Discover the best things to do in Ohio: From wineries and breweries, to theme park and ball parks and everything in between!
In the heart of the Midwest, Ohio shines as a diverse and captivating destination, offering a plethora of activities that cater to a wide range of interests. From the cultural hubs of Cleveland and Cincinnati to the natural wonders of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the state provides an array of experiences that reflect its rich history and vibrant present.
For those seeking an up-close encounter with wildlife, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and the African Safari Wildlife Park offer unforgettable experiences.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, pays homage to the legacy of rock music. It houses immersive exhibits, artifacts and interactive displays showcasing the evolution and impact of this genre. With its iconic architecture and extensive collection, the museum celebrates both renowned artists and the genre’s cultural significance, inspiring generations of music enthusiasts.
Historic German Village in Columbus
The Historic German Village is a charming and well-preserved neighborhood located just south of downtown Columbus, Ohio. Known for its cobblestone streets, historic brick buildings, and unique character, German Village offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s past and a vibrant community atmosphere.
Cedar Point amusement park
Cedar Point is nestled in Sandusky, Ohio, and is a thrill-seeker’s paradise and a cherished destination for amusement park enthusiasts worldwide. Known as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, Cedar Point boasts an impressive collection of over 70 rides, including some of the tallest and fastest roller coasters on the planet. With its picturesque location along Lake Erie, the park offers not only adrenaline-pumping rides but also stunning views and a refreshing lakeside atmosphere. Be sure to indulge in all of the delicious theme park food, including chicken tenders.
Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park is a stunning natural gem located in southeastern Ohio, known for its breathtaking landscapes, unique rock formations, lush forests, and outdoor recreational opportunities. It’s a popular destination for nature enthusiasts, hikers, photographers, and anyone looking to escape into the beauty of the outdoors. It’s most known for Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, Conkles Hollow, and Rock House.
Ohio’s wineries offer a delightful exploration of the state’s burgeoning wine industry. From the scenic landscapes of its wine regions to the diverse selection of varietals, Ohio’s wineries cater to both wine enthusiasts and those looking to savor local flavors.
The Lake Erie, Shores & Islands region is renowned for its picturesque vineyards, where wineries dot the shores, producing a range of wines from crisp whites to robust reds. The Grand River Valley, often referred to as Ohio’s wine country, is another hotspot for wine tourism, offering a variety of tasting experiences and charming vineyard views.
I had the pleasure of staying at a few wineries in Ohio as part of Harvest Hosts and pictured above was a wine flight and pizza from Firelands Winery. I got the Cab Franc, Pinot Noir, Schwan Orchard Peach, Malgra Moscato d’Asti and added on their dessert wine.
I also stayed at Paper Moon Vineyards on a Saturday night. They have a patio and a large outdoor area with tons of seatings. They also have a stage for a band, and I was in luck and got to see the live performance. This place was very popular, so if you’re coming for a night when there’s live music, come early!
Visit a zoo
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, established in 1873, harmonizes wildlife conservation and botanical wonders. With a history of conservation and education, it houses over 500 animal species, including endangered ones, alongside captivating gardens. A pioneer in breeding programs, the zoo offers an opportunity to connect with wildlife while also showcasing a diverse collection of plants, exemplifying its dedication to both the animal kingdom and botanical beauty.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a celebrated destination that combines the excitement of an expansive zoo with the enchantment of a world-class aquarium. Renowned for its diverse collection of animals and commitment to conservation, the zoo offers immersive habitats for over 10,000 animals spanning various continents.
Short North Arts District
Experience the nightlife and entertainment in the Short North Arts District. The district’s name “Short North” refers to its location just north of downtown Columbus. It has a rich history of art and cultural development, and it’s known for celebrating local artists, its artistic flair, eclectic atmosphere, and diverse range of cultural offerings.
The Great American Ball Park
Nestled in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Great American Ball Park stands as a hallowed ground for baseball enthusiasts and a testament to the city’s sporting heritage. Home to the Cincinnati Reds, the ballpark offers an immersive experience that melds tradition with modern comforts. From its picturesque location along the banks of the Ohio River, visitors can savor the excitement of America’s pastime while taking in stunning views of the city’s skyline and the river’s gentle flow.
Canoeing or Kayaking on the Mohican River
The Mohican River, located in north-central Ohio, winds its way through picturesque landscapes, including forests, farmland, and rolling hills. It’s a popular destination for paddlers seeking a peaceful escape and a chance to connect with nature.
