Clintonville for Kids


Is there a neighborhood in Columbus that exudes as much pride?  In our year of living on the fringe of Clintonville and Worthington, I can say that these residents absolutely love where they live and they cannot wait to share their neighborhood with anyone willing to get over their fear of High Street parking. 

It was a pleasure to work with Experience Clintonville to create this guide for families, and I hope you find it helpful for creating a day in this historic and vibrant neighborhood.

Where to eat

Smith's Deli
3737 North High St
Columbus OH 43214

Just look for the big blue awning on the west side of High street and you've found a laid-back and yummy little slice of town. Order up at the counter but check out the menu first...there is so much more than deli food. My kids were not on their best behavior on the day we visited, so we had to make our trip very short and sweet. No one even batted an eye at our naughtiness, so they seem quite comfortable with children.

The fruit cup was very good quality and the Mott's applesauce cups were perfect for tiding us over until our food came out. I thought that was so nice of them to give us those while we waited. Although there are lots of things I'd like to try, I'd definitely order the grilled cheese again. It was big enough to share between two small children. Our bill was less than I expected, and we walked out happy and full!

Mozart's Cafe
4784 North High Street
Columbus OH 43214

I have driven past Mozart's daily since we moved here, wondering "What's that like?" and "Is it the biggest bakery ever!?" I am so glad Mozart's was suggested by the Experience Clintonville moms, and I can see why.

I could tell that the staff takes pride in the appearance of their restaurant and the attentiveness of their staff. We were greeted and assured that we could sit wherever we like (I always ask where they'd prefer us to sit because we can be a handful!). The front of Mozart's is a cafe setting and the rest of the building is more of a dining room experience. Next time, we will go back for a meal, but this day was just for a snack.

A high chair was brought to us and we picked out a "fancy" seat by the window. Larkyn was in Heaven. She thought it was just the best that we had a rose on our table, we had a pretty little table, and she was about to pick out whatever cookie she liked. Of course, it was just a chocolate chip cookie, but she still enjoyed it.

My apple streudel was to die for. I'm not kidding, 24 hours later and I was still thinking about it. The iced coffee was pleasant, and the lidded cup for the kids is always a bonus.

After we ate our sweets, we headed back to look at the rest of Mozart's and to find the LEGO table. What a great idea!  The kids would have stayed much longer if I had let them. Check out the stocked bookshelf as well. Another favorite was the player piano, which stunned all the children who walked by. A few minutes later, an actual piano player arrived and was so kind to the kids.

It is clear that the owners of Mozart's are an integral part of Clintonville and that they love their community. They are more than capable of handling large parties. While we were in there, I overheard a request for a table of 8 and a table of 21!  I hope to attend or host an event at Mozart's someday, and I suggest anyone looking for a fancy little cafe treat to stop in with the kids or book them for your next event. I'm thinking baptism and work Christmas parties!

3600 Indianola Ave
Columbus OH 43214

I have never walked into a grocery store and experienced a welcome like we had at Weiland's. The staff helped us find anything we needed (including prepared desserts, individual milk cartons, and adult beverages!) and went the extra mile to make sure we had what we needed. The kids' favorite part is that they got a little cheese sample, because cheese is always the way to a child's heart. 

This store could truly replace any grocery store, just in miniature version. They have seafood, produce, stand-by snacks, a deli, and a vast selection of prepared foods. When I mentioned that it was our first time visiting, we even got a 10% of coupon to use

We can't wait to try their weekend smoked meats (brisket, pork, salmon) that they told us about. Stop in for some picnic fixings and head to one of the parks mentioned below!

Wildflower Cafe
3420 Indianola Ave
Columbus OH 43214

This diner definitely has a neighborhood feel to it, and I noticed everyone from a bus of seniors to college students to families with young children like mine. I can understand why. The staff warmly welcomes each guest, the prices are unbeatable, and the menu has so many choices that there is a little something for everyone.

Wildflower faces the intersection of Indianola and Dunedin, so there are many ways to get there from High street or 71. They are just north of the UDF at Oakland Park and have their own parking lot, so that is easy.

There is a tiny patio with a few 2-seaters, so we opted to sit inside since my parents were with us. It is a popular place and we went during the lunch rush, so we knew we would need a little patience. But our orders were in, we walked out and watched trucks go by, and before we knew it, we heard "Order up!" and our food was ready.

Ohhhh how I love an inexpensive kids' menu. Rhys ate every penny of his 1.79 PB&J and chips, I had half of Larkyn's cheeseburger, and my parents enjoyed their breakfast burrito and Southwest Chicken Salad. I had a warm, very cinnamony cinnamon roll and yogurt parfait. The parfait was actually great to share with Rhys.

The kids enjoyed the restaurant, I enjoyed the price, and I want to go back to try their specials (I saw several happy meatloaf customers!) and housemade pies.

Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream
4247 North High Street
Columbus OH 43214

This location has ample parking and seating, making it more accessible than most Jeni's. We love the chalkboard inside for when the kids finish and their single scoop while the adults are still working on their sundaes!  The large patio is especially nice for warm, summer nights.

Pattycake Bakery
3009 North High St
Columbus OH 43214

If you didn't know this was a vegan bakery, you would not be able to tell the difference. I had no idea until I linked above and we have eaten a dozen cookies from Pattycake. Ha!

The signage for this little delight is just fabulous and fresh, but so are their baked goods. I bought several for Matt's birthday when Rhys and I were on a quest for a cookie cake (which they will make is given enough notice).

The cookies are huge, and the Tollhouse was my favorite. Matt liked the Snickerdoodle, and my little man was covered in chocolate as he demolished a chocolate chip cookie in their seating area. If you just can't wait to dig in to your treats, there is a table with a few chairs facing High street.

