Exploring Easton’s Expansion District

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Growing up on the east side of Columbus, I was thrilled when the plans for Easton were announced. Watching the evolution of Easton has been exciting and my feelings about the indoor/outdoor shopping and entertainment mega center have matured as I have aged.

As a young teenager, it was exhilarating to know there would be a fun place to shop without needing to drive on the freeway to enjoy it. I was focused on shopping at Abercrombie and picking out accessories at Claire’s. My favorite restaurant at Easton was Planet Hollywood and the new movie theatre in the mall was iconic with its large escalator leading to the second floor.

When extended family came into town, Easton replaced the City Center as a local attraction we would usher our loved ones to and fro for entertainment. My grandparents enjoyed shopping at Williams Sonoma and taking in the fresh air as we walked from store to store before a dinner at Brio or Abuelo’s.

Easton as a Young Adult

As a young adult, Easton continued to be the place to shop and also an opportunity for late night entertainment. Max and Erma’s became a favorite lunch spot after shopping at Forever 21 and Bar Louie had great late night drink options.

Exploring Easton as a Parent

Now, as a parent, seeing Easton through my kids’ eyes has been inspiring to explore more family-friendly experiences. We started taking my daughter to Easton when she was very young. Once she was able to walk on her own, we shopped in Barnes and Noble and attended the free story times on the weekends. During the summer, we played in the splash pad near Brio and watched the train vroom on its tracks. We attended the annual art shows, Chalk-The- Block, and many other family-friendly events. We were in awe after Legoland Discovery Center was completed. We spent a lot of time there the first year it was open. My daughter loved the rides and my son loved the large Lego sets. This was all pre-pandemic, of course!

indoor play area at EastonEaston Expansion

Post-pandemic, we are delighted that Easton has almost completed it’s newest district. It’s referred to as the Easton Expansion on the directory. The Expansion is a cozy outdoor space with some surprising and cool art installations tucked along the way. Our favorite art installations are the umbrellas and the bicycles. Both seem magical to little eyes and it was fun to explore the space wondering if we would see more. The Garden and Yard are designed specifically for outdoor enjoyment, landscaped with lush grass and pavilions.

My husband and I ate lunch at Forbidden Root on the patio last fall as we watched the Easton maintenance team install gigantic metal swings in the Garden. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the team quickly jump on the swings to “test” them out.  Shortly after the installation, my mom, daughter, son and I were itching to get out of the house so we decided to walk around the new Expansion District. The highlight of our experience was the swing. The kids loved swinging high together as my mom and I took turns pushing them. The swings have been removed for the winter, but I am assuming they will be in full swing again, come spring.

Easton has intentionally created a safe and comfortable casual outdoor seating space, available for all guests, to include metal tables and chairs and wooden loungers around outdoor fire pits. I would highly recommend stopping by Dragon Donuts and Crimson Coffee for a quick and yummy snack and having a seat in one of the outdoor seating options. The cinnamon roll at Dragon Donuts, dare I say, may be yummier than Fox in the Snow’s.

The new district includes some unique restaurant options as well. If you are feeling weary about dining inside, Forty Deuce and Forbidden Root, are now offering cozy and beautiful Igloo dining options! The outdoor space surrounding Forty Deuce and Beeline is inviting with a modern, sleek and rustic vibe. I can imagine that this space would be full of life, music and drinks after dark, creating a unique entertainment spot for adults.

milkshake at Forty Deuce
The milkshakes at Forty Deuce are amazing!

I am impressed with the innovation and expansion that Easton has offered its guests over time and I highly recommend a visit to the new district if you are on this side of town.  Personally, I am looking forward to the many new restaurants and entertainment venues, like Pins Mechanical, that recently opened in the Expansion District. If you find yourself there, don’t forget to mask up and enjoy!

Umbrella Art at Easton

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