around. Paired with a scoop of Columbus’s very own Jeni’s ice cream, your Saturday night just got a whole lot cooler.

Free Concerts:

The best part about staying in Columbus over the summer is the weekly concert on the Columbus Commons, which puts a local band on the big stage. Food trucks, including Mikey’s Late Night Slice, and Jeni’s all show up for the concert each Wednesday from 7-11 p.m. Frisbees, blankets, and a date are encouraged.

There are also free fitness classes offered at the Columbus Commons!

Easton:

Easton is the shopping mall where boredom goes to die. There are stores for every kind of shopper, from Nordstrom to See’s Candy and Jeni’s Ice Cream (it’s everywhere…). There are plenty of restaurants around and a movie theater.

Food:

I love to eat, and Columbus is known as the test market of the United States. If you love food as much of me, you will try Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace downtown and Hot Chicken Takeover in the North Market, which are two of the city’s pride and joys. Or if you are looking for a more upscale restaurant, be sure to check out one of Cameron Mitchell’s restaurants.

Zoo:

I have always loved sea turtles, and to get my fill I have always gone to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, which was ranked the best zoo in the nation in 2009. Although this will require a car, the zoo is definitely worth the trip. With 10,000 animals all in one place you are sure to see your favorite and discover new animals. Like this one:

The Franklin Park Conservatory is also a great place to get your butterfly fix!

 

From the Blue Jackets to German Village there is always something new in the 614. Don’t like any of my ideas? Find your own hidden gems in the area and let me know what I have to try!

Exploring: A guide to navigating Ohio State and Columbus!

Your first year is all about exploring. Whether it is a new area of study, new ideas, relationships, new places, or a new city–college is the place for you to embrace your inner explorer. Another important piece to this search is to plan HOW you will navigate your first year. When it comes to transportation options on and around campus, you can’t go wrong in finding a way to explore Ohio State and Columbus. Here is the rundown of some alternative forms of transportation to be a sustainable and travel-efficient Buckeye!

CABS: Campus Area Bus Service

Certainly, if you’ve been to campus at all this academic year, you have seen plenty of CABS buses shuttling students across campus. They look like this:

To ride, just hop on! There is no need to show your BuckID while riding.

Perks:

  • The Campus Loop North has overnight service around campus and runs 24/7!
  • The Ohio State mobile app and the Transportation and Traffic Management website provide information on arrival times so you don’t have to wait in the rain, snow, or look like this:

 

COTA: Central Ohio Transit Authority

If you’re a commuter trying to get to campus or a student who lives on-campus and wants to explore outside the university walls, COTA is the bus system for you!

COTA provides service throughout Franklin County and surrounding areas both day AND night. All you have to do as an Ohio State student is show your BuckID and hop on for free (it’s included in the fees you pay each semester)! Maps and service availability for the campus area (and beyond) are available on the COTA website.

Perks:

  • Late night service around the city
  • It comes and leaves from Ohio State–which is great for commuter students!

 CAR2GO

Don’t have a car on campus and need to run some quick errands off campus? Want to be able to drive somewhere, drop off a car, and not have to worry where you left it? If so, CAR2GO may be just the method of transportation  for you! You’ll need to purchase a membership card first, but after that it’s simple: just take it, drive it, and park it.

Perks:

  • It’s a great alternative to bringing your car to campus and keeping it parked across campus for months on end
  • It’s sustainable (and sort of like a toy car for adults)!

There are plenty of other options to get around campus and the city, but the three above are my personal recommendations; you can also learn more about biking, carpooling, and other options.

As you think about exploring and navigating campus, remember this: you WILL get lost. And that’s okay! We have all been there! Once, I took COTA instead of CABS and ended up in Clintonville instead of Fisher College of Business. A great part of exploring is the potential to getting a bit off course. Granted, it may not be the most convenient to test out the bus for the first time when your class is in five minutes, but it is important to figure it out for yourself. I recommend trying it out when the stakes are low. Hop on a bus and see where it takes you when you have an extended period of time to “get lost”. Bring a friend. Ask the bus driver if the bus is the right one for where you’re heading. And know that (at the very least), they all come back to the stop you hopped on originally! Happy exploring, Buckeyes! Oh, and don’t forget to look at the maps.