There are many, many places to eat in Clintonville, and I'd go broke if we tried each one this summer.  Acre is on our list, and where else would you take your family?

Where to play

3545 Indianola Ave
Columbus OH 43214

It is easy to park on the street (there is no parking lot) for Breevort. We enjoyed and will return to the playground that is suitable for little ones. The bar and balance beam were just the right height for a preschooler and Rhys enjoyed running in the wide open green space. There are basketball courts and tons of picnic tables. I particularly enjoyed looking at the beautiful houses that line each side of the park, and I would suggest that as you leave, drive down Torrence to High Street for a lovely view of amazing houses.

4578 North High Street
Columbus OH 43214

If you have kids who are into trains, Star Wars, Play Mobil, or anything else that inspires imaginative play, you must make a stop in here. This might be my new place to buy birthday presents! I was not sure what to expect, but we got the tour of the store and Rob turned on the train tables for us. Both kids were fascinated and were allowed to push a few buttons to see trolleys move and Santa fly over the scenery.

There were a lot of delicate items not for touching, so keep an eye on the littlest ones. But plenty of items that are OK for them to touch and even a dollar bin with little treasures that are fun to pick up when you come visit. My kids specifically enjoyed the "digger" section, with tons of high quality, large construction machines. And in the back, there is an awesome selection of Play Mobil (our eyes were sparkling when we saw the princess sets!)  We left with our first Play Mobil, and I'm sure we will be back to expand our set.

And right next door is Eagle Family Candies. Just in case you need candy to go with your toys:)

4822 North High Street
Columbus OH 43214

If it is a sweltering, rainy or snowy day, you can stop in to Firefly for some indoor fun and snacks. It is in the shopping center with Verizon, and if the parking lot is full, park on Royal Forest or in the lot across the street. Read my full review here

3560 North High Street
Columbus OH 43214

This store is near and dear to my heart, as my mom used to drive us to Clintonville just to visit it as a child. As a child, as an educator, as a grad student, and as a parent, I look forward to stepping through those doors and finding the best books for my kids and students. If you want a truck book, Sally can show you ten of them. Want a funny book? They'll guide you toward the books beyond the best-sellers. Cover to Cover is greatly respected in the world of children literature and are visited by multiple authors each year (I have met Jan Brett and Eric Carle there!)

And story time?  Anywhere else has been a total bust for us. These ladies know how to catch the children's attention and are prepared with animal crackers and a good sense of humor. They are patient and have no problem switching books if the children (mine) start to lose interest. Stop in on a Tuesday or Saturday morning to join story time and pick up a book to love. If you are a teacher, encourage your literacy teams to do purchase orders through Cover to Cover. 

Wholly Craft
3515 North High Street
Columbus OH 43214

Well...this one may be more of a treat for the moms. Or dads!  This little shop has such sassy and vibrant items that I want to go in by myself one day. But for those days when solo shopping isn't happening, Wholly Craft is fun for the kids too. Larkyn was obsessing over itty bitty "hand soaps" shaped like hands, the puppets, the jewelry, and all the other fun trinkets available.

I am drawn to the tees and the onesies, and even got Matt a great tee from there for Father's Day (7thirty8apparel). Her final decision was two teeny crocheted (knitted?) finger puppets that came in a pickle bag (her favorite part).

I like supporting local artisans, some even my friends, at Wholly Craft. Next time you need a gift that stands out, give it a try. And all those Pinterest party decorations you're dreading?  Step away from the tissue paper...they have kits ready to go.

During the Farmers Market, Wholly Craft has art activities for children. And for adults, there is a whole schedule of classes and workshops to satisfy your creative spark. And LOOK, a new (to me) place to have indoor birthdays!

301 W. Pacemont Road
Columbus OH 43202

Situated close to the Olentangy river and bike trail, this park looks brand new and has something for every age. There is a beautiful picnic shelter close to the playgrounds, as well as a ball field and green space. There is also a tennis court. As always, I loved that there were two playgrounds to suit different abilities. There were some cool features Larkyn had never tried and there was a smaller playground a little more suited to toddlers. The benches are nice and close (and in the shade) for parents.

This was a fun little gem to find with Google maps. I will skip that ridiculous story and make it easy on you. Take High Street past E. North Broadway and turn right on Lakeview. Take it all the way until it definitely looks like a dead end (but it's not) and turn right into the parking lot. 

Whetstone Park of Roses
3923 North High St
Columbus OH 43214

Saving my favorite for last!  I have taken the kids here multiple times for photos with the roses and it never disappoints. You can read full posts and see photo shoots of the Park of Roses here,  here and here. Take your family to the park to admire the beautiful flowers in the summer and even as late as October (when we had family pictures taken), the fountain is still running and the trees are gorgeous. Don't miss the blooming magnolias in the spring--they are unbeatable. 

When the kids are bored looking at flowers (how is that possible?), take them on down the hill to play at the large play area (with a gigantic slide for big kids, a million swings, and a nice structure for toddlers). There are a few picnic tables and shaded areas. Of course, we picnic in the roses, which may be frowned upon??

Also in the Whetstone Park area is a nice-looking enclosed shelter, tennis courts, a library, and a rec center. Basically it has everything!  

 photo by Jared Hoylman
  photo by Jared Hoylman

High Street, between Orchard Lane and Dunedin road
9:00-12:00 Saturdays

I am not kidding when I say it has been raining EVERY time we have scheduled to go to the Farmers Market this year, but I have been to the Clintonville market and it is very similar to Worthington's (several of the vendors even open up stands at both markets). It is a little more fun because you can stop into the stores to look around or have a rest from the summer heat.

As always, our family guides are a working project. We will add whenever we try new places and would LOVE your input. Go try something new today!

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