General Information A – Z
Steeped in a rich aviation history, the Columbus region is served by four top-notch airports which create exceptional travel experiences for passengers.
Two Columbus airports – Port Columbus International and Rickenbacker International airports – offer commercial service. Two general aviation airports, Bolton Field and The Ohio State University Airport, are used as reliever airports for corporate and personal aircraft and offer visitors additional valuable options for service.
Visit www.flycolumbus.com for route maps and other flight resources.
You’ll find taxis available on demand (no reservation required) in the ground transportation area of the terminal on a 24-hour basis. The electronic meter will be activated to compute your fare from Port Columbus International Airport. The approximate fare into downtown Columbus is 25 USD.
Taxis are metered. Charges are around 2.50 USD, plus 1.50 USD to 2 USD per mile. Taxi drivers expect a 10% to 15% tip. Call Yellow Cab for direct service (Tel.: 614-444-4444). If using private car service, 15% to 20% is customary unless a service charge is included. Uber service is also available throughout the city including to and from the airport and around downtown. Download the app and learn more at uber.com/cities/Columbus.
For a detailed, printable transportation guide, visit www.GetAroundCBus.com
Eight rental car agencies are available on site. They are Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National and Thrifty.
The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) launched a new circulator route to/from CMH and downtown Columbus in May 2016. Stops are made at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, as well as many of the downtown hotels. For an quick overview of the new service, please click here. For additional information on COTA, visit COTA.com.
Charter buses and limos can be scheduled.
For detailed information about transferring from the airport, visit:
Banks and Exchange Office
Within Columbus, the primary exchange location is at Port Columbus International Airport. Hours are 07:30 – 17:00 (Monday – Friday) and 10:00 – 15:00 (Saturday/Sunday). Select banks and hotels also offer exchange services.
ATM withdrawal is also a simple way to obtain cash. When exchanging money with an ATM card, cash withdrawals are exchanged based upon the wholesale interbank exchange rate. Checking rates before exchanging using an ATM or currency exchange is recommended to determine the most economical option.
In Columbus, the warm season lasts from late May to late September with an average daily high temperature above 74°F (23°C). The hottest days average 84°F (29°C) with a low of 65°F (18°C).
Culture and Entertainment
One of the best things about visiting Columbus is the chance to explore fascinating and fun-filled districts. Be sure to visit these areas in your free time:
With an Old World charm that reveals its beginnings—German Village takes pride in its historic roots and vibrant contemporary lifestyle. Populated by German immigrants in the mid-1800s, the area has been transformed into a charming neighborhood of brick streets, lovingly restored historic homes, upscale restaurants, friendly neighborhood pubs and unique retail—with scenic Schiller Park in the middle of it all.
Just a short 20 years ago, this area on the northern edge of Downtown was most significant for the sprawling Ohio Penitentiary. Once it was torn down, the city made room for Nationwide Arena, home to the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets; the nearby Huntington Park, voted Best New Ballpark in 2009, and home of the Columbus Clippers, Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians; popular live music venues; the Arena Grand movie theater and a wide selection of popular eateries and welcoming bars.
Short North Arts District
Head north on High Street from the Arena District and you’ll land in this creative neighborhood filled with art galleries, boutiques and hip restaurants and bars. The name “Short North” traces its roots back to the term used by police when the area was in decline, prior to its rebirth in the 1980s. The neighborhood’s Bohemian roots show every July 4 when the DooDah Parade marches down High Street. Another great time to visit is the first Saturday of every month for Gallery Hop, when galleries and stores stay open late and entertainers line the streets.
Just two miles north of downtown, this neighborhood includes the campus of The Ohio State University, with a large and diverse student population which infuses the area with a youthful vibe. Founded in 1870, the university is the site of beloved landmarks including Ohio Stadium, known as “The Shoe” and home to the famed Ohio State Buckeyes football team.
There are plenty of options for entertainment, shopping, food and drink, including the recently developed South Campus Gateway.
