Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Downtown Columbus Welcomes New Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area This May

Get ready to see Downtown Columbus and Franklinton in a whole new light! The launch of a new Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) is about to change the game, letting you enjoy your favorite drinks beyond the usual bar and restaurant scenes.

Thanks to concerted efforts by Downtown Columbus, Inc., the City of Columbus, Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District, and the Franklinton Board of Trade, this fresh initiative looks to enliven the city streets starting May 24, pending state approval.

A Fresh Way to Enjoy Columbus

The introduction of DORA comes as a response to community feedback gathered during the 2022 Downtown Strategic Plan process. It reflects a growing trend across various cities to enhance urban spaces and promote a more relaxed, inclusive atmosphere.

DORA will operate from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week, providing ample time for both locals and visitors to relish an enhanced, freewheeling social experience across the heart of Columbus.

Understanding DORA’s Dynamics

DORA columbus ohio
Photo by Andy Spessard.

The concept is simple: purchase your drink in a specially labeled DORA cup from any participating outlet and you’re free to explore the designated areas with your beverage in hand. This means you can stroll through designated parks, public right-of-ways, and other approved outdoor spaces while sipping your drink.

However, it’s important to note that transferring beverages from one establishment to another or moving from one DORA zone to another with the same drink is not allowed.

Moreover, DORA is committed to maintaining a clean and orderly environment. Only drinks purchased from authorized vendors and carried in official DORA cups are permitted in the area, ensuring the initiative remains well-regulated and enjoyable for everyone.

Where to Participate

dora map columbus ohio
Center City DORA Boundaries

As enthusiasm builds, a number of local establishments are gearing up to participate in the DORA program. Patrons can look forward to a diverse array of venues where they can grab a drink and enjoy the open air of Downtown Columbus and Franklinton.

You can check out the specific boundaries of the DORA over at That’s also where you’ll find the list of participating businesses as it becomes available.

This innovative program not only promises to boost local business by encouraging more foot traffic and extended hours of enjoyment but also aims to cultivate a vibrant community spirit by providing a shared social space for relaxation and enjoyment.

What This Means for Columbus

The introduction of DORA is a regulatory shift that will help underscore Columbus’s reputation as a forward-thinking city dedicated to enhancing urban life. It encourages responsible drinking within a controlled environment and fosters a sense of community and accessibility in the city’s core.

Featured image by Andy Spessard.