Just about 45 minutes west of Columbus, Yellow Springs is the perfect location for a day trip, though you could likely fill more than a day with all the activities available in the area. Home to Antioch College (which, tell me it’s logo doesn’t look like the Deathly Hallows?), and known for its laid back vibe and community atmosphere, Yellow Springs is more than just a “hippie enclave.” So, pack your hiking boots, hop on Interstate 70, and get ready for an adventure.
225 Xenia Ave
Situated on the main drag in downtown YS, Dino’s has many different coffee variations as well as their legendary frozen hot chocolate. Great for adults and kids, they offer pastries in addition to drinks. The atmosphere here is indicative of the town as a whole, casual and welcoming. The patrons are a good mix of locals and out-of-towners, and most days, live music is being played in the shop. Do yourself a favor and order the “Milky Way” coffee, you wont regret it!
405 Corry St
Glen Helen is a sprawling 1,000 acre preserve, with over 20 miles of footpaths. It’s beautiful and serene, with areas like the grotto (pictured above) scattered throughout. The map at the trailhead is crude, and none of the paths are well-marked, so do bring your cellphone along with you. You’ll probably get lost, but honestly, that’s the part we enjoy the most when hiking the area. You won’t actually be lost, you just might not end up exactly where you’d planned. If you choose to park in the Corry Street lot, it does cost $5, but that’s the most convenient place (and the only bathroom) if you aren’t biking in. Make sure to also visit the Raptor Center on property, it’s seriously impressive and the permanent home to 30 different birds of prey.
215 Xenia Ave
Beautiful restaurant, great outdoor patio and superb service. The best part though, by far, is the seasonal menu. That means that no matter when you visit, you’re able to order a dish that is in season, and made with fresh ingredients. While the general vibe is that of a fine dining establishment, it’s also perfectly acceptable to bring the whole family. I’ve also heard many a rumor that this is Dave Chappelle’s favorite joint when he’s in town, for what it’s worth. If you head there soon, order the Butternut Squash Ravioli, and if you visit in the summer, definitely the Organic Sandwich (which isn’t as healthy as it sounds, in a good way).
113 Corry St
This shop is full of quality, local-made goods. Cool T-shirts, home decor, jewelry, all kinds of great giftables. They’ve got kitschy knick-knacks, and quality glass pieces, so really the store appeals to all visitors. The prices here are reasonable and the inventory is always updating so we stop in every time we’re in town. My personal favorite thing about Urban Handmade though is their extensive collection of pun-related merchandise. Christopher Walken in a Winter Wonderland ornament? They’ve got it! Stainless steel mugs with re-imagined song lyrics (“I’ve got, two chickens to paralyze” 🎶)? You can pick that up here, too.
132 Dayton St
So, I’m not a big comic person (although I bet I could be convinced), but this store still holds a lot of appeal for me. And it is definitely a must visit for those of you who are all about comics. They have special edition board games, limited release comics, and all kinds of fun superhero themed merch. The staff here though is the true standout. Every employee we’ve interacted with is super knowledgeable about both the things they carry in store, and items that exist but they don’t currently have in stock. It’s also just a super fun atmosphere.
2331 St Rt 343
Yes, another hike. I know, you just hiked Glen Helen this morning. But, if you don’t enjoy hiking, you probably aren’t visiting Yellow Springs anyway, right? Clifton Gorge is also quite different from Glen Helen, in that the trails are well marked, and it’s more of a leisurely experience than an actual strenuous excursion. Your stroll will take you along the Little Miami River, and the views are beautiful. With all the water nearby, you’ll definitely want to be armed with bug spray, but the insect population isn’t overwhelming to detract from the experience. There are overlooks scattered along the trail, and markers highlighting some of the history of the area.
230 Xenia Ave
Authentic Mexican street tacos, served from a truck. Miguel’s might not look like much, but we all know that appearances can be deceiving. This place is legit. There’s some patio seating available, or take your food to go. Miguel is typically there, preparing the tacos or burritos and everything is scratch made. I don’t know what kind of magic he adds to the al pastor taco, but you’ll want to get that for sure. Habanero salsa with lime and Rajitas (thinly sliced onions) with house made chips on the side, and you’re all set!
305 N Walnut St
Yellow Springs brewery started in 2013 with husband and wife duo and the demand was almost instantaneous. The taproom is super cool and a revolving collection of art from local makers lines the walls (and most is available for purchase). They have a huge shelf of board games available to play, and there’s typically a food truck on site if you’re hankering for a snack. The patio is awesome, and sits adjacent to the bike trail, which seems to be a popular mode of transportation to the brewery. The renowned Captain Stardust is my favorite, and is crisp and refreshing. My husband opted for a take home growler of the Moon Balloon and that was gone faster than I’d care to admit.
6880 Springfield-Xenia Rd
You didn’t think you’d make it thru this post without Young’s Dairy, did you? On your way out of town, you should definitely stop by for a quick cone. It’s not off the beaten path, it’s not a hidden gem, it’s just delicious ice cream, made on site. You can even visit the cows who provided the milk. Park by the scoop shop and avoid the crowds at their amusement section, Udders & Putters. They’ve got a rotating selection of seasonal flavors, and lots of familiar standbys. Plus, there’s an onsite CHEESE SHOP (!!!) which you Gouda check out.
For more information on things to see and do, including dinner theater and charming places to stay, check out the official Yellow Springs Visitor’s site HERE.
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