Alumnus offers insider’s tour of Columbus for Pack fans

March 15, 2012
By Bill Krueger

Going to Columbus to watch the Pack’s first game in the NCAA basketball tournament? Wondering what else to do while you’re there?

Jesse Wilmoth '04

Jesse Wilmoth '04

Jesse Wilmoth, a 2004 graduate of the College of Design can help. Wilmoth works as an architect intern in downtown Columbus, which he describes as a “big, temperate version of Raleigh.” We caught up with Wilmoth by email this week to give you his insider’s look at the Wolfpack’s basketball home for the weekend.

Are you able to keep up with Wolfpack athletics while living in Columbus? It’s hard to keep up with the Pack because Columbus is crawling with Buckeye fans, but we catch the nationally televised games. It’s been easier this year, because so many good ACC basketball games have been televised.

What is there for NC State fans to do while they’re in Columbus? Make sure to check out OSU’s campus; it’s one of the largest in the nation. The “Shoe” is an impressive shoe2monument to OSU’s football tradition, and Urban Meyer’s new stomping ground. Fun fact: If you feel right at home, it’s because OSU is a land-grant university, uses lots of brick and even has the same signage design that NCSU uses for their buildings on campus. Great walking/running paths downtown lead all along the rivers, and plenty of nearby parks will give you a chance to enjoy the outdoors. It gets a little chilly at night this time of year — bring a coat!

Anything else? While most of Arnold Schwarzenegger would not be described as soft,he does have a soft spot in his heart for Columbus: See if you can track www.popstarsplus.comdown the larger-than-life bronze statue of him. (Hint: Try Veterans Memorial). Check out the Short North for arts and shopping. German Village has great character and is the first community to gain Historic Registry status in the nation. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has great Dale Chihuly works and is a nice break from the city. And take the kids to COSI, they’ll love it.

Any recommendations for food and drink? If you’re looking for mid-high end, Rigsby’s Kitchen in the Short North is very close to the arena. Don’t miss Jeni’s Ice Cream, also walkable from the arena and the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Bailey’s for beer pre-game. Check out the Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus for good food and reasonable prices downtown. Barrio’s next door for tapas. And the Short North Market is nearby and one of the great food moments in Columbus. Thurman Cafe and Schmidt’s are both famous, and have been on TV recently for their great German and American fare. Finally, if you’ve got a car, check out High Street in Clintonville for some good atmosphere reminiscent of NCSU’s college bars and pubs.

So,what’s your prediction for the Pack?
The Pack is on a roll, and played brilliantly in the ACC Tournament, even finalfour3with the loss. They statistically outmatch San Diego State in nearly every way and, let’s be honest, competition in the ACC’ss been pretty solid this year. Then it’s just Georgetown, Kansas and UNC standing between them and the Final Four … Piece of cake, right?!

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