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Historic German Village

German Village is one of the preeminent National Register Historic Districts in the country. 233-acres of paradise, surrounded by Columbus. Where the old meets the new in a revitalized community, proud of its past and planning to preserve it for generations to come. Brick streets, wrought-iron fences and not-entirely-German architecture create the area's distinctive look: buildings with Queen Anne and Italianate features, story-and-a-half brick cottages and Dutch Doubles. Yards are small, but German Village residents take great pride in their elaborate gardens and many are open to the public in the annual Haus und Garten Tour. German Village was recently recognized by the White House as a Preserve America community as well as a 'Top 10 Neighborhood 2011' by the American Planner Association.

Learn more about German Village:

 

German Village Tour Guide — shop, dine & stroll!

Welcome to German Village, Columbus' premiere downtown neighborhood and one of the preeminent historic districts in the United States. German Village is 233-acre historic residential district. The guided group tours sponsored by the German Village Society provide the most comprehensive overview of the history and restoration of German Village. Volunteer tour guides trained to explain the history, humor, and humanity of the community will lead your group through the brick streets of the area. All tours begin at the German Village Meeting Haus, 588 South Third Street, with an award-winning 12-minute video.

German Village Society 588 S Third St Columbus OH 43215 614.221.8888

German Village Business Locator

Getting around

Because streets are narrow and the bricks are bumpy, walking is best. But many restaurants and stores have their own small parking lots. On-street parking is always an available option, but be prepared for a short hunt and a short walk.

Where to eat

The German Village Society has a long list of restaurants from the very casual and friendly Brown Bag Deli & cute cupcakes at the Gingham Bakery (next door to the Whittier Suites), to upscale Lindey's. In German Village, virtually all restaurants are originals.

Katzinger's Delicatessen has giant sandwiches, heaps of potato salad and pickles, great fresh breads, olive oils and cheeses. 475 S Third St 614.228.3354

The original Max & Erma's have a one-of-a-kind woman's bust behind the bar, plus the suburban favorite sundae bar. 739 S Third St 614.444.0917

Schmidt's Restaurant and Sausage Haus is a German Village tradition. We recommend the dinner buffet and a cream puff. You've never had this much Oom-pah fun! Right around the corner from the hotel. 240 E Kossuth St 614.444.5908

Cup o' Joe & the MoJoe Lounge are favorite Village hangouts, serving up coffee, sandwiches, soups, pastries, ice cream and other great stuff. 627 S Third St 614.221.1563

Thurman Cafe has the best burgers in the Midwest! 183 Thurman Ave 614.443.1570

Barcelona is stylish and Spanish, with the best patio in the city. 236 E Whittier St 614.443.3699

Check out G Michaels for the finest in Low Country cooking in a quiet, classy atmosphere. 595 South 3rd Street 614.464.0575

Lindey's is an American Bistro legendary in Columbus and the cornerstone of Village culture for the last 25 years. 169 E Beck St 614.228.4343

Club 185 is a cool joint that is especially happening with the young professional after-work crowd. Great barfood, sandwiches, pizzas. A long wooden bar and original pressed-tin ceilings. 185 E Livingston Ave 614.228.3904

Easy Street Cafe has a variety of Gyros, nightly Greek specials and the best Greek salad in town, plus plenty of tasty more traditional American fare. A local favorite bar. 197 Thurman Ave 614.444.3279

German Village Coffee Shop is a classic neighborhood diner. Great, inexpensive food. Friendliest service anywhere. 193 Thurman Ave 614.443.8900

Must see places

Pistacia Vera

 The dessert boutique. You really must experience it to believe it! 541 S Third St 614.220.9070

German Village Society Visitor Center and Gift Shop


Pick up a map and some history too! 588 S Third St 614.221.8888

Caterina Ltd


Gorgeous, European housewares, art and gifts, including local artists. 571 S Third St 614.224.7224

The Book Loft


32 rooms of books – largest independent bookseller in the country – await you all discounted at least 5%. 631 St Third St 614.464.1774

Helen Winnemore Craft


The country's oldest retailer of American-made crafts – and one of our favorite stores – all tucked in a quaint little house. Ask for a cup of tea! 150 E Kossuth St 614.444.5850

