Ohio, known as the Buckeye State, is a captivating destination in the heart of the American Midwest, offering a delightful fusion of history, culture, and natural beauty.
From bustling cities to charming small towns and serene countryside landscapes, Ohio presents a diverse array of experiences that cater to travelers of all ages and interests.
Whether you’re seeking thrilling outdoor adventures, immersive historical experiences, or vibrant arts and entertainment, this remarkable state has something for everyone.
In this article, we’ll explore the best and most fun things to do in Ohio, showcasing an exciting mix of iconic landmarks, hidden gems, and unforgettable experiences.
As a traveler, I’ll guide you through a curated selection of top attractions, ensuring that you make the most of your visit to this enchanting Midwestern paradise.
So, buckle up and join me as we embark on a journey through the captivating wonders and exhilarating activities that Ohio has to offer.
- 1 33 Best & Fun Things To Do In Ohio
- 1.1 1. Cedar Point
- 1.2 2. Hocking Hills State Park
- 1.3 3. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
- 1.4 4. National Museum of the United States Air Force
- 1.5 5. Cleveland Museum of Art
- 1.6 6. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
- 1.7 7. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- 1.8 8. COSI (Center of Science and Industry)
- 1.9 9. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
- 1.10 10. Great Lakes Science Center
- 1.11 11. Kings Island
- 1.12 12. Toledo Zoo & Aquarium
- 1.13 13. Pro Football Hall of Fame
- 1.14 14. A Christmas Story House & Museum
- 1.15 15. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
- 1.16 16. The Cleveland Orchestra
- 1.17 17. The Ohio Statehouse
- 1.18 18. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
- 1.19 19. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
- 1.20 20. West Side Market
- 1.21 21. The Cleveland Botanical Garden
- 1.22 22. The Wilds
- 1.23 23. The Dayton Art Institute
- 1.24 24. Ohio Caverns
- 1.25 25. Cincinnati Museum Center
- 1.26 26. Lake Erie Islands
- 1.27 27. Amish Country
- 1.28 28. Akron Zoo
- 1.29 29. Scioto Mile
- 1.30 30. Columbus Museum of Art
- 1.31 31. National Veterans Memorial and Museum
- 1.32 32. The Holden Arboretum
- 1.33 33. The Cincinnati Art Museum
- 2 Conclusion
33 Best & Fun Things To Do In Ohio
Ohio offers diverse activities and attractions, from natural wonders and amusement parks to historical sites and cultural institutions. Here are 33 fun things to do in Ohio:
1. Cedar Point
Cedar Point, known as the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World,” is a 364-acre amusement park located in Sandusky, Ohio.
With over 70 thrilling rides, including 17 roller coasters, Cedar Point has become a must-visit destination for adrenaline junkies and families alike.
The park’s diverse array of coasters offers something for everyone, from the record-breaking Top Thrill Dragster, which reaches speeds of 120 mph and heights of 420 feet, to family-friendly coasters like the Iron Dragon.
Cedar Point is not just about roller coasters, though. The park also features an assortment of flat rides, water rides, and live entertainment options that cater to visitors of all ages.
The mile-long Cedar Point Beach, situated along the shores of Lake Erie, is a great spot to relax and enjoy water activities such as swimming, paddleboarding, and parasailing.
The park also offers a wide variety of food options, ranging from classic amusement park fare like funnel cakes and cotton candy to full-service dining experiences at restaurants like Bay Harbor.
For those looking to extend their stay, Cedar Point offers multiple accommodation options, including the historic Hotel Breakers and Lighthouse Point cabins and RV sites.
Seasonal events at Cedar Point include the popular Halloween-themed Halloweekends, featuring haunted houses, scare zones, and other spooky attractions.
For younger visitors, the park offers Planet Snoopy, a Peanuts-themed area with rides and attractions geared towards children.
2. Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park is a natural wonder in the southeast of Ohio. It spans over 2,300 acres and features breathtaking landscapes such as dense forests, rocky cliffs, and flowing waterfalls.
The park is renowned for its unique geological formations and diverse plant and animal life, making it a haven for nature lovers, photographers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
Visitors can explore the park’s six major areas, including Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, Cantwell Cliffs, Rock House, and Conkle’s Hollow.
Each area offers its own distinct beauty and geological features, from the impressive recess cave at Old Man’s Cave to the towering hemlock-lined gorge at Conkle’s Hollow.
Hocking Hills State Park boasts over 25 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to challenging treks.
The park’s most popular trail, the six-mile Grandma Gatewood Trail, connects Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, and Ash Cave, offering stunning views of the park’s most notable landmarks.
For those seeking more adventurous pursuits, the park also offers opportunities for rock climbing, rappelling, and zipline tours.
Wildlife enthusiasts can spot various species of birds, mammals, and reptiles, while fishing enthusiasts can try their luck at the park’s Rose Lake.
The park also offers picnic areas, playgrounds, and a nature center, providing visitors educational programming and guided hikes.
For those wishing to extend their stay, Hocking Hills State Park features a variety of lodging options, including campgrounds, cabins, and a modern lodge with a restaurant, swimming pool, and other amenities.
