Depending on where you live and work, it can be incredibly easy to never leave your 'hood. (Convenience is awesome!) But frankly that's a shame, because Columbus is a pretty big city with lots to explore, even beyond the High Street corridor.

Depending on where you live and work, it can be incredibly easy to never leave your 'hood. (Convenience is awesome!) But frankly that's a shame, because Columbus is a pretty big city with lots to explore, even beyond the High Street corridor.

Hence, this issue's cover story, featuring 25 staff-picked bars, restaurants and activities designed to get out of your own little burg and into the much-maligned-but-cooler-than-you-thought 'burbs. While certainly not exhaustive, our curated guide to the best of Columbus' suburbs features everything from an all-vegan restaurant to an Ethiopian one, a park with a 35-foot waterfall to one with 20 acres of ziplines.

As you'll hopefully discover, the 'burbs have more to offer than soccer moms and Applebee's, so take a day this weekend and go somewhere new. -Justin McIntosh

Lynd Fruit Farm

My first complete sentence as a tyke was an impression of the Count - "One apple, ah, ah, ah" - which signified (1) my parents let me watch far too much "Sesame Street" growing up and (2) I have a lifelong fondness for apples. As a child I subsisted almost solely on Red Delicious (only one of these words is actually true), but as an adult I've branched out into far more flavorful varieties, which is where Lynd Fruit Farm steps in. The orchard covers 500 acres, and includes approximately 60,000 apple trees (plus 20 acres of peaches, 16 of berries and assorted pears and plums) available for picking. Hurry though, the final apple pickin' weekend of 2014 is scheduled for Nov. 7-9. -Andy Downing

Lynd Fruit Farm
9090 Morse Rd. SW., Pataskala
740-927-8559
lyndfruitfarm.com

Veritas Tavern

The undulating historic streets of pretty old Delaware are home to Veritas, the most innovative restaurant in Central Ohio since premiering two years ago. Excelling in minimalist artsy plating and dabbling in molecular gastronomy, the first menu of this cheeky little place featured a radical shrimp cocktail formed into a flat sheet and a Mr. Wizard drink with a globular vodka "capsule" (Elderflower Spherification Shooter) that riffed on a deconstructed martini. There have been major personnel changes among the opening chef triumvirate recently, so it'll be interesting to see what direction chef-owner Josh Dalton guides this casual and fun bastion of modernism. For now, perennial customer favorites like the Potted Blue Cheese and Bacon Risotto (with a sous vide egg) are still available. Pro-tip: Check out the ever-changing, good-way-to-get-acquainted "Tuesday Tasting" dinner (3 courses for $30). -G.A. Benton

Veritas Tavern
15 E. Winter St., Delaware
740-417-4074
veritastavern.com

Soodles Bake Shop

Soodles Bake Shop founder and owner Amy McCrea spent much of her adult life struggling with digestive and skin problems. When gluten, dairy, eggs and soy were determined to be the cause of her health woes, she began experimenting with baking treats she could enjoy without getting sick. Soon she started recreating popular snacks (like donuts) free of the top eight food allergens (except coconut), and selling those creations at local farmers markets. Soodles, a brick-and-mortar store, was born in 2011, but if you are not among the allergic, you probably haven't heard of it. But allergies or not, Soodles' signature coffee cake is to die for (although those with allergies will appreciate, you know, not dying). The baked goods are rich, moist and highly addicting. -Elizabeth Weintstein

Soodles Bake Shop
14 Dillmont Dr., Northwest
614-356-7090
soodlesbakeshop.com

ZipZone

The suburbs are rarely a place for adventure (unless you count soccer mom drama), but ZipZone on the north end of Columbus (at Camp Mary Orton) offers excitement by the truck load. The best way to describe the experience is to compare it to that first swoosh over a creek on a rope swing - only much more exhilarating and for longer than a few seconds.