Schmidt's Fudge Haus & Gifts


The sweetest house in the Village! Peanut butter and chocolate Buckeyes! Featured on Man vs Food on the Travel Channel and right around the corner from the hotel. 220 E Kossuth St 614.444.2222

Franklin Art Glass Studio


Custom art glass and supplies for do-it-yourselfers. 222 E Sycamore St 614.221.2972

Metroscap


Sophisticated black and white shots of your favorite cities! 177 E Beck St 614.207.0172

Events

Actors Theatre
Shakespeare and classic musicals take center stage in German Village every summer. The lush surroundings of Schiller Park, with the heavens providing the proscenium arch, are the home of Actors Theatre, the outdoor troupe that stages favorites like Much Ado About Nothing and Pippin. To really soak up the atmosphere, bring your own picnic and a bottle of wine. The Bard doesn't get any better than this. Schiller Park 614.444.6888

Haus und Garten Pretour Dinner Gala
Event Date: Last Saturday in June, annually
Event Hours: 4:30 p.m. - Midnight
By Invitation Only: $125 per person (Advance Reservations are A MUST!)
An exclusive private tour of the fabulous stops that will be open on Haus und Garten Tour day followed by cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and music at a festive location. After cocktails, guests will dine at one of several private dinner parties hosted by German Village Society residents, including the hotel gardens!

Haus und Garten Tour
Event Date: Last Sunday in June annually
Event Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Admission: $15.00 - Advance purchase $20.00 - Day of Tour
Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling the German Village Society. The German Village Haus und Garten Tour is an event filled with traditions and surprises, much like the neighborhood it showcases. Visitors are cordially invited to explore a collection of stunning properties along GermanVillage streets. Enjoy the gardening demonstrations, a home and garden marketplatz, and the festive atmosphere of vibrant GermanVillage.

German Village Oktoberfest
Event Date: Check w GV Society
Admission: $8 — Adults; Children under 12 are free.
The German Village Oktoberfest is a celebration that blends a time-honored German festival with the vitality and charm of a thriving urban neighborhood. With 32 bands on three stages, a wide variety of authentic German food as well as other festival favorites, a Kinderplatz just for kids, and a Marketplatz filled with artisans and shops — Oktoberfest is a fun-filled weekend for the whole family.

Village Lights
Event Date: Early December — Check w GV Society
German Village becomes a snow globe world of lights and holiday magic. Shops are open with holiday treats, restaurants pour specialty drinks, and the brick streets are lined with 10,000 luminaria. Surprises are around each corner: Santa, roasting chestnuts, carolers, live reindeer, juggling elves, horse-drawn carriage rides, hand bell choirs and more. Shop, dine and stroll throughout the Village and treat all of your senses to a holiday tradition!

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"I'm not in Ohio anymore. This must be Charleston. Or Back Bay Boston. Or some hidden corner of Brooklyn. It feels too cosmopolitan, too old and too stylish to be Columbus."
– Laura Johnston, Cleveland Plain Dealer

Schiller Park

The 23-acre park has been the heart of German Village for more than 140 years. As long ago as the mid-1800s horse-drawn carriages loaded with families on picnic outings rode to what was then called Stewart's Grove. In 1867 the city of Columbus purchased the 23 acres of woodland and renamed it City Park. In the 1870s a zoological garden featuring an eagle, swans, buffalo, bears, foxes and wolves was set in the Southwest corner of the park.

Later a fountain was built and a lake excavated. In 1891, a stunning bronze statue of the famous German poet Johann Christopher Friedrich von Schiller was donated to the citizens of Columbus by German-born residents as a tribute to their heritage. The park got its present name in 1905, the 100th anniversary of Schiller's death. WWI hostilities caused the renaming of the park to Washington Park. In 1930 it regained the name Schiller Park. As the Village grew the park became the location for Oktoberfest, family reunions, Sanger fests, The Ohio State Fair, and various holiday celebrations.

Today the park continues to serve as the centerpiece of community life with garden tours, festivals, playgrounds, the work of Actors' Theatre, dog walkers, birdwatching, a newly renovated recreation center, and most recently, the restoration of the Umbrella Girl statue. Only .2 mi from the hotel!

