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North Market in Columbus, Ohio.

This is the fifth in a 5-part series on a road trip from Houston to the author’s hometown of Detroit.

My road-trip home was supposed to end after my visit to Louisville, but on my way there, I decided one more stop in Ohio wouldn't hurt. My original plan was to drop in to Cincinnati since someone a long time ago told me it was a cool city, but my friend Fayza, an Ohio native, steered me clear of that idea.

Instead, she suggested I stop in Columbus, promising me a fun, young town. "Cinci is dead," she said. "Columbus is where it's at." I always listen to Fayza, so I found an apartment on Airbnb in the Short North neighborhood in Columbus. My Airbnb host described it as the "most active and developed downtown neighborhood" and it certainly didn't disappoint.  

The Short North was full of things to check out, and even better, they were easy to get to on foot. This is primarily an arts district, with a number of galleries to check out on the main strip. There were also tons of specialty shops, like the candy store carrying fancy chocolates from all over the world and the bakery serving perfect pain au chocolat. There were too many pubs and restaurants to choose from, and on top of that, the neighborhood appeared to be pretty LGBTQ friendly.

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Italian subs sold at North Market in Columbus, Ohio.

But my favorite part of Columbus was my visit to North Market, which was established in 1876 and now serves as the city’s only remaining public market. This place was my food heaven. I saw nearly every type of international food, from Tunisian and Polish to Italian and Indian. I made friends with a cheese monger who treated me to the stinkiest one on this side of the Atlantic. I found freshly baked baguettes that would pass a very strict test my French family would subject it to. Local ice-cream makers Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams had a small stall there, too. Point blank: I could grow very fat and happy at North Market.

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All the cheese—sold at a counter in Columbus, Ohio's North Market.

I stocked up on fun stuff to bring home to my family in Detroit, including chocolates, cheeses, bread, and Polish and Indian food. It stunk up my car on the three-hour drive to Michigan, but it was worth it to share with my siblings when I finally made it home.

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