The park is open year-round, offering unique seasonal experiences such as stunning fall foliage, winter hikes amidst snow-covered landscapes, and blooming wildflowers in the spring.
3. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, striking glass pyramid structure houses an extensive collection of exhibits, artifacts, and interactive experiences that pay tribute to the legends and pioneers of rock and roll.
From its origins in blues, gospel, and R&B to its global influence on contemporary music, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tells the story of rock music through a series of engaging and immersive exhibits.
The museum’s permanent collection features iconic instruments, stage outfits, handwritten lyrics, and other memorabilia from legendary artists such as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and more.
The museum hosts temporary exhibitions exploring various aspects of rock music, from specific genres and themes to in-depth retrospectives of influential artists.
Interactive experiences allow visitors to learn about the recording process, listen to iconic songs, and even try their hand at playing instruments.
Each year, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducts a new class of artists, songwriters, producers, and other industry figures who have made significant contributions to the world of rock music.
Induction ceremonies, which often feature memorable performances and collaborations, are held at the museum or other locations and are later broadcast to the public.
4. National Museum of the United States Air Force
Spread across three massive hangars and an outdoor display area, the National Museum of the United States Air Force collection features over 360 aircraft and missiles, ranging from early aviation milestones such as the Wright brothers’ 1909 Military Flyer to cutting-edge stealth aircraft like the B-2 Spirit bomber.
Visitors can explore the museum’s numerous galleries, each focused on a specific era or theme in Air Force history, including World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War.
Notable aircraft on display include the iconic B-17 Flying Fortress, the legendary SR-71 Blackbird, and the awe-inspiring B-52 Stratofortress.
The museum also showcases an impressive collection of presidential aircraft, including the Boeing VC-137C, which served as Air Force One for several U.S. presidents, including John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon.
In addition to its vast collection of aircraft, the National Museum of the United States Air Force offers a variety of interactive exhibits, simulators, and immersive experiences that engage and educate visitors about the science, technology, and history of aviation.
The museum’s Space Shuttle Exhibit, featuring the NASA Space Shuttle Trainer Crew Compartment, offers a unique glimpse into the nation’s space program and the role of the Air Force in space exploration.
5. Cleveland Museum of Art
Founded in 1913, the Cleveland Museum of Art is one of the most prestigious and comprehensive art museums in the United States.
Located in the vibrant University Circle neighborhood, the museum houses a vast collection of more than 61,000 works spanning 6,000 years of artistic achievement from around the world.
The museum’s collection includes masterpieces from a diverse range of cultures and time periods, including European, American, Asian, African, and pre-Columbian art.
Visitors can admire works by renowned artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as impressive collections of ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman artifacts.
One of the museum’s most famous works is “The Night Watch” by Rembrandt van Rijn, a stunning example of the Dutch master’s skill and artistry.
The museum also features the Armor Court, a unique space showcasing an extensive collection of medieval European arms and armor, including suits of armor, swords, and other weaponry.
The Cleveland Museum of Art is not just a repository of historical art; it also actively engages with contemporary art and artists, hosting temporary exhibitions, installations, and performances that showcase the latest trends and ideas in the art world.
The museum’s Ingalls Library, one of the largest art libraries in the country, serves as a vital resource for scholars, researchers, and art enthusiasts.
6. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
Established in 1875, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is the second-oldest zoo in the United States and a beloved destination for families and animal lovers alike.
Spread across 75 acres, the zoo is home to more than 500 species of animals and 3,000 species of plants, making it one of the most diverse and comprehensive zoos in the country.
The Cincinnati Zoo is renowned for its successful breeding programs and conservation efforts, particularly for endangered species such as the Sumatran rhinoceros, western lowland gorilla, and Malayan tiger.
Visitors can encounter a variety of animals, from African elephants and giraffes to polar bears and penguins, in meticulously designed habitats that mimic their natural environments.
One of the zoo’s most popular attractions is the Hippo Cove, which features an underwater viewing area that allows guests to observe these massive creatures up close.
The zoo is also home to Fiona, the famous Nile hippopotamus born prematurely in 2017, who captured the hearts of millions with her inspiring story of survival and growth.
In addition to its animal exhibits, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden showcases an impressive collection of flora from around the world.
The botanical garden features a range of themed areas, including the Butterfly Garden, Japanese Garden, and Native Forest, offering visitors a tranquil and picturesque retreat from the bustling city.
7. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, situated between Cleveland and Akron, is a beautiful 33,000-acre natural oasis that offers a welcome retreat from urban life.
The park’s diverse landscape includes dense forests, rolling hills, wetlands, and the winding Cuyahoga River, providing a haven for a variety of flora and fauna.
One of the park’s most iconic attractions is the picturesque Brandywine Falls, a 65-foot waterfall that cascades over layers of sandstone and shale.
Visitors can also explore the park’s many historic sites, such as the preserved village of Peninsula, the Boston Store Visitor Center, and the Everett Covered Bridge, the only remaining covered bridge in the park.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy more than 125 miles of hiking trails that cater to all levels of difficulty, from the leisurely Towpath Trail, which follows the historic Ohio & Erie Canal, to the challenging Ledges Trail, which offers stunning views of the park’s unique rock formations.
