Make Downtown Hilliard your next destination.
Whether you are a first-time visitor or visit frequently, there are plenty of new reasons to include Downtown Hilliard in your itinerary.
Downtown Hilliard bustles with year-round cultural activity.
The Art Deco styling of the Makoy Center is the backdrop to a roster of fairs, performances and private events – many couples have said “I do” at the Makoy! Thanks to the Hilliard Arts Council and the Hilliard Civic and Cultural Arts Center, the city enjoys a wealth of cultural activities such as theater and dance performances, arts-related camps and education, and the Old Hilliardfest. From June through August, the Center hosts a popular Summer Concert Series; weekly performances of blues, funk, rock, gospel and jazz draw crowds around Hilliard’s Station Park, the Norwich Street Gazebo and other outdoor venues.
Central Ohio also has a long history of daring and creative comics and cartoon artists, and the award-winning Packrat Comics, a local staple since 1993, keeps the love of colorful storytelling alive for future generations. They’ll help you find old favorites from Marvel, DC, manga and more, along with shirts, bags, toys and other gifts.
With the formation of the Hilliard Public Art Commission in late 2018, Hilliard made a renewed focus on public art and the value it brings to cities, beautifying neighborhoods, attracting visitors and giving residents a proud landmark. Headed up by local resident Kelley Daniel, known for the sunflower murals on her garage in Old Hilliard, the Commission has already facilitated new sculptures, murals and other installations. One of the most visible creations is Curtis Goldstein’s new 15-by-35-foot mural on the brick wall of Otie’s Tavern. The stunning mural is like a little history lesson in Hilliard: it depicts a steam locomotive, the local water tower and sunflowers – the official flower of Hilliard. The mural is visible to guests lounging on the patio of Center Street Market and socializing at Hilliard’s Station park, making it a popular landmark of the community.
There are two murals on the Hilliard Hilliard Civic & Cultural Arts building. The first was painted by local artist Mandi Caskey. It’s one of two community murals made possible by Amanda Schaeffer, an art and ecology teacher with Hilliard City Schools. Schaeffer received a grant from the Ohio Arts Council to create Caskey’s mural and another one at the Innovation Learning Center’s Hub with local artist Stephanie Rond. Columbus-based artist Jeremy Jarvis completed the second HCCAC mural on December 30, 2021. The theme of Jarvis’ mural is “gratitude” and depicts three individuals on a stage with the hands of audience members clapping around an ornate border. Jarvis said the mural took over 300 hours to complete over a three-month period.
All aboard! Did you know Downtown Hilliard got its start as a train station on the Piqua and Indiana Railroad?
Its location west of Columbus made it the perfect place to ship agricultural products, supplies and equipment to and from the surrounding farmland. In fact, the city was originally named Hilliard’s Station, and while the trains may not roll through town anymore, it’s still a vibrant and valuable destination.
That history has not been forgotten. Visitors to Downtown Hilliard frequently stroll through Weaver Park to see the recreated Historic Village, complete with the refurbished original train station, a caboose and other railroad-centric landmarks. Stunning public art like Curtis Goldstein’s new mural on Center Street depicts the city’s railroading past. And anyone can walk, run or bike the Heritage Trail, built out of the old railroad right-of-way.
Downtown Hilliard has a plethora of unique and tasty dining options. A simple stroll up and down Main Street shows you enough options to keep you fed for weeks!
One of the city’s long-time favorites, the Starliner Diner, made the move to Old Hilliard in 2016 after its previous location on Cemetery Road was redeveloped. They haven’t broken stride in serving up favorite Cuban and Mexican dishes like chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, Cuban sandwiches, and Creole macaroni.
Downtown Hilliard isn’t short on comfort foods, either. Grab a seat on the patio at Abner’s Casual Dining while you feast on biscuits and gravy, Cowboy burgers, French dip, and country-fried steak. You won’t leave hungry. Likewise, Old Bag of Nails pairs pub favorites (hello, fish and chips!) with pints of beer in a comfy setting, while Local Cantina serves up a load of tacos, quesadillas, and nachos to go with your craft beer and cocktails.
Otie’s Tavern & Grill is a long-running neighborhood favorite for cold beer, wings, burgers, pizzas and above all – good company. Close by, The Station Bar & Venue is the spot to keep up with your favorite teams while savoring good pub grub and drinks.
To keep yourself fueled up for your Old Hilliard explorations, stop by Coffee Connections on Main Street. First begun as a coffee cart, the business has grown to three locations: the original shop, a stall inside Center Street Market, and one across from Ohio State’s campus. The family-owned shop features fresh-roasted coffee, cold brew, espresso, pour overs, smoothies, and other treats.
