Columbus 101: Tried-and-true pro-tips from city insiders

From the August 14, 2014 edition

Lost in that cliché of Columbus being a big city that feels small is that the Arch City is pretty, well, big. You could spend an entire weekend exploring one neighborhood and still miss all kinds of awesome. To help you get the most out of the ’Bus, we've compiled a lesson plan — Columbus 101, if you will — by reaching out to numerous “Columbus insiders” to compile a list of the absolute must-know secrets and pro-tips any legit Columbusite should be aware of. While some people refused to tell us their best secrets — lest they be ruined for all — these 101 tried-and-true pro-tips should definitely help you level up. Pair this cover story with our back-to-school, bucket-list-style guide to Columbus and you’ll feel like you’ve lived here for decades. —Justin McIntosh

1. Go to Columbus Civic Theater to see a show ... you can pick up a bottle of wine from Weiland's across the street AND DRINK IT IN THE THEATER. —Jackie Mantey, Alive freelancer

2. Go off the beaten path along the Olentangy bike trail. If you see a small dirt path leading off into some brush, take it. There’s a whole world to discover along those paths, like secret hammock spots, BMX ramps, couches, stone-skipping havens, etc. —Justin McIntosh, Alive editor

3. Get an SBB card for great deals at local businesses. My favorite and most-used is $6.50 movies at the Gateway Film Center for any movie — there are no restrictions, except an up-charge for 3D. —Keith Adams, resident

4. Catch a unique look at Downtown by taking the Lazarus Building’s rooftop garden tour presented by Urban Arts Space and the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation. Tours are the first Friday of the month from May through October, and begin at the Urban Arts Space with an opportunity to participate in a guided tour of the gallery’s current exhibition. —Jesse Tigges, Alive arts reporter

5. Take advantage of parking garage rooftops Downtown. Sunsets in Columbus are regularly one of our best features, and they're even better with an elevated vantage point. —Lisa Ragland, photographer and blogger

6. Clown Cone & Confections — as one might imagine, given its name—is not for coulrophobics. Clowns are everywhere. For the unafraid, the nostalgic and those who like to get their sugar high at a discount, Clown Cone — part old-fashioned ice cream parlor, part penny candy shop — is the place to be. It boasts 39 flavors of ice cream, plus a wall of old-school candy. —Jenny Wray, Wexner Center for the Arts marketer

7. Villa Nova has the best happy hour on earth. Free pizza, popcorn and $2 beers. —Liz Lessner, restaurateur

8. Order the already-insanely-good fried cheese curds at Little Palace with a side of brown gravy instead of the usual honey mustard. It’s like making poutine in your mouth. —Brad Keefe, Alive web producer

9. Friday, just after the Rib Fest opens, is your prime time for eats. At this point, the ribs have been slow-cooked the entire day before with no rush. You don't want to be the first in line though. Let the rib jockeys have a chance to settle into their game. The mid-day crowd is small and the ribs were slow-cooked. —David Dean, semi-pro street luger

10. Wasserstrom Restaurant Supply Store on Silver Drive is open to everybody and has better tools at better prices than the kitchen stores you find at the mall. —Kate Djupe of The Commissary

11. When going to a show at the LC, grab a drink at A&R Bar and relax until the LC gates open. You can utilize the hidden entrance/exit into the LC outdoors from A&R Bar AND take your beverage in when the gates open. Plus, they take cards! —Jen Zoc, resident

12. Thanks to the plethora of universities around town, you can attend a bevy of amazing guest speaker events, often for free. This past year I saw Natasha Trethewey, the former poet laureate (at CCAD), Salman Rushdie (at Otterbein) and Roxane Gay (at Columbus State). —Hannah Stephenson, poet/instructor

13. For the best info on upcoming concerts, follow the small show promoters, such as BenCo Presents, Starwood Productions and Celebrity Etc. Promowest ain't the only game in town! —Rob Hatfield, resident

