Places to go and things to do in the Short North and Victorian Village

When visiting the Short North or Victorian Village, kids will likely enjoy many of the same past times as adults. People watching, window shopping and dining in restaurants are all great experiences that families can share in the city's vibrant arts district.

Children are a familiar sight in the Short North - even at Gallery Hop, the neighborhood's monthly event where galleries stay open late.

"I think parents would be shocked to see how many kids are down here during events," said Diesha Condon, senior director for the Short North Business Association (SNBA). "They should just be ready to work around the crowds."

But parents should realize that in the evenings, the neighborhood does become a destination for students and grown-ups looking forward to adult fun. Condon advised that parents should think about "where you choose to dine. Some of our restaurants do turn into bars after 9."

If parents have concerns about whether their children would be welcome in a particular store or restaurant, they should call ahead, she said.

Maggie O'Shaughnessy and her two children walk through the bustling neighborhoods on their way to and from school. They often will stop into Northstar Café for a cookie or poke their heads into a business with an inviting window display, O'Shaughnessy said.

The kids love living in Victorian Village because of the activity generated by the stores, restaurants and nearby Ohio State University.

The neighborhood's "eye candy" holds great appeal to kids, added Charly Bauer, the SNBA's board president and director of operations at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.

Bauer said he routinely visits the neighborhood with his 4-year-old and 2-year-old kids in tow.

"They are fascinated by the sights and sounds of the neighborhood," Bauer said. "You don't have to do too much to entertain them. Just walk around and let them discover."

His children enjoy visiting Paradise Garage. The full-service bike store has lots of bicycles to ogle.

Buckeye Fans will want to check out the scarlet and gray wares at The Buckeye Connection.

For a more edgy look, pop into What The Rock?! The boutique has an awesome selection of rock-and-roll-themed clothing for babies, children and adults. And new to the kids' clothing scene is Babybird, plus vintage-clothing boutique Royal Factory has built a small inventory of children's clothing.

You're bound to find goodies for your four-legged family members at Posh Pets Boutique.

Global Gallery has a small but interesting selection of toys that children are welcome to touch and play with, said manager Megan Fitze.

If the handmade items from developing countries around the world inspire your little artist, head to Utrecht Art Supplies. The store has paints, paper and supplies to create a fabulous art kit.

The Candle Lab is another great spot for kids to get create something - in this case, their own soy candles with customized scents.

And when tummies start growling, there's no better place to be than the Short North or Victorian Village. Piece of Cake and Bakery Gingham offer yummy baked goods. Le Chocoholique sells candy and pastries that appeal to the eye as well as the palate. Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams dishes up great cool treats on High Street as well as in North Market, a great kid venue.

O'Shaughnessy and her family love North Market because the kids can chow down on pizza while the parents enjoy sushi, Indian cuisine or other exotic eats. Kids also will want to visit the Candy Shack, Pam's Market Popcorn and Brezel, a hot pretzel bakery, while at North Market.

"For a lot of families, the North Market is a Saturday morning ritual," Bauer agreed.

And from there, it's just a short hike north to Goodale Park, Columbus' oldest park. Kids will love the unique playground equipment and parents will enjoy the beautiful setting.