The park also offers opportunities for bicycling, horseback riding, fishing, and bird watching, as well as winter sports like cross-country skiing and sledding.
A unique feature of Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, which offers visitors a chance to experience the park’s beauty from the comfort of a vintage train. The railroad offers various excursions, including themed rides and special events, throughout the year.
8. COSI (Center of Science and Industry)
Located in Columbus, the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) is a state-of-the-art science museum and research center that offers engaging, hands-on experiences for visitors of all ages.
Founded in 1964, COSI has since become a leading institution for science education and outreach, attracting over 30 million visitors in its history.
COSI’s interactive exhibits cover a wide range of scientific topics, from space exploration and oceanography to energy and technology.
The museum’s signature exhibit, the Progress exhibit, transports visitors through time, exploring the changes in science, technology, and daily life from 1898 to the present.
Other popular exhibits include the Gadgets exhibit, which encourages visitors to experiment with various machines and devices, and the Life exhibit, which explores the science of human biology and health.
For younger visitors, COSI offers the Little Kidspace, a dedicated area designed for children aged 0-7, featuring interactive play areas, educational exhibits, and activities that encourage exploration and discovery.
The museum also features a state-of-the-art planetarium and a giant-screen movie theater that showcase immersive films and presentations on various scientific topics.
COSI is committed to fostering a lifelong love of learning and curiosity for science, offering a wide range of educational programs, workshops, camps, and outreach initiatives for students, educators, and the community.
The museum also hosts special events, lectures, and temporary exhibitions throughout the year, ensuring that there is always something new and exciting to explore.
9. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a beautiful and tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The conservatory is situated on 90 acres of land in Columbus, Ohio, and contains a variety of indoor and outdoor gardens, art galleries, and educational exhibits.
The conservatory was established in 1895 and was originally designed as a space for showcasing exotic plants and flowers. It is a stunning attraction for visitors to Columbus, offering a wealth of knowledge and experiences.
The space is divided into several distinct gardens, each with its unique theme. The Himalayan Mountain Biome is home to a collection of plants from the Himalayan region, including rhododendrons, magnolias, and bamboo.
The Rainforest Biome simulates the lush environment of the tropical rainforests, complete with a waterfall and a stream. The Desert Biome showcases plants from arid regions, including cacti and succulents.
The Palm House is a historical building that was originally constructed in the early 1900s and is now home to some of the most impressive palm trees in the conservatory.
10. Great Lakes Science Center
The Great Lakes Science Center is a museum located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, that is focused on all things science.
The museum boasts a vast collection of interactive exhibits that aim to spark curiosity and interest in science among visitors of all ages.
With over 400 exhibits, visitors can explore various fields of science, including astronomy, biology, chemistry, and physics. The Great Lakes Science Center opened its doors in 1996 and has since become one of the most popular destinations in Ohio.
One of the best things to do in Ohio is to visit the Great Lakes Science Center. The museum offers a unique and exciting way to learn about science through interactive exhibits that cater to all ages.
The exhibits are designed to be hands-on, which means visitors can touch, feel, and operate them to better understand scientific concepts.
The museum’s exhibits include a space exhibit that explores the universe and its mysteries, a biomedtech exhibit that showcases advancements in the field of medicine, an electricity exhibit, and a biomimicry exhibit that looks at how nature inspires technology.
The Great Lakes Science Center’s most popular exhibit is the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, which features the engines used in space launches and provides an in-depth look at space travel.
11. Kings Island
Kings Island is a popular amusement park located in Mason, Ohio. It is one of the largest theme parks in the Midwest and attracts millions of visitors every year.
The park first opened in 1972 and has since become a must-visit destination for families and thrill-seekers alike.
As I explore the best things to do in Ohio, Kings Island ranks high on the list of attractions. With over 100 rides, shows, and attractions, there are endless possibilities for fun and excitement at the park.
From roller coasters and water rides to live entertainment and kid-friendly attractions, there is truly something for everyone at Kings Island.
One of the most notable features of Kings Island is its collection of record-breaking roller coasters.
The park is home to some of the tallest and fastest coasters in the world, including the Beast, which was once the longest wooden coaster in the world, and the Diamondback, which boasts a thrilling 230-foot drop.
Thrill-seekers can also experience the adrenaline rush of the Banshee, the world’s longest inverted coaster, or the Flight of Fear, a high-speed indoor coaster with multiple inversions.
However, Kings Island is not just for thrill-seekers. There are plenty of attractions for families and young children as well.
The park’s Planet Snoopy area features a variety of kid-friendly rides and attractions, including the Peanuts 500 raceway, the Woodstock Express coaster, and the Snoopy vs. Red Baron airplane ride.
Families can also cool off on the park’s water rides, such as the popular Congo Falls and the iconic White Water Canyon.
12. Toledo Zoo & Aquarium
The Toledo Zoo & Aquarium is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ohio. The zoo is situated in Toledo, a beautiful city located in the north-western part of the state.
It is a 150-acre zoo that features over 10,000 animals, representing more than 720 species, from all over the world.