For maximum adrenaline rush, ZipZone offers nighttime tours. Yeah, that's right, zip-lining at night. This weekend is perfect for a first-timer or regular visitor of ZipZone, as it's the annual Freaky Flight Nights (through Friday), which combines flying through the air at "Spaceballs"-levels of ludicrous speed with a haunted house attraction. -Jesse Tigges

ZipZone
7925 N. High St., Lewis Center
614-847-9477
zipzonetours.com

Worthington Indoor Farmers Market

The Worthington suburb's farmers market is the biggest in Central Ohio, and I also think it's the best. It's really well curated, meaning you won't see 16 vendors that sell artisanal-vegan-non-fracking soap and only one vendor with veggies. During the colder months, the market moves indoors to The Shops at Worthington Place - yes Worthington has a mall of sorts! Grab your fresh food in one quick, locally supportive stop. Bonus: This neighborhood is oh-so cute in the winter, and a drive through it will make your heart grow three sizes that day. (GRINCH REFERENCE!) -Jackie Mantey

Worthington Indoor Farmers Market
The Shops at Worthington Place
9 a.m. to 12 p.m., Saturdays, November through April
7227 N. High St., Worthington
614-285-5341
worthingtonfarmersmarket.com

The Daily Growler

A few years ago, it seemed nobody knew what a growler was. But after the explosion in the craft beer market, growler-fill stations have become common place. However, few growler spots offer as much selection (and on-premises drinking!) as The Daily Growler. With locations in Upper Arlington and Powell, each providing a rotating cast of 60 taps, even the most elite beer geek is bound to find something new. That isn't to say a brew-newbie can't get in on the action, too. Try a pint (or several) in the tasting room or on the 25-seat patio before committing. Pro-tip: Bring a couple friends to compare notes. -Abernathy Miller

The Daily Growler
258 W. Olentangy St., Powell
614-987-8277
2812 Fishinger Rd., Upper Arlington
614-656-2337
thedailygrowler.com

Alum Creek Dog Park

Are long walks around the neighborhood - on a leash - becoming a chore for you and your dog? Does Fluff Puff have some extra energy to expend? Alum Creek Dog Park, which opened in 2006 and welcomes approximately 300,000 visitors a year, is well worth the drive. With four acres for dogs to let loose, there are designated, fully fenced areas for small and large dogs, and an expansive dog beach on the lake, where pups can swim to fetch for sticks or tennis balls (and the water-averse can play on the river rocks). Located in the heart of Alum Creek State Park, the scenery is also perfect for a nature walk. Fair warning: Pack lots of towels for the ride home. Even if Fluff Puff doesn't take a dip in the water, she'll probably find lots of fresh dirt and grass for rolling. -Elizabeth Weintstein

Alum Creek Dog Park
3993 Hollenback Rd., Lewis Center
alumcreekdogpark.com

Lalibela

The Ethiopian restaurant, located in a strip mall off a busy road, is about as unassuming a spot as you'll find in the 'burbs. The darker front half houses a bar, complete with a pool table, while the well-lit back half is dotted with sparsely appointed tables. It's here you're going to want to grab a seat. The service is friendly and casual (this isn't the best spot for dine-and-run eating), and the food is uniformly comforting and delicious. Though labeled with foreign sounding names, dishes like Mahberock, a veggie sample platter that includes collard greens, buttery cabbage, spiced lentils and more, and the stew-like Lamb Dices, reminded me of slow-prepared winter dinners at home. Be sure to sop everything up with injera, a sourdough-like flatbread that comes rolled up like medical tape with each meal. -Andy Downing

Lalibela
1111 S. Hamilton Rd., Whitehall
614-235-5355
lalibelarestaurant.net

Lomonico's

When I reviewed a then-new Lomonico's about a year ago, I called it the best restaurant in Pickerington. It still is, and by a wide margin. Then again, big and open and loud and lively rooms don't scare me off - especially when I'm quaffing top-notch Cris Dehlavi-designed cocktails and munching on feel-good Italian food. Executive Chef Andrew Borenstein honed his chops at CMR's Marcella's, and that experience shows up in crowd-pleasing fare such as: Lomonico's Meatballs with acidic tomato sauce and rich-yet-coarse polenta; Charred Caesar Salad; crackly and creamy Sicilian Rice Balls; impressive boutique-meets-classic pizzas; and desserts, like a towering homemade carrot cake. Note: the Picktown Lomonico's has been such a success that a smaller, more urban version is slated to open in Downtown Columbus this winter. -G.A. Benton

Lomonico's
1506 Stonecreek Dr., Pickerington
614-694-4591
lomonicos.com

Village Crepe

My limited at-home chef skills have led to the discoveries that certain seemingly simple dishes are best left to the professionals. I've given up on risotto altogether. The only perfectly poached eggs I eat are at restaurants.

Village Crepe in Pickerington has ensured that I will never make crepes as perfectly light and fluffy as they do, so why try?

