Each and every year the city of Columbus gathers round for a visual experience where lights and pyrotechnics illuminate the sky. It’s a chance for us to celebrate our independence from Mama England with a giant party and even bigger traffic lines. There’s no way to avoid the madness that is Red, White, and Boom—city streets are shut down, Uber surcharges skyrocket (no pun intended), and even if you decided to stay in, your neighbor and his box of M-80s have other plans for your quiet night.
Alas, there’s only one solution and it’s a cliché saying: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. And if you’re going to do it, you’d better do it right. Here are three viewing options for enjoying Boom this year. And as always, be safe out there.
In The Thunderdome
If you and a group of friends are looking to really take in Boom this year, booking a night at The LeVeque Tower is a solid option that can be split to make it more affordable. Not only is The LeVeque right in the heart of RWB, it potentially has one of the best views in the city. The high-rise hotel over looks the Scioto Mile, which is conveniently close to where the fireworks are actually set off. While everyone will be lugging around backpacks and bags, you’ll have the luxury of an upscale hotel room to take pit stops in. And once all the firework dust settles, you can simply walk back to your room, or The Keep (LeVeque’s elegant bar), instead of waiting in traffic for three and a half hours.
In The Splash Zone
When it comes to RWB, getting there early could be the difference between a good spot and a great spot. Alternatively, you can work smarter, not harder, and snag a kayak or stand-up paddleboard, or bring your own, to float down the Scioto Mile. Remember how The LeVeque is close? This is about as close as you can get beyond actually lighting the damn things. That being said, there are a few things to keep in mind. Police patrol the river quite frequently on the night of Boom so you’re going to need lights on your mode of transportation because they’ll be doing inspections for safety concerns and just for straight up visibility. (IMPORTANT: no booze in the boats!) Visit watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/lights to brush up on the rules and regulations before you head out.
In The Spirit Of Families
While part of Columbus will be focusing on chugging beers, and another part attempting to keep their sanity amongst all the crazies, there’s the final part that is simply just looking to take their little ones to a fireworks show. And this group isn’t looking to deal with drunken Boomers. If you fall in this category, The Scioto Audubon is a great option. Not only are outside fireworks and alcohol prohibited, dogs are permitted! The Audubon also offers more for the little ones to do, like a sand volleyball court, a rock climbing wall, and even a playground. Unfortunately, parking here might be a bit of a tricky situation, but I have a few tips for handling that.
So you decided to ignore this treasure trove of a story and went ahead with driving to RWB. I’m not mad. I’m just a little disappointed. Either way, before you dive headfirst into the traffic nightmare, here’s a few pointers.
Park far away and utilize transportation services like Bird and Lime Scooters, or public bicycles, to get to and from RWB.
Uber there, but don’t hail down an Uber to get home. Instead, walk a few blocks away from all the craziness and then call an Uber. Not only will they be able to pick you up faster, they won’t be stuck in the traffic exiting the event.
Stay at a hotel nearby. There are plenty of lodging options Downtown and a good majority of them offer overnight parking. Even if you aren’t able to see the fireworks from your room, a 15-minute walk back beats hours of traffic jams every day of the week and twice on Sunday.