Big Hotel to Little Inn, Columbus and Its Community Friendly Lodging

If Columbus, Ohio is not on your radar for food, entertainment, quality of life, gay nightlife, sports, good cost of living, museums, great weather and seasons… shall I go on … it needs to be.

We recently visited Columbus this past year for its Highball Halloween celebration and it increased our love for this Midwest city, well-known for its LGBTQ acceptance. We loved our visit back in 2020 so a visit in 2023 was too long of a wait.

Besides Highball, we did so many great things during this quick trip to Columbus, which we’ll tell you more about in another article. But for this week’s Travel Thursday, we wanted to tell you about two great options you should consider when making lodging reservations for a visit to Columbus, Ohio. We were able to stay in a 3-month old hotel called The Junto which was so fresh time wise, but also creatively. But first we’ll mention a great “rainbow family” owned and operated place, The Pride Inn.


Pride Inn – 

I always try to look for quality gay-owned lodging when I travel. Pride Inn is just a quick ride from downtown Columbus just out the well-known E. Broad St.  So if you have your own car or need to Uber, you’re all set. The inn also has hybrid bikes that can be rented.

Located in the historic Woodland Park neighborhood, Pride Inn Columbus BnB is 2 miles from downtown Columbus, 3 miles from the Short North Arts District, 3 miles from the Arena District, 3 miles from the Greater Columbus Convention Center, 4 miles from The Ohio State University, 4 miles from the John Glenn Columbus International Airport and across the street from the 13 acre Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.  

Easy to find even on a rainy day, I pulled up to the Pride Inn where I met Jimmie and her wife Mindy, owners and operators of the city’s only LGBTQ+ Bed and Breakfast.


They had just had all of their guests leave and the new ones were not showing up until a little later so I was able to spend some time with the owners as well as get to see the whole property and all of the rooms. I started taking pictures of the completely updated BnB but soon asked them if they had great pictures online, which they do.  I’ll share some here, but definitely go over to their website to see their gallery in the middle of the page. 

To say I loved each space is an understatement. The main floor was mostly remodeled by the previous owners (a gay couple) before this energetic lesbian couple purchased the home in 2018. They started renovating the space (they did open up the kitchen on the first floor) and desired to maintain as much of the vintage style as possible. The 3-story + full basement 4,850 sqft home had its first guests as a BnB in November 2022.

There are multiple themed bedrooms for guests to enjoy, from ones with names like a steampunk room, a peacock, a top floor suite to another room on the way. And then there is the game room area in the basement as well as the full movie theatre with candy bar and more. The styling, decorating, painting, and love put into this place is all from these two women.

So it’s called the Pride Inn. What was obvious was that Jimmie and Mindy have immense pride in their space, a place they wanted to create for the community where guests could come in and leave the outside world behind, be who they are, live who they are, and relax and just be. I really enjoyed my tour and visit with these fine representatives of our community. 


And that was an added bonus of visiting the Pride Inn, meeting Jimmie and Mindy who are very historic themselves. Couple takes pride as Franklin County’s same-sex marriage pioneers – was the title of an article in the Columbus Dispatch back on June 26, 2016, published one year after the Supreme Court Case Obergefell v. Hodges made marriage equality legal in the United States. It was a reflection piece written before the couple bought the home which was soon to be an inn.

Not only were they the first couple to gain a marriage certificate in Columbus, these educators have fought for some time for equality. Jimmie had been fired in 2003 from a teaching position in the London school district in Madison County because officials suspected she was gay. Fighting this removal from her job with a discrimination suit, Jimmie’s efforts led to the district adding sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy. 
Make a reservation to stay at the Pride Inn, meet some great owners and operators. They’re great hosts, wonderful citizens, groundbreaking individuals for our community, and they make a mean lemon poppy seed muffin.

