Visit Whetstone Park of Roses (as much as possible)
It’s cliche, but sometimes it really is the little things in life. Watching the glee on my three-year-old daughter’s face when she throws old bread at the ducks and geese brings me indescribable joy. It’s become a tradition that’s the best part of my week. Even if you don’t have kids, the Park of Roses is still a worthwhile place to take a break from life and enjoy the beautifully scenic outdoor setting.
Pro-tip: The June 8 Stop and Smell the Roses event is a free day-long garden party when the 12,000 roses are in peak bloom. Gorgeous.
See The xx
At LC Pavilion
Like many of you, I don’t get to as many summer concerts as I’d like to — whether it’s lack of time, the show is sold out, or I can’t afford tickets. But the June 11 show with The xx hasn’t sold out — yet! — and seeing this band live is well worth the price of admission ($35). The British trio’s first two records are among the best in the last few years, thanks to some truly impressive songwriting and composition. And Grizzly Bear is no slouch for an opener, making for a perfect summer evening.
Pro-tip: If it sells out or you can’t afford tickets, just hangout on A&R Music Bar’s patio and you’ll get some free — if not ideal, sound quality-wise — music.
Watch the “Mad Men” finale
At Gateway Film Center
Usually the movie theater is the place for summer blockbusters, and while I enjoy checking out a few big summer releases, I’m locked-in for the Season 6 finale of “Mad Men” on the big screen. I haven’t attended the free weekly screenings of the ’60s-era drama — about ad men and women, their various vices and personal discontent — at the Gateway yet, so there’s no better time than what promises to be a compelling finale.
Pro-tip: Take advantage of the full bar at the Martini Shot Bistro inside the Gateway. I prefer whiskey with my “Mad Men.”
Go to the Hot Times Community Arts & Music Festival
At Olde Towne East
Every year I promise myself I’ll make it to Hot Times, and every year I blow it. Not this year. I mean it. Everyone who’s been tells me Hot Times has all of the same good-time vibe of ComFest minus the hordes of people. While I’ll undoubtedly make an obligatory trip to Goodale Park in June, I’m really looking forward to relaxing under a tree in Olde Towne East in September.
Pro-tip: Art cars!
Hangout Downtown after (work) hours
Downtown Columbus has become one of my favorite scenes. If someone says there’s nothing to do downtown after work, it means they’re sorely uninformed. Some of the city’s best bars and restaurants reside within a short walking distance of the Statehouse. Also, the addition of the monthly Moonlight Market on Gay Street — a kickass little street fair with some fantastic local vendors — is a must-do for this summer.
Pro-tip: Check out an in-store performance by a local band at Vinyl Frontier during the Moonlight Market.