And there’s always more to come! Main Street is now home to Hilliard Station Baking Company, a family-run bakery focused on cupcakes and other confections. Old Hilliard also has vegetarian and vegan options at the new Off Center Patio & Pub. And soon, Hilliard will also be a destination for bourbon connoisseurs. As of May 19, Legacy Smokehouse is back! Check out the renovated, larger area on the second floor, Rickhouse 41, a bourbon bar.
But what is there to do in Downtown Hilliard? Plenty!
The district is home to fairgrounds, parks, trails, museums and historical sites. The Historic Village at Weaver Park preserves Hilliard’s past for visitors to explore, from the original train station, train cars and other structures. Book a tour with the Hilliard Historical Society to learn about the pioneer days.
The city proudly hosts the annual Franklin County Fair at the Fairgrounds, held every July with loads of live music, animals, side-splitting performances, competitions and games.
First Responders Park is a somber but beautiful spot in Downtown Hilliard. It memorializes the first responders and others who perished on September 11, 2001. Visitors can pay their respects at the reflecting pool, view the names of the fallen carved into the granite walls and admire the steel sculpture crafted from World Trade Center material.
The Early Television Museum is the only museum of its kind, and you’ll find it right in Hilliard! Founder Steve McCoy used to work in television repair, and out of his growing collection of refurbished TVs, he founded the museum. The destination features a fascinating assortment of restored television sets and equipment from pre- and post-WWII, as well as early color TVs, receivers and even rebuilt cathode-ray tubes.
Hilliard’s Station Park sits across from the Center Street Market. On those hot summer days, it’s abuzz with the sounds of families scampering through the water fountains, while on weekend evenings it hosts local bands.
Starting at Station Park, the Heritage Rail Trail is a converted railroad right-of-way that travels northwest out of Old Hilliard toward Plain City. The multi-purpose trail is a relatively flat stretch perfect for walking, running or biking. It takes you past local houses and eventually out into open farmland waving with corn and other staple crops. Along the way, it passes by Homestead Metro Park, with its own set of trails, playgrounds, water features, replica train station, caboose, covered bridge and amphitheater. Further along, you’ll encounter the smaller Heritage Trail Park, a peaceful setting to relax or let your furry friend romp and play in the dog park.
Center Street Market
The most prominent addition to Downtown Hilliard’s dining and communal scene is the new Center Street Market.
The locally owned and operated Center Street Market is open seven days a week with an eclectic group of vendors offering foods, desserts, coffee, and shopping all under one roof. Stop in for a pint at the award-winning Crooked Can Brewing Company, an on-site brewery and taproom anchoring the market with a wide variety of hand-crafted beers, ciders, wine, hand-crafted cocktails, and their own seltzers. Have a pint in the 4,000-square-foot taproom adjacent to a 7,000-square-foot patio. There is even a walk-up window accessible from the courtyard.
The Center Street Market opens daily at 11 a.m. seven days a week!
Put some pep in your morning step with a visit to Coffee Connections’ second Old Hilliard location, and don’t forget a scoop of ice cream or milkshake.
Al’s Delicious Popcorn is the perfect gift or mid-day snack.
Meatball Mafia – a long-time local favorite food truck – serves up meatball subs and bowls, delicious pizzas plus its special take on Grilled Cheese at its first storefront in the market.
Hot Mess Food Truck offers classic American fare including burgers, loaded mac and cheese and a variety of other options only found at this brick and mortar location including french fries, loaded fries, chicken tenders, and even salad for those craving a lighter meal. Diners can expect fun and plentiful specials!
Find out why Dumplings of Fury is a Seattle favorite, serving up hand-made dumplings, noodles, bao (steamed buns), rice bowls, and more.
Experience traditional Texas barbecue at Two Step Tacos, local favorite Legacy Smokehouse’s newest endeavor. Think tender smoked meats and heavy sides.
Grab the perfect portable meal in the form of a sandwich from Pitabilities. Fresh Greek-inspired toppings pack a flavorful punch.
Looking for the most beautiful and delicious cookies and other baked goods in Ohio? Look no further. Bakes by Lo is a delight to see and taste right in Old Hilliard.
The Cheesecake Girl will have you swooning – cheesecakes, cheesecake shooters, cheesecake cookies, and cheesecake push-ups – oh my!
Al’s Delicious Popcorn is family-owned/operated and was founded in 1985. Their dedication has paid off and today they offer popcorn lovers over 65 varieties of delectable gourmet popcorn!
Get in the spirit of summer with one of many delicious flavors of ice pops at Rime Time Curiously Crafted Pops. Peanut Butter & Jelly Popsicle, anyone?
Enjoy dinner, shopping, entertainment, and even a few adult beverages at the Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area (DORA) in Downtown Hilliard. DORA runs daily from noon to 9 p.m. Last call for alcohol is 8:30 p.m.
Enjoy Old Hilliard with a beverage in hand! Participating restaurants and bars will serve alcoholic beverages in specific cups.
Click here for details about DORA!
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