Scioto River Grove Metro Park path during fall in Grove City (photo by Matt Evans)
Travel

Autumn Adventures in Grove City, Ohio

Whether you’re looking to be active outdoors, take a shopping trip or dig into great food and drink, this central Ohio city has an experience to match.

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES

Founded in 2016 by Dave Pando, LVL UP Sports offers a paintball-park experience that caters to different ages and interests. If you’re looking for a fun day for a child’s birthday party (ages 8 and older), LVL UP Sports can load up paintball guns with low-impact, smaller-sized paintballs that will shoot at a slower speed. For the experienced player, the park hosts an annual paintball tournament that attracts more than 1,000 players from throughout the Midwest.

“You don’t have to be a premier athlete to be a good shot,” Pando says. “And if you’re not a good shot, you can use your athleticism to dodge and run.”

For those looking for quieter outdoor fun, Scioto River Grove Metro Park and its 1.8-mile REI River Trail provides the chance to spot wildlife and get great photos from viewing decks along the route. There is also the opportunity to take part in a variety of park-sponsored programming throughout the year.

Scioto River Grove Metro Park visitor engagement manager Jill Snyder says the 620-acre park is a great place to see herons, eagles and woodpeckers, as well as beavers that live along the river. Travelers can also try the public archery course, disc golf course and drone field. The park is also a draw for anglers who visit to cast a line.

A trip to Grove City also includes the chance to get out on the water in a canoe or kayak. Enlisting the help of Trapper John’s Canoe Livery is the best way to access Big Darby Creek. Designated as a state and national scenic river, protections prohibit alcohol, pets, heavy coolers or glass on the river, which ensures a peaceful experience and the ongoing health of the waterway. 

“We’re privileged to be on this [river],” says Jason Kaufman, owner-operator of Trapper John’s Canoe Livery. “It’s one of the cleanest rivers in the state.” 

Exterior of Grove Sheek Boutique in Grove City (photo by Jeffrey Tadlock Photography)
SHOPPING ADVENTURES

With three floors, over 30 vendors and more than 7,000 square feet of merchandise, Country Hearth Primitives offers a selection of goods that span the decades. Owner Jolen Engleman says the shop has a little bit of everything: home decor, jewelry and clothing that includes vintage styles as well as a selection of modern ones. It’s easy to spend time wandering through this inviting building, located in what used to be the Grove City Farmer’s Exchange. Each room is designed to make shoppers feel at home and to spark ideas for getting creative with their own home decor.

Grove Sheek Boutique owner Valerie Heiby launched her shop in March 2021 with the goal of creating a family-minded business with fair prices. The boutique sells clothing, home decor, jewelry, gifts, skin care items, specialty foods and coffee. Heiby says the welcoming and homey style was shaped by time she spent growing up in southeast Ohio before her family moved to Grove City, where she attended high school. “My dad was a preacher and a farmer,” says Heiby, “your personality comes out when you set up a store, and I feel like that was definitely a part of my personality.”

Feeling nostalgic for the toys of your youth? Skylarks Toys and Comics stocks an eclectic collection of retro pop-culture playthings as well as ones that are popular today.

“We have Funko Pops, but we also have Megos from the ’60s,” says owner Daren Neff, who prides himself on providing a family-friendly destination that likes having a good time and sharing that feeling with the community.

“That’s what the store is all about, having fun, escaping the rigors of everyday life,” Neff adds. “People come in and get to relive their childhood.”

The shop also sells comic books (and offers in-house dry cleaning and pressing of vintage issues customers hope to revive). The shop also hosts trivia nights, themed paint-along classes and holiday celebrations.

Diners taking part in the Grove City Pizza Trek (photo by Jeffrey Tadlock)
FOOD ADVENTURES

If there is one thing that we can all agree on, it’s pizza. So, why not explore Grove City’s variety of pizzas and get rewarded for your efforts? Pick up a Grove City Pizza Trek guide at any of the participating establishments or from the Grove City Visitors Center in the heart of town, where you can also get information about and gear for the city’s variety of adventures.

Order items that total at least $5 at six Pizza Trek spots, get your guide stamped at each establishment and submit the proof of your efforts to earn a T-shirt to commemorate your pizza adventure. Participating locations include local favorite Tammy’s Pizza, Grove City Brewing Co. and even Capital City Cakes, which offers a pizza-themed cookie.

Opened in 2012, Plum Run Winery is named for the small stream that originates from the winemaker’s property south of the city. The 3-acre farm produces 16 varieties of grapes, including traminette, vidal, chambourcin and cabernet franc.

The winery’s spot in downtown Grove City shares space with Grove City Brewing Co., where head brewer Trevor Luthor has curated a lineup of beers with an English influence, while using local malts and grains from a farm in nearby Marysville. Brews include staples such as Grove City Beulah blonde ale, Grove City Columbus Street double IPA and seasonal beers inspired by the local Jolly Pirate Donuts. There is also a lunch and dinner menu that spans appetizers, flatbreads, sandwiches and entrees. Brunch is offered on the weekends.

Filadelfo, Eliseo and Niva Reyes opened their 3 Brothers Diner in 2017, realizing a long-held dream.

“When we came to the U.S., we always worked in restaurants,” says Niva. “We like it, so we always wanted to do our own one day.”

Originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, the Reyes brothers merge the home-style cooking they learned from their mother with the experience they gained working in fine dining restaurants to create a delicious food destination. Breakfast brings French toast and pancakes, while evening brings customer favorites like fish tacos, ropa vieja and margaritas made using fresh juices.  

WHEN YOU GO

LVL UP Sports: 5390 Harrisburg Pike, Grove City 43123, lvlupsports.com
Scioto Grove Metro Park: 5172 Jackson Pike, Grove City 43123, metroparks.net
Trapper John’s Canoe Livery: 7141 London Groveport Rd., Grove City 43123, trapperjohnscanoeing.com
Country Hearth Primitives: 3937 Broadway, Grove City 43123, 614/875-5201
Grove Sheek Boutique: 3937 Broadway, Grove City 43123, grovesheekboutique.com
Skylarks Toys and Comics: 4060 Broadway, Grove City 43123, facebook.com/grovecityscooleststore 
Grove City Pizza Trek: visitgrovecityoh.com 
Plum Run Winery/Grove City Brewing Co.: 3946 Broadway, Grove City 43123, plumrunwinery.comgrovecitybrewery.com 
3 Brothers Diner: 3090 Southwest Blvd., Grove City 43123, 3brosdinergc.com