Tucked deep in old Pickerington, the small-town feel belies some serious tastes, with amazing and inventive crepes, quiches, frittatas and more.

It's a can't-go-wrong menu, but your best bets are often found in the daily specials. Pro-tip: A mix of sweet and savory is the best crepe order. -Brad Keefe

Village Crepe
21 N. Center St., Pickerington
614-833-1111
facebook.com/villagecrepe

Sam's Bar

It feels kinda weird recommending a drive to Lewis Center to drink in a dive-bar, but this one has the authentic character so many faux-dives try to recreate. Plus, it's not so inconvenient if you stop after hiking at Highbanks or Alum Creek in the afternoon (or morning; the place opens at 10:10 a.m.).

I first stumbled into this watering hole after repeatedly driving past and becoming intrigued by what looked like an old roadside motel attached to a large white barn with "Bar" in large red letters. (There's an actual "Sam's" sign off to the side, almost as an afterthought.)

My first visit was on the way to my bachelor party, and I likewise noted the occasion with permanent marker somewhere on the wall or ceiling like everyone else who comes here. In fact, reading the inscriptions is half the fun. The other half involves a whiskey and a beer (no need to name names; just ask for a whiskey and a beer). Oh, and bring cash. Credit cards aren't accepted. -Justin McIntosh

Sam's Bar
4819 Columbus Pike, Lewis Center
740-548-9595

101 Beer Kitchen

When 101 Beer Kitchen opened a few years ago and I couldn't avoid everyone talking about how amazing it was, I wondered whether it was really worth traveling to Dublin? Once I made the initial trip to the authentic gastropub, I knew there wasn't any distance that would keep me from becoming a regular.

Not only is the perfectly executed nosh - the Loaded Housemade Tater Tots and Shrimp & Grits are eaten every time I go, no matter what else is also ordered - on point every single meal, but 101 Beer Kitchen also has one of the best beer lists in Columbus. The draft list is diverse and always features some excellently adventurous options (and the bottle list is truly expansive). -Jesse Tigges

101 Beer Kitchen
7509 Sawmill Rd., Dublin
614-210-1010
101beerkitchen.com

Adult Skate at United Skates of America

Sure, you swore off skating that time you tried to show off by doing the splits during the limbo and farted very loudly, but give roller-skating another go! The United Skates of America's $6 Soul and R&B nights are an adult-only time to get your skate on without fear of stupid kids getting in the way and watch others who are really, really good at it. Still feeling wary? The rink has Top 40 or Hip-Hop and R&B family skate nights, and there will be kids there so you can totally own them with your sweet moves, because roller-skating sans tricks really is like riding a bike. Buy some candy from the counter before you leave for nostalgia to be complete, or pack your own candy necklace to get gross and slimy as you kill time during couples' skate - not because you're alone, but because backward skating is hard. -Jackie Mantey

Adult Skate at United Skates of America
Various times
3362 Refugee Rd., East Side
614-239-7202
unitedskates.com

Chi Thai

There are literally hundreds of restaurants serving Asian cuisine in Columbus, so if you're leaving from Downtown to venture outside of 270, it better be good. Chi Thai is better than good.

The setting is more white tablecloth than you'd expect, although the prices are pretty great (especially for lunch). The menu runs the gamut from the Americanized Chinese food staples (even something as simple as sweet and sour chicken is somehow transcendent) to more authentic Chinese cuisine, but the Thai side of "Chi Thai" is my favorite in Columbus. (Try the Pad Lad Nar, and don't be afraid to go spicy.)

Oh, and if you're the passenger on the drive out there, they have a pretty great bar, too. -Brad Keefe

Chi Thai
5577 N. Hamilton Rd., Gahanna
614-471-8988
chithairestaurant.com

Hayden Falls Park

Yes, the suburbs are overrun with shopping centers and four-lane, 45+ MPH roads designed for zipping with alluring speed to whatever destination calls. There are, however, pockets that call for a far slower pace, perhaps none more so than Hayden Falls Park. The urban oasis, tucked off of busy Hayden Run Rd., follows a short wooden boardwalk down a steep flight of stairs and through a winding path rimmed by steep stone walls (the boardwalk was constructed in 2006). As you progress through the woods, the hum of traffic gives way to the gentle roar of a 35-foot waterfall - an ideal spot to hit reboot in those moments when life begins to feel a bit too chaotic. -Andy Downing

