By Evan Scott Schwartz
September 02, 2014

What’s a Buckeye? At Ohio State, the team nickname derives from the nut of the buckeye tree. But if you visit Columbus, be sure to seek out another version: a peanut butter treat dipped in chocolate (made to resemble the buckeye nut) and sold all over the Columbus area. Buckeye candy is just one of the things to experience during your trip to Columbus. If the NHL’s Blue Jackets are out of season and it’s still a few days until the Buckeyes kick off at Ohio Stadium, sports fans can eat and drink their way through one of the best capital cities in America.

Here are a few places to go if you're in town for Ohio State's big game with Virginia Tech this weekend.

Buckeye Candy

One of the most famous purveyors of Buckeye candy is Anthony-Thomas Chocolates, a company that dates back to the 1930s and now has a dozen locations in the state capital. The retailer produces 30,000 pounds of treats per factory shift. You can head to the factory for the full Willy Wonka experience and load up on Buckeyes in the gift shop.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Former Ohio State student Jeni Britton Bauer opened an ice cream shop in Columbus’ North Market in 2002 and now has seven shops in six states, including one in New York City. Fantastic flavors include Brambleberry Crisp, Goat Cheese with Red Cherries, and Sweet Cream Biscuits & Peach Jam. Or you can opt for a scoop of The Buckeye State – salted peanut butter with dark chocolate, just like a Buckeye candy.

Buckeye Donuts

Notice a trend here? This 24-hour donut joint is right on campus and has 32 different donut varieties to indulge your inner Homer Simpson. You can also grab an authentic Greek gyro to go with your Blueberry, Jelly-filled, or (of course) Buckeye Donut.

North Market

The North Market has been the Columbus’ go-to spot for produce, meats, gifts, flowers and more for nearly 140 years. The farmer’s market is jam-packed with ethnic food, organic produce and bakeries, and is a must for anyone who wants to experience the best of Ohio and the fruits of Columbus’ diverse population.

The Ohio Statehouse

No trip to Ohio State is complete without visiting the Ohio Statehouse. Columbus is the capital of Ohio, and the main government building is one of the oldest statehouses in the country. The building was fashioned in Greek Revival style and completed in 1861, and still houses the State Assembly, as well as offices for the Governor. The interior walls are covered in more art than a museum, while the grounds feature multiple gardens and statues honoring historic moments in Ohio’s history.

Columbus Food League

Founder Elizabeth Lessner opened Betty’s Find Food & Spirits in 2001, and now heads a mini-empire of some of the coolest and tastiest restaurants in Columbus. You can grab a Sriracha Slaw Dog at Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace, or a whiskey cocktail and local beer at Tip Top. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the Columbus Food League spots.

The Topiary Park

Remember the scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when Ferris is absorbed in that painting? Well, how would you like to see it made out of trees? The Topiary Park in Columbus houses a shrubbery recreation of Seurat’s classic A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. The park features dozens of trees shaped into people, dogs, and even a monkey, all in painstaking detail to the original masterpiece. It’s the closest you can get to being inside a work of art without getting drenched in paint.

The Thurman Cafe

The Thurman Cafe claims to have the tastiest burger in Columbus. Some may argue, but you can’t deny they have one of the biggest. While the classic Thurman Burger comes covered in ham and cheese, the massive Thurmanator features two 12-ounce burger patties, bacon, cheese, and hot peppers. If you’re hungry and also insane, it’s the perfect order.

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