Stretching north from the University District to Worthington, the neighborhood has many attractions, from the Park of Roses to the independently owned retail shops and restaurants that line High Street. Settled in the 1850s, Clintonville was named for U.S. Vice President George Clinton who served under presidents Jefferson and Madison. During warmer months, people flock to the Clintonville Farmers Market to get fresh produce and to the Olentangy River recreational trail to hike and bike.
Consider visiting one of these other top area attractions as well:
COSI | The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium | Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens | Hollywood Casino Columbus | The Wexner Center for the Arts | The Columbus Museum of Art |
Coins come in denominations of 1 Cent (penny), 5 Cent (nickel), 10 Cent (dime), 25 Cent (quarter). Bills come in 1 USD, 2 USD (rare), 5 USD, 10 USD, 20 USD, 50 USD, and 100 USD denominations.
ATM’s are available 24/7 at most banks. Your home bank card must be within a main worldwide ATM network (Plus, Cirrus, Exchange, Accel) to withdraw money. The ATM fees assessed will be correlated to your respective bank policy on foreign exchange and cash advances based upon your bank card agreement. Some bank policies allow reimbursement of ATM fees, so it is best to consult your agreement for fee details.
Electric power is standardized in all states across the U.S. It is set at 110 Volts and 60 cycles. Standard electric plugs have two flat blades.
Emergency Numbers and Medical Information
Dial “911” on any U.S.-based cell or wired phone to immediately reach emergency personnel for life threatening emergencies or if in need of an ambulance, police, or fire department.
The nearest hospitals are Riverside Methodist Hospital, Mount Carmel East, Mount Carmel West, Grant Hospital, OSU Wexner Medical Center, OSU East, St. Ann’s Hospital, and Doctor’s West Hospital.
Food and Drink
Columbus has one of the most innovative food scenes in the country. From vegan to BBQ, you’ll find hundreds of restaurants offering most every kind of cuisine. Don’t miss the North Market, located across from the Greater Columbus Convention Center. It offers the finest in fresh and prepared foods.
To purchase alcohol, bars and stores often ask for photo I.D. to prove you are of legal drinking age (21 or over). The sale of alcohol is subject to local government regulations. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offence, subject to stiff fines and even imprisonment. Photo I.D. will also be required for car rental and some retail purchases. Consider carrying your passport in addition to a driver’s license.
Health and Wellness
The City of Columbus has a strong public health system, state-of-the-art medical facilities, and provides a healthy and safe environment for residents and visitors. Our public health infrastructure assures that the general public has safe food and water, safe restaurants, safe pools, and infectious disease monitoring. Columbus offers many opportunities to be active through biking and walking on planned walking routes about the city, rentable bikes and marked bike lanes, and well maintained parks. Columbus ranks #1 among the 15 largest cities in America for its achievements in child nutrition, physical activity, healthy menus, and healthy vending options.
Attendees are advised to arrange their own adequate travel and medical insurance against medical treatment, accidents, cancellation of bookings, etc. No responsibility will be accepted by the Congress Organizers.
Most hotels, coffee shops or libraries have either a public computer terminal or Wi-Fi available. Remember you may need an AC adaptor for your laptop, plus a plug adaptor for U.S. sockets. For a free listing of Wi-Fi locations in the area, please access: http://bit.ly/a5zMta.
The language most commonly spoken, written and visible on public signage is American English. When in need of translation services or interpretation, consider these resources:
Access 2 Interpreters:
US Together: http://ustogether.us/
interpreter/ Tel.: +1-877-581-4350
Lunches and Refreshments
Attendees are just steps from many great food and beverage options including the food court within the Convention Center and more than 100 restaurants within walking distance of the Center.
Please review the full list of dining options here:
Lunches and Refreshments
Lunches and refreshments are not included in the registration fees. However, attendees can purchase a variety of food and beverages in the various food courts at the Congress venue.