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German Village History

Isolated by language and social traditions, the Columbus Germans of the 19th-century were a self-contained group. As their numbers increased, German names became identified with publishing, industry, education and religion. The German Lutherans were particularly active in the field of education, founding Capital University. However the real heart of the South End were the families of the workingman ~ the brewery workers, carpenters, brick and stonemasons. This group built the compact brick houses with small gardens and grape arbors.

The community thrived through the end of the 19th- and into the 20th-century, until the threat of war with Germany. During the years of WWI life was traumatic for German Americans in South Columbus, as they were quickly caught in a bitter crossfire of propaganda and patriotism. Overnight, everything German was denounced. Study of German in Columbus public schools was first restricted and later banned. Books in German were tossed onto lighted woodpiles and burned at the foot of the statue of the German Poet Schiller, which the German American community had given to the City of Columbus.

City Council responded to the wave of anti-German sentiment, changing the name of Schiller Park to Washington Park and renaming many streets in the area. Businesses eliminated all German suggestions in their names; organizations dropped their German language rituals; and the only remaining German newspaper, Der Westbote, ceased publication. During the WWII years of the 40s, all activities and resources were directed toward winning the war and little was done to maintain properties. Neither men nor materials were available for repairs. Thus the South End began to fall into shabbiness and disrepair. After WWII, new housing developments sprang up in the North and East sections of town and there was an exodus from the South End. It was an exceptionally difficult decline for the residents who had stayed in their homes and continued to care for them.

The restoration of our neighborhood began with the renovation of a Dutch Double by Frank Fetch. After completion, a Sunday afternoon open house was held, so the public could witness its wonderful recovery. Mr. Fetch put out a writing tablet for those with an interest in forming a group to promote restoration to sign. This was the beginning of the German Village Society.

Beginning in 1960, with the formation of the German Village Society, Frank Fetch led the way through the labyrinth of government and established the area as a protected historic preservation district. In 1963, the Columbus City Council gave the German Village Commission design review authority over exterior changes to structures within the district. In 1975, German Village was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Purchases and restorations of buildings in German Village increased yearly, and by the 1980's German Village gained national recognition as a leading historic preservation district. Property values were increasing, and German Village was becoming one of the most desirable places to live in Central Ohio.

The Last Sunday In June The first annual Haus und Garten Tour in June of 1960, attracted media attention and lured hundreds of visitors to the neighborhood to see eight restored homes and two gardens. It was a modest beginning for what has become one of Columbus' most popular annual events.

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"One of the most atmospheric old city neighborhoods in North America. Coastal types pay good money to live in districts that only come close to approaching the charm and scale of this elegant neighborhood crowded with red brick row houses along impossibly well-kept streets."
— David Landsel, NY Post

German Village Society

The challenge of preserving the architectural heritage of German Village is the principal concern of the German Village Society, the non-profit educational organization founded by Frank Fetch in 1960. This organization has been instrumental in retaining the character and distinction of the past, while creating a thriving and vital community. The Society has a Meeting Haus that serves as town hall and event venue; a visitors' center; a web site; a Calendar of Events; and a range of programs that distinguishes them as the most active civic association in the state of Ohio.

The German Village Commission was created by the City of Columbus in July 1960 as a means of protecting and controlling the area's architecture. The commission is appointed by the mayor with recommendations from City Council and the German Village Society. The commission, relying on the German Village Guidelines, is the legal entity that evaluates all proposed construction, reconstruction or alteration of the exterior of a Village structure and determines whether the changes are appropriate to the historic integrity of German Village.

The result is the German Village of today -- the largest privately funded restored historical area in the United States. The real estate of the area is now among the most valuable in the city of Columbus. There are about 3500 residences, of which nearly half have been restored. Restoration is continuing and property values in the area continue to rise in the shadows of downtown Columbus' growing skyline. Here in such close proximity is a perfect example of how the old can be preserved while progress continues on the new.

Located in the heart of a dynamic and growing city, German Village has become a nationally well-known historical area. Each year brings more and more visitors -- some come to appreciate the architecture, some to enjoy the quaint shops and unique restaurants, and others just to stroll the quiet streets and view the lovely gardens. Whatever the reason for your visit, we're sure you will enjoy German Village.

Membership in the German Village Society is open to anyone, especially those with an interest in historic preservation. To receive applications contact the German Village Society.

Visitor Center 588 S Third St Columbus OH 43215 614.221.8888

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