14. Start your Gallery Hopping at Fifth & High to avoid the hassle of parking. The crowds are lighter, parking's typically more plentiful and you can kick the night off with some of the neighborhood's treasures. Loosen up with a cocktail at The Table or Surly Girl and see if anything's happening in the Garden Theatre's Green Room. Add some coin to your meter and then stop in at a few of the Short North's finest galleries, like Rivet and Lindsay Gallery, while you're still mostly sober. Later on, you'll have to hoof it to your car since the Cbus Connector only goes to Third, but that'll give you a chance to walk off whatever you ingested over the night. —Melissa Starker, film critic/arts reporter

15. If you see Jen Miller’s name on the lineup at Dick's Den, go see her. Wonderful local songbird who only comes out a few times a year. —Michael Brown of Experience Columbus

16. To beat the brunch crowds in the Short North on Saturday and Sunday, hit up Tasi’s all-day breakfast. It's open till 5 p.m., but usually around 3-4 p.m. is the perfect sweet spot to avoid a huge crowd. —Angela Perley, musician

17. Check out the Crest during its Sunday happy hour, like around 2 or 3, and you’re almost guaranteed to get a patio table AND cheap drinks. —Justin McIntosh, Alive editor

18. The American Institute of Alternative Medicine offers deeply discounted massages and acupuncture treatments for $25-30 all the time. —Natalie Kristine, yoga instructor

19. Are your taste buds fancier than your attire? Skip the formality of the dining room and saddle up to the bar in your jeans. DeepWood and Rigsby’s have specials just for you. —Jill Moorhead, food writer

20. Best bang for your buck and possibly the best gyro in town is at Yanni's Greek Grill on Cleveland Ave. Greek food made by Greeks. Always tasty, lots of food and excellent fries. — Sameh Safaa Fahmi, photographer

21. The Columbus Idea Foundry features a bunch of interesting and fun classes — from woodworking and blacksmithing to 3D printing and glass workshops — but the one must-do is Intro to Lockpicking. The $55 class, taught by Columbus Locksport International, comes with your own lockpick set and the knowledge taken away means you’ll never get locked out of the house again. —Jesse Tigges, Alive arts reporter

22. Never book a concert during an OSU football game. When we’re planning bigger shows or releases, we pull up the sport schedule to make sure we’re in the clear. —Angela Perley, musician

23. Every year I drive my motorcycle to ComFest, which has motorcycle parking right behind the Jazz Stage. Always room. —Mike Heslop, Kafe Kerouac owner

24. The all-ethnicities grocery store Saraga has scallions and cilantro for $.25 a bunch, in addition to a million amazing other foods for way cheap. —Colin Vent, brewmaster at Seventh Son Brewery

25. Hayden Run Falls: A waterfall inside 270. —Hunter Kelly, resident/musician

26. All creatives should know and apply for the various individual grants through the GCAC and OAC. —S.E. Steele, artist

27. Get off High Street. When you leave the confines of Columbus’ entertainment districts, one-way streets and suburbs, you begin to realize we have a thriving and culturally diverse immigrant population that adds to the local flavor of our ever-changing, ever-growing "Cow Town." From the Westland Flea Market to an impressive selection of worldly eateries scattered about the city, you start to see a more diverse and colorful side of Columbus, which makes it feel a little bit bigger and a whole lot more delicious. —Lara Pipia, restaurateur

28. If you love biking but loathe crowds, pick up the Alum Creek Trail and pedal south. It’s never crowded, the scenery is beautiful and a network of interconnected trails runs all the way to Pickerington. —Andy Downing, Alive music writer

29. Lemongrass' appetizer menu can make a dinner out of apps from 3-7 p.m. or 9 p.m. to close. Snatch a veggie spring roll, some grilled chicken sate tenders and get out for under $10. Arch City, Hubbard Grill and Philco also have half-off drink and food items at relatively the same time. —Paul Meara, writer

