The Short North Arts District is the place to be in Columbus, Ohio and it’s not just because it’s bustling with boutiques, restaurants, bars and galleries for grown-ups. Kids can have a blast in the Short North too and we are going to show you where to go to get the most out of your afternoon with the whole fam!
Treats & Eats: Delicious Places for Kiddos in Columbus
For breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Northstar Cafe has a great selection of wholesome, delicious choices for the kids. They use organic or local ingredients whenever possible and they have the best house-made ginger ale that we have ever tasted.
For a wide selection of cuisine from all over the world, the North Market is a-buzz with people and a great place to take the kids if they have different tastes in foods. You can walk around the market and let the kids make their own choice of where to dine and then head to the upstairs cafeteria-like seating to dine together as a family. Be sure to make a stop at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, which got its start at the North Market.
Shops in the Short North the Kids Will Love
Not only is Rocketfizz Soda Pop & Candy Shop a super fun place for the kids, but we also dare you adults to not walk in and feel a wave of nostalgia as you look at all the colorful and delicious candies and sodas from your childhood, along with so many other sweet treats from around the world. Your kiddos will love all the funny gag gifts, retro tin signs, and assortment of old school PEZ dispensers.
Big Fun is aptly named and full of so many vintage toys that you are sure to find something for both your kids and yourself. Their collection of action figures is beyond impressive and you can even show your kids how much fun it was to collect Garbage Pail Kids cards.
If you are looking for clothing, toys, books and accessories for your little one, Cub Shrub, is just about the cutest and most fashionable kid’s store we have ever seen. Visit its parent store, Tiger Tree, if you want to see the eclectic adult version of the store which sells chic men and women’s clothing, accessories, greeting cards, jewelry and unique gifts.
Outdoors Spaces the Kids Can Get their Wiggles Out in Columbus’ Short North
There are some really great options near the Short North to be outdoors with the family when the weather’s nice!
The Scioto Mile is only a mile from the Short North and as you approach, you will hear the children squealing with delight as they weave in and out of the interactive Scioto Mile Fountain. The multitude of jets that make up this large water feature take on many different shapes and the water comes off and on sporadically, so that you never quite know when you are going to get splashed! Make sure to pack bathing suits when you come to visit! Afterwards, you might catch a concert on the Performing Arts Stage, or there could be a cool festival going on in Bicentennial Park. Take the kids on a scavenger hunt to find the friendly deer sculptures nearby! The deer make great photo opportunities for the kids and adults alike.
Goodale Park is a favorite for bringing a blanket and a picnic and hanging out with the family. The park itself is beautiful and is a stone’s throw from all the hustle and bustle of the Short North. It has a lovely pavilion, pond and fountain and is home to Columbus’ Community Festival in June and Goodale Park Music Series on most Sundays from June through August which features some of Columbus’ favorite local bands.
Arts & Games For Playtime in Columbus
If your kids enjoy painting, you can schedule a 2-hour paint party at nearby Studio614! A pre-sketched canvas at Studio614 ( and a professional art instructor) will provide painting guidance. The kids will love getting to take home their own masterpiece to hang on the wall.
The Columbus Children’s Theatre’s mission is to promote access to theatre arts for families who do not have regular opportunities to appreciate theatre in their lives because of either economic, cultural, or other barriers. They educate and involve young people in all of their theatre performances, teaching them important life skills such as self-esteem and team building. They have many performances throughout the year and it’s a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Check their calendar for the performance schedule and support this wonderful theatre.
Kingmakers is a wonderland of board games and their staff is super knowledgeable and more than happy to show you and your family some new games that will be a great fit with your style and schedule. It’s a great choice for a rainy or lazy day, or to take a break from all of the walking around the Short North you’ve done that day.
There’s no shortage of fun activities for adults and kids alike in the Short North! Lykens Companies supports many businesses around Columbus. We are committed to the growth of our city so that our children can enjoy growing up here as much as we have!