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$20 Dates: Uptown Westerville - coffee, a vintage pop-up, and an eggsellent vending machine

T&C writer Abby Vitali shows how to have a good time on a budget

Dating is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be in Uptown Westerville. If you’re lucky to be in love this semester, you might find yourself in a bind trying to figure out how to have meaningful dates with your significant other without breaking the bank. And, if you’re enjoying singlehood, you may be looking to break out of the routine ice cream or movie outings with your friends. I took my best friend, Matthew, out on the town to see what’s happening in Uptown on a Saturday morning, and we were pleasantly surprised at what we found: a vintage pop-up market, a coffee truck, and a rather odd vending machine.

The first stop on our Uptown excursion was the Pop-Up Pickers Club. Conveniently located on the lawn of Towers, this market featured many vendors selling vintage, handmade, and eclectic finds. Matthew found a vintage sweatshirt for $10, and I debated on whether or not to purchase a sparkly flapper dress. With a friendly and urban atmosphere, you are sure to find just about anything from old video games to antique picture frames. Prices vary depending on the product being sold, but when push comes to shove, window shopping is always free. To find more information about the locations and times for the market, check out the Pop-Up Pickers Club’s Instagram: @popuppickersclub.

The second stop on our excursion was just a two-minute walk away from the Pop-Up Pickers Club: the Westerville Farmer’s Market, located behind City Hall. At this point I needed a caffeine pick-me-up, so I was delighted to find the most unique coffee vendor I have ever seen: Drank Tank. Drank Tank is a craft-brew coffee vendor that serves its beverages from a vintage Cushman Truckster. A sign for the Buckeye Nitro Cold Brew piqued my interest, so I decided to try this peanut butter and chocolate concoction. With the creaminess from the nitro infusion, this cold brew’s flavor and body justified the $7.20 price tag. Besides Drank Tank, many other vendors and live music can be found at the Westerville Farmers Market, which operates on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. until October 8th.

Finally, for our last stop on our Uptown adventure, Matthew and I wandered into Cinda Lou. As we were perusing the store, I found the Prize Eggs machine. I had seen this machine during my previous visits to the store, but I had never attempted to use it out of fear of losing my quarter with no return on investment. Throwing my doubts aside, I inserted a quarter to see this canary-yellow machine do its work. In return, the machine laid an egg for me. 

Yes, you read that right. After inserting the quarter, the mechanical chicken inside the machine spun around, clucked, and “laid” the egg for me, after which it rolled down to the bottom of the machine. Each colorful plastic egg has a surprise in it. I got a purple rubber duck—need I say more about how amazing this machine is? Find it towards the back of the store by the record section.

For $17.45, Matthew and I spent three hours meandering in markets and State Street shops while picking up a cozy sweatshirt and a purple rubber duck along the way. While our Uptown adventure cost less than $20 to execute, it was a priceless experience with my best friend. So, if you’re looking for something new to do with your friends or a significant other, look no further than down the street in Uptown Westerville.

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