I partnered with the City of Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau, whose staff was so welcoming and excited to tell us all about their city. Check out their beautiful office and their wall FULL of visitor information. Like all of my neighborhood guides, they are a work in progress and I will add to them as I visit new places with the kids. Please reach out if you have a favorite Dublin place to be added!
Where to eat:Barry Bagels
5760 Frantz Rd, Dublin, OH 43016
Vitality Fresh Juice
22 South High Street, Dublin, OH 43017
This area of town has been in desperate need of a fresh juice bar and it has arrived! Vitality JUST opened in their adorable and clean location right in Old Dublin, and we stopped in to try it out. On a hot day, doesn't strawberry and pineapple sound awesome? Brian let us sample a few juices and I went with the "Crazy Monkey" (banana, coffee, peanut butter, chocolate...there's a fruit in there, right?) I am PUMPED that they will soon be serving acai bowls and expanding their menu. This is a popular spot for the older kids to walk and get their drink fix without caffeine AND with their daily fruit servings. Old Dublin has inviting seating areas around every corner, so grab a juice or smoothie and have a seat next to the stone fences and historic buildings (there is no seating inside Vitality).
Dublin Village Tavern
27 S High St, Dublin, OH 43017
Bad Frog Frozen Yogurt
15 N High St, Dublin, OH 43017
After lunch, hit up Bad Frog for their big bowls of frozen yogurt and a million toppings. We always like watching the slideshow of neighborhood kids and sitting on the comfy couches. I love frozen yogurt places like this because everyone gets what they want and they feel like they have choices. Personally, I am a Nutella/cookie dough/mini chocolate chip fan. There is a nice courtyard out back that is totally shaded during certain times of day. And out front, the fountains and fairy garden are fun when it isn't too hot outside. This is also your best bet for a bathroom break in a kid-friendly, clean restroom.
16 N High St, Dublin, OH 43017
225 West Bridge Street, Dublin, OH
My co-workers and I are BIG Jason's fans. The food is absolutely consistent every time we go, the service is fast, and we can be in and out of there in time to get back. This makes it perfect for kids. Mine have enjoyed the broccoli soup, grilled cheese, and hot dogs. On this particular visit, they were on their "not best" behavior, so we took our lunch to go. If you call your order in, you can skip the line and easily pick up and go. The salad bar is expansive and creative, and it seems to be a popular choice. My favorites, in case you need to know, are the taco salad, chicken salad sandwich, and chicken pasta primo. Their kid's menu is thoughtful and also award-winning, and who doesn't love free ice cream at the end of every meal?
3856 Hard Road, Dublin, OH 43016
Tuula's is toward the Sawmill area of Dublin (in the plaza with Kroger Marketplace and Tim Horton's), and is worth the stop if you are headed to the zoo or to Emerald Fields Park. Tuula and her staff are friendly and have quality breakfast and brunch items (and dessert) that aren't a dime a dozen. There are quiches, European pastries, soups, and a full coffee menu. I felt like my messy, Reese's brownie-eating kids were very welcome, but the crowd inside looked so relaxed and happy that I took mine outside to the shaded patio. I think this is the perfect place to meet grandma for treats!
Wendy's Flagship store
Wendy's is Wendy's, right? Not really. I know firsthand that the Wendy's that sits across the street from the corporate headquarters has their act together and will go out of their way to make sure you are happy. We don't ever get out of the car to eat at fast food restaurants, but we will at this location. The patio is carefully landscaped, the kids got a kick out of the Dave Thomas statue, and we watched construction vehicles the whole time. The staff even brought a high chair outside for us (you will always find us outside if it is an option).
The Morgan House
5300 Glick Rd, Dublin, OH 43017
The Morgan house is both a restaurant and an enormous gift shop. I could look around the rooms of the shop all day! It is not stroller friendly because there are many steps, but fun for the older kids to browse the gift selection. There is everything from Melissa and Doug toys to Ohio State gifts, to high quality jewelry and furniture.
We ate lunch with my mom, and I thought it was nice that we could still browse the store while listening for our name to be called. We ordered chicken and tuna salad baskets and those were both great. Matt liked his turkey reuben as well. They have a small kids menu, and Larkyn enjoyed her little pizza and fruit. We all LOVED the teeny muffins served before the meal, and I'd love to take a box of those home next time. If you have out of town guests who love shopping make this a destination shopping/lunch trip in Shawnee Hills.
There are so many restaurants in Old Dublin, many of them a little more appropriate for date night or a nice lunch with girlfriends (and leave the kids with a sitter:) Oscar's is one of my favorite restaurants in Columbus, and J. Liu has an outstanding Sunday Brunch!