Ohio is home to a myriad of festivals celebrating its diverse culture and heritage. The state pulses with vibrancy as the Columbus Arts Festival showcases enthralling performances and innovative displays, weaving music, art, and history into its fabric.
Engage in the time-honored customs of the Cincinnati Oktoberfest aka Oktoberfest Zinzinnatti, revel in the magnetic charm of live music at the Cincinnati Music Festival, and savor delectable treats at the Circleville Pumpkin Show.
Immerse yourself in Irish traditions at the Dublin Irish Festival. Ohio’s festivals intricately enhance the tapestry of experiences, casting an enchanting spell across the landscape.
Ohio boasts a captivating array of museums that span diverse interests and eras. The Cleveland Museum of Art stands as a cultural treasure, offering an expansive collection of over 61,000 artworks from various civilizations. Meanwhile, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton serves as a tribute to aviation history, displaying a vast collection of aircraft and artifacts that chronicle the nation’s aerial achievements. Another noteworthy stop is the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, an architectural masterpiece that houses multiple museums under one roof. From the Cincinnati History Museum to the Museum of Natural History & Science, this hub offers a rich exploration of Cincinnati’s past, as well as engaging exhibits on natural history and science.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located between Akron and Cleveland, Ohio, is a verdant oasis that showcases the harmonious blend of nature and history. This national park encompasses over 33,000 acres; the park offers a diverse range of landscapes, from rolling hills and lush forests to serene waterways. The Cuyahoga River, which meanders through the park, provides opportunities for recreational activities such as kayaking, fishing and leisurely canal boat rides.
The Cleveland Orchestra
The Cleveland Orchestra, a revered institution since its establishment in 1918, stands as a beacon of artistic excellence and musical innovation. This world-class ensemble has earned international acclaim for its impeccable performances, lush sound and interpretive depth. Performing at the stunning Severance Hall, the orchestra offers a diverse repertoire that spans classical masterpieces, contemporary compositions and collaborative projects with esteemed guest artists.
Brewery tours in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland offer a tantalizing journey through Ohio’s thriving craft beer scene. In Cincinnati, known for its rich brewing history, from the historic Over-the-Rhine district to bustling neighborhoods, brewery tours offer an opportunity to savor a diverse range of locally brewed beers while learning about the city’s beer heritage.
In Columbus, the city boasts an array of craft breweries, each with its unique character and offerings. Brewery tours allow you to dive into the creative process behind brewing while sampling a spectrum of flavors, from hoppy IPAs to rich stouts.
In Cleveland, brewery tours take you through the neighborhoods that contribute to the city’s dynamic beer landscape. From iconic institutions to modern microbreweries, you can experience the art of brewing firsthand and enjoy a taste of Cleveland’s distinct beer culture.
I couldn’t add BrewDog under the brewery’s category because this place is one of a kind and they have many locations to choose from! Not only are they are brewery, but they have a beer museum, a patio with delicious food, a dog park, and a hotel for you and your furry friends!
The pups and I loved it here! DogBrew is part of Harvest Hosts, and they graciously let us stay two nights while we were visiting Columbus. I highly recommend giving it a visit even if you don’t have any furry friends.
Chagrin Falls is a picturesque and charming village located in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Nestled along the Chagrin River, this quaint town is known for its scenic beauty, historic architecture, and vibrant community atmosphere. The village is centered around a stunning 20-foot waterfall on the Chagrin River, which lends its name to the town.
African Safari Wildlife Park
The African Safari Wildlife Park, located in Port Clinton, Ohio, offers a captivating blend of adventure and wildlife encounters. This unique attraction provides visitors with an immersive experience that simulates a safari journey through different continents. From the comfort of their own vehicles, guests can drive through spacious enclosures where animals like giraffes, zebras, bison and even rare white rhinos roam freely.
“One of my favorite Ohio cities is Cincinnati. Whether you’re a history buff, sports fan or museum lover, the Queen City has you covered. Then there’s the food and art. Cincy has its own style of chili and an amazing beer scene. And when it comes to public art, you’ll be delighted to discover hundreds of amazing murals across the metro.”
— Sage Scott, Everyday Wanderer
Whether you’re wandering through world-class museums, embarking on a safari-like adventure or sipping fine wines amidst rolling vineyards, Ohio seamlessly weaves together a tapestry of attractions that cater to every taste. This diverse collection of things to do in Ohio captures the spirit of the state, inviting visitors to embrace its past, engage with its present and savor the variety of experiences it has to offer.
This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life