Best of the Burbs

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

Forget the picture that enters your mind when you hear the word "suburbs."

You know the one: Cookie-cutter houses with well-manicured lawns bordered by white picket fences and lined up in tidy rows that dead end into a seemingly limitless stream of cul-de-sacs.

It's an image stoked by television, Hollywood films and even Canadian rock stars (see: the Arcade Fire's 2010 albumThe Suburbs). But here in Columbus, the suburbs offer visitors everything from trend-setting restaurants to sprawling, forest-blanketed parks where city dwellers can escape the endless crush of nine-to-five days.

While Columbus has any number of burbs worth exploring, we decided to focus on five in this issue, presentingAlive readers with daylong itineraries to drive deeper exploration of Bexley, Reynoldsburg, Westerville, Dublin and Delaware. So forget what you think you know about the suburbs, and read on to see what gems these city-bordering locales have to offer.