30. Sometimes I get a hankering for Sophie's Pierogi, and can't fill it because his cart is not open or a little farther away than I'm up to traveling. Not many people know that Jailhouse Rock (inside Little Rock) carries Sophie's handmade pierogi, toasted and served up with some inventive toppings. —Matthew Heaggans, restaurateur

31. Arena District/Blue Jackets game parking tip: Park on Armstrong (one block west of Front). Meters have a 12-hour time limit and are only $.40 per hour! A rare find in C-bus. —Brittany Baum, restaurateur

32. Get lost. Pick a direction (N, S, E, W), and put aside a couple of hours on the weekend to drive/walk/bike without a specific destination. Columbus is so unassuming, it can take a bit of time to get to know. Make a bit of regular wandering a priority for you and your friends. —Lisa Ragland, photographer and blogger

33. The ginger mojito at Third & Hollywood is so good! It’s not on the menu, but they'll make it, and they use the same ginger ale that is raved about from Northstar (since it's the same ownership). —Natalie Kristine, yoga instructor

34. At Hyde Park and Eleven, you can order a "spa drink" cocktail that's not on the menu. It's Effen Cucumber Vodka, club soda, fresh-squeezed lemon with a floater of St. Germain. —Kristen Foley, marketer

35. Get your creative work into museums and galleries by contacting "curators," not gallery owners. —S.E. Steele, artist

36. I guess it would have to be about Donatos! Columbus has the best hometown pizza, Donatos. Make sure you visit the first location on Thurman, right near where I grew up! —J Rawls, musician

37. Looking for the best old and new vinyl selections? Check out Records Per Minute on High St. Ask for Steve. He's the dude! —Christopher Wood, music promoter 

38. $1 mimosas at the Blue Danube on Sundays. —Marissa Luther, PromoWest marketing director

39. Whether you live in the Short North or not, take public transportation, especially evenings and weekends. You’ll spend more time circling the blocks in the time you could have caught a bus or a cab, and it’s cheaper on your wallet than gas and parking.  Also, get a Car2Go account, even if you own a car. Free parking at meters AND you can park two cars per meter (if done properly)! Also, many festivals have “drop zones” right next to the entrance, so you park as close as possible for free. —April Kulcsar, Brothers Drake music booker

40. The bird mural in Clintonville’s Glen Echo Ravine is rightly famous, but for street art your nightmares are made of, go east in the ravine until you discover a terrifying monster graffiti-ed around a tunnel. Likewise, behind Lucky’s Market, also in the Glen Echo Ravine, you’ll find the even-more-terrifying Gates of Hell/Blood Bowl. —Justin McIntosh, Alive editor

41. I recommend drinking $1 black labels during happy hour at Cafe Bourbon Street. —Alex Mussawir, musician

42. Between the Wex, Studio 35, Gateway, South Drive-In, the Drexel, the Grandview, Columbus is a great filmgoing town, but the annual Shock Around the Clock — a 24-hour horror marathon with classics, reissues, cult favorites and other assorted oddities — is one of the crown jewels. Great movies, great crowds and a commitment to showing things on actual prints when possible, it's a must for film fans. —Erik Pepple, Wexner Center for the Arts marketer

43. The Golf Depot in Gahanna is a place I talk about all the time to friends. Even if you don't golf, the view is worth the trip! It's the highest point in Franklin County, and you can see the sun set over the city skyline at dusk. So pretty. You can also see planes landing! Fun fact: It's actually an old landfill. Talk about transformation! —Christina Christian, events director at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

44. The absolute best drag shows in town happen at Southbend Tavern in Merion Village. It's none of this new corporate queen, TV-popularized drag that seems to mostly attract a straight audience, but a place that is filled with the REAL cultural legacy of drag. It's a divey neighborhood bar, and the last place you'd expect to find such a variety of experienced performers. —Caitlin McGurk, librarian

