Ohio is at the heart of the United States' manufacturing efforts and the state's economic significance helps account for the fact that it is the 10th most populous state in the United States. Known best for its impressive theme parks, internationally acclaimed businesses, lakes, drive-in theaters, train trips, breweries, hiking, wedding venues, and state-of-the-art universities, Ohio is a prime destination for couples, singles and families alike. Museums, metroparks, historical parks, romantic castles, inns, waterfalls, and amusement parks are among the most popular attractions in Ohio.
1. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
© Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the ultimate place to learn about the giants of rock n' roll. Filled with eye-catching exhibits, highlights at the Hall of Fame include exhibits about the roots of rock n' roll, the effects of British culture on American music, and the way that artists are shaping rock n' roll in modern times. The Hall of Fame inductee gallery showcases the biggest names in rock n' roll history. In addition to the museum's permanent exhibits, there are traveling exhibits that can be rented out to visitors for parties and special events. Tickets range in price from $13.75 to $23.75 and the Hall of Fame is open all year round.
1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44114, Phone: 216-781-ROCK
2. Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens
© Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens
Located in Akron, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens is a popular destination for weddings and special events. The history of this unique place dates back to 1898, when F. A. Seiberling founded the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Stan Hywet Hall was built in the early 1900s as a home for the Seiberling family and today this beautiful estate and its surrounding gardens are open from April to December for the public to enjoy. Aside from sightseeing, visitors enjoy admiring the onsite butterfly display, checking out the play garden, playing vintage baseball, and going on geocaching adventures.
714 North Portage Path, Akron, OH 44303, Phone: 330-836-5533
3.National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
© National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (NMUSAF) sits 6 miles outside of Dayton, Ohio. Formerly known as the United States Air Force Museum, this informative and interactive facility holds more than 360 aircraft and missiles. The museum got its start in 1923 when the Engineering Division at Dayton's McCook Field began holding on to technical artifacts for preservation purposes. Today, the museum is filled with some of the world's most famous aircraft, like the Boeing B-29 Superfortress that dropped the Fat Man atomic bomb on Nagasaki, presidential aircraft used by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, and SAM 26000, the Boeing 727 that John F. Kennedy used to travel to Dallas the day he was assassinated. The NMUSAF receives more than a million visitors each year.
1100 Spatz Street, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433, Phone: 937-255-3286
4.Contemporary Arts Center
© Contemporary Arts Center
The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati holds some of the nation's most cutting edge modern art and visitors will find unique exhibits centered on politics, history, music, and technology throughout the museum. The Contemporary Arts Center also runs a robust education program that gives visitors of all ages a look into the history and significance of modern art. Outside of exhibits, the Contemporary Arts Center contains a cafe, a common area, meeting rooms, and event spaces that can be rented out for weddings and parties. The museum is open every day of the week excluding Tuesdays and admission is free for guests of all ages.
44 E. 6th Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202, Phone: 513-345-8400
5. Cleveland Museum of Art
© Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is an excellent place for visitors to see impressive artwork from different times and places. The museum showcases art in a multitude of mediums, including pencil, paint, pen, photography, and sculpture, while most of the exhibits are centered on notable people or time periods. The museum also runs an in-depth education and research program that focuses on art conservation and appreciation, and visitors can support the Cleveland Museum of Art by making a donation or participating in the museum's volunteer program. The museum is open every day of the week except for Mondays.
11150 East Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44106, Phone: 216-421-7350
6. Toledo Museum of Art
© Toledo Museum of Art
The Toledo Museum of Art is known for its large collection of art and its commitment to education and research. Home to more than 30,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, and other works of art, the museum sprawls across 30 acres of land and comprises six buildings. In the Glass Pavilion building, visitors can enjoy study rooms, classrooms, a courtyard space, and a coffee bar. The Toledo Museum of Art regularly holds special events, such as workshops, lectures, and gallery tours. Thanks to a partnership with the University of Toledo’s Department of Art, there is a 90,000-volume art reference library open to the public at the museum. The museum is open daily excluding Mondays.
2445 Monroe Street, Toledo, OH, Phone: 419-255-8000
7. Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
© Courtesy of Craig - Fotolia.com
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is home to all kinds of mammals, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, and fish and visitors have a change to interact with all kinds of animals while learning interesting facts through interpretive exhibits. The zoo also runs a series of educational programs for people of all ages, and summer camps, curriculums for schools, and overnight trips are all part of the zoo's educational offerings. The Cincinnati Zoo also runs special promotions for groups, like group tours, picnics, and events and there are spaces within the gardens that can be rented out for weddings, corporate gatherings, and other get-togethers.
