One of the first ironic things about moving to Columbus was this: my college hometown is Columbia. My dear friend and Jazzercise instructor could NEVER remember that I was headed to Columbus for the summer (Claire…think Co-lum-bi-a). Both cities have their perks and pitfalls. I thought it would be fun for friends, family, and curious readers to read a debate of geographic topic. I will say this: I have yet to find a Mexican restaurant I love in Columbus otherwise I would have this listed below. Nothing compares to El Jimador and El Espolon in Jeff City though. Please keep in mind that these are my personal opinions and I do enjoy everything listed below.
Battle of the Acronym
Columbus: Also known as C-BUS Columbia: Also known as COMO
Both cities have their cute acronyms, making it easier to chant out territory loyalty such as “COMO you know you know!” Columbus is actually known as C-BUS while COMO is more of an “underground” term. I would say that neither city is a clear winner in this challenge.
Battle of the School Mascot
OSU: Brutus the Buckeye MU: Truman the Tiger
I’ll be quite honest, I’m a little bit biased on this end. While OSU is the biggest state college in the USA, I grew up around Mizzou. I’ve experienced the hectic season known as football season, I’ve been tailgating, I love tigers, and I’m surrounded by dedicated Tiger Fans. It’s easy to say that Mizzou is the clear winner here. And let’s be honest, a nut is a pretty silly mascot.
Battle of the Downtown Area
Columbus: Short North/Arena District Columbia: The District
This is somewhat tricky but not at the same time. Both downtown areas are completely different, which makes them difficult to compare. The Short North is packed full with bars, unique restaurants (Surly Girl Saloon), local shops, and galleries. This area appeals to the young professional so don’t be surprised if you meet someone at least 5 years older than you. And while the Arena District is separate from the Short North, it is adjacent. The Arena District is very similar to the Short North; however, the bars and restaurants are definitely more club-y. The District also is packed with bars, restaurants, and local shops. However, the area definitely appeals more to the college age student. I would say that The District is more family friendly. Also, most things close by 8pm while other things are open until 1am. For Columbus, places stay open until at least 2:30am. The Short North and Arena District are notorious for having festivals and events. For The District in Columbia, festivals and events are fewer. Also, Google recognizes the Short North as a place to be in Columbus. And with that, Columbus is the winner here.
Battle of the Outdoors
Columbus: Hocking Hills & Park of Roses Columbia: Capen Park
Now this is somewhat tricky. I absolutely love Hocking Hills; however, Hocking Hills is not even in Columbus. This area is majestic; you have access to ziplines, caves, camping, canoeing, waterfalls, and hiking. Inside city limits is a beautiful place called Columbus Park of Roses. For all flower lovers, this is a great area to have a wedding, sit and read, or walk and smell the roses (yes, I intended for that cliché to happen). For Columbia, Capen Park is a beautiful area where people can hike up the mountain, rock climb, and walk on trails. Capen Park is definitely a local delicacy and not known to most out-of-towners. While I adore Hocking Hills, Columbia wins because Capen Park is actually within city limits.
The Battle of the Mall
Columbus: Easton Town Center/Polaris Fashion Place Columbia: Columbia Mall
This one is a no brainer. Columbus wins. With a beautiful outdoor mall and indoor mall, Columbus is unstoppable. Plus, Easton boasts of the VS flagship. That’s enough for this girl.
The Battle of Ice Cream
Columbus: Graeter’s/Jenni’s Columbia: Central Dairy/Sparky’s
Okay so I’m cheating a little bit. Central Dairy is in Jeff City, which is about 25 minutes south of Columbia. However, I was raised on Central Dairy. For $2, I can get the biggest thing of ice cream possible. While Graeter’s has been around since 1870 and was featured in Forbes Magazine, you get the most for your buck with Central Dairy. Plus you can only get it in one place while Graeter’s has several locations. Central Dairy FTW. When it comes to specialty frou-frou hipster ice cream, you can choose between Jenni’s or Sparky’s. Both boast high prices for a small quantity of ice cream. Despite this, Jenni’s wins for me and the reason is this: they have more flavors, more locations (including ice cream trucks), and you can buy it at local grocery stores.
The Battle of Pizza
Columbus: Late Night Slice Columbia: Shakespeare’s Pizza
While these two businesses are completely different, you can buy pizza by the slice at both locations. The name should be a dead giveaway, but Late Night Slice is open, well late. The company even has a food truck, which can sometimes be found in the Short North on the weekends. On the other hand, Shakespeare’s is not open as late, but if you go to the downtown location, you can watch the chefs toss pizza dough in the air. Wise pizza lovers know to be careful while enjoying Shakespeare’s; you do not want to burn your mouth with the deliciously hot pizza. Shakespeare’s has three locations, was featured on Good Morning America, and offers downtown visitors cart rides (with a bike). Shakespeare’s is definitely the winner.
The Battle of Cookies
Columbus: Insomnia Cookies Columbia: Hot Box Cookies
Ahh, delicious cookies. I’ve enjoyed eating at both of these venues. Hot Box Cookies is a fun place where you can decorate your own box, play board games, and eat. While I don’t know all of the ins-and-outs of Insomnia Cookies, the food speaks for itself. The cookies at Insomnia are hotter, more expensive, and bigger while you can buy a cookie at Hot Box for about $1. Both places deliver. Insomnia Cookies has multiple locations, even one at Penn State. I think Columbus wins this round.
There are several things about Columbus that reminds me of Columbia. Both cities have Panera (OMG YAY) and they have Gerbes. Well, Columbus calls them Kroger, but it’s the exact same store. It’s safe to say that I could definitely live in Columbus as it has everything I could want and more. I do love Columbia, but it doesn’t offer me quite the same things as Columbus (like my dream job!).