45. I obviously would suggest checking out Mr. Fahrenheit & the Loverboys [and Joe Peppercorn’s] Beatles marathon, but that's me being greedy. I also think people should check out Worst Kept Secret Fest, Music on the Tracks and Dude Locker Fest, all of which take place at the Dude Locker. —Jacob Wooten, musician

46. If you have time on a weekday, hit 16-Bit Bar + Arcade. It’s less crowded then so you'll have lots more chances to play their awesome old video game collection. —Ben DeRolph, Spacebar owner

47. Vinyl fans should know about the annual Ron House $1 record sale he puts on at his house the second weekend of April every year. Lots of good soul, jazz and rock LPs all priced at just $1. —Brett Ruland, Spoonful Records owner

48. Brothers Drake has a badass summer secret drink you can sometimes get if you sweet-talk the gorgeous Heather Wise. (And others I bet.) Eight ounces of Curiosus by The Actual Brewing Co. mixed with a couple ounces of Est. 1812 Raspberry Mead tastes like love and inspiration and trouble all together. It tastes like summer 2014. Go get it. (IF it’s not on tap today, you can buy bottles and mix at home!) —Amy Turn Sharp, poet

49. During Gallery Hop, the Short North can get packed. Many galleries host opening receptions on the Friday before or Sunday after Gallery Hop, which are great options for viewing new exhibitions each month without the crowds. —Dana Cox, Short North Alliance marketing and communications manager

50. The Columbus Museum of Art is free on Sundays. I go every other month. —Mike Heslop, Kafe Kerouac owner

51. Schiller Park’s Shakespeare in the Park is a secret boozer paradise. I had no idea! Nearly everyone there was boozin’ in plain sight, which makes the whole shebang that much cooler. —Justin McIntosh, Alive editor

52. Spending Thursday evenings at 4th St. Bar & Grill for Local Love is a good way to quickly get acquainted with the local indie-rock scene. It’s free, and two bands perform every week, usually beginning a bit after 10 p.m.—Andy Downing, Alive music writer

53. Inside Oddfellows Liquor Bar, there's a hidden button by the bar. If you're able to find it, press it and the bartender will serve you a glass of cheap Champagne. —Dana Cox, Short North Alliance marketing and communications manager

54. When I first moved to Columbus, the first thing people told me was there is free pizza on Monday nights at High Beck Tavern (564 S. High St.). From pepperoni to a “coney style” with chili and jalapenos, to a BLT-style pie, the toppings are surprisingly unique. Plus, the patio is pretty great for watching shit happen on High St. —George Brazil, DJ

55. Fresh, high-quality vermouths are the best way to make your drinks better than theirs (whoever they are). —Adam Roelle, Spirits Manager at Cavalier

56. Tensuke Market (1167 Old Henderson Rd.) is the best Japanese grocery around, with fresh sushi available for purchase or order that’s actually good. Also, within Tensuke Market is Tensuke Express, where you can get quick and cheap Japanese noodles, soba, udon, ramen and more. —Bradley Golowin, filmmaker

57. The Pearl has a $24 glass of Champagne for half-off during their happy hour. Champagne — not sparkling wine, not prosecco. Champagne from the actual Champagne region of France. —Kristen Foley, marketer

58. Party all night on Thanksgiving Eve at Wall Street Night Club. The music doesn’t stop until 3 a.m., and the sprawling club completely fills up will male and female go-go dancers donning wings and/or horns. Thanksgiving Dinner and the subsequent coma are the perfect hangover antidotes. —Abernathy Miller, Alive writer

59. Want to watch Red, White & Boom, but don’t want to even think about the parking logistics? Hit up a parking garage on OSU’s campus and make a tailgate party out of it. —Justin McIntosh, Alive editor

60. Get some truly unique pieces and a few gems at campus vintage spot, Clothing Underground, all while avoiding the soul-crushing experience of Urban Outfitters. —Abernathy Miller, Alive writer

