The Columbus neighborhood of Clintonville is an ideal place to park the car and explore on foot or by bicycle. The kid-friendly community boasts great shops, good restaurants and a variety of unique destinations, said Mary Rodgers, owner of Moxie's Gifts, Candy and Party Room and president of the Clintonville Historical Society.
Shoppers can find everything from American flags and comic books to violins and rain barrels in the enclave along High Street and Indianola Avenue between Ohio State University and Worthington.
Clintonville is home to The Flag Lady's Flag Store, where every child visitor receives a handheld flag. Owner Mary Leavitt, who started the business by selling flags out of her car, brings her dog Poochie to work every day.
The Laughing Ogre comic book store with its friendly and knowledgeable staff draws enthusiasts from throughout Central Ohio.
Young readers also will want to stop at the independent children's bookstore, Cover to Cover. Browsing is encouraged at the store, which often hosts children's authors.
Beginner and professional musicians will enjoy a trip to The Loft Violin Shop, which rents and sells stringed instruments.
Kids will have fun checking out the inventory at The Train Station, which carries many varieties of model trains.
Parents of little ones will appreciate the selection of cloth diapers, baby carriers and much more at Sprout Soup.
Anyone thinking about starting a garden or raising chickens should check out City Folk's Farm Shop. The store carries tools and materials meant to help urban residents pursue gardening or animal rearing in the city. The store offers workshops on beekeeping, making soap, raising chickens and other topics.
Would-be crafters will want to consider the classes at Wholly Craft. The shop also sells craft supplies and handmade goods.
Candy fanatics find plenty of choices at Moxie's Gifts, Candy and Party Room. The store, which features a 50-foot wall of candy, also stocks an interesting array of gifts: pottery, jewelry and seasonal items. The party room is available for everything from wedding showers to children's birthday parties, Rodgers said. Customers can just rent the room or hire Moxie's to help plan the event.
Candy lovers who favor chocolate should head over to Colonial Candy Shoppe. The family-run business sells a variety of dark and milk chocolate candy.
Interesting home furnishings and décor can be found at several locations. Sobo Style has a fun mix of shabby chic and modern items (plus they have a great selection of baby clothes and retro games). Cottage Street sells new and vintage furnishings. Elm & Iron features an eclectic array of new and repurposed home goods.
Clintonville also has a great selection of places for good grub and snacks. Nancy's Home Cooking is a fun diner known for its garbage omelet and chicken and noodles. Family members intend to keep the restaurant open after the November death of Sheila Davis Hahn, who was running the family business.
For Euro-style soups, sandwiches and salads, try Mozart's Bakery & Piano Café. The affiliated Vienna Ice Café, which had been located in the same plaza as Mozart's, is moving to 4784 N. High St. The ice cream shop will reopen in the spring.
Melissa's Incredible Edibles sells yummy cakes and treats and offers cookie baking and decorating classes for children.
Before heading home, be sure to visit Clintonville's scenic outdoor spaces. Take a stroll through Whetstone Park of Roses, home to more than 400 varieties of roses. The park also has a fishing pond and playground. Glen Echo Park offers great views of the area's dramatic ravines. It's a good spot for bird watching and picnicking. Clinton-Como Park has ball fields and play equipment.
CITY FOLK'S FARM SHOP
4760 N. High St.
301 W. Pacemont Ave.
COLONIAL CANDY SHOPPE
3519 N. High St. 614-267-5095
3284 N. High St.614-565-3366
COVER TO COVER
3560 N. High St. 614-263-1624
ELM & IRON
3475 N. High St.
THE FLAG LADY'S FLAG STORE
4567 N. High St.
GLEN ECHO PARK
510 Cliffside Drive
THE LAUGHING OGRE
4258 N. High St.
THE LOFT VIOLIN SHOP
4604 N. High St.
MELISSA'S INCREDIBLE EDIBLES
3496 N. High St.
MOXIE'S GIFTS, CANDY AND PARTY ROOM
3339 N. High St.
MOZART'S BAKERY & PIANO CAFÉ
2885 N. High St.
NANCY'S HOME COOKING
3133 N. High St.
3282 N. High St.
3286 N. High St.
THE TRAIN STATION
4430 Indianola Ave.
VIENNA ICE CAFÉ
4784 N. High St.
WHETSTONEPARK OF ROSES
3901 N. High St.
3515 N. High St.