Hayden Falls Park
4335 Hayden Run Rd., Dublin
614-645-3300
parks.columbus.gov

Starliner Diner

I've long lamented the lack of diverse vegan brunch options in Columbus. (It doesn't always have to be tofu scramble, guys.) Starliner Diner doesn't solve that conundrum, so much as offer up a damn fine breakfast burrito you'll return for again and again. Plus, fried plantains for brekkie are always a no-brainer. This is my go-to spot for brunch anytime friends or family from out-of-town are visiting. It's got a fun ambiance, and everyone leaves satiated and happy. -Justin McIntosh

Starliner Diner
5240 Cemetery Rd., Hilliard
614-529-1198
starlinerdiner.com

Highbanks Metro Park

There's no better way to enjoy Ohio's colorful fall foliage than on a leisurely hike through one of the seven trails (spanning 1,160 acres) that make up Highbanks Metro Park, located about two miles north of Worthington. The park is named for its 100-foot-high shale bluff overlooking the Olentangy State Scenic River. There's something for everyone to enjoy there, in every season - biking, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, birding (Highbanks is listed as an Ohio Ornithological Society Site), picnicking and more. For a scenic walk with your canine friends, start at the Nature Center and venture off to the right onto the three-and-a-half-mile Coyote Run Trail, which cuts through hardwood forests and fields. Or, without the pups, head deeper into the woods and ravines on the Dripping Rock trail (just more than 2.5 miles). For an educational experience, the Edward F. Hutchins State Nature Preserve features prehistoric Cole earthworks and a picturesque view of the river. Bring your camera. The scenery this time of year is so stunning it's easy to lose track of time - and accidentally tackle multiple trails in one go. -Elizabeth Weintstein

Highbanks Metro Park
9466 US Rt. 23 N., Lewis Center
metroparks.net

Perkins Observatory

Up north in Delaware is the Perkins Observatory, the only observatory in Ohio to offer regular public programming throughout the year. If you haven't made the trip to this astronomical center before, you're missing out on one of the most awe-inspiring visual experiences - and I'm not just talking about the Perkins Telescope, which was the third largest in the world when it was completed.

Perkins Observatory offers day and night public programs, almost every Friday at 8 p.m. throughout the year, and daytime events offer patrons the chance to gaze at the cosmos. Even when it's cloudy or during non-solar daytime events, you can visit the observatory for a tour of its magnificent architecture and awesome history on it. -Jesse Tigges

Perkins Observatory
3199 Columbus Pike, Delaware
740-363-1257
perkins.owu.edu

Dublin Date Night

I know, Dublin, right? It doesn't sound terribly romantic, but sometimes terribly romantic also sounds terrible. If you're looking for an easygoing weekday date, check out the movie theater in Carriage Place (and geek out beforehand together at the neighboring Half Price books, because that's adorable). The movie theater shows recently-released-but-not-new movies on Tuesday for $1.25 per ticket. After the show, hit the quick drive to the area's charming downtown and grab a pie and some pop at Bridge Street Pizza. This unassuming place has one little dine-in table and a lot of charm. -Jackie Mantey

Bridge Street Pizza
16 E. Bridge St., Dublin
614-761-3169
bridgestreetpizza.us

Cinemark Carriage Place Movies 12
2570 Bethel Rd., Dublin
800-326-3264
cinemark.com

Loving Hut

Hard to believe, but Central Ohio's best vegetarian and/or vegan restaurant resides in Reynoldsburg. It's also, on some level, possibly the strangest. See, Loving Hut's innovator, Supreme Master, is a Vietnamese-born 60-year-old woman who's often showcased on the restaurant's TVs spouting the benefits of a meatless life with approximately a bazillion subtitles buzzing around her. The walls are similarly adorned with quotes urging diners to forego meat, which, fine by me, that's why I'm there. It feels quasi cult-ish, but the staff's never pushy, always polite, and, hot damn, the food's good-tasting and affordably healthy. My personal favorites include the Potato & Kale soup, Saigon Rolls, Love Letter From the Earth salad and the American Panini. Try it for yourself and see why this international vegan fast food chain is the fastest growing of its kind in the country. -Justin McIntosh

Loving Hut
6569 E. Livingston Ave., Reynoldsburg
614-863-0823
lovinghut.us/reynoldsburg_01