The Zoo is one of the best places to visit in Ohio due to the unique experience they offer. It has been rated as one of the best zoos in the country and is known as the zoo for a reason.
The zoo is designed in such a way that creates an immersive experience for visitors to get a closer look at the animals.
It features an extensive collection of wildlife, housing some of the most exotic animals, from lions, tigers, cheetahs, gorillas, and monkeys to penguins, otters, and reptiles.
The Toledo Zoo & Aquarium offers a remarkable educational experience for both children and adults, as there are plenty of opportunities to learn and interact with the animals.
One of the standout features of the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium is the aquarium exhibits. The aquarium is home to some of the most diverse aquatic life, and visitors get to see a variety of marine creatures up close.
The aquarium houses almost 3,000 aquatic animals, representing 300 different species. It features displays of a range of underwater habitats, from coral reefs to rocky cliffs, deep water trenches to wetlands and many more, providing a rich variety of marine life.
13. Pro Football Hall of Fame
As a traveler, I highly recommend visiting the Pro Football Hall of Fame, located in Canton, Ohio.
This iconic museum is dedicated to celebrating the rich history and incredible achievements of professional American football.
Spread over a sprawling 118,000 square feet, the Pro Football Hall of Fame offers an unforgettable experience for football enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.
The museum houses a vast collection of artifacts, including jerseys, helmets, and other memorabilia from some of the sport’s most iconic figures.
The Hall of Fame Gallery showcases life-sized bronze busts of over 300 football legends, each inductee immortalized for their significant contributions to the game. The interactive “Madden NFL: Football for Life” exhibit allows visitors to test their skills in a virtual reality football game.
One of the must-see attractions within the Pro Football Hall of Fame is the Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery, which highlights the history of the Super Bowl through various interactive displays and exhibits.
You’ll also have a chance to view all 55 Super Bowl rings and learn about the stories behind each championship.
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Hall of Fame’s archives, where you can delve into the rich history of the NFL, including the origins of the game, the formation of the league, and the evolution of the sport.
Finish your visit with a stop at the museum store, where you can purchase a unique souvenir to remember your experience.
14. A Christmas Story House & Museum
Located in Cleveland, Ohio, A Christmas Story House & Museum is a must-visit attraction for fans of the classic 1983 holiday film.
This unique site allows visitors to step into the world of Ralphie Parker and his family, experiencing firsthand the magic of the beloved movie.
The actual house used in the film has been meticulously restored to its original appearance, complete with vintage furnishings and decorations.
As you tour the house, you’ll be transported back in time, reliving iconic scenes such as Ralphie’s longing for the Red Ryder BB Gun and the infamous leg lamp.
The museum, located across the street from the house, features a wealth of memorabilia and artifacts from the film, including original props, costumes, and behind-the-scenes photos.
The knowledgeable staff and tour guides are always eager to share fascinating trivia and stories about the making of the movie.
Before leaving, be sure to stop by the gift shop, where you can find a wide range of souvenirs, including replica leg lamps, ornaments, and clothing.
A Christmas Story House & Museum is truly a nostalgic and heartwarming experience that is sure to make your trip to Ohio unforgettable.
15. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Situated in Powell, Ohio, just outside of Columbus, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is widely regarded as one of the best zoos in the United States.
With over 10,000 animals representing more than 600 species, the zoo offers an unparalleled opportunity to encounter wildlife from around the world.
The Columbus Zoo is divided into several themed regions, including Asia Quest, Congo Expedition, Heart of Africa, and North America, each showcasing native species in meticulously designed habitats.
Notable exhibits include the Polar Frontier, where visitors can observe polar bears and arctic foxes, and the Gorilla Conservation Research Center, home to a family of western lowland gorillas.
The adjacent 100,000-square-foot aquarium offers a window into the underwater world, featuring a diverse array of marine life such as manatees, penguins, and stingrays.
The zoo offers a range of educational programs and special events, including animal encounters, keeper talks, and seasonal festivals.
A trip to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is not only a thrilling adventure but also an opportunity to learn about conservation efforts and the importance of protecting our planet’s fragile ecosystems. It’s the perfect destination for families and animal lovers alike.
16. The Cleveland Orchestra
The Cleveland Orchestra is a world-renowned classical music ensemble that has been performing for more than a century.
Founded in 1918, the orchestra has earned a reputation as one of the best in the world, with a roster of acclaimed musicians and a rich history of premieres, tours, and recorded performances.
Today, The Cleveland Orchestra continues to delight audiences with its impeccable artistry, innovative programming, and commitment to excellence.
If you’re visiting Ohio and looking for a cultural experience, attending a Cleveland Orchestra performance should be at the top of your list.
The orchestra performs regularly at its home base, Severance Hall, a stunning concert venue located in the heart of Cleveland.
The hall’s striking Art Deco design and superior acoustics make it an ideal setting for orchestral performances of all kinds, from Beethoven symphonies to contemporary compositions.
Beyond its regular concert season, The Cleveland Orchestra is also known for its summer festivals.
The orchestra’s annual Blossom Music Festival takes place at the scenic Blossom Music Center, located just outside of Cleveland in Cuyahoga Falls.
The outdoor venue offers a unique experience, allowing audiences to enjoy world-class music under a starry sky.
