In many ways, the city of Bexley is centered on families and kids.

In many ways, the city of Bexley is centered on families and kids, said Mayor Ben Kessler. The eastside suburb prides itself on a family-friendly atmosphere, said the father of three.

It is a place where people move when they start thinking about children and schools, added Elizabeth Murphy of the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce. And the city's Main Street literally is at the heart of the community, she said.

"People just love to walk up and down Main Street," she said.

The businesses have made the city a "destination," Kessler said.

The Drexel Theatre draws many visitors to Bexley. The historic theater, which opened in 1937, shows a variety of independent, international and mainstream films. It also hosts special events including Casablanca Night, Cinema Feasts, Sci-Fi Marathon and Summer Kids Movie Fest.

Capital University is another great source for entertainment. In addition to a full lineup of sporting events, the private university's stellar music department organizes numerous concerts throughout the year.

The university also works with the city to host numerous family-oriented events throughout the year. The Capital lawn is the site of Bexley's Fourth of July celebration and the Main Event movie series, which began this year.

The Bexley Public Library also welcomes families. The children's section has a large play area stocked with unique toys. Additionally, the library offers story hours and homework help.

Families also enjoy hanging out at Piccadilly Modern Play & Creative Café. Owner Allyson K. Morena works hard to create a welcoming and productive atmosphere. Whether parents are taking advantage of the detailing company that comes in monthly to clean clients' cars, making friends and business connections, or enjoying a healthy meal with their children, Morena wants them to feel positive about their time at Piccadilly.

Children can explore their passion for art at the Creative Art Studio. Located just east of Bexley, the studio offers camps and drop-in classes.

Bexley also offers some unique shopping opportunities. Hat & Sole has a nice array of comfy shoes and interesting hats. Cyclists can find the right set of wheels for their riding goals at roll: bike shop. The flower shop, Connells Maple Lee, holds regular events where kids can try their hand at flower arranging.

Around the corner from Main Street, Etc Boutique has a fabulous selection of purses and an ever-changing gift area with fun shower and baby gifts.

Families won't go hungry in Bexley. Rusty Bucket and Bexley Pizza Plus are local favorites. The Bexley Coffee Shop is good stop for java or a light snack.

For dessert, there's plenty of ice cream. Mayor Kessler said he suspects Bexley has more ice cream per capita than any other city in Central Ohio. Visitors can choose from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, Johnson's Real Ice Cream and Graeter's.

The gluten-free, nut-free Cherbourg Bakery is another tasty option.

For outdoor fun, head to Jeffrey Park, the city's signature park. The property includes playground equipment, hiking trails, a picnic shelter and Jeffrey Mansion. The former residence of the Jeffrey family serves as a community center that hosts ballet lessons, weddings and the city's annual pancake breakfast.

The city recently added kayak and canoe rentals. Residents (or friends of residents) can pick up a boat at Jeffrey Park and travel along Alum Creek to Schneider Park.