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Short North, Columbus: Courtney Winnen

Short North

Rigsby's Kitchen

Surly Girl Saloon

Highball Halloween

Courtney Winnen is the Communications Coordinator for the Short North Alliance. She grew up in Cleveland and came to Columbus to attend Ohio State where she majored in strategic communications with a focus in public relations. She stayed in the area after she graduated, got her feet wet in the business world then started working on special events for a restaurant and bar, which got her more experience in public relations and event planning. She took an internship with the Short North Business Association, which was later absorbed by the Short North Alliance when she transferred into her current position.
"Columbus is fantastic city for young professionals," Courtney says. "The best part about it is there's really a resurgence of creative class." Columbus was recently featured in the New York Times, and USA Today called it one of the best places to tour and visit in the country.
Arts & Entertainment
The Short North Arts District is filled with entrepreneurs. The young entrepreneurs are breaking away from the corporate life and starting their own businesses, which are providing products attractive to young professionals like galleries, bars, restaurants, and fashion. In the Arts District you'll see art in nontraditional spaces like restaurants and hair salons; everywhere you look art is interweaving with businesses.
The first Saturday of every month there is a gallery hop in the Arts District, which brings in thousands of visitors and has been around for just under 30 years. The community has really embraced this event, so now this is when all the new exhibits usually open and there's all kinds of entertainment and performance art to go along with it.
Major events held in the Short North include the Columbus Pride Parade and Festival and the Highball Halloween. Columbus rates third in the country for number of employees in the fashion industry, with the headquarters of Victoria's Secret, the Limited, Abercrombie, Lane Bryant and others all located in the city. It is also home to the Columbus College of Art & Design. Being such a fashion-minded city, their annual Halloween fete is all couture fashion. Highball Halloween is a couture costume showdown, held every year since 2008 on High Street, the main thoroughfare, which becomes a massive runway. Designers and the general public get elaborate with their costumes, and this has become one of the Short North's signature events.
There is also the much more toned-down Com Fest, a community festival which celebrates peace and love and community spirit.
Dining & Drinking
"The independently-owned restaurants here are amazing," Courtney says. "There has definitely been a surge in independent business owners opening bars and restaurants." The burgeoning "Restaurant Row" also meshes well with the boutique arts scene.
Rigsby's Kitchen opened in the 1980s when the neighborhood was crime-ridden and had a horrible reputation. He was one of the culinary pioneers in the area.
Union Café is an LGBT bar and restaurant with great food and live shows. Da Levee Cajun and Creole restaurant is becoming a popular place, with both a young professional business owner and clientele. Recent enhancements included adding a full bar and expanding the restaurant side.
A signature Short North bar is the Surly Girl Saloon, known for their great specials and a sister property to the popular Betty's Fine Food and Spirits
The Great Outdoors
Goodale Park is in the Short North and has trails for biking and jogging. Biking is very popular in the city, and the independent bike shop Paradise Garage hosts urban group rides.
Retail Therapy
"There is a critical mass of independent fashion stores in this area," Courtney says. Some examples include Rowe Boutique, Tigertree, High Street Denim, and Milk Bar Boutique. "People crave high fashion. Celebrities even come here to shop." These high fashion boutiques are juxtaposed with more national chain workhorse brands like the Limited, Express, and all the many stores in Easton Town Center. "It never ceases to amaze me how fashionable this city is, and Short North specifically." 
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