COLUMBUS, Ohio — TAR (HEELS)! TAR (HEELS)! You’ve got your Carolina blue on, your bags are packed and now it’s time to head to Columbus, Ohio for the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

RELATED: March Madness Tips Off Thursday on WFMY; Here's How to Watch 'Wheel of Fortune' and 'Jeopardy!'

WFMY News 2 has got you covered with everything you need to know about getting to see your team in action in Ohio.

No. 1 UNC will take on No. 16 Iona as they try to dance their way to the Final Four.

UNC will get it all started at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, OH  

RELATED: Time for Madness | When and Where to Watch Duke, UNC and Other NCAA Tournament Games

UNC PRACTICE THURSDAY 

Fans you can watch open practice on Thursday at Nationwide Arena all for FREE! UNC will practice from 4:10 p.m. – 4:50 p.m. However, if you want to go to other team practices it runs from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Doors open at 10:00 a.m.

Check Out The Full Practice Schedule

RELATED: 'It's Special to Be a No. 1 Seed': Roy Williams Reacts to Receiving a Top Seed In The NCAA Dance

GAME SCHEDULE 

No. 1 UNC will take on No. 16 Iona Friday at 9:20 p.m.

Here’s the game schedule for the rest of the teams.

Friday, March 22

Doors for Session One are scheduled to open at 10:45 a.m.

12:15 PM:
Game 1, Iowa v. Cincinnati

Game 2, Colgate vs. Tennessee

6:50 PM:
Game 3, Washington vs. Utah State


Game 4, Iona vs. North Carolina

Sunday, March 24

NCAA Men’s Basketball Second Round games at Nationwide Arena
Sunday’s tip times will be released after the conclusion of play on Friday.

PARKING

There are over 15,000 parking spaces within a 10-minute walk of Nationwide Arena in surface lots and parking garages. On event days, ALL lots and garages will be PRE-PAY to avoid delays in exiting.

You can pre-purchase a Parking Pass, HERE

Check Out The Parking Map

PICK-UPS/DROP-OFFS

ALL pick-ups and drop-offs will take place on West Street. Vehicles MUST be attended at all times. Unattended vehicles may be towed.

BIKE SHARE

Nationwide Arena is served by two CoGo Bike Share stations at Neil & Nationwide and Nationwide & Front. Bike parking is available at Nationwide Blvd. & John H. McConnell Blvd., as well as the east side of the arena.

Check It Out: Ways To Get Around Columbus 

DRIVING DIRECTIONS TO NATIONWIDE ARENA 

From Northeast/ Northwest (Cleveland/ Toledo)

South on I-71 to I-670 West. Exit at Neil Avenue. Turn left at intersection onto Neil Avenue - Then, Turn left onto Nationwide Blvd.

From South (Cincinnati)

North on I-71 to I-70 East. Take Front St. (#100 A) Exit - left at the intersection. Proceed North on Front Street. Turn left onto Nationwide Blvd.

From East (Pittsburgh)

West on I-70. Exit at Fourth Street. Continue on Fulton Street to Front Street. Turn right onto Front Street

- OR -

West on I-670. Exit onto Neil Avenue. Turn left onto Nationwide Blvd.

From West (Indianapolis/ Dayton)

East on I-70. Exit at Fourth Street. Continue on Fulton Street to Front Street. Turn right onto Front Street

- OR -

East on I-670. Exit onto Neil Avenue. Turn right into Nationwide Blvd.

WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN'T TAKE TO NATIONWIDE ARENA 

  • No backpacks, large duffels or any bag larger than 14" x 14" x 6''. One bag per person. All bags are subject to search.
  • Video cameras, professional cameras with detachable or zoom lenses, GoPros, selfie sticks, and tripods are prohibited. Point and shoot cameras, with a non-detachable lens, are typically permitted. Concerts will have their own tour policy - call 614-246-2000 to verify for a specific event. At no time may photography interfere with other guests’ enjoyment.
  • Computers, laptops or tablets are not permitted. Charging stations can be found around the arena concourses.
  • Nationwide Arena does not allow re-entry with the same ticket. Guests with emergencies who want to leave and then return should go to the Guest Services Desk on the main concourse across from section 111.

GOOD EATS

There are lots of good eats in Columbus, Ohio and insiders say must stops include trying out Pancake Balls and Sweet & Spicy Bacon at Katalina’s.

There are hundreds of restaurants and bars in Columbus.

A few you might want to try out include:

  • Katalina’s
  • The Walrus Kitchen & Public House
  • Tommy’s Diner
  • Dirty Frank’s Hot Dog Palace
  • Gorden Biersch Brewery
  • R Bar Arena
  • The Guild House
  • The Pearl
  • The Skillet in German Village
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
  • Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar

Check out a full list of restaurants and bars, HERE.

HOTELS

There are 4,000 downtown hotel rooms in Columbus and chances are, they are getting booked fast! 

Check out a full list of hotels in Columbus

You might be better off booking a hotel outside of Columbia or looking to rent a place from vacation rentals Airbnb, VRBO, HometoGo etc.

VISITORS CENTERS 

Three Columbus Visitor Centers can assist you with trip recommendations and directions on how to experience the best of Columbus.

If you wish to speak with a visitor information specialist, call 1-866-397-2657 or 614-221-6623. You also may e-mail a request to visitorinfo@experiencecolumbus.com.

ARENA DISTRICT
277 W. Nationwide Blvd.
Open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 12-5 p.m.

EASTON
188 Easton Town Center
Open Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 12-6 p.m. We also follow mall holiday hours and extended holiday shopping hours.

GREATER COLUMBUS CONVENTION CENTER
400 N. High St.
Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday 12-5 p.m.

OTHER THINGS TO DO 

Information provided by Columbus Visitor's Guide

OTHER RELATED STORIES

RELATED: March Madness Tips Off Thursday on WFMY; Here's How to Watch 'Wheel of Fortune' and 'Jeopardy!'

RELATED: Road Trip To Columbia! Duke Fans Here’s Your One Tank Trip Guide To March Madness In SC

RELATED: Time for Madness | When and Where to Watch Duke, UNC and Other NCAA Tournament Games

RELATED: March Madness 'Boss Button' could save your job

RELATED: March Madness is here: Download your printable brackets

RELATED: The Insane Odds Of Filling Out A Perfect NCAA Tournament Bracket

RELATED: March Madness is Here | Duke, UNC Get Top Seeds; UNCG, NC State Left Out

RELATED: 10 biggest March Madness bracket busters ever

RELATED: March Madness: A terminology guide

RELATED: Selection Sunday: Duke, Virginia, UNC, Gonzaga are No. 1 seeds

RELATED: How to watch all the March Madness games

RELATED: 5 things to know about March Madness Selection Sunday