36 Hours in German Village
May 22, 2014
German Village is all about style. Whether it's the lovingly restored brick homes from the middle of the 19th century or the countless eateries and boutique that elevate their products to artistic status, you'll be hard pressed to find a more beautiful neighborhood anywhere. With so much to see and do, you can spend a whole weekend in the Village and still leave some stones uncovered. Here's our guide for the quintessential experience in German Village.
First of all - parking. If you can parallel park, you will not have trouble finding a spot in the Village unless there's a big event like Village Valuables (mid May) or the Haus und Garten Tour (late June.) Just be aware of permit parking zones. If you prefer a garage, just west of German Village at Front and Sycamore the Grange Insurance garage is a good choice. That said, we recommend that once you get here, you park your car and leave it parked. German Village is made for walking. Even at your most leisurely pace, it won't take you more than 25 minutes to get from the south end to the north end. And you'll have plenty to see and do along the way.
Start your day with breakfast at Pistacia Vera. Recently named one of the best bakeries in the WORLD, this is the spot to try a candy-colored macaron, a tart made with seasonal fruit, a decadent quiche, or just a cup of locally roasted coffee. If the weather is nice, grab a table on the patio.
Next, explore the Book Loft, a 32-room extravaganza of books (open daily until 11 p.m..) It's easy to get lost in the stacks - so stick close to your traveling companions.
One of the true gems of Columbus is Schiller Park - the heart of German Village. With 23 acres of ponds, paths, huge old trees and incredible horticultural plantings, this is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch. We recommend filling your picnic basket at Katzinger's Delicatessen at the north end of the Village. Whether you put together a cheese plate from the diverse options of cheese, jams and crackers on display or opt for a mammoth (and tasty) sandwich, don't forget to stop at the pickle barrel.
For a casual dinner, it's hard to beat Harvest Pizzeria. Made in a small wood fired oven and topped with the best local ingredients, these pizzas are definitely something to write home about. We love the Spicy Yuma, topped with sweet corn, chorizo and jalapeno. Skip your go-to order and let the skilled bartenders steer you into an imaginative cocktail that you'll love.
If you're visiting in a warmer month, chances are Actor's Theater is putting on a free show in the amphitheater in Schiller Park. Bring some lawn chairs or a blanked and enjoy your evening!
Check into your hotel (the Westin Columbus is just north of the the border of the Village.) Or better yet, get the full local experience with a stay at the German Village Guesthouse (more info here) and resist the urge to break into that box of treats from Pistacia Vera.
Get breakfast at the German Village Coffee Shop. This is your all-American diner experience, so you'll want a stool at the counter. Once 10 a.m. comes around, you've got a perfect opportunity to shop, and German Village has so much to see. Helen Winnemore's stocks American arts and crafts from some of the finest producers around. Hausfrau Haven has an enviable selection of wines, along with some of the funniest greeting cards around. Winans makes delicious chocolates, and Caterina carries European homegoods like ceramics, table cloths and servingware.
In between your stops and shops, be sure to grab a patio table at Barcelona for a light lunch of tapas and sangria. Many folks say this is the best patio in the city. It's definitely idyllic! Or if you're looking for a traditional German experience, get a Bahama Mama (spicy pork sausage) and creampuff and Schmidt's Restaurant Und Sausage Haus. Fridays and Saturdays normally feature a live oompah band!
Before you head home, have a final dinner at G Michael's Bistro. Make a reservation to ensure you get a patio table. The restaurant specializes in pork and seafood, so you don't want to shrimp and grits. One final stroll to the corner of Mohawk and Whittier brings you to the smallest ice cream shop we know of - a 90 square-foot Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. Order at an imaginative flavor from the window and enjoy it with the view of Schiller Park to your south.