If an immaculate BnB with high ceilings, charming owners, and great style is not your thing, get ready for an impressive stay at The Junto

This big ol bear loved this bigger than a twin bed big ol window seat overlooking Dorrian Green park.

The Junto – 

Out of many of the hotels that I stayed in last year in the United States, The Junto really stand out as something very unique. It presents itself so well as a member of the community, as there are multiple different ways of getting into this newly constructed space. Or should I say spaces?


When one enters The Junto through the front door, the front desk is is not the main attraction. It’s almost as if the check-in desk is a quiet afterthought which  was the designers intent. The placement of the front desk around the corner removes the stress of feeling one needs to check in when entering the building. The main floor provides multiple spaces for enjoyment. I had some work to do during my stay so down to the large meeting table I went, to work and to people watch. Local business men holding meetings, students studying on their own and with others, women meeting their moms for a chat, and singletons just enjoying the space like I was were seen flowing into the areas, to the coffee shop, to their rooms, sitting fireside, relaxing on the so comfortable couches, eating brunch. Yes, I did get some work done while checking everyone out. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a functional hotel lobby. 

One of my mornings during breakfast in the common area, I was able to meet with Ariana Lindenfelser, the Lifestyle Curator at The Junto. She’s responsible for the Trade Room Talks that take place in this space. They’re a regular series featuring discussions about culture. She also facilitates The Junto’s twice-monthly Night School, which are interactive classes to learn a range of skills from sewing to making coffee. Yes, this is the kind of hotel I want in my neighborhood. For now, I guess I will just have to stay here more often.

The Junto is Columbus’ first independent lifestyle hotel. Inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s famed Junto Club, which was comprised of a diverse group of people who were interested in common goals, namely self-improvement and good conversation, The Junto is contributing to the resurgence of the Franklinton neighborhood and will regularly welcome local artists, educators, community and business leaders to give talks and share stories with guests.

But why this type of communal area in a hotel? Well, The Junto is located in a brand new area downtown known as The Peninsula that is home to residential units, office spaces and shopping and dining experiences. This area used to be parking lots and that is about it so it is not a gentrification but a creation of something new. The Peninsula is being called “Columbus’ next great neighborhood” with incredible views of the Scioto River and the downtown skyline, walkable to numerous attractions including the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, the Franklinton Arts District, home to art galleries, breweries, restaurants and more and is just across the street from COSI, which was named the best science museum in the U.S. for four consecutive years by USA Today 10Best.


I’ll insert a couple of fun videos of The Junto. The first one below is the shorter of the two that shows many of the areas within and around The Junto. You’ll see the impressive community lobby space, some selected hotel rooms, the views of the city from the hotel, the drinking and eating spots of Maudine’s, The Trade Room, rooftop bar Brass Eye, Little West Tavern, and the late-night Little West poutine window, and the gym and the equipment rental room which guests can rent bikes, kayaks, and more.

The Junto has 198 rooms and more than 13,000 square-feet of thoughtfully laid out event and meeting space and offers a slew of dining options that encourage discussion, including Maudine’s Coffee Shop, named after the 1926 Ohio State University Homecoming Queen, who was a Holstein Cow, as well as the rooftop bar, Brass Eye, which is inspired by Benjamin Franklin and his Drinker’s Dictionary. Guests can also enjoy a walk-up poutine window and Gear Garage where they can rent equipment like paddle boards and kayaks to enjoy on the Scioto River.



This other video inserted below had my mouth open in awe as this drone footage really highlighted from top to bottom, inside and out, multiple types of hotel rooms, and the common spaces. What I also enjoyed about The Junto that is very visible in this video is its external architecture. No one used a cookie cutter to create the multiple facades present in this eye-catching structure. A great deal of thinking out of the box went into the form and function of my newest favoritest bestest funnest hotel option. 

Whichever lodging you choose, The Pride Inn or The Junto, you’ll be happy with your stay in Columbus, Ohio. Heck, stay at them both next time you visit.

Leave a Comment