In those dark days before Columbus had an IKEA, West Chester was the place to go.
Now that we have our own Swedish furniture mecca, West Chester is still the place to go, really. Just about an hour and a half south of Columbus, with breweries and family fun (not mutually exclusive), there’s an activity for every type of day tripper. Home to both Ken Griffey’s and teary-eyed former Speaker of the House John Boehner, you need not be an MLB player nor a politician to enjoy your day.
8825 Cincinnati Dayton Rd
Maybe I’m feeling sentimental because it’s my dog’s birthday today, but what’s a road trip without your four-legged best friend? I mean, you’re going to be spending the whole day away from home, your pooch might as well have an adventure, too. The Fetchington is located in a converted historic home and is a lot less “sterile” feeling than other pet hotels. They offer daycare at a reasonable rate, so drop Spot (or Hazel, as the case may be) off when you get to town, and pick her up (exhausted) before you head back to the ‘Bus. It’s a dog’s life.
7967 Cincinnati Dayton Rd
I had been hearing about a “Donut Trail” near Cincinnati for awhile. Friends had posted about it on facebook, and the only thing better than one donut is a whole trail of them, in my opinion. While we were exploring West Chester, we made it a priority to at least hit one of the stops. I am so glad we chose Stan’s. Made from scratch donuts, in classic flavors, prepared to perfection. There’s no fancy donut combinations here, no lavender lemon, or anything curated. Just old fashioned donuts that are fresh and delicious. They frequently sell out, so make this your first stop for sure. Order the classic twist.
7172 Cincinnati Dayton Rd
To be honest with you, we stopped here for the kids. I wasn’t at all excited about it. I had flashbacks to the slightly dirty (and sticky…why?) arcades of my youth. I am so glad we came here. I played the laser tag game with my two oldest, and it was the most fun we’ve had together in a long time. We all left the room giggling, even though we lost. It’s a surprisingly clean establishment, with traditional arcade games like skeeball, with a few new ones thrown in. There’s a climbing wall, the aforementioned laser tag, go-kart track, mini golf, and bowling. Lots to do for all ages, and actually, the menu in their snack shop is abundant, plus, there’s beer on tap.
8374 Princeton Glendale Rd
Be forewarned, you may never crave Chipotle again. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Mi Burrito has a similar model, you choose your filling, toppings, etc. But, there are more options, and everything is fresh and made with high-quality ingredients. They also have TAMALES which just really speaks to my soul. The food here also has a more traditional feel, and leans heavily toward actual Mexican food, as opposed to the Tex-Mex many of us are so familiar with. Another plus? Mexican rice 😍.
6855 Tylersville Rd
As you’ll see in the above photo, this is an “ice cream” stand that looks like an ice cream cone. It’s so retro it’s modern again. There is attached indoor seating as well, plus a shaded area with some coin operated ride-on vehicles to help keep everyone happy during your visit. I say “ice cream” because it’s soft serve, and I know traditionalists may not agree on those two things being one and the same. I liked that the menu was simple, but there were still options to customize your cone. And obviously, you’re not going to order your soft serve in a dish at a place called The Cone. While my kids went with a cotton candy shell, I opted for peanut butter and I was seriously nuts for it.
4924 Union Centre Pavilion Dr
You guys. Swoon! This is probably one of the best antique centers I’ve shopped in, and that is my bread & butter, so I know what I’m talking about. To be sure, you still have to do some digging, and as always there’s a fair share of very specific antiques that wont appeal to everyone, but for classic antique furniture, this is the spot. Dove-tailed dressers, antique kitchen hutches, and vintage signs are aplenty and easy to find throughout the booths. I found the prices to be pretty reasonable, and still have my eye on a gorgeous set of old school lockers.
7505 West Chester Rd
While I’m definitely a catch-and-release type of fisherman, I still think it’s a fun activity, whether with or without kids. It’s clean and well stocked, though you should bring your own net if possible. There’s a bait shop, and some food for sale, clean restrooms. Really though, it’s just a serene lake, not crowded, and a relaxing way to start off your evening. We caught a few catfish, more than we’ve ever caught in our short history of leisure fishing, for sure. I recommend bringing cash, just for convenience sake.
7790 Service Center Dr, Suite B
We rolled in during the early evening and were relieved to see several other families with young children. I’m saying that upfront so that if you would prefer to not drink beer bottles next to baby bottles, you can head here after dinner instead. The bartender told us that they prefer no children after 8 pm, and that seems more than fair. There was a selection of family-friendly board games, as well as Cards Against Humanity and a few more adult-centric games. As for the beer, between my husband and I, we sampled 8, and all of them were delicious. My favorite was the Farmer’s Daughter (a saison), and my husband’s fav was the Poundsign Nofilter (an IPA). We ended up taking home a growler of the Blue Skies Hero Brew as well, it’s a partnership with Blue Skies for the Good Guys & Gals Warrior Foundation. Good beer doing good things!
4877 Smith Rd
Great, casual spot with a seasonal menu of fresh innovative food. You order at the counter and then your food is brought to your table, similar to Northstar in that regard, and the food as well. I had the “Summer Grilled Cheese” which had brie, raspberry preserves, and basil. Served with a choice of side, it was super delicious and a combination I would not have thought of on my own. The Uovo Sandwich was also calling my name, sunny side up eggs? Yes, please. Troy’s has wine by the glass or bottle, and local beer available for purchase as well. But the best part comes after dinner, with Troy’s mom’s Peanut Butter Pie. They’re huge slices, but that definitely doesn’t mean you should share, one for each person, please.
There really is so much to do in West Chester and surrounding Butler County, like Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, Jungle Jim’s International Market, or, my favorite: Hanover Winery. For other ideas, visit the Butler County Visitors Bureau here.
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