It’s crazy to think that just a couple weeks ago we were living our lives with COVID-19 as just a far off concern. Many might have thought it would never make it to Ohio, some probably were wondering when it would be here. Reality hit so fast, that we all feel like we are living in an alternate universe. With the recent “Stay at Home” mandate, we are going to be spending a lot more time at home. To help you navigate this new “normal” and spread love to our local businesses, I’ve compiled a list of Columbus restaurant guides, ways to support our local arts community, stay at home date night inspiration, and outdoor activities to keep the romance alive while still practicing social distancing and supporting Columbus local. Of course, please remember to follow the CDC and Ohio Stay at Home guidelines.
Know of something I missed? Please email information to Hannah at [email protected].
More resources and ideas:
- 614 Fitness at Home: Support Local and Join these Digital Workouts (Find Where You Fit)
- Adventures in Solitude (Visit Grove City)
- Columbus Businesses Offering Meals and Take-Home Activities for Kids During the COVID-19 School Closures (What Should We Do Today Columbus?)
- Fairfield County Restaurants and Bars (Visit Fairfield County)
- How to Support the Short North Arts District During COVID-19 (Short North Arts District)
- Shop Online with These 5 Local Boutiques (Eat Play Cbus)
- Support Our Local Restaurants (Explore Licking County)
- Worthington Business Updates (Experience Worthington)
Support local, we hear so many people saying it, because we want all our favorite restaurants to make it through to the other side. So many local bloggers, publications, and businesses have already compiled pretty comprehensive lists of what restaurants are offering. Therefore, there’s no need for me to recreate the wheel. Check out these carefully curated lists!
- Supporting Local Food-Makers: What’s Open, Carryout & Delivery, Free Meals for Kids, & More (Breakfast with Nick)
- A Running List of Columbus Restaurants and Bars Offering Carryout or Delivery (Columbus Monthly)
- Support Columbus Eats
Gift Card Incentives and Discounts
Buying a gift card for future use (because let’s be honest, I always end up spending more than the gift card anyway, is also a great way to support local. Many local businesses are offering gift card incentives, including:
Fourteentwentynine: $5, $10 used at farmers markets $25 or everything online
Cameron Mitchell: 100% of online gift card sales until March 31, go to the Associate Relief Fund
Ruth’s Chris: 25% bonus when you buy a $100 gift card
Bodega and Bristol Republic: Buy $50 and get $25, Buy $25 and get $10
The Market Italian Village: 50% all gift card sales go to staff
It’s been two weeks and most of our local “entertainment” options have been closed since the very beginning. You may not be able to visit them at this time, but buying a membership will give you something to look forward to when all of this is over!
Here are a few ideas:
You can also take a look at my article 18 Columbus Tours Locals Will Love and choose one of these to go on once all of this is over!
Purchase a Gift for Your Beau from a Local Vendor
Not only are restaurants struggling, but our farmers market favorites are too. Many offer online ordering and can be shipped right to your door.
Here are a few of my favorite local vendors:
- Bakes by Lo: Cookie DIY Kits are not just for children, they can also be super fun for adults too! Pickups are on Wednesdays from 10am-2pm.
- The Cheesecake Girl: Offering curbside pickup or delivery. She also has two specials during this time, the Assorted Box Special contains something for everyone and the Curbside Dunkers are great for Snackin’ with Acton!
- Craft Beer Biscuits: We can’t forget about our puppers during this time either, cause if yours is like mine, they know something is up. These dog treats are made with grain from several of our local breweries.
- Eleventh Candle Co.: I have my eye on the Cut Flowers from their spring collection. Remember they are one of the social enterprises in Columbus, so each purchase helps women in human trafficking and a village in Ethiopia!
- My J-POPS: Is offering delivery to your door in the Columbus area, just order online!
- Red Giraffe Designs: This local favorite has been around Columbus a long time! She recently added stickers to her line and is still on Etsy.
- Ridiculously Good Salsa: Three flavors are all you need for this amazingly fresh salsa, plus they can be found in several local grocery stores. There’s even a recipe for chili made with their salsa on their website.
- Simple Times Mixers: Cocktails at home are made easier with their popular cocktail mixers. They offer free shipping over $20 and have a monthly subscription cocktail box. Perfect for at-home date nights even after the pandemic.
- Uncle Giant: If you’ve never tried a tokel (Filipino “Polvoron” shortbread cookie), now is the time.They are best enjoyed with your morning hot cup of coffee or tea.
- Worthington Farmer’s Market: pulled together a way for you to pre-order and pick up your orders drive thru style! Saturdays from 10am-12pm only.
Make a Donation
It’s not just the businesses that are struggling, but many individuals have lost their jobs. If you can, think of donating to one of these organizations set up to help in times of need.
- Greater Columbus Arts Council: Provides grants of up to $1000 for Franklin County artists affected, grants are given on the basis of need, with those that are struggling most receiving it first.
- MidOhio Food Bank: This organization already provides food boxes to people around our city, but the need is so much more during this time. Consider donating or volunteering if you are healthy.
- The Roosevelt Coffeehouse: They are running a Buy One, Give One program where for every coffee bag you buy, they will donate one to healthcare professionals. Or you can choose to buy a healthcare bag yourself.
