Wide sidewalks and cheery storefronts welcome visitors to Olde Pickerington Village, the historic heart of the suburb that straddles Franklin and Fairfield counties.
The quaint downtown may not have the variety of stores and restaurants that many newer strip malls offer, but it's a good destination for antiques, eclectic home décor and delicious crepes.
Resale Furniture is a great spot to shop for used furniture in all different styles. The shop also carries interesting knickknacks, including an awesome selection of old tea cups.
Feather Your Nest also is a fun stop. The shop sells unique household items, designer fabric and much more.
One of the newer shops, 27 West & Company, sells an ever-changing mix of antiques, collectibles and housewares. Olde Pickerington was a natural fit for the store, said Misty Bookman, whose parents own the business. The long-time Pickerington residents like the friendly vibe of the area.
"There are always activities," she said. "All summer long, there are little festivals, tons of kids."
The Olde Pickerington Village Business Association organizes a PetFest in June, a BeanFest with a chili cook-off in September, a Halloween party in October and a holiday event in December. The farmer's market also takes place downtown on Thursday evenings in the summer.
"We're trying to help the community rediscover the village," said Sandy Melillo, president of the association. "People don't realize what a little jewel they have down here."
A visit to Olde Pickerington needs to include a meal at the Village Crepe. The bistro serves amazing sweet and savory crepes and made-to-order omelets in a relaxed and inviting atmosphere.
The only problem with filling up on crepes is that it makes it harder to find room for cupcakes. And since Pickerington has two places that sell specialty cupcakes, sampling some is a must. The cupcake shops are located in strip malls along Hill Road in the newer part of Pickerington.
The owners of Red Velvet Café warmly greet visitors and work hard to ensure a great experience at the cozy eatery. In addition to cupcakes, Red Velvet serves coffee, bubble teas and panini sandwiches.
Just up the road is Sweet Persuasions, a custom cake and cupcake bakery. Cupcake toppings include chocolate-dipped bacon, chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate-covered strawberries. Cupcakes are sold to go as the bakery does not have an eating area.
For more serious food and fun, families should check out Rule (3). The bowling alley/arcade/restaurant has lots of kid appeal. It's a good indoor venue to entertain children during the long, winter months.
Other good spots for cold-weather fun are the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, Marcus Pickerington Cinema and Victory Park. The museum celebrates the history of motorcycles and the riders, racers and designers who contributed to the sport. The Marcus cinema is currently hosting the Kids Dream Winter Film Series that runs through March 17. Admission is $2.
During the winter, the city sets up an outdoor skating rink at Victory Park. Skating is weather permitting and BYOS (Bring Your Own Skates).
The city also has an active theater group. The Pickerington Community Theatre offers the public the chance to see plays or help produce them.
Kids with dreams of being a rock star might enjoy the non-traditional music lessons offered at the Rock Factory Art & Music Studios. Teachers work with individual students and bands and help arrange performance opportunities.
"Our main draw is guitar and drums," said Dustin Drerup.