Upper Arlington, nick-named the Golden Bears, was incorporated in 1918 and has grown into a primarily residential community of approximately 34,000 residents covering 9.67 square miles. The City enjoys a convenient location as a first-ring suburb of Central Ohio.
There is a variety of shopping opportunities in Upper Arlington including Kingsdale Shopping Center, and Lane Avenue Shopping Centers. While Kingsdale has seen better days, it is in the process of being revitalized. Kingsdale was also home to the first Limited Store created by Les Wexner.
On the west side of Kingsdale Shopping Center, new condominiums, business offices, and retail shopping stores are being constructed that promises to bring some much needed development to the area. There seems to be a tug of war going on between UA City Council and the owners of Kingsdale on what to do with this valuable property. The city wants the property to adopt its Master Plan guidelines which don't necessarily agree with the best commercial use of the property. This disagreement has put the shopping mall in a state of limbo in that it can't redevelop, or even remodel unless the property comes in line with the Master Plan.
UA Arts Festival -- every Labor Day
The Upper Arlington Arts Festival is an annual event held each Labor Day on the 22 acres of Northam Park just east of the Main Library. Some 200 artisans, from across the country display at this art festival labeled "the best one day show around."
It is estimated that 20,000 - 30,000 visitors attend the Arts Festival each year. Parking is a premium and streets surrounding the park are usually blocked off. There is usually a free shuttle service running from Kingsdale Shopping Center just north of the park on the Tremont Road side.
The Chef-O-Nette Diner
The Chef-O-Nette has been a family dining fixture in Upper Arlington for over 50 years. Lots of diners around the country are built around nostalgic themes, but the Chef-O-Nette is the genuine article.
The Chef-O-Nette opened in 1955 and it hasn't changed much in the intervening years. While you're there check out the original drive-thru window that was part of the original building, long before drive-thru's became the norm of today's fast food.
Located at the eastern corner of the small Tremont Center across the street from Upper Arlington's Main Library, the Chef-O-Nette features daily specials, chocolate malts, and cherry cokes made the old-fashioned way. From burgers to steaks, the prices are outstanding. For a trip back in time, drop in to the Chef-O-Nette, you'll be not only surprised with the quality of their food, but also the pricing. It's nothing fancy, but it's their food is good. We can't say there prices are from the 50s, but with today's menu sticker shock, the Chef-O-Nette will definitely seem like it.
While you're there you can imagine the likes of a young Jack Nicklaus, Chris Spielman, Ohio State University Coaches Woody Hayes, Earl Bruce and John Cooper, even Governor Rhodes, who all were regular visitors to the Chef-O-Nette during their time in Central Ohio.
Giant Eagle Market District
at Kingsdale Shopping Center
At the time it first opened in the fall of 2010, it was only one of 4 in the country like it. The Discovery District is a destination grocery / fine food destination. Although parking can be at a premium, it is well worth the effort. Foods from all over the globe can be found here including over 400 different kinds of cheese, custom roasted coffee while you wait, and plenty of other features you won't find all under one roof.
Other Community Events
Upper Arlington annually hosts a Fourth of July parade and fireworks display, the annual Halloween festival at Tremont Elementary School are other notable community events. The Jones Middle School Fall production and the High school's annual musicals are always a big hit. The City's Parks & Recreation Department hosts numerous events including the Winter Festival and Tree Lighting, various church festivals, Spring Fling, Summer Celebration and Fall Fest. Other events include the Taste of UA festival, and during the summer mounts Upper Arlington also hosts a program called "Movie in the Park" where (usually free of charge) a movie is shown in Upper Arlington's various parks throughout the summer.
Chris Cake's Amazing Flying Pancakes
April Fools Breakfast
Every year the residents of Upper Arlington are invited by the merchants of Tremont Center to a free breakfast of pancakes and sausage as a way of saying thank you for their year round support. The breakfast is held on the last Saturday of March closest to April 1st: hence the name April's Fools Breakfast. This breakfast event is a great way to meet the merchants and fellow Upper Arlington neighbors.
Also featured at the breakfast are usually several local farm animals the kids can see up close.
Upper Arlington 4th of July Parade
Like many communities, Upper Arlington provides a long standing tradition of the the traditional July 4th Parade. The parade route goes south on Northwest Boulevard from Kingsdale to North Star Road. Another long standing tradition is for residents to line up their lawn chairs along the parade route days before the parade to insure they have a spot to watch the parade pass.
Few communities celebrate the 4th like UA. The day begins with a community parade packed with floats, antique cars, clowns and more. The day's activities are capped off by an evening festival with fireworks at Northam Park (gates open at 5:30 p.m.).
Another July 4th tradition symbolizing Paul Revere’s ride from the Revolutionary War is the 7:00AM Wake Up Call on the 4th, when members of the Upper Arlington Civic Association cruise the neighborhoods announcing the start of the America's Birthday celebration. The parade will be cancelled only by dangerous weather such as high winds, lightening, tornados, etc. Rain alone will not stop the parade.
Taste of Upper Arlington
An annual favorite for both UA residents, local dining establishments and businesses is the "Taste of Upper Arlington" gathering held in Northam Park usually around the 2nd Tuesday of August.
The event runs from 3:30 until 8:30 pm featuring the artistic food creations of many of Upper Arlington’s favorite restaurants. Put on by the Upper Arlington Chamber of Commerce this event also features amusement activities and entertainment for all ages. It is one of the many activities where friends meet and new friends are made.
Upper Arlington Spirit
Upper Arlington has a strong sense of community, with a population that has both higher education and income levels compared to the rest of the city.
The city has one high school and it is in an independent school district that consistently ranks high in test scores, with a strong reputation as being one of the better high schools in the state.
During football season, Upper Arlington is like a small town that rallys together in support of the high school football team.