Summer entertainment destinations

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Toledo Zoo Amphitheater —Drive time 29 minutes

Animals and music combine in the historic Toledo Zoo Amphitheater. Students can visit the zoo during the day and enjoy a concert at night.

“It’s a unique venue because you get to come to the zoo after hours,” said Andi Morman, director of marketing and pubic relations at the zoo. “In addition to all the concert fun, you’re also helping to support the zoo.”

The amphitheater, plus several of the animal buildings, were built in the 1930s as part of Works Progress Administration under President Roosevelt during the Great Depression. It’s the largest count of WPA era buildings in one location in the country, Morman said.

“These incredible buildings are all hand-made and put these people back to work,” Morman said.

Depending on how the concert is set up, the amphitheater can hold about 4,000 to 5,000 people.

“It’s very intimate and there’s not a bad seat in the house,” Morman said. “Even if you’re sitting in the back row, you’re not that far away.”

For those who don’t want to spend money this summer to see a concert, the amphitheater offers “Music Under the Stars,” a free outdoor concert series by the Toledo Symphony Orchestra.

Huntington Center —Drive time 26 minutes

Built in 2009, the Huntington Center in Toledo is one of the newest venues in Northwest Ohio.

“It’s a newer venue, so it’s a lot nicer,” said marketing manager Al Purdie. “It’s got a more modern look.”

The venue was built for concert-goers with entertainment in mind, he said.

“The arena was built to have great sound,” Purdie said. “We get a lot of compliments on our sound.”

Because it’s a smaller venue, students don’t have to sit in the front row to get a good look at their favorite artists.

“There’s not a bad seat in the house,” Purdie said. “It’s not often you get a really good view like this.”

Students, Purdie said, should definitely make the drive north to see a concert at the Huntington Center.

“We’re within 20 miles of BG,” he said. “We’re adding concerts all the time.”

Nationwide Arena and Schottenstein Center

Drive time: 2 hours, 11 minutes —Nationwide

Drive time: 2 hours, 7 minutes —Schottenstein

Columbus’ two major venues, Nationwide Arena and the Schottenstein Center, both offer University students different vibes when they see a concert.

“With Nationwide, the vibe of being in the heart of the arena district is really great,” said director of communications Kim Mahoney. “And the Schottenstein has more of that college campus feel.”

Students can choose whether why want to see a concert downtown at Nationwide or near The Ohio State’s University’s main campus at the Schottenstein Center.

“They’ve got a great atmosphere and wide open spaces,” she said.

Both venues will feature a variety of big-name artists, so there is a concert for everybody, Mahoney said.

After students watch a concert at either same-sized venue, they can visit Columbus’ many bars and restaurants.

“Downtown Columbus pretty much has anything you’d want to look for,” Mahoney said. “It’s easy to make a whole weekend out of it.”