3400 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45220, Phone: 513-281-4700
8.West Side Market
© West Side Market
West Side Market draws in all kinds of unique vendors and visitors. Opened in 1912, the market has been a special destination in downtown Cleveland for more than 100 years. Local businesses flock to the market to advertise all kinds of foods, including fresh produce, freshly made dairy products, flavorful seafood, and recently prepared meats and poultry. Visitors can also find specialty products like handmade pasta, Polish pierogis, imported Mediterranean foods, homemade maple syrup, Middle Eastern foods, freshly picked flowers, popcorn, and more. West Side Market is open all year round daily except Tuesdays and Thursdays.
1979 West 25th Street, Cleveland, OH 44113, Phone: 216-664-3387
© Kings Island
Kings Island is the largest amusement and waterpark in the Midwest. The park began in 1964 when Coney Island, a nearby amusement park, was submerged during a major flood. At 364 acres, Kings Island contains a total of 47 rides, 15 of which are rollercoasters, while the remaining rides are carnival-style attractions and water rides. Some record-setting features at Kings Island include Banshee, the world's longest inverted rollercoaster, Dinosaurs Alive!, a pay-per-use ride that is known as the world's largest animatronic dinosaur park, and Son of Beast, the fastest and tallest wooden coaster on the planet. Kings Island is primarily open throughout the summer months.
6300 Kings Island Drive, Kings Island, OH 45034, Phone: 513-754-5700
10.Jungle Jim's International Market
© Jungle Jim's International Market
Jungle Jim's International Market features more than 200,000 square feet of shopping space containing upwards of 150,000 items for visitors to choose from. As guests walk through this massive facility, they'll see food demonstrations, gift shops, boutiques, restaurants, and so much more. Jungle Jim's also has thousands of grocery items for sale sourced from around the globe. There is an extensive beer and wine section in the store, and visitors will find the aisles stocked with international food. Jungle Jim's also holds fun events for the whole family, like food tours, cooking classes, and festivals celebrating all different kinds of foods.
5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, OH 45104, Phone: 513-674-6000
11. Center of Science and Industry
© Center of Science and Industry
The Center of Science and Industry (COSI) is a terrific place for kids of all ages to learn about science and technology. The center features a giant-screen television, a planetarium, a working research laboratory, a mock space capsule, an extensive historic technology exhibit, an ocean-centered exhibit, and an interactive space where guests can learn about big machinery. There are a couple of exhibits that visitors can rent out for special events, such as birthday parties and family reunions. COSI also runs a number of educational programs for both children and adults. Tickets range in price from $15 to $20 and can be purchased online.
333 West Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215, Phone: 614-228-COSI
12. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
© Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a tranquil place where visitors can enjoy nature at their own pace. Artfully designed gardens, rare plant collections, and extravagant flower displays are among the many attractions at Franklin Park. The park is home to the Palm House, a beautiful Victorian-style glass greenhouse that was built in 1895. This ornate building is often used for weddings and classy parties. At the Garden Campus, visitors can find all kinds of resources for creating edible gardens and there are also 40 community garden plots that guests use to grow their own fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Franklin Park is open all year round and admission rates vary from $7 to $14.
1777 E Broad Street, Columbus Street, OH 43203, Phone: 614-715-8000
Next read: Holden Forests and Gardens
© Cedar Point
This family-friendly amusement park is packed with all kinds of exciting rides and attractions. Known as the rollercoaster capital of the world, this iconic park sits on a peninsula that stretches out into Lake Erie. Opened in 1870, Cedar Point is the second oldest amusement park in the United States. There are 71 rides within the park, including 16 rollercoasters and two water rides. Cedar Point is celebrated for being the only amusement park in the world to have five rollercoasters that are taller than 200 feet and the park also boasts the Extreme Sports Stadium, a stunt stadium where shows and celebrations are held. Cedar Point is open daily from May through September and stays open on weekends through Halloween.
1 Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, OH 44870, Phone: 419-627-2350
14.Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum
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The Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum was established in 1845. Started as a non-profit cemetery, Spring Grove has a long history as a special spot in Cincinnati and several notable Ohio families, including the Proctors, Tafts, and Krogers, have chosen Spring Grove as the place to preserve their family legacy. This 733-acre space boasts nearly 50 miles of roads, 15 peaceful lakes, and a handful of sculptures and horticultural creations. In the arboretum, visitors can see more than 1,200 different varieties of plants. There are also more than 140 trees and shrubs scattered throughout the grounds. Some parts of the arboretum can be used for weddings and other special gatherings.
