Each March, Columbus, Ohio plays host to the North American edition of the Arnold Sports Festival. Despite being named after the most-famous bodybuilder of all time, the annual event is not just about bodybuilding. Each year, over 18,000 athletes (more than attend the Olympics) gather to compete in events as varied as Mas wrestling, dance sport and even yoga.
For any fan of the human body and what it can do, the Arnold Sports Festival is the best place to see the best and to gain motivation for your own fitness activities. In addition to great competition, the Arnold Sports Festival hosts an incredible trade show where you can see the latest in fitness technology, fashion and equipment. We recommend getting the VIP package, which gives you early access to the trade floor to beat the insane crowds that descent upon the show as soon as doors open to the public (in fact, crowds gather to line up well BEFORE doors open).
As for the beer side of Columbus, Ohio, there are many great sudsy options. If you're popping out for lunch between athletic events, there are four brewpubs and a couple of good restaurants right no North High Street, which bounds the west side of the Greater Columbus Convention Center, where the main Arnold Sports Festival events are held.
Barley's Brewing Company is a brewpub located right across the street from the Greater Columbus Convention Center and offers decent beer and food. South of the Greater Columbus Convention Center is Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus, just a free bus ride away and located in a beautiful old theatre. In the other direction, are RAM Restaurant & Brewery, part of a national chain of brewpubs, and North High Brewing.
If you get sick of brewpubs (what???), we recommend two restaurants near the Greater Columbus Convention Center that offer great beer. Stack City Burger Bar offers great burgers and delicious salads, but if you crave something more ethnic, Lemongrass offers an array of Asian-fusion dishes, including sushi.
Further away from the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the Arch City has an unbelievable number of options. Wolf's Ridge Brewing, Rockmill Tavern, Hoof Hearted Brewpub, Seventh Son Brewing, Land Grant Brewing, Four String Brewing and Platform Beer were our favorites.
And last, but certainly not least, a short drive away in Canal Winchester (a suburb of Columbus) is the American outpost of Scottish punk brewer BrewDog. While it may take you away from the Arnold Sports Festival for longer than you want, but we promise you won't be disappointed!
See you next year at the best sports festival in the world!