Five Nostalgic Columbus Date Ideas for Kids


Trying to navigate parenting in 2020 can be challenging. It is a balancing act, to say the least. We figure out screen time, how to keep our kids safe (but not hover too much), how to keep their innocence but also be aware of their surroundings. The list goes on and on.

Don’t get me wrong. There are advantages when it comes to raising kids during this era. There are many resources that today’s parents have at their fingertips, including support groups and information readily available with just a click of a button.

However, if I am honest with myself, it gets overwhelming being a parent. I think back to my own childhood and how life seemed simple. I realized the things I valued the most can still be passed on to my children even though we live in a very different age.

These memories consist of playing board games, browsing the bookstore for hours, playing old video games with my brother and gathering at the diner for a family meal. It wasn’t just what we were doing. It was that we were doing it together.

Here are five dates I recently took my kids on around Columbus that had me feeling all kinds of sentimental!

Five Date Ideas for Kids

1.Tabletop Game Cafe

Such a cool concept! They serve hot sandwiches, coffee, craft beer, and more. In addition to food and drink options, this café hosts hundreds of board games for all ages. Just spend $6 for anyone over 12 and their game library is open to exploring. Our kids picked out a few favorites that took me back to my childhood. The old Guess Who? and Battleship to name some favorites. Although there were moments of sore losing, the kids enjoyed sharing this experience together and cannot want to play even more games. (Would be a unique date night idea too!)

2. The Book Loft of German Village

I spent most of my childhood lost in books, so this magical place sticks out in my childhood. I recall browsing the many rooms as I tried to figure out what book to explore next. My children are amazed at the 32 rooms this book loft offers as I try and savor the wonder and joy through their eyes.

3. Level One Bar + Arcade

This 1980’s themed hangout takes me back to the good old days of playing video games with my (much more skilled) brother. Every Saturday and Sunday kids can play from noon to six with a supervised adult. My kids love the pinball machines and old school games. You can have food delivered here too.

4. Write Letters and Mail them

This idea was last minute and one of my favorites. After a week of sickness and keeping at least one kid home every day, my mom sent over some blank letters and envelopes for a craft to do. Two of my kids jumped on this idea, writing letters to friends and family and mailing them. I let them drop them off in the post office mailbox and they were so excited for others to get them. This took me back to my childhood where I would eagerly wait for my best friend’s monthly letter after she moved to a different school.


5. Chef-O-Nette and The Original Goodie Shop

Chef-O-Nette was one of my family’s traditions growing up in Columbus. This diner opened in the ’50s and offers sandwiches, soups and specials. The food is full of comfort and simplicity. My kids thought sitting at the diner was the best and loved seeing a restaurant that mommy went to when I was their age. And if we were really good as kids my mom would let us pick out a treat at The Original Goodie Shop.

There are so many wonderful date ideas for kids in Columbus that I can add to this list. Skate Zone 71 is great for the whole family (and they offer lessons at 9:00 a.m. on Saturdays). Schmidt’s is a memorable place to eat where kids can try and eat a cream puff as big as their heads!

In closing, I have to say that my kids not only had a great time going back in time with me, but I also savored the simplicity of our dates. I take comfort in the fact that next time I get way too overwhelmed with my latest Google searches, I can just take a couple of six-year-olds out and play an intense game of Jenga and all is right with the world again.

Anybody grow up in Columbus and remember eating at Cooker’s, Friday’s, Ground Round (pay what you weigh) and shopping at Lazarus? Comment and let us know what you remember most from your hometown or what date ideas for kids that you have!

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Melissa Burnett
Melissa Burnett was born in New Jersey but moved to Ohio at the beginning of a school year where she thought her parents forgot her at Kindergarten and spent most of her first day in tears. Since then, she learned to transfer her imagination onto paper and write stories. She taught Title 1 Reading and wrote children’s books before embarking on her journey into parenthood. Melissa is a mother to twin boys and a younger boy who keeps her on her toes. She enjoys Friday stay home movie night with her boys and dreaming up business ideas with her extremely patient and loving husband. When she is not breaking up wrestling matches, Melissa and her husband spend their time working on rental cabins in Hocking Hills. They also enjoy popcorn and coming up with new popcorn flavors. Melissa promises she does not have motherhood figured out, but she does have many funny stories to share and a word of advice “when you go through the car wash with kids…make sure your window lock is on.” Follow her blog:


    • Glad you are excited to try some of these places. Good luck with your move! Columbus is such a family-friendly city. We hope you love it here!

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