Columbus Square Bowling Palace

When the daily grind gets you down, take a page from the Dude De Ching and say, "Fuck it, let's go bowling." Located at the edge of Columbus and Westerville, Columbus Square Bowling Palace offers fun for grown folks as well as the kiddies. Take advantage of the daily special (they offer a different one every night), or relive high school date night when they blast the music, drop the projection screens and turn down the lights for "Max Bowl." The best part of Columbus Bowling Palace: It's open 24/7, so no matter when you get the itch to knock some pins around, Columbus Square Bowling Palace will have the neon lights on. Grab a White Russian at the Island bar, lace up your shoes and channel your inner "dudeness." -Abernathy Miller

Columbus Square Bowling Palace
5707 Forest Hills Blvd., North Side
614-895-1122
palacelanes.com

Kinetic Climbing & Fitness

Tony Reynaldo, in true rock climbing dirtbag fashion, lived out of his car for a year prior to opening Kinetic Climbing & Fitness on the West Side. The former OSU professor did so to save as much money as he could before moving his 24-hour bouldering gym from a small cinderblock building in an Old North alley to a bigger, more permanent/long-term location. The 5,000-square-foot gym, which opened in July, distinguishes itself, in part, for its dedication to bouldering, a form of rock climbing that eschews harnesses. Reynaldo's own bonafides in the sport play a role, too. The professional climber's known throughout the bouldering community nationwide as one of the leaders in designing custom rock climbing holds, and the gym reflects that status, as routes are regularly switched up to keep more-serious climbers returning. Kinetic's also hosted competitions, including one Tuesday, Oct. 28, that saw some of the state's best setters tackling more than 50 boulder problems on new holds. Reynaldo also plans to eventually open two more bouldering gyms in other suburbs around the city. -Justin McIntosh

Kinetic Climbing & Fitness
717 Hadley Dr., West Side
614-674-6402
kineticclimbfit.com

Warp Zone Video Games and Beyond

Buried in an unassuming Hilliard strip mall is a treasure trove of retro and import video games. Warp Zone Video Games and Beyond specializes in rare retro gaming, offering tried-and-true favorites ("Super Mario Bros." etc.) as well as some hard-to-find Japanese games and systems. Never played a retro Japanese game before? Don't worry. At the back of the shop are three Japanese arcade machines loaded with more than 40 individual games available for play -but be careful, you'll get addicted quickly. Whether you peruse through the classic games, or chat up owner Darren Griffin about the store's latest gem, be prepared to lose track of time. -Abernathy Miller

Warp Zone Video Games and Beyond
4496 Cemetery Rd., Hilliard
614-219-1997
fb.com/warpzonehq

Kraft House No. 5

There's been a Powell surge of intriguing restaurant activity in that charming suburb about 15 miles from Columbus. Leading the charge is this local-focused gastropub-y slice of Short North hipness overseen by Marcus Meacham, ex top toque of Bodega. Metal, rehabbed wood and slate gray set the handsome-yet-casual stage; refreshing cocktails plus 20 (mostly Ohio) taps provide the lubrication. But the obvious stars are the bold yet controlled flavors emanating from KH5's busy kitchen. Here, smoke wafts into a duck salad, rolls heavily into tomato soup and lightly scents lovely little lobster rolls. Other big hits are an umami-bomb hanger steak with shiitakes plus a crafty potato-and-truffle cake; a knockout double pork chop with a crackly walnut brittle crust and a bacon-y Brussels sprouts hash; and the three-layered "24 Carrot Cake," a witty essay on carroty desserts with bruleed carrot marshmallow "icing," nutty carrot cake and tangy carrot-threaded cheesecake. -G.A. Benton

Kraft House No. 5
5 S. Liberty St., Powell
614-396-9091
krafthouse5.com

Sunflower Chinese Restaurant

Everyone has his or her favorite neighborhood Chinese haunt, and, perhaps, doesn't see the point in driving any farther to try a new one. But you should - there are a ton of unassuming Asian eateries in Columbus offering some outstanding, authentic fare. My personal choice is Sunflower Chinese Restaurant in Dublin.

I've been eating at Sunflower since I was a kid, and while I've changed over the (many) years, this friendly spot has always supplied excellent food and service. When I was in my 20s, I discovered Sunflower's dim sum specials on Saturdays and Sundays. It's the too-rare dim sum cart-experience you'll find in Chinatown - and just as tasty. -Jesse Tigges

Sunflower Chinese Restaurant
7370 Sawmill Rd., Dublin
614-764-7888
columbussunflower.com