Stay at Home Dates
Let’s be honest, staying at home all day, every day can make you a little (ok, more than a little) stir crazy. You may be tempted to eat a lot, online shop until you are broke (hi, it’s me!), or binge watch everything possible. I have helped you out by compiling a list of unique, affordable, and local ideas to make this time at home a lot more bearable. Now, I challenge you to get those creative juices flowing to make this time a bit easier and tons more fun. Tag me in some of your date night ideas! I’d love to see them!
A lot of you are suffering from the lack of sports to entertain us during your quarantine, that just means you will have to create your own competitive entertainment. Some of you may have seen my post about the Bonding Bees box, this is a subscription date box that includes games and ways to get to know each other better. Kingmakers put together Stir-Crazy Kits and a free Family Fun Consultation. The consultation helps you come up with games using items you already have in your home. Finally, they have virtual trivia every Thursday night!
Cooking for Fun
Obviously, it’s a great time to learn a new recipe or refine your skills. Thankfully, there’s a ton of local recipe bloggers with some great recipes out there. Take a look at Are You Kitchen Me?, Crave Columbus, The Egg Day, Lakes and Lattes, NeighborFood Blog, The Spiffy Cookie, Splash of Sherri, or Tasting with Tina.
Don’t feel like actually cooking? That’s ok too! There are a lot of local businesses that have whipped up some at-home cooking kits/boxes. The Kitchen Columbus remade their signature experience into something you can do at home with their At-Home Participatory Dining Experience. Eat Fusian delivers and is offering a family meal kit filled with everything you need to make your own rice bowls. If dessert is what you are looking for, The Chocolate Cafe created a pack of their famous fondue to-go! Capital City Cakes and Sugar Rush Columbus all have DIY decorating kits for certain bakery items. Sadie Baby Sweets is offering cake pop decorating kits. Don’t forget the drinks! At Watershed Distillery each spirit purchase will come with a recipe card, syrup, and fresh citrus for $5 more. Echo Spirits is hosting an online Cocktail Club, check out the first video of the series here.
Getaway with a Staycation
This might be a bit of a stretch, but getting out of the house might be just what you need. AC Hotels in Dublin set-up a staycation package. The “Night Out” package includes a riverview room, $100 in room dining credit, and a bottle of wine for $200 plus tax. Valid until April 30.
A new-to-me company, The Pop-Up BNB, will come set up a tent allowing you to “glamp” out in YOUR OWN BACKYARD! These tents do not come with furniture (they normally do), but they do come with everything you need for a movie night under the stars. Don’t actually want to camp? Then have an outdoor movie night! They are currently serving southern Ohio, but are willing to travel to Columbus pending any travel bans.
Have a Virtual Experience
While you are enjoying your homemade or to-go meal tune into one of many virtual experiences. The creative community has really stepped up their game for giving you opportunities to enjoy their talent at-home. Artists around the world are doing live streams on their social media channels, your favorite might be one of them. Here are some local options as well. Various performers from around town are teaming up to bring you Columbus Goes Live: The Cyber Festival on 3/29 from 11am-9:30pm. The Rambling House has put together a Couch Tour series to help their performers and bar staff, it’s $5 and “tips” for the bartender. If live music isn’t your thing, check out this Hallmark movie set in Columbus.
*I have to put in a plug for one of my favorites that is live streaming right now. He’s not a Columbus local, but he is a former Ohioan. Scotty Kilwein plays the piano at Jellyrolls on Disney’s Boardwalk in Orlando and he’s incredible!
Unleash your Creative Side
We are all looking to up our hobby game during this time, so why not help out local businesses while you do it! Local AR Workshops are offering Take & Make DIY To-Go Kits and the kits include everything you need to make one of their popular projects. There are locations in Grove City, Pickerington, and Worthington. Igloo Letterpress, has letter writing and creativity kits. They also have some pretty cool prints inspired by Dr. Amy Acton! The pARTy Studio will deliver at-home kits within a 20-30mile radius. Creative Art Bar in Hilliard is shipping out at-home kits too!
Check out these articles from our sister site, Orlando Date Night Guide, and parent site, Date Night Guide, for stay at home inspiration:
- Home Honeymooning and How to Turn Everyday Tasks into Romance
- How to Throw a Backyard Movie Date Night
- New Trend Alert! How to Have a “Hygge” Date Night
- How to Have a Romantic Breakfast in Bed Date
- Play and Do Nothing
At least this is happening during the onset of spring, because that means we can go enjoy being outside. For the time being all 19 of the Columbus Metro Parks remain open, some of my favorites include: Batelle Darby Creek, Highbanks, Prairie Oaks, Scioto Audubon, Scioto Grove and Slate Run. A day trip to one of Ohio’s State Parks might also be a good idea, pack your lunch, take a drive, and enjoy the weather! Local neighborhood parks continue to stay open so go shoot some hoops (alone, with your quarantine mate or just your family-no groups allowed), play a game of tennis, take a walk, or order take-out for a picnic.
Remember to stay safe, positive, and wash your hands Columbus! We will get through this together!