61. When too poor to afford a Sky Horse ticket to New York, walk onto Skylab Gallery's fire-escape. It's the only place in Columbus where one's entire view is delimited by skyscrapers and urban detritus. No parking lots are visible, the horizon is obscured — it's the cheapest way to leave the Midwest. —James Payne, booker

62. If you stop at Northstar Cafe early in the day, you can get their day-old giant cookies for just $1. —Dana Cox, Short North Alliance marketing and communications manager

63. You can say a four-digit code of any numbers when you want Jason’s Deli to deliver and you can get $2 off the delivery fee. —Emily Haggard, resident

64. There's nothing quite like snagging a frosty 40 and pounding that sucker in the midday sun. To avoid interference from the fuzz, get your buzz on incognito at these places: 1. Italian Village Park — You can chug Four Loko on a swing set. Trust us, you want to do this. 2. The side stairs behind Newport — Very accessible and since you're a few stories up, you can look down on the city and laugh at everyone not getting liquored up on their own terms. 3. In between the university housing between 11th & Chittenden — Just begging for it really, nice and secluded, perfect location right on the edge of Campus, and even the people that live in the houses do it. —Cadaver Dogs, musicians

65. You’d be surprised how many talented and well-known chefs in the city are happy and willing to cater for a dinner, party or even wedding. Don't go through the restaurant; go directly to the chef or sous chef. My friend once hired an executive sous chef to grill all the meat at her 30-person Sunday afternoon barbecue; it made all the difference and was pretty inexpensive. —Karmen Dann, restaurateur

66. Never call any cab but Blue Cab. They let you have dogs in the car, they have cabs that take credit cards and most importantly, they SHOW UP within a decent amount of time. —Emily Haggard, resident

67. For the dad's, OSU airport has a lookout that’s free to watch the planes come and go. My boys love it, and no one is ever there. —Mike Heslop, Kafe Kerouac owner

68. Looking for a venue for your large party/wedding? Try an independent restaurant. If you can meet their average net sales for the night with food/drinks, a lot of them will close down and give you the space for free. This can be a lot, lot, lot less expensive than a venue/caterer. Restaurant owners LOVE a sure thing (so do bar owners). Don't be afraid to call and ask. And if they say no, ask them to make a suggestion. —Karmen Dann, restaurateur

69. Jeni at Hubbard normally makes a weekly "test drink" by creating specialty simple syrups or infused waters using seasonal ingredients. Not on the menu. —Kristen Foley, marketer

70. Five beer tips: Zauber makes one of the best hefeweizens I’ve had outside of Germany. 101 Beer Kitchen has the best gastro food in Central Ohio. Gentile’s and Winemaker’s are great local sources for homebrewers or those looking to get started. Bob's Bar has the surliest bartenders of any bar, but they make up for it with a great beer selection and knowledge. Brews Cafe is the best beer bar you've never been too. —Jason Kusowski, Spruce Campbells Brewing

71. Peak-hour parking restrictions have been lifted on Summit St. and Fourth St., and are both great options for parking your car without the wait. The streets are a quick five-minute walk to High St. in the Short North Arts District. —Besty Pandora, Short North Alliance executive director

72. Wahalla Drive in Clintonville is a true urban oasis for a city runner. It's an awesome escape from the busy hustle of High St. Discovered it by accident. Love it! —Christina Christian, events director at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

73. Drink in Corner Stone Craft Beer & Wine (61 Parsons Ave.). They have an insane selection of craft beer, and you can literally buy a six-pack and sit down at their back bar to drink it. It’s a great place to start a night out in Olde Towne East. Bar feeling at carryout prices — need I say more? —Abernathy Miller, Alive writer