17. The Ohio Statehouse
The Ohio Statehouse is a must-visit attraction for anyone looking to explore the rich history and culture of Ohio.
Located in the heart of Columbus, the Statehouse is a magnificent building that houses the state government and also serves as a beacon for visitors who seek to learn more about Ohio’s past.
Built in 1837, the Ohio Statehouse is a soaring example of Greek Revival architecture. With its imposing columns and massive dome, the building is an impressive showcase of the skill and ingenuity of the architects and builders who constructed it.
Visitors are greeted by a stunning rotunda, which serves as the focal point of the building. The rotunda is adorned with intricate murals and artwork that reflect Ohio’s history and its people.
One of the best things to do at the Ohio Statehouse is to take a guided tour. Led by knowledgeable guides, these tours offer visitors an in-depth look at the history and architecture of the building.
Visitors can learn about the Statehouse’s construction and its many renovations over the years. They can also hear stories of the many influential Ohioans who have worked here over the years.
For those interested in Ohio’s political history, a visit to the Ohio Statehouse is a must. The building is home to both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and visitors can sit in on legislative sessions to see democracy in action.
18. Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is a must-see attraction when visiting Ohio. As the former estate of the Seiberling family, founders of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Stan Hywet Hall is a 65-room Tudor Revival Manor House set on 70 acres of beautiful gardens and landscape.
A tour of the Manor House gives visitors a glimpse into the luxurious lives of wealthy industrialists in the early 1900s.
The Seiberling family spared no expense in decorating their home, importing marble from Italy, wood from England and tapestries from France.
The Great Hall is particularly stunning with its 40-foot high hammerbeam ceilings, stained glass windows and grand fireplace.
Outside, the gardens are a horticultural delight and in full bloom during the summer months.
The colorful themed gardens include an English Garden, Japanese Garden and Italian Garden. The Great Meadow provides space to relax or have a picnic.
Special events are also held throughout the year including their popular Christmas celebrations with candlelit tours of the Manor House.
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is a National Historic Landmark and one of the finest country estates open to the public in the United States.
19. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is one of the top attractions in Ohio for anyone interested in learning more about the history of slavery and the Underground Railroad in the United States.
The museum is located on the banks of the Ohio River, situated between the free state of Ohio and the slave state of Kentucky. This location is historically significant, as many enslaved people crossed the river at this very spot on their journey to freedom.
The museum’s architecture and design are breathtaking, with sweeping glass windows and an open, airy feel.
The exhibits are world-class, using artifacts, videos, photos, and interactive displays to bring the history to life.
Some of the most powerful exhibits show the cramped spaces where enslaved people hid while escaping, as well as a replica of a slave pen from Kentucky where people were imprisoned before being sold.
In addition to learning about the Underground Railroad, the museum addresses the broader historical context of slavery and racism in America.
There are exhibits on modern human rights struggles as well as inspiring stories of key abolitionists and freedom fighters like Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and John Parker.
Beyond the exhibits, the Freedom Center hosts events, lectures and performances that continue the conversations about freedom and human rights.
There’s also a museum store with carefully curated books on the topics covered in the exhibits.
20. West Side Market
I could not think of any better place that represents the soul of Cleveland than the West Side Market.
The place is an eclectic mix of cultures and traditions, where locals come every week to shop for fresh produce, meats, seafood, baked goods, and unique specialty items.
Stepping inside this historical market is like traveling back in time, with its impressive architecture and stunning indoor environment.
Since opening in 1912, the West Side Market has become an iconic landmark in Ohio, attracting tourists from all over the world and serving as a hub for local foodies.
As I step into the market, I am immediately greeted by the sights, sounds, and smells of a bustling environment filled with history and tradition.
But it is the fresh and diverse offerings at the market that make my visit such a unique experience. With more than 100 vendors, the market has something for everyone with a variety of regional and ethnic cuisine.
The market produces everything from local favorites like pierogi and fresh kielbasa sausage to international delicacies like falafel and currywurst.
Apart from the food, the market is an excellent place for individuals interested in architecture.
Located in a 1912 building, the market is a historic landmark with architectural feats, including sixteen feet high ceilings, skylights, and a 137-foot clock tower.
You can spend hours exploring the market and appreciating the vast array of specialty food shops, craft vendors, and unique boutiques, which contributes to the rich local culture.
21. The Cleveland Botanical Garden
As someone who loves exploring the beauty of nature, I must say that The Cleveland Botanical Garden is a true gem of Ohio.
The garden is spread over 10 acres of land and offers some of the most breathtaking natural views in the state.
Being close to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Western Reserve Historical Society, the garden is a perfect place for a day trip with family or friends.
The Cleveland Botanical Garden is known for its unique design and the beautifully curated plant collections.
The highlight of the garden is the Glasshouse, an iconic structure that houses two different climates. The Glasshouse is the perfect place to escape from the cold Ohio winters or to witness a tropical oasis in the heart of Cleveland.
In addition to the Glasshouse, the Cleveland Botanical Garden features 18 distinct gardens. These gardens feature plants that are native to various regions of the world, including Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
Aside from its breathtaking plant collections, The Cleveland Botanical Garden offers several educational programs, making it an excellent destination for families with children.
