The Best Ohio Attractions – Things To Do
Ohio or more commonly known as the “Buckeye” state, is home to a wide range of activities and attractions to explore. Cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati go beyond just the usual cultural and shopping spots and offer hidden gems both in and outside the city limits such as amusement parks, zoos, hot springs, and more. There’s a whole other world in Ohio waiting to be discovered by you.
Best Ohio Attractions and Activities
Things To Do in Ohio by City
Head over to the state’s beloved treasures in the form of national and state parks, or try your luck ice fishing on a lake in winter because there’s no end to the activities you can pursue here. Don’t wait for a particular season to hit before you decide to visit because fun and interesting experiences are almost always ample. Here’s a brief guide to help you explore the top attractions in Ohio.
Cedar Point Amusement Park
This popular summer spot is also one of the most sought-after locations in the state. With over seventeen world-class roller coasters, live entertainment, and a bunch of stuff for kids to pursue, the Cedar Point Amusement Park is exactly where you’ll find the perfect blend of thrill and relaxation. This isn’t it. The park also features shallow pools for kids, a wave pool, and a six-story water slide for the adventure seeker in you. Looking for a decent accommodation spot? You won’t just be at the mercy of cabins and camps here since the nearby hotels offer a variety of rooms and suites.
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
After accumulating top ratings in various publications, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium stands as one of the best zoos in the nation. It is home to over 10,000 animals from various regions across the world. However, unlike the rest of the country’s zoos, this one doesn’t just end here. It also hosts special educational programs and stage performances throughout the year.
However, the highlight of the year is nonetheless “Wildlights,” which often takes place during the winter season. With over three million lights across the vicinity, it’s a breathtaking sight. What a fun way to kick-start your winter holidays! Again, the animals and lights aren’t the sole reasons behind its status as one of the most popular attractions in Ohio. The Zoombezi Bay Water Park right next to it ensures that you have a valuable add-on to look forward to at the end of your zoo visit.
Cincinnati Museum Center
As one of the premier attractions in Cincinnati, this museum features a range of educational, historical, and scientific artifacts to fulfill the historian in you. As a visitor, you can start by exploring the Museum of Natural History and Science, the Cincinnati History Library and Archives, and of course, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, followed by the Cincinnati History Museum. Make sure to spare a day or two to cover the spots fully, and don’t forget to check out the Art Deco train station building from the 1930s.
Toledo Museum of Art
This outstanding museum was first inaugurated almost a century ago. Over the years, not only has it amassed a valuable collection of Egyptian and Roman pieces but also of European and American paintings. However, nothing beats its exceptional glass collection that always leaves the visitors enthralled. Spread over six buildings and an area of 32 acres, the museum gives off grand Greek vibes. Opened just over 15 years ago, the Glass Pavilion has mind-blowing galleries and studios with distinctive postmodern structures and many walls made entirely of glass.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Train Ride
As the name has already given it away, hopping on this scenic train ride is every train enthusiast’s dream. This beautiful route begins from the Rockside Station and goes on until the Northside Station in Akron. Throughout the way, visitors will find various opportunities to spot wildlife, including eagles and deers. If comfort is your first priority, there’s always the option of upgrading to the upper dome car or executive class car instead of settling down for regular seats.
However, the highlight of the ride is nonetheless the evening dinner, where guests are served a four-course meal in an exquisite domed dining room (car). If you’re wondering what the right season to witness the true beauty of the Cuyahoga Valley is, it’s definitely “fall.” The falling leaves turn into a riot of reds, yellows, and oranges. Furthermore, if you wish to take the activity up a notch, make sure to ride one way with your bike and return from your selected stop along the Towpath Trail to the beginning. It is certainly one of the best things to do in Ohio.
Hocking Hills State Park
Located near Logan, this breathtaking state park is truly a haven for the outdoor enthusiast in you. From popular features such as the Old Man’s Cave to the most visited spots such as Ash Cave, the park is beautifully designed to cater to visitors of all ages. Furthermore, there are a number of camping facilities, cottages, and hiking trails to help you level up the experience. After all, who can say no to soul-fulfilling activities such as winter hikes and bird watching?
Rock n Roll Hall of Fame
Speaking of things to do in Ohio, how can we not mention the pilgrimage site for music enthusiasts? This hall of fame, located on Cleveland’s waterfront, lets you take an insight into the history of music, particularly from the rock and roll genre. You can find the best musicians from different time periods, thanks to the clean decade-by-decade breakdown designed by the architects.
Did you know that the same facility also curated an exhibition this year of the “Beatles” docuseries “Get Back”? From the studio sessions to their 1969 rehearsals, the exhibition allowed visitors to get a sneak peek into the world’s greatest bands’ iconic moments together. Unless you’re willing to miss out on the most phenomenal music-related events of the year, you shouldn’t miss out on this visit.
West Side Market
The West Side Market is one of the oldest markets you can find in Ohio City, Cleveland. Carrying its influences from European times, it features more than 100 shopkeepers from several different corners of the world. Inside the market, you can find world-class Mexican flatbreads, Hungarian sausages, fresh vegetables, fruits, and much more. Make sure to read up on its opening days before heading out, as the market often doesn’t operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays.
The German Village
This historic German neighborhood was first discovered in the 19th century, and even today, it qualifies as one of the best attractions in Ohio. What makes it such a charming site to visit after all? While the name has already made its German roots apparent, it is also known for its large, all-brick structures and Italianate architecture. Restored in the 19th century, it went on to become a tourist spot for various reasons. For one, the vicinity offers self-guided tours and tourist maps to help visitors cover as many attractions as possible.
