In this series, we’re introducing readers to one of the most exciting neighborhoods in Columbus, Franklinton. From the historic origins of the neighborhood, to the critically acclaimed National Veterans Memorial and Museum and the scenic Scioto Mile trail, to trendy new bars and restaurants, and even innovative new living spaces, there’s a lot to see and do in Franklinton — all within walking distance.
Franklinton, History Restored
Franklinton Series Part 1
February 26, 2019
Want to live somewhere historic, authentic, endlessly creative and right on the edge of downtown? Franklinton may just be the place.
Columbus’ oldest neighborhood is in the midst of a renaissance as a hotspot for the creative class — a place that welcomes individuality while embracing a collective sense of community, where people are coming together from all backgrounds to share their passions.
It’s walkable, with ample green space, and just steps from the hustle and bustle of downtown. And it is evolving daily with residents, merchants and artisans who want to be part of the vibrancy and feel the sense of community.
Founded in 1797 as the original settlement in central Ohio, Franklinton continues evolving all these years later — and 2019 in particular is being called a year of transformation for Franklinton.
Nicknamed the Bottoms because the land lies below the level of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, Franklinton dealt with devastating flooding until a flood wall was constructed in 2004. Since then, public projects and tax abatements have helped to stoke community investment. The public-private Smart City initiative has brought autonomous vehicle testing to the riverfront, and soon 56 acres of land near COSI will be developed with residences, shops, greenspace and more.
Curious to learn more? Here’s a sampling of the neighborhood’s gems that could end up being some of your favorites.
- Gravity: Anchored on the edge of Franklinton, Gravity contributes to the unique entrepreneurial vibe of the neighborhood, a residential community infused with the creative energy of partners like Roosevelt Coffeehouse, Pelotonia, Cova Cowork and Rhove. Gravity is steps from everything, yet far from the familiar. It is independent, yet part of the community’s fabric.
Arts & Culture
- 400 West Rich Street: Opened in 2011 in a former manufacturing warehouse, this dynamic arts complex exudes creativity. Home to over 140 Columbus based artists, craftsmen, designers and performers, the space is also a hub for the creative class to meet, network, collaborate and brainstorm.
- Idea Foundry: The city’s first and largest maker space is alive with creators and possibilities. It is a community of makers with the tools and technology, spaces and teachers to help others explore their creativity and passions, whether it is welding, furniture making, building drones or inventing a new video game.
- National Veterans Memorial & Museum: Hailed as an architectural treasure, the venue is remarkable for what it represents. This cultural institution stands as a place of inspiration for all visitors to come together as one people with a common bond and a shared pride in our veterans.
- COSI: The city’s massive, highly interactive museum of science and industry is a community treasure on the Scioto riverfront, great for families and all curious minds.
- Glass Axis: A comprehensive glass-making facility for glass artists in all stages of development. It boasts hundreds of classes and public programs each year, exhibition and retail space, high school and college internship programs and a work credit program to help keep artists in the studio.
- Chromedge: The newest addition to the Franklinton Arts district houses 30 studio spaces with artists of all backgrounds.
- Franklinton Playhouse: Serves as an incubator space for emerging performance artists who produce and present their work.
- The Vanderelli Room: Housing a variety of visual and performing arts, this gallery features creatives throughout Columbus and surrounding areas.
Restaurants, Bars & Coffee Shops
- Roosevelt Coffeehouse: Tucked inside The Gravity Project, this coffee shop emphasizes philanthropy and social impact.
- Bottoms Up Coffee: Another coffee shop dedicated to positive social change through great coffee and active community engagement.
- Land-Grant Brewing Company: A craft brewery with community beer hall vibes and an unforgettable barbecue food truck, Ray Ray’s.
- BrewDog: The Scottish brewery’s Franklinton taproom features a stellar rooftop patio with skyline views.
- Strongwater Food & Spirits: The restaurant and event center is set in the hip atmosphere of renovated offices.
- Tommy’s Diner: A classic family-owned diner with stainless steel walls, neon lights and red vinyl booths.
- Rehab Tavern: An eccentric neighborhood bar with reclaimed wood floors.
- Franklinton Farms: A nonprofit urban farm that utilizes sustainable agriculture to build a just local food system that improves food security and provides economic opportunity.
- Pelotonia: The inspiring, trailblazing organization for cancer research bases its headquarters in The Gravity Project.
- Cycle Works: Educates the neighborhood about the personal, environmental, social and physical benefits of biking.
- Dodge Recreation Center: Home to a fitness room, boxing center, ceramics room, library, pool and more.
- The Art of Yoga: A yoga studio surrounded by art and located in a renovated warehouse space connected to the Franklinton Playhouse.
- Scioto Mile: Completed in 2015, this beautiful stretch of trails and parkland along the Scioto River is perhaps the city’s best natural experience.
There’s no better time to call Franklinton home. What’s stopping you from exploring a fresh but historic community with a real sense of place?