The Hershey Children’s Garden is a must-visit attraction for kids and adults alike. This garden features interactive exhibits and activities that teach children about plant and animal life.
The garden also offers several classes and workshops for aspiring gardeners and nature lovers.
22. The Wilds
The Wilds is a 10,000 acre animal conservation center located in Cumberland, Ohio. It is a unique and wild attraction that offers visitors the chance to see some of the most beautiful and rarest animals in the world.
As someone who has visited The Wilds several times, I can say that it is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that everyone in Ohio should have.
If you are planning to visit The Wilds, there are a few things you should know. First and foremost, make sure to dress appropriately for the outdoors.
The Wilds is an outdoor attraction, meaning that you will be walking around the grounds in the elements.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the animals at The Wilds are wild animals and should be treated with respect.
Make sure to follow all of the staff’s instructions and don’t approach or touch any of the animals.
One of the best things to do at The Wilds is to take a guided safari tour. These tours take you through the different animal habitats and give you the opportunity to see the animals up close and personal.
During the tour, you’ll learn about the different animals at The Wilds and their habitat, as well as the conservation efforts that are in place to protect these animals.
If you’re traveling with kids, the Wilds has a lot to offer as well. There is a playground, a fishing pond, and a birding station. Kids will also love the opportunity to see the animals up close and personal during the guided safari tour.
23. The Dayton Art Institute
As an Ohioan, I can confidently say that The Dayton Art Institute is one of the best things to do in the state. With a collection spanning over 26,000 objects, this museum offers a diverse range of art from various cultures, periods, and styles.
When you step into The Dayton Art Institute, you are greeted by a stunning Beaux-Arts style building. The museum boasts a diverse collection including African, American, European, and Asian art.
The museum has a great collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts on display, including mummies, sarcophagi, and hieroglyphics.
Visitors can also view galleries showcasing European art ranging from the 14th century to the present day. These galleries include works by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Monet, and Van Gogh.
In addition to the permanent collection, the museum offers a rotating display of temporary exhibitions which have touched upon topics diverse as contemporary photography, fashion, and political posters.
These exhibitions always provide new perspectives on art and the world. The Dayton Art Institute’s cultural calendar is closely interwoven with the community’s activities, from the reflections on the 1918 flu pandemic to water conservation campaigns.
The museum’s planning also recognizes the importance of digital media as a channel to expand the museum’s reach and bridge the community gap amid the unprecedented pandemic.
It has captivated audiences with a dynamic virtual exhibition titled Museums for All, featuring the museum’s galleries and collections through a series of 360-degree tours.
24. Ohio Caverns
One of the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring wonders is Ohio Caverns. Nestled in the heart of West Liberty, this magnificent limestone cave system covers 35 acres and consists of two separate but interconnected underground cave systems.
Exploring Ohio Caverns is an unparalleled experience that should be on every Ohioan’s bucket list. The cave system features an astounding 2 miles of breathtaking natural formations – from intricate stalactites and stalagmites to crystal-clear pools and rushing underground streams.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or just looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of city life, Ohio Caverns is the perfect place for an adventure.
The guides at Ohio Caverns are incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the history and geology of the cave system.
They will take you on a tour that will leave you in awe of the natural processes that created this magnificent underground world.
You can choose from different tour options to suit your preferences including the historic tour, natural wonders tour, and the adventure tour. Each tour is unique and offers a different experience of the caverns.
The Ohio Caverns is a mesmerizing cave system that is still evolving through geological processes, which you can witness during your tour. You will be in awe of the cave’s breathtaking beauty and mystery and how natural forces shaped it over time.
25. Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati Museum Center is a must-visit destination in Ohio for all the art and history enthusiasts. The museum offers an incredible array of exhibits showcasing everything from natural history to anthropology.
The site is housed in the iconic Cincinnati Union Terminal, a historic building that was built in the 1930s. The terminal was once a bustling railway station and has now been transformed into a museum and cultural center.
With its stunning architecture and rich history, the Cincinnati Museum Center is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Ohio.
The museum is divided into three main areas: the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, the Cincinnati History Museum, and the Museum of Natural History and Science.
The Duke Energy Children’s Museum is a favorite among families, with hands-on interactive displays that inspire learning and exploration. The exhibits here cover different topics such as water, fire, transportation, and much more.
The Cincinnati History Museum is a journey through time, featuring immersive exhibits that showcase the city’s rich past.
It covers the period from the prehistoric era to the present day, providing visitors with a glimpse of what life was like in the past. It also features various artifacts, interactive exhibits, and multimedia displays that bring the city’s history to life.
The Museum of Natural History and Science is a fantastic place for science aficionados. The museum covers a vast array of science topics, from geology to astronomy.
26. Lake Erie Islands
You may have heard tales of the Lake Erie Islands and the beauty they hold in their crystal clear waters and pristine coastlines.
These islands are a natural wonder that offer a variety of unique experiences and exciting adventures for visitors of all ages.
Starting with the largest and most popular island, Put-in-Bay has been a top attraction for tourists for decades.