4521 Spring Grove Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45232, Phone: 513-681-PLAN
Next read: Amusement Parks in Ohio
© Courtesy of Kirk Wester - Fotolia.com
The Wilds is a preserve/zoo that is used for all kinds of outdoor activities. Mountain biking, hiking, birding, and butterfly spotting are just some of the incredibly popular past times available at The Wilds. The Wilds is also home to a wide array of unique and exotic animals, including ostriches, cranes, African painted dogs, Bactrian camels, banteng, and common elands. The Wilds also runs an in-depth education program for visitors of all ages and there are group tours for families, scout groups, and schools, while guests can join the education camps during the summer months. The Wilds is open daily from May through September and on weekends during October.
14000 International Road, Cumberland, OH 43732, Phone: 740-638-5030
16.Amish Country Theater
© Amish Country Theater
The Amish Country Theater is an award-winning live theater in the heart of Ohio's Amish country. Recognized as a Top 100 Event in North America by the American Bus Association, the Amish County Theater performs in a 325-seat venue in Walnut Creek. Performances often feature ventriloquist Ken Groves, an Amish comedy trio known as “The Beachy's” and Fannie Mae, a comedian who performs skits about the ups and downs of farm life. Every event at the Amish Country Theater is family friendly and the theater is open throughout the year. Tickets for performances are available online and can be purchased individually or in packets.
Amish County Theater, 3149 OH 39, Walnut Creek, OH 44687, Phone: 888-988-SHOW
17.Carillon Historical Park
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Carillon Historical Park in Dayton is the ultimate place for learning about the lives of early Americans. At the historical park’s Heritage Center of Dayton, visitors can learn about inventions and innovations from Dayton's history. The Early Settlement Area includes several original homes, schools, and businesses that visitors can explore on foot. The Wright Brothers Aviation Center has more objects from the Wright family on display than any other aviation museum in the world, and guests can see Orville Wright's contribution to Wright Hall, the building that houses the 1905 Wright Flyer III. Carillon Historical Park also features a fully operational 1930s printing press, an exhibit dedicated to the Great Flood of 1913, and a display on one of the oldest trains in the world.
1000 Carillon Boulevard, Dayton, OH 45409, Phone: 937-293-2841
18. Cincinnati Art Museum
© Cincinnati Art Museum
The Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM) got its start back in 1886 when generous donors gave thousands of objects to the Cincinnati Museum Association. A series of building projects began in 1907 with the Schmidlapp Wing and in 1993 the museum underwent a $13 million restoration effort that also included a couple of new exhibition centers. Today, the CAM contains a vast amount of art pieces from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Native American communities. Musical instruments, photographs, and ancient artifacts are among the many items on display. The museum also runs multiple programs and events for the community, schools, and educators.
953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202, Phone: 513-721-ARTS
19.Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial
© NPS Photo
The Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial was built to honor the people who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie. Also known as the Battle of Put-In Bay, this War of 1812 conflict allowed the Americans to wrest control of Lake Erie from the British. Nearly 70 people died in the battle and close to 200 were wounded. The Perry's Victory Memorial celebrates the long-lasting peace between Britain, Canada, and the United States. A Doric column rising 352 feet over Lake Erie stands as a sign of that peaceful relationship.
20.James A. Garfield National Historic Site
© NPS Photo
Housed in the home of James A. Garfield, this important historic site was visited by thousands of supporters during Garfield's campaign to become the President of the United States. The house contains all kinds of artifacts and mementos from Garfield's childhood and presidency. During a guided tour through the home, guests can learn about life in the 1880s and also embark on a special amenity tour to get a behind-the-scenes look at non-public spaces near the property. There are also special programs designed for scouting groups and schools. The James A. Garfield National Historic Site is open all year round.
8095 Mentor Avenue, Mentor, OH 44060, Phone: 440-255-8722
21.Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums
© Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums
The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library and Museum is filled with interesting displays about the life of Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th President of the United States. His library and museum is unique since it was the first of its kind in the US. Situated on Spiegel Grove, Hayes' 25-acre wooded lot, the museum, and library is filled with artifacts from his life and presidency. Rutherford Hayes' mansion is the gem of the estate. With 31 rooms, an expansive veranda, and a large living room, the Spiegel Grove estate was once teeming with activity and life. Today, visitors can tour the estate with local guides. Spiegel Grove also contains the grave of Rutherford B. Hayes along with a museum built in his memory.
