One of the best parts of my job is getting out of the office.

Dear Columbus Parents,

One of the best parts of my job is getting out of the office. In fact, sometimes I put it on my to-do list: Get out of the office today. Often I'll wander aimlessly, checking out what kids at the Whetstone playground are wearing these days or what gadgets the parents sitting around the Polaris play space are using now. Or I'll pop into stores like Cute as a Button or Wholly Craft, and see what ingenious new products are on the shelves.

Or sometimes I have a story to write, as I was doing in this photo here from my visit to LifeTown. This unique learning center in New Albany provides real-life skills training for kids with developmental and/or physical disabilities. That photo shows me and my new bestie, Rennell Mahone II, figuring out an app on his smartphone. I would imagine that Rennell, friendliness is off the charts, probably came to LifeTown with his Northland High School class already armed with self-confidence. But seeing how he has augmented that irrepressible joie de vivre of his with money-, health- and time-management skills is impressive. This is a kid who is living life to the fullest. You can't help but feel inspired when you meet people like him.

Of course, getting out and about is Job No. 1 with this magazine, because we know from the market research we've done how important Columbus Parent is in helping local parents learn more about their community. That's why our Best of Columbus issue is such a great resource every year…and all year.

Each year, we update our Best of Columbus online ballot by poring through the results and write-in votes from the year before and researching what has changed with businesses opening and closing. One of our nominees this year (from Dewey's Pizza) contacted us early on in the voting, not as a nominee but as a parent, asking if he could get a copy of the ballot since it's become a great resource for new ideas of places to go and things to do. So we made a copy of it available on our website for everyone. Happily, Dewey's is a runner-up in our Best Pizza Restaurant category this year! But be sure to thank them for the ballot idea when you go there for great pizza!

Now read on for the results of this year's Best of Columbus contest, and enjoy experiencing these places to go and things to do with those families of yours!