Whether you call it the Buckeye State, the Birthplace of Aviation, or “The Heart of it All,” you’ll find Ohio to be a warm, welcoming state bursting with adventure and teeming with opportunity.
Boasting cosmopolitan cities, friendly small towns, and plenty of open spaces for roaming, Ohio has a bit of something for everyone.
Ohio’s legendary cities are some of the most exciting in the nation. The state capital, Columbus, is home to lawmakers and college kids – some 60,000 of them – giving this city a unique mix of button-down sensibility and bohemian flavor. Start with a visit to the statehouse, whose architecture is one of the most unique in the nation, then haul the family to COSI Columbus, a hands-on science museum and planetarium. Find an animal to love at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, spot wildlife at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park, or walk the historic streets of German Village or Short North.
Strung along the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland is home to major attractions – a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a must, but don’t miss gems like the Great Lakes Brewing Company and the West Side Market. Shop at The Arcade and dine at one of downtown’s trend-setting restaurants. Professional sports are huge here – if you get a chance, see the NFL’s Browns play at FirstEnergy Stadium. If you prefer to take to the water, hire a boat at one of the waterfront marinas or sign on for a charter cruise.
Cincinnati anchors the opposite end of the state, and has one leg in the Midwest and one in the South. This modern, thriving city has first-rate museums, rip-roaring amusement parks, and a fair share of history – the city was a destination for many slaves fleeing the South, and their heritage is honored at several historic sites.
Many of Ohio’s best towns are a world away from the big cities. Check out Marietta, with its picture-perfect downtown and historic sites. It would be hard to not like Charm, and this small town in the heart of Amish country lives up to its name. Make sure to visit the Charm Sweet Shoppe. Foodies love Hudson, which has great restaurants and more than 1,000 acres of parks to burn off all those calories afterwards. For peace and relaxation, head to Chagrin Falls, where you can take nature walks, visit wineries, and embark on horseback rides through the countryside.
Ohio has many sites of national significance. The best known is Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which is just miles from Cleveland and Akron but occupies a different world. This park shelters native plants and wildlife, and the winding Cuyahoga River leads to native forests and rolling hills. The Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument in Xenia honors racial struggles, while David Berger National Monument honors the memory of one of the 11 Israeli athletes killed at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Aviation buffs will want to visit the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, while those wanting to learn more about the settling of the Midwest should spend the day at Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miami National Historic Site.
The residents of Ohio take their sports seriously. The Bengals, Reds, Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers are just some of the bigger names bringing home wins in football, baseball, and basketball, but you’ll also find plenty of minor league and semi-pro teams, ranging from soccer to Triple A baseball. The Aviators play pro rugby while the Blue Jackets play hockey.
If you’d rather play the sport yourself rather than watch someone else score, Ohio has you covered. Ohio is home to several incredible golf courses, including Indian Springs in Mechanicsburg, Sleepy Hollow in Clyde, and Memorial Park in Kenton. Prefer two wheels to four? Follow mountain bike singletrack through native forests – you’ll find great trails in Mitchell Memorial Forest, Hueston Woods State Park, and Van Buren State Park. Hikers will find hundreds of miles of paths to explore – follow the Canal Towpath in Cuyahoga Valley National Park or trek the trails in Yellow Springs or Salt Fork State Park. Ohio may not have mountains, but what the state’s ski areas lack in vertical is made up in beauty and enthusiasm – you’ll find wide cruisers and steep moguls at ski areas like Snow Trails in Mansfield, Alpine Valley in Chesterland, and Mad River Mountain in Zanesfield. For slower winter recreation, grab a pair of cross country skis and glide through the forest in spots like Alum Creek State Park, Great Seal State Park, and Quail Hollow State Park.
Ready for some retail therapy? You could spend entire days in sprawling malls like Ohio Station Outlets in Burbank, Kenwood Towne Centre in Cincinnati, and Tanger Outlets in Jeffersonville. Or you could go off the beaten path to find gems at Findlay Market in Cincinnati, North Market in Columbus, or some of the eclectic stores in Waynesville. Want to stroll a great main street? Wooster is as all-American as it gets!
All this adventure work up an appetite? Ohio’s ready to stuff you full again. Check out the chili dogs, cheese coney dogs, corned beef, kielbasa, homemade ice cream, and pierogis for an only-in-Ohio feast. Thirsty? Ohio has more than 240 breweries serving award-winning craft beer, and there are currently around 200 wineries in the Buckeye State growing everything from cabernet sauvignon to sauvignon blanc.
So whether you are thirsty, hungry, curious, adventurous, looking to relax, or just looking around, Ohio has something for you.