Spiegel Grove, Fremont, OH 43420, Phone: 419-332-2081
22.Huffman Prairie Flying Field
© Courtesy of Pakhnyushchyy - Fotolia.com
Huffman Prairie Flying Field was the take-off point for more than 100 Wright Brother flights. Torrence Huffman, a banker from Dayton, allowed the Wright Brothers to use his land free of charge for their experimental flights and between 1904 and 1905 the Wright Brothers ran groundbreaking tests that set the stage for modern-day aviation. In 1904, the brothers conducted 104 flights and spent a total of 49 minutes in the air with the Wright Flyer II. Eventually, the Huffman Prairie Flying Field became the home of their new business, the Wright Company. They taught others how to fly and used the field for flight exhibition team practice sessions.
16 South Williams Street, Dayton, OH 45402, Phone: 937-225-7705
© Mac-A-Cheek Castle
Mac-A-Cheek Castle, alternatively known as one of the Piatt Castles, has been a popular attraction for more than 100 years. Named after the Piatt family, Mac-A-Cheek and the neighboring Mac-O-Chee Castle were built in the Ohio countryside by two of the Piatt sons and are still owned by the family more than 200 years later. Visitors can rent out the castles and parts of the grounds for weddings, parties, family reunions, meetings, and other gatherings. The Piatt Castles are open throughout the year and admission rates vary from $9 to $25. There are special rates available for groups.
© Courtesy of Michael Shake - Fotolia.com
Squire's Castle is another stately home located in Cleveland. Built in the early 1930s, Squire's Castle was commissioned by Feargus B. Squire, the vice-president of the Standard Oil Company. The estate eventually grew to cover 525 acres before it was sold in 1922. In modern times, the grounds at Squire's Castle are an excellent place for an escape from daily life. There is a small pond on the property along with 8 miles of gravel roads and visitors can walk around the castle, take pictures, and enjoy the serenity of this special site. Parts of the castle can also be rented out through the Cleveland Metroparks System for special events.
River Road, Willoughby Hills, OH 44094, Phone: 216-635-3200
25. Loveland Castle
© Loveland Castle
Historic Loveland Castle was built as an homage to the strength and courage of knights in medieval times. Celebrated for re-introducing truth and right into the morally bankrupt Middle Ages, knights played a key role in helping society move toward higher ideals. At Loveland Castle, visitors can explore the pathways and gardens that surround the property and view the period weaponry displayed inside of the castle. Loveland Castle can also be rented out for special events, including overnight outings for scout groups, school tours, and small weddings. The castle can also be used for paranormal investigation trips since there is compelling evidence of activity from the other side.
25 Best Things to Do in Ohio
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Photo: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, Photo: Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens
- National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Photo: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
- Contemporary Arts Center, Photo: Contemporary Arts Center
- Cleveland Museum of Art, Photo: Cleveland Museum of Art
- Toledo Museum of Art, Photo: Toledo Museum of Art
- Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, Photo: Courtesy of Craig - Fotolia.com
- West Side Market, Photo: West Side Market
- Kings Island, Photo: Kings Island
- Jungle Jim's International Market, Photo: Jungle Jim's International Market
- Center of Science and Industry, Photo: Center of Science and Industry
- Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Photo: Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
- Cedar Point, Photo: Cedar Point
- Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum, Photo: Courtesy of daimos94 - Fotolia.com
- The Wilds, Photo: Courtesy of Kirk Wester - Fotolia.com
- Amish Country Theater, Photo: Amish Country Theater
- Carillon Historical Park, Photo: Courtesy of Aurelio - Fotolia.com
- Cincinnati Art Museum, Photo: Cincinnati Art Museum
- Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial, Photo: NPS Photo
- James A. Garfield National Historic Site, Photo: NPS Photo
- Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums, Photo: Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums
- Huffman Prairie Flying Field, Photo: Courtesy of Pakhnyushchyy - Fotolia.com
- Mac-A-Cheek Castle, Photo: Mac-A-Cheek Castle
- Squire's Castle, Photo: Courtesy of Michael Shake - Fotolia.com
- Loveland Castle, Photo: Loveland Castle
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of styxclick - Fotolia.com
Cincinnati Nature Center
Cincinnati Nature Center is the United States' largest member-supported nature center facility and is consistently ranked among the top nature centers in the country. The facility, which is located on 1,800 acres in Milford, opened to the public in 1967 and attracts over 170,000 annual visitors across its Long Branch Farm and Trails and Rowe Woods sites. At Rowe Woods, visitors can explore 16 miles of nature trails within a 1,000-acre deciduous forest region and view nature exhibits at a public visitor center with a wildlife viewing window. The Schott Nature PlayScape, inspired by Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv, also encourages creative outdoor play for young visitors. Nine miles north in Goshen, 582 acres of former farmland is offered at Long Branch Farm, with four miles of exclusive trails only open to nature center members.
4949 Tealtown Rd, Milford, OH 45150, Phone: (513) 831-1711