Where to play/shop:75 S High St, Dublin, OH 43017
Are you Irish? If you are, here is your spot to buy clothes and home decor to represent your heritage. If you aren't, you will still find unique and high quality items and gifts in here. My favorite part was actually the owners! They are welcoming and informative, and very kid-friendly. Stop in to buy a sweet little onesie, pretty wool sweater, or gorgeous piece of china. Their wedding gift selection is impressive, and the owners are so helpful in their Dublin suggestions and pride. PS- they also organize group trips to Ireland, if you plan to go one day!
(Woerner Temple Road)
To my knowledge, this was the first splash park in Columbus, and it is a blast! The dancing bunny statue is of course, perfect for photos and lends itself to the playful feel of the park. You have to drive past the park to get to the parking, and there are restrooms near the parking lot. I recommend getting there right when it opens so that you can claim a table (with an umbrella). The grassy area can get muddy. The kids had so much fun playing in the various fountains; some are small and gentle, and some are powerful waterfalls. The kids had so much fun and it was easy to watch them from the table that was nice and close. The only thing that made me so nervous was the children walking above the waterfalls...please don't let your kids go up there! I'd love to see a barrier of some sort to avoid any accidents.
If you grew up in this area and ever had a snow day, this is where you went to go sledding, right? The iconic Leatherlips statue is still there, now with a really nice looking stage and clean area for the Sundays at Scioto concert series. Down the hill, there are 3 picnic shelters right on the river. We actually just used one for our high school reunion and it worked out great. One is next to the large playground with three structures and all kinds of swings. Your more adventurous kids might wander to the river, so be ready to hold hands and to spot wildlife like Blue Herons and lots of geese! My kids loved the little bridge over the creek, and we brought our Jason's carryout for a picnic that worked out just fine.
Right behind the hustle and bustle of 161 is one of my very favorite playgrounds. Monterey is surrounded my hills, trees, and even the tiniest of creeks when there is some rain. There is a large and a small structure, swings, basketball and tennis courts. To my knowledge, there are no restrooms. This park is easily accessible from Old Dublin by taking Waterford Drive to Monterey Drive, and parking is a dedicated lot right in front.
This is a very new, very AWESOME playground behind the Kroger Marketplace on Sawmill road. There are large picnic shelters for parties and shade, several innovative structures, and enough to keep the kids busy for over an hour. Most notably, much of the park is dedicated to children with special needs and adaptive equipment. This makes is great for any kid, especially those with special needs or very young children. Please watch the linked video, which is much more informative than any photos I have.
(Hayden Run Road)
Another childhood favorite, Hayden Falls (at Griggs Nature Preserve) has become much safer now that the city of Columbus has provided steps and a walkway to see the falls. We went after about a month of rain in July and the falls were STRONG! It is a peaceful walk down there and perfect for pictures in the shade. I'd love to see some seating down there to hang out for a bit, but it is worth seeing (maybe after a trip to nearby Barry Bagels?)
(behind Dublin Library)
I have been down here without kids, and will wait a while before I take them down. The trail is not stroller friendly and the ravine is pretty steep, but your older children will love the walk. You are rewarded at the bottom with the falls and the Indian Run watershed. This is accessed from the Dublin Library parking lot, and you can stop by the Grounds of Remembrance on your way.
75 North High Street, Dublin, OH 43017
Speaking of the library, let's hear it for the friendliest library staff in Cbus! The Dublin staff is all about kids, and they have a packed schedule for your little ones. Even if you don't make it in for a story time (they are very popular), their children's area is fabulous. It is inviting, bustling, and full of little tables and books on display to motivate little readers. We happened to stop in as our friend The Turtle Lady was packing up!
6175 Shamrock Court, Dublin, OH 43016
Goldfish is a little further out than other places I have mentioned, but if you have a reluctant or inexperienced swimmer, I very much recommend it. We took a Jumpstart Clinic last summer and Larkyn went from shrieking on the side of the pool to putting her face in and swimming (with help) across the pool in a week. The pool is specially designed for young children, is heated, and not laden with heavy chlorine. They are organized, their facility is adorable, and the instructors are nothing short of miracle-workers. They love kids and will use specialized equipment to make each child comfortable.
Dublin Irish Festival
(first week of August every year)
I linked to our trip this year for a full write-up on a FUN night!
Dublin residents are so lucky to have an amazing Rec Center. I have taken tennis lessons as a non-resident and know many families who enroll in their programs as non-residents. Check out their listings for classes and a fabulous indoor pool!