“A Christmas Story” House
While this isn’t something you can see under the lens of history, it does hold a special place in the hearts of movie buffs. Hence, if you’re someone who has grown up watching “A Christmas Story,” let us tell you a secret. This is where a huge chunk of the 1983 movie was shot, and today, it has been restored to its movie splendor completely. The best part about visiting the house is that it’s open all year round for public tours. Furthermore, it also features a number of character costumes and original props along with rare behind-the-scenes pictures. From the gift shop inside the same vicinity, you can also purchase your personal Leg Lamp and, of course, other memorabilia items from the movie. No wonder it holds a special spot in the list of Cleveland attractions.
The World’s Largest Geode
Even though this list of attractions in Ohio is majorly focused on common tourist locations, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t feature a bunch of unique places to visit. And so, this geode is one of them. Did you know that it was discovered accidentally? Ever since then, it’s been regarded as one of the most beautiful roadside attractions in Put-in-Bay. Hence, if you plan to visit this gorgeous village in Ohio, make sure to pass by 978 Catawba Avenue, where it’s located.
Looking for an economical getaway from your chaotic urban life? This is where you’ll find your much-needed retreat in Ohio. Take a long drive through the Amish Country and watch the farmers working in the lush-green fields along with buggies on the roads. You can also get a taste of this small yet majestic spot by stopping off to buy local produce, ice cream, candy, cheese, and much more. Even though there are a number of routes to introduce yourself to the area, the best one by far is the Amish Country Byway.
This 160-mile roadway system will bless your eyes with views of rustic homes and charming vibes. Make sure to have a few days to spare so you can also check out some other attractions such as the Victorian House Museum, Walnut Creek Cheese, and Yoder’s Bargain Store, where you’ll find a range of goods from kitchenware to even religious figurines.
Jungle Jim’s International Market
If you haven’t been to this massive facility yet, then you’ve surely missed out on one of the best attractions in Ohio. This large market in Fairfield puts more than 150,000 items on sale every year. Not only this, it is the perfect resort for a souvenir-seeker who can find everything from boutiques and gift shops to food demonstrations and restaurants. Furthermore, you can also scroll through the market to look for an extensive selection of beers and wines, along with food items from around the world. If you plan to visit with your family, don’t forget to look into the schedule for family-friendly events such as festivals, food tours, and cooking classes to celebrate the region’s wonderful cuisine.
This mystical castle was built to pay homage to the knights who played a significant role in reviving society’s morality during the Middle Ages. Inside this awe-inspiring structure are the stunning sights of medieval weaponry, whereas outside, you can explore the gorgeous gardens and paths. However, the highlight of this regal castle is that it hosts several events throughout the year, especially the ones related to paranormal investigations. So, if you’re tired of exploring the mainstream Ohio spots, it may be time to deviate from the path and visit the Loveland Castle.
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The fact that the vicinity is open year-round makes it one of the most visited attractions in Columbus, and for a good reason. Not only does it consist of indoor and outdoor plant exhibits, but it also features unique flowers from different corners of the world. Furthermore, the historic Palm House has over 40 species of palm from across the globe, which is precisely why it’s a popular venue for weddings.
If you’re in love with rollercoasters, we can bet you’ve already heard about the “Cedar Point.” In fact, it’s often a big part of why people from across the nation visit Ohio in the first place. As one of the most famous amusement parks in America, it offers unforgettable thrills in every moment of your time spent there. Inaugurated in 1870, this Sandusky attraction has a range of impressive rides such as Power Tower, Raptor, and many more. Ready to scream and raise your arms in the air? Visiting this park may just be the highlight of your entire Ohio visit. Let your adult concerns aside and relive your childhood one more time!
Your trip to Cincinnati is incomplete without at least one visit to the Fountain Square? It is by far one of the premium locations to congregate in entire Ohio. It’s not only a wonderful spot for outdoor activities but is also quite picturesque for the photographer in you. After acquiring its name from the Tyler Davidson Fountain, it went on to become a popular tourist spot due to its 43-feet height and excellent statue work.
Don’t be taken aback by the assumption that there isn’t much to do here because that certainly isn’t the case. You’ll see people from all walks of life engaging in various activities, from simply taking a stroll to enjoying lunch in nearby restaurants. You can also ice skate in winter and enjoy free concerts from time to time. If the stated reasons don’t make it one of the most popular attractions in Ohio, nothing else can.
National Museum of the US Air Force
Have you ever wondered how the creation of manned flight proved to be a milestone for both transportation and military opportunities? The answer to this question can be found at the National Museum of the US Air Force, where you can stumble upon various attractions linked to this crucial military branch.
If you’re particularly fond of aviation history, then this is also where you’ll find the famous JFK Boeing 727 and B-29. After all, there’s no better way to end your trip than by learning a thing or two about the rich American history. Opened in 1923, the museum continues to wow visitors even today.
In the end, Ohio is exactly what you make out of it. It can either be one of the best experiences of your life or just a passerby on the list of places you’re yet to discover. However, one thing is for sure. This place is an authentic summation of what the country is all about. From urban to rural heritage, the state is home to the nation’s rich history and traditions. It doesn’t matter where you are. Whether it’s Cincinnati, Cleveland, or Columbus, being in Ohio always turns out to be quite an experience.
When learning about the best attractions in Ohio, you may come across both mainstream and unique suggestions. For instance, the Cedar Point amusement park is a renowned spot nationwide, but the geode in Put-In-Bay isn’t. Hence, at the end of the day, you must find the right balance between adventure and relaxation. Find out the peak seasons to travel to these places and create your itinerary accordingly. On the other hand, if you aren’t a fan of crowds and congested spaces, then you may as well want to wait it out and travel during the off-season while saving some valuable bucks. In conclusion, the state of Ohio is filled with wonderful tourist destinations, religious sites, and of course, historical artifacts, which is why you must come here for longer than a mere weekend getaway!