Passports, Visas and Letters of Invitation
Many tourists and business travellers to the U.S. will require no visa or a simple visitor visa. The State Department currently allows residents of 27 countries to enter the USA without a visitor visa under the Visa Waiver Program. If you hold a valid passport of one of the following countries and wish to visit for 90 days or less, you are not required to obtain a visitor visa: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom.
If you permanently reside in any other country or plan on staying more than 90 days, you must get a visitor visa before entering the USA. You must apply for the visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. You will be required to show evidence that you maintain a permanent residence or have strong ties in your home country.
For full details, please visit: www.travel.state.gov
Scenery and Nature
Columbus boasts plenty of green space, even in its bustling urban core. The Scioto Mile, located along the downtown riverfront, has 145 acres of attractive parkland and an interactive fountain, making it the perfect spot to cool off in the summer.
Nature lovers will find many other parks and gardens to enjoy as well. Even on rainy days, you can enjoy the splendor of four distinct regions inside the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The conservatory also manages the grounds at Columbus Commons, a park in the heart of downtown lined with flowers spring through fall. Or, admire the blooms at Schiller Park in German Village or see art brought to life at the Topiary Park downtown. Its sculpted topiaries recreate George Seurat’s famous painting, “A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte.”
Shopping and Opening Hours
Retail venues are typically open seven days a week. Smaller, independently-owned shops generally operate Monday-Friday from 10:00 to 18:00, and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 17:00. Some may even be closed on Mondays. Larger commercial areas such as Easton Town Center and Polaris Fashion Place will have more extended hours of operation.
There are no major U.S. holidays occurring during the Congress that would cause stores to be temporarily closed.
Simultaneous interpretation services will be available in seven languages: English, French, German, Russian, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin) and Arabic. This service will be available for the Opening Ceremony and the Closing Session and other selected sessions. Please look for the SI mark in the Congress Programme.
Telephone and Postal Service
The only foreign phones that will operate in the U.S. are GSM tri- or quad-brand models. It may be more economical to buy a compatible pre-paid SIM card for the U.S. which you can insert into your international mobile phone to get a local phone number and voicemail.
All U.S. phone numbers consist of a three-digit area code, followed by a seven-digit local number. For long distance, dial 1 before the number. Dial 011 to make an international call from the U.S. (followed by country code, area code, & phone number). Dial 00 for assistance making international calls.
Nationwide Directory Assistance: dial 411
Nationwide Toll-free Directory Assistance: dial (800) 555-1212
The downtown post office is located just under one half mile (a little more than one half kilometer) from the Convention Center. The address is 200 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215. This post office is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 to 14:00.
Tipping is customary is the U.S. In city restaurants, tipping 15% of the bill is expected, while top-end restaurants expect 20%. Bartenders expect 1 USD per drink. Skycaps at airports and hotel porters expect 1 USD per bag. It’s polite to leave a few dollars for hotel housekeeping, especially if you stay several nights.
Tourist Information Office
For general tourist information
277 W. Nationwide Blvd., Ste. 125
Columbus, OH 43215
Tel.: +1 1-866-397-2657
For more information please visit the destination website: www.experiencecolumbus.com
The area surrounding the Convention Center is very walkable, with lodging, shops, food, drink and entertainment just steps away in the Short North Arts District and Arena District. If you do need additional transit options, consider these resources:
The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) runs public bus service. Visit www.cota.com for current fares and schedules. COTA operates a route catering to downtown visitors called the CBUS which runs from the Short North Arts District to the north to the Brewery District in the south. Hours of operation: Monday – Thursday, 07:00 – 21:00; Friday, 07:00 – 12:00; Saturday, 09:00 – 12:00; Sunday, 10:30 – 18:00. Visit: www.cota.com/cbus for stop locations and more information.
Car-sharing service is available via Car2Go Columbus (Tel.: +1-614-222-0902,
For a detailed, printable transportation guide, visit www.GetAroundCBus.com