74. Some of my favorite restaurants and food trucks have secret menu items or unwritten specials you learn about only after becoming a regular. And some of the best food comes from locations that only the truly devoted to flavors could overlook. But the Szechuan food at Helen Asian Kitchen, the buffet at Reethika (watch out for the whole spices that give the dishes all of the flavor), the chicken at Los Potosinos, the everything at the Bebe at the HeyHey... —Kate Djupe, restaurateur

75. Go off the beaten path during Gallery Hop by jumping over to Stone Village Church (139 E. Second Ave.) for its monthly receptions. The unconventional gallery consistently features exciting works from local artists, and it’s the best chance to view them since there aren’t regular daily hours. —Jesse Tigges, Alive arts reporter

76. My friend recently visited from a much bigger city, and reveled in the fact that in Columbus, you can find yourself almost completely alone in urban spaces. Take note, seek those moments out and enjoy the silence. —Lisa Ragland, photographer and blogger

77. There's always parking in the Short North during the day behind Tigertree. As for secret, 007-shit, Colin's Coffee is a great place to unwind on a Saturday morning when I want to take a little drive, but Upper Cup's Pineapple Ham and Habenero sandwich with an added fried egg is the best hangover medicine outside of NOT drinking in the first place (of course, that's silly). Best grub on-the-go is Angry Baker's kolaches with coffee — and good for hangovers. Carabar's chorizo quesadilla will provide the perfect carb base for shot after shot of Dill Thrills (for creating chest hair and memories ... that will be lost after one too many Dill Thrills). Adriatico's is still the go-to for pizza, but stay away during school season. —T. Christopher Ottinger, musician

78. One of the best happy hours in Columbus is at The Tree Bar, which features a good selection of ridiculously cheap drinks. The haunt also offers some well-made cocktails for its evening “cocktail hour.” —Jesse Tigges, Alive arts reporter

79. Igloo Letterpress’ press room is one of the most therapeutic and enchanting spaces to be in. The classes or the open houses where you can press your own cards and posters are my favorite afternoons. —Kate Djupe, restaurateur

80. While I will not give you the location of my Super Ultra Secret Parking Spots, I would not be very good at my job (ahem) if I didn’t spread word about free admission to the Wex’s galleries. Wex members and all students get free gallery admission every day, but even if you’re not enrolled in school or a Wex member, you can still visit our galleries for free from 4-8 p.m. every Thursday and on the first Sunday of the month. —Jenny Wray, Wexner Center for the Arts marketer

81. Architecture aficionados may or may not know there’s a secret subdivision in Worthington where all the homes adhere to Frank Lloyd-Wright’s concept of organic design. —Brad Keefe, Alive web producer

82. Each Columbus Food League restaurant has a strong $3 cocktail on the menu with a clever name, i.e. The Surly Temple, Bottoms Up, Betty Ford, Buckaroo Bonzai, etc. The $3 drinks intentionally have innocuous sounding names, but they're a cheap fix. —Liz Lessner, restaurateur

83. To get around Columbus’ central neighborhoods more quickly, take Fourth St. heading north or Summit/Third heading south, instead of High St. Three lanes of one-way traffic on either road and timed lights (you will nail every green light if you go around 35 miles per hour) mean you can get from Downtown to Clintonville in less than five minutes, and vice versa. —George Brazil, DJ

84. The best kept secret at Late Night Slice: Slut Sauce is available for sale in bottles at all locations (including the trucks). —Mikey Sorboro, owner of Late Night Slice and Oddfellows

85. The Mike Brown burger at Mac's ... took many years to get on the menu, but it's my fav hangover cure for Saturdays, with a cup of coffee, pint of Guinness and tater tots. —Michael Brown of Experience Columbus

86. The best spot in Crew Stadium to watch the match, hang out with friends, drink craft beer and munch on some grub is the stage. —Justin McIntosh, Alive editor

87. There is still decent beer to be had at LC outdoor shows! Head to the full bar attached to Mikey's Late Night Slice, where you can order two cans of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and pour them into an obligatory giant beer cup — so much better than Miller Lite or Blue Moon. —Shelley Mann of Umami

