Spring Awakening: 25 things to do

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Sample the spring drink menu at Surly Girl Saloon

Taking a leisurely stroll down High Street in the Short North is a spring ritual, and at some point you're bound to get thirsty. Stop into the Southwest-pirate pub Surly Girl for their excellent spring drink menu.

The Spring Fling, blood orange- and ginger-infused vodka with lemonade, and the Painted Lady, an Old Fashioned with blackberries, are also sure to please. Spring also marks the return of the ever-popular BFF, Surly Girl's cucumber-infused peach vodka with club soda.

Buy $10 sunglasses at What the Rock?!

Sunglasses are the most necessary warm weather accessory, and there's no better place to pick up a pair (or two) than the Short North's kickass rock 'n' roll boutique.

The shop's selection appropriately includes Elvis shades in gold or silver and glasses inspired by the retro black shades worn by Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and the Blues Brothers. There's also a good amount of aviator and wrap-around styles. For the price, you can keep an extra pair in the glove box for a forgetful friend - he'll thank you.

Eat at Ray Ray's Hog Pit

There's just something about smoked meat on a sunny day that makes the soul happy. The smoky, delicious barbecue served at Ray Ray's, at the corner of Pacemont Road and High Street in Clintonville, will make the soul sing.

Serving the finest ribs, brisket and pulled pork I've ever had the pleasure of devouring - sorry, Dad - this food cart stays pretty busy from 12-8 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. The standout is the perfectly smoked and cured brisket made from organic, grass-fed beef. The only problem? It sells out most days.

Hang out at Woodlands Tavern's Spring Jubilee

Are you sick of summer music festivals' high ticket prices and hoards of people? Just stay here and get that summer festival feel right on Third Avenue in Grandview during Woodlands Tavern's three-day Spring Jubilee on May 20-22.

National headliners such as the Rumpke Mountain Boys and Michael Glabicki of Rusted Root join locals - including folk heroines The Salty Caramels and the musical menagerie of Cowboy Hillbilly Hippie Folk - on Woodlands' two indoor stages and a tent-covered outdoor stage.

Three-day tickets are $47, and day passes are $20. Check out woodlandstavern.com for more information.

Get gelato at Caffe DaVinci

There's ice cream, and then there's gelato. Nothing against ice cream, but gelato's lighter, creamier texture is just more palatable. And the best in town can be found at Upper Arlington's Caffe DaVinci, 3080 Tremont Rd.

The eatery's homemade gelato comes in dozens of delectable flavors. I highly recommend almond butter pecan, the classic chocolate-peanut butter Buckeye and blood orange - it's like sorbet touched by the hand of God. Sample a couple of flavors, and I guarantee you'll end up taking home a pint ($8).