The List: Ways to avoid the Arena District with the Crew, Jackets and Clips all in action

On Wednesday, the three Columbus sports teams are all scheduled to play home games for the first time this year, so you might want to steer clear

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
The Arena District growth along Spring Street includes Huntington Park and Nationwide Arena, as seen on June 22, 2021.

With the early summer opening of Lower.com Field, the Columbus Crew’s Arena District stadium, the neighborhood is now home to the city’s three major professional sports teams. Now, for the first time since this became a reality, all three are scheduled to play at home on the same day.

On Wednesday, Sept. 29, the Columbus Clippers lead off with a 6:15 p.m. game against Louisville. Just 45 minutes later, at 7 p.m., the Blue Jackets face the St. Louis Blues. Finally, the Crew squares off against Cruz Azul in the Campeones Cup, which kicks off at 8 p.m.

If you’re planning to attend any of these games, try to work out parking in advance or plan on finding other means into the area, whether by scooter, rideshare or public transit. If you were planning on visiting the Arena District for other reasons, fear not. We’ve got a few alternatives at the ready.

If you want to spend $18 on tacos

While almost $20 might get you a trio of tacos at Nada, pocket that money, avoid the crowds and hit one of the four Los Guachos locations, all of which feature ample parking. Better yet, the eateries' Gringas Al Pastor are only $2 each on Wednesday, so you can easily feed the family for the price you would have spent on one dining in the Arena District.

If you want to stretch your legs with a walk in the park

McFerson Commons is a nice in-city getaway, but it doesn’t exactly offer the same real estate as the best Columbus parks. Instead, we recommend heading north to Clintonville’s Park of Roses, which barely feels like it’s in the city at all.

If a doughnut is calling your name

Bypass the chain comfort of Dunkin’ Donuts and visit campus (and Columbus) institution Buckeye Donuts. And you don’t even have to be precious about what time you visit: the shop is open 24/7.

If you’re in dire need of family-sized portions of Italian food

Skip Buca di Beppo and make a lasagna at home. If you don’t have a recipe that’s been passed down through your family for generations, here’s one as a solid jump-off point.

If you’re seeing Christian French perform at A&R Bar

If you’re still holding onto tickets for this twice-rescheduled show, which was previously pushed from the Basement (March 17, 2020) and A&R Bar (May 21, 2021) due to COVID regulations only to land in the Arena District the same night all three of the city’s sports teams play at home, we imagine you’re not giving them up now. Rather than wrestling to find parking, however, it might be worth taking advantage of the city’s numerous Downtown lots and scootering to the venue, which is no longer an option coming from the Short North.

If you want to walk around outside with a beer

The Arena District isn’t the only spot with a DORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area). Head to Worthington between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m., scarf some crab cakes at the Whitney House and then take a local draft beer or cocktail to go. Other suburbs offer similar outdoor imbibing, though days and times vary.

If you have a hankering for a cheesesteak

Bite the bullet and head to the Arena District anyway because for our money nothing tops Wario’s, crowds be damned.