88. Early Saturday at Seventh Son, you can get That Food Truck's smoked meats on pancakes with syrup! Brisket on pancakes! —Colin Vent, brewmaster at Seventh Son Brewery

89. Go to Surly Girl and get the turkey melt. Get mashers for your side. Put the mashers in the turkey melt. Die happy. —Andrew Dodson, Groove U instructor/bartender

90. Too cheap for Netflix? The Columbus Metropolitan Library has everything you need. Reserve the latest flicks online — often in the system weeks before they release — or grab an entire season of “Lost” for next weekend. And their app makes everything easier, renewing your shows or even paying those pesky fines. —Alison Pegg, Blue Jackets Foundation manager

91. Take advantage of the Olentangy Bike Trail when traveling to crowded events Downtown. It's the best alternative to a highway in the city. —Lisa Ragland, photographer and blogger

92. When meeting friends for dinner, aim for an odd time. EVERYONE goes out to eat at 7. A restaurant staff will see a surge of people literally hit the door at the top of the hour. If you have time constraints, aim for 6:45 — it will make a world of difference. —Karmen Dann, restaurateur

93. There’s a hole-in-the-wall bar behind Huntington Park, across from the Buggyworks building, called Betty’s. Not to be confused with the Betty’s in the Short North… It’s a cool little place to grab a beer and a burger before or after Clippers games. —Eric French, WOSU All Sides Weekend host

94. The Columbus Zoo is the best place to be in November. Cool weather, no crowds, active animals. —Kate Djupe, restaurateur

95. The greatest clothing store in the Short North is Royal Factory Atelier located on High and Fifth. The owners, Felicia and Andre, spent some time on the West Coast and eventually brought their eclectic and urban style to Columbus. It's very cutting edge, hip and affordable. They have everything from vintage clothing to costumes, to everyday apparel, and they also have incredible accessories. But the two coolest things about the Royal Factory are they sell local designers’ lines (which have some of the most refreshing fashion I’ve seen in our city!) and they have a unique selection of men's apparel. If you have solitary and exquisite taste on a budget, you should definitely check out Royal Factory Atelier. The Royal Factory is [Damn the Witch Siren’s] default when it comes to getting outfits for shows and photo shoots. —Bobbi Kitten, musician

96. If you’re making posters, handbills or flyers for an event, don't chintz. Pay a local artist for something unique and spring for color prints. Let the artist keep the rights to the image and he/she will create something they feel has long-term value as a piece of art that they can resell. —Ken Eppstein, Nix Comics

97. Best and cheapest place for a wedding ceremony: Frank Fetch Park, $50. —Karmen Dann, restaurateur

98. One of the best desserts in Columbus is Spencer’s Rice Pudding at Rigsby’s. It’s utterly decadent, and there’s always a couple of nice wines by the glass available — for an even nicer price — to pair with the unforgettable treat. —Jesse Tigges, Alive arts reporter

99. Central Ohio's libraries are consistently ranked among the best in the country. My personal favorite reason why: You can check out vinyl records at the Grandview Heights Public Library. I've picked up everything from Radiohead, to Miles Davis, to Neutral Milk Hotel. —Justin McIntosh, Alive editor

100. Concert junkies should purchase tickets at the box office, or use the 24-hour kiosk at the LC. You'll still pay a surcharge (usually $4, sometimes less), but it's way cheaper than online. Those fees soon add up to another show. —Keith Adams, resident

101. Get involved with the things you love, whatever it is. If you don't know where they are, you are holding a resource for finding them in your hands. Columbus' big strength is that it's a welcoming and supportive city. Go wherever people are doing the thing you want to do, or making things like you make. Be interested in what others are doing, and don't be a jerk. One secret is great, but the network you'll build by engaging with people will give you more tips, tricks, friends, collaborators and memories than you'll even be able to use. —James Moore, comic book writer