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Commentary: Upper Arlington not just family suburb, packed with options for students to explore

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

Columbus is brimming with interesting neighborhoods beyond the borders of Ohio State. Each week, The Lantern will spotlight an area in or around Columbus.

It’s known to many in Columbus as an affluent suburb with a great school system, but Upper Arlington is more than just a prime place to raise kids. It also has some pretty great places for college students to pass the time in the summer months, all in close proximity to OSU’s campus.


Located at 1675 W. Lane Ave., The Shops on Lane Avenue plaza is just a short drive west of campus. Included in the list of stores are a few sophisticated clothing retailers for younger women, such as LOFT, New York & Company and White House Black Market. Also found in the retail strip is Nurtur the Salon, an Aveda-stocked spa that offers a range of beauty services, from haircuts to massage therapy.

Another part of The Shops is a Whole Foods Market. Recently remodeled, the market is now a modern-day mecca for organic food enthusiasts. The aisles are stocked with every type of food imaginable, and on top of that, there are specially staffed sections for the store’s meat, cheese and baked goods departments. The extensive amount of grocery items is impressive enough, but the store is also equipped with two areas to sit down and eat: one for eating items purchased from the pre-made food section and the other, The Social, for people wishing to sit down and order a freshly-made meal.


Just down the road from The Shops at 1315 W. Lane Ave. is Piada, a fast-casual dining establishment with several locations throughout the Columbus area. For a tasty Italian meal on the go, the pasta options at Piada are equivalent to Chipotle’s burritos. The concept is the same – upon arriving at the counter, diners choose what type of dish they want and then go down the line to select ingredients and additions, such as side items or drinks. The meal prices are relatively close to those of Chipotle, ranging from $6.75 to $8.95 for a main dish.

For something sweet to top it all off, there are a couple places nearby to find low-cost frozen treats. Cuzzins Yogurt, also in The Shops, is a do-it-yourself frozen yogurt stop with intriguing flavors that rotate constantly. Customers can choose exactly how much goes into each cup and which of the many toppings to put on, then pay per ounce based on these selections. Directly across the street at 1534 W. Lane Ave. is Graeter’s Ice Cream, a Cincinnati-based company specializing in the old-fashioned French pot process of creating delicious and creamy dessert scoops.


With a handful of free entertainment options, the summer is a great time to be in Upper Arlington. For the past 19 years, the town has held its annual “Taste of Upper Arlington” event, which spotlights dishes from food vendors throughout the community. Last year’s event, which is sure to be similar to this summer’s fest, was held in August and offered free admission, though food samples were sold for $2 to $3. The event also included live bands, amusement rides and even a visit from Brutus Buckeye for added fun. This year’s event date has not yet been set.

In the summer months, Upper Arlington also puts on two different free entertainment series called “Movie in the Park” and “Music in the Parks.” The Friday night movie series is put on by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and typically features family friendly flicks in Thompson Park, located at 4250 Mountview Road, and Sunny 95 Park, located at 4395 Carriage Hill Lane. The music series is sponsored by Upper Arlington’s Cultural Arts Commission and hosts live music on Thursday evenings in June and July from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on UA Arts Stage at Sunny 95 Park.

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