Located just two miles offshore, the island is accessible by ferry, plane or personal watercraft. Put-in-Bay offers activities such as mini golf, bike rentals, and a monument honoring Oliver Hazard Perry.
For those interested in history, take the ferry to Kelley’s Island. This beautiful island is located in the western basin of Lake Erie and is one of the oldest settlements in Ohio.
The island also features the Christopher Columbus Monument, which honors the explorer and the island’s role in Great Lakes history.
If you’re looking for a more remote experience, visit Middle Bass Island. This island is known for its quiet and natural beauty, perfect for those who want a break from the everyday hustle and bustle back home.
The island’s lush greenery and quaint charm make it an ideal location for bird watching, fishing and boating.
In addition to the islands, there are also plenty of exciting aquatic adventures to try in Ohio. Head to Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, where you’ll find some of the best amusement park thrill rides in the world.
If that doesn’t appeal, you can always take the family for a day at Lake Erie’s Watering Hole, known for its huge water slides and wave pool.
Perhaps the most fascinating attraction, however, is the Lake Erie Islands Underwater Preserve, making up of fifteen islands, which makes it one of the most notable scuba diving destinations in the Midwest.
Visitors can explore the shipwrecks that remain off the shores of these islands, providing a glimpse into Ohio’s exciting maritime history.
27. Amish Country
If you’re looking for a unique and peaceful getaway in the heart of Ohio, look no further than Amish Country. Located in the eastern part of the state, Amish Country is a region that is full of rich history, idyllic landscapes, and activities that are perfect for those seeking a slower pace of life.
From its picturesque towns to its rolling hills, Amish Country is an idyllic destination that seems to exist in a world all its own.
For those seeking to learn more about the region’s fascinating heritage, there are many historic sites and museums to explore.
Among the must-visit attractions in the area are The Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center, which houses a wealth of information about Amish and Mennonite history and culture, as well as the Behalt Cyclorama, an enormous painting that depicts the history of the Amish people.
But Amish Country isn’t just about history and culture – it’s also a place where visitors can get away from the hustle and bustle of modern life and reconnect with nature.
For example, the famed Hocking Hills State Park, which is located just a short drive from the heart of Amish Country, boasts incredible scenery, hiking trails, and even zip lines for the more adventurous visitors.
And of course, no trip to Amish Country would be complete without experiencing the region’s renowned food scene.
Visitors will find an abundance of gourmet restaurants, as well as plenty of local bakeries and shops that sell everything from hand-rolled butter to fresh-baked pies.
28. Akron Zoo
As someone who loves exploring different places in Ohio, I must say that one of the best things to do in the state is to visit the Akron Zoo.
The Akron Zoo is a fantastic place that offers an incredible experience for visitors of all ages. With so much to see and do at this unique destination, it’s easy to see why so many people consider the Akron Zoo to be one of the top attractions in Ohio.
To start with, the Akron Zoo is home to a diverse range of animals, including some rare and exotic species that you won’t find anywhere else in the state.
From majestic big cats like lions and tigers to cute and cuddly creatures like otters and red pandas, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.
One of the most popular exhibits at the zoo is the Grizzly Ridge, which features North American black bears and grizzly bears in a naturalistic habitat. Visitors can even watch the bears swim and play in a nearby pond, which is a unique sight to see.
Aside from the animals, the Akron Zoo also offers a variety of educational and interactive opportunities for visitors.
The zoo’s Wild Prairie exhibit, for example, is a unique learning experience where guests can learn about the ecosystems and animals of the Great Plains region.
The exhibit features interactive displays and even allows visitors to touch some of the animals, making for a truly immersive experience. Kids will love the Komodo Kingdom play area, where they can climb and explore a giant Komodo dragon.
But what makes the Akron Zoo truly special is the effort that the staff puts into the conservation of endangered species.
The zoo is part of a network of facilities around the world that are working to preserve and protect vulnerable animal populations, and visitors can learn about the various conservation projects that the zoo supports.
29. Scioto Mile
As I explore Ohio, one of the top destinations on my list is the Scioto Mile. This downtown Columbus district is a picturesque landscape that stretches along the Scioto River and offers visitors an exciting array of activities, attractions, and experiences.
The Scioto Mile is a perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering over 175 acres of green space covered with lush lawns, gardens, and walking trails. The park hosts year-round events such as concerts, festivals, movie nights and art exhibitions.
It offers different options for recreation and leisure activities, including biking, kayaking, and paddle boating on the river.
The top-notch facilities and the state-of-the-art lighting system that illuminates the park during evening hours make Scioto a fantastic place for a picnic, evening stroll, or a refreshing bike ride.
Moreover, the Scioto Mile boasts an array of public art installations, which are a sight to behold for art lovers.
They portray the city’s history, culture, and traditions in various forms, including sculptures, murals, and paintings.
The art installations consist of works by both local and international artists, adding to the cosmopolitan vibe of the area.
The Scioto Mile also offers fantastic dining options, serving up delicious cuisine to satisfy every palate.
There are food stalls that offer quick bites, restaurants for a sit-down meal, and coffee shops to grab a cup of coffee.
The dining experience is excellent, with delicious food options that range from local dishes to international cuisine.
