Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

For Columbus residents who live in Clintonville, there aren't a lot of reasons to leave the area.

The vibrant neighborhood, located along North High Street and Indianola Avenue between the Ohio State University campus and Worthington, has local grocery stores, eco-minded shops and great dining and entertainment options.

"You really can walk most places and get what you want," said Shelli Sanzo, who has lived there for four years. "Everything is so close."

Which makes it a great place for the rest of Central Ohio to visit. The district, which began in the 1800s as a summer destination for Downtown workers and Ohio State professors, combines the bustle of a city with the community feel of a suburb. Early settlers built homes along the scenic ravines and river; later, more than 70 subdivisions were built.

Today, many come to the neighborhood to see and smell more than 11,000 rose bushes at the 13-acre Whetstone Park of Roses. The park, located near the Columbus Metropolitan Library's Whetstone Branch, includes two playgrounds and a fishing pond.

Kids will especially dig the playground closest to the rose garden, which has a sandbox with a pulley system and other fun features.

Another kid favorite is Cover to Cover, a children's bookstore that regularly hosts story hours and author visits.

Wholly Craft is another unique boutique offering handmade, local-artist treasures plus craft workshops and supplies. Lottie Da is a great find for locally designed and sewn children's clothes, accessories and more.

Parents won't want to miss Sprout Soup (see sidebar). The store specializes in baby carriers and sells natural and organic products for children. Sprout Soup also offers art and cooking classes for kids and tips on cloth diapering for moms and dads.

"We like offering something extra -- not just being a store," said owner Alissa DeRouchie. She located the store in Clintonville because of its "green" vibe.

The community is home to a number of businesses that focus on eco-friendly products and services. The Global Gallery Cafe offers fair-trade products from around the world and serves up steaming cups of organic, sustainable coffee and tea in beautiful Guatemalan ceramic mugs.

Just-opened Firefly Play Cafe has an imaginative playspace plus organic snacks for kids and caffeinated treats for parents.

"Clintonville is such a great place to be for green business," said Jennie Scheinbach, owner of Pattycake Bakery, which sells yummy vegan and organic treats. "There's not a lot of community education that has to happen."

The Clintonville Community Market, a member-owned grocery store, sells a full selection of organic, local and natural products. The market also offers wine tasting and other events.

Visiting foodies also will want to check out Weiland's Gourmet Market, which specializes in meat and seafood, Wildflower Cafe, a cozy diner that serves homemade food, and Whole World, Columbus' oldest vegetarian restaurant. The eatery, which was shuttered by a fire in 2009, re-opened this summer.

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