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Day trips, alternative to staycations

Taking advantage of the cooler temperatures I dropped the top and motored up to Huntington Park, new home of Columbus Ohio’s AAA baseball club the Clippers.

The park is located in the downtown entertainment region referred to as the “Arena” district (www.arenadistrict.com).

Appropriately named this downtown cluster is home to trendy restaurants, brew pubs, high energy dance clubs even a multiplex theater. It is also home to Nationwide Arena home of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Last Saturday evening while walking over to the stadium from my hotel I discovered a neighborhood very alive and buzzing with energy and activities.

The outdoor dining patios were full with sounds of a street band filling the air.

Even though I had waited until the last minute to purchase Clippers tickets and ended up with standing room only seats, my journey to Columbus’ Huntington Park was wonderful. This is an outstanding venue that is fan friendly and affordable. The brick construction reminded me of Baltimore’s Camden Yard and Akron’s Canal Park.

Affordable as in the admission price not the cost that ballpark food, beverages and souvenir vendors were charging.

These items were being served up at major league rates. Your traditional fare was being served up but they also had some nice touches.

Cleveland “Stadium Mustard” was available for your hot dogs or Polish Sausages plus you could wash them down with a soda or a micro brew from the Elevator Brewery and Draught Haus.

This is a local downtown restaurant and brew pub located on High Street a comfortable walk from the ball park.

Standing room only (SRO) tickets ended up only costing me $6.00 per adult and $3.00 a child.

Being my first visit to Huntington Park I was very curious as to where the SRO area was.

Once inside the gates I was pleasantly surprised at the wide variety of SRO viewing opportunities. SRO seating was located throughout with plenty of tables, chairs and counters.

I camped out behind the left field foul pool in an area that stretched toward the center field bleachers.

This was a split level patio filled with picnic tables conveniently located to the concession stands and rest rooms.

I roamed around during the game and discovered additional great sight lines and plenty of seating down the right field line and in the outfield.

Of course there is the Nationwide Boulevard free viewing area on the sidewalk outside the centerfield fence

This feature-SRO- was apparently a major concern in the design and development of the stadium. I really enjoyed these options.

Located around the outer concourse of Huntington Park is a nice display of both Clipper greats and baseball history.

Each position is highlighted along with the development of the game’s equipment.

Take the time to stroll around and learn about the rich history of baseball in Columbus and the people that played there.

One tradition-cow bells- followed the Clippers from Cooper Stadium their old summer home.

Cow Town is a not so endearing nick name for Columbus so for years Clippers fans have brought cow bells to the games and ring them often. Tonight wasn’t any different.

Columbus is a great town so plan on making it a multiple day trip. I stayed in the Arena District and walked over to the game. After the game we strolled over to an Irish pub for refreshments and live music.

Tomorrow’s itinerary may include a visit to Ohio’s State House, the Ohio History Center & Ohio Village or COSI. There’s plenty to see and do.

For sightseeing ideas contact your travel agent or the Experience Columbus Visitor information office at 866-EXP-COLS (www.experiencecolumbus.com).