30. Columbus Museum of Art
The Columbus Museum of Art is one of Ohio’s most prominent cultural institutions. It showcases works of art from diverse cultures and time periods and brings contemporary art exhibitions to the local communities.
The museum houses more than 10,000 works of art, including paintings, photography, sculpture, decorative arts, and modern art. It is considered one of the best things to do in Ohio for art enthusiasts.
As I enter the Columbus Museum of Art, I am greeted by a stunning collection of American art from the 19th and 20th century. The museum has carefully curated exhibits that chronicle the rise of art movements in America, including the Ashcan School and the American Impressionists.
The museum’s collection of works by renowned artists like George Bellows, Frank Stella, and Georgia O’Keeffe is awe-inspiring. I can see a range of styles, subjects, and perspectives portrayed in the pieces on display.
The museum also prides itself on bringing contemporary art to the public. I can explore thought-provoking exhibitions that make the contemporary landscape more accessible and understandable.
The museum hosts rotating exhibits like Currents, which feature emerging, avant-garde artists from around the world. The exhibitions are designed to challenge the conventions of art and ignite curiosity in visitors of all ages.
31. National Veterans Memorial and Museum
The National Veterans Memorial and Museum is a significant landmark located in Columbus, Ohio, dedicated to recognizing and honoring the sacrifice of veterans nationwide.
Established in October 2018, the center is the first of its kind, crafted around personal stories of veterans and their families.
This museum serves as home to more than 5,000 individual veteran stories, bringing together the diversity of individuals who have served the United States Military.
The museum’s innovative design represents the grounded and hallowed nature of veterans while providing a space for visitors to connect with their stories.
The building is encompassed in glass walls and is built atop a knoll symbolic of a hill that differentiates the outside world from the stories and exhibits within the museum. Moreover, the columns on the exterior of the building signify strength and support.
Former Secretary of Defense and Vietnam War Veteran, Chuck Hagel, played an instrumental role in creating this national memorial and museum.
The interactive exhibits in the museum make it stand out as an educational experience that you will not forget. The National Veterans Memorial and Museum is more than a place to visit; it is a monument to the soul of the American people.
The museum unfolds several stories that make visitors empathize and understand the life of a veteran, including promotions, battles won and lost, homecoming, and struggles.
The museum also features a, Wall of Faces, luring visitors to reflect on the service of military men and women who gave their lives in service to their country.
32. The Holden Arboretum
I highly recommend visiting The Holden Arboretum, located in Kirtland, Ohio. Spanning over 3,600 acres, this enchanting destination is one of the largest arboreta in the United States.
Home to a vast collection of native and exotic plants, the arboretum serves as a sanctuary for nature lovers, horticulture enthusiasts, and anyone seeking solace in the beauty of the outdoors.
The Holden Arboretum offers a wide range of experiences, from peaceful walking trails to challenging hikes.
One of the must-see attractions is the Murch Canopy Walk, a 500-foot-long elevated walkway suspended 65 feet above the forest floor.
This unique vantage point provides visitors with a breathtaking view of the surrounding woodland, as well as a closer look at the diverse bird species that inhabit the area.
Another highlight is the Kalberer Family Emergent Tower, a 120-foot-tall observation platform offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, extending all the way to Lake Erie on a clear day.
The arboretum also boasts a stunning collection of gardens, including the Rhododendron Garden, Butterfly Garden, and Conifer Collection.
Throughout the year, The Holden Arboretum hosts a variety of educational programs, workshops, and special events, allowing visitors to learn about horticulture, conservation, and the natural world.
33. The Cincinnati Art Museum
Situated in the picturesque Eden Park, the Cincinnati Art Museum is a premier destination for art enthusiasts visiting Ohio. The museum’s impressive collection spans over 6,000 years of artistic history, featuring more than 67,000 works from around the globe.
This vast array of art includes paintings, sculptures, photography, and decorative arts, ensuring that there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
One of the museum’s most notable collections is its extensive assortment of European paintings, which includes masterpieces by renowned artists such as Titian, Rubens, and Monet.
The Cincinnati Art Museum also houses an impressive collection of American art, showcasing works by celebrated artists such as Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, and Georgia O’Keeffe.
In addition to its permanent collection, the museum hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions, highlighting contemporary artists and exploring various artistic themes.
The museum also offers a range of educational programs, including guided tours, lectures, and hands-on art workshops for both children and adults.
After exploring the galleries, visitors can relax and enjoy refreshments at the Terrace Café, which offers a selection of sandwiches, salads, and beverages.
Before leaving, be sure to visit the museum store, where you can find unique gifts, art books, and souvenirs to commemorate your visit.
Ohio is home to a diverse array of attractions and destinations offering something for everyone.
From the rich history of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to the peaceful beauty of The Holden Arboretum, Ohio offers an abundance of experiences that are sure to delight visitors from all walks of life.
For art lovers, there’s the Cincinnati Art Museum, which houses an impressive collection of works from around the world.
I encourage you to explore the many wonders that Ohio has to offer. Whether you’re looking for a fun day trip or planning an extended stay, you’ll find plenty to discover in the Buckeye State.