Ohio may not be at the top of your travel bucket list, but the state has a lot going for it. As a long-time resident of Ohio, I’ve had plenty of time to explore the state and I can tell you with confidence that there are a lot of fun things to do here.
Here are a couple of things that may surprise you about this midwestern state. Ohio is within a day’s drive of 50% of the United States population and has 3 major cities — Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. The capital city of Columbus is actually the 14th largest city in the entire United States!
Between those cities is a network of small towns and rural areas that can be fun road trip stops as well as a network of State Parks and even a U.S. National Park.
Before you plan your next road trip or a weekend getaway, be sure to check out these fun things to do in Ohio for some travel inspiration!
If you’re impatient, skip ahead to take a peek at the top 10 Ohio attractions!
39 Fun Things To Do In Ohio
There are so many fun things to do in Ohio and I’m so excited to share my home state with you. To make this easier, these Ohio attractions are separated by geographical area so you can easily find things to do in the city that you’re visiting.
- Columbus and Central Ohio
- Cleveland and Northeastern Ohio
- Cincinnati and Dayton
- Southeast Ohio
- Lake Erie
1. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is one of the best (and largest) zoos in the United States¹ and has been featured on the Nat Geo WILD show, “Secrets of the Zoo”. Made famous in part by the director emeritus, Jack Hannah, the Columbus Zoo also features a water park and golf course in addition to fantastic animal exhibits.
Location: 4850 Powell Road, Powell, Ohio
2. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, located just outside of downtown Columbus, features botanical biomes, gardens, special exhibits, seasonal attractions, classes, and a collection of Dale Chihuly glass. If you’re visiting Columbus in the fall, check out the Pumpkins Aglow exhibit, and don’t miss Conservatory Aglow if you’re visiting in the winter.
Location: 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio
3. COSI (Center of Science and Industry)
If you’re looking for things to do in Ohio with kids, COSI should be high on your list. This interactive kids museum features exhibits and attractions for kids of all ages. Highlights include the Little Kidspace for the youngest visitors, the Dinosaur Gallery, a Planetarium, and the National Geographic Giant Screen Theater.
Location: 333 W. Broad St., Columbus, Ohio
4. Go to a Columbus Blue Jackets Game
Sports fans will love experiencing a Columbus Blue Jackets game at Nationwide Arena. Come see why Columbus is a great sports town. Single-game tickets are available here.
Location: 200 W. Nationwide Blvd, Columbus, Ohio
EXPLORE MORE: Explore downtown Columbus with the help of a guided scavenger hunt.
5. Visit The North Market
The North Market is a great stop for foodies. This public market/food hall is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. You can visit the original location downtown (that’s been around for over 140 years) or the brand new Bridge Park location in Dublin.
- Downtown | 59 Spruce St., Columbus, Ohio
- Bridge Park | 6750 Longshore St, Dublin, Ohio
6. See The Dublin Link Pedestrian Bridge
Dublin, Ohio is a great place to visit in Ohio. The 2 main areas of interest are Historic Dublin and the new Bridge Park area. These areas are on opposite sides of the Scioto River and are now connected by The Dublin Link, a 760-foot long S-shaped suspension bridge. You’ll find great restaurants and shopping in this highly walkable area.
Location: 6694 Riverside Dr., Dublin, Ohio
7. Experience German Village
German Village is one of the coolest neighborhoods in Columbus and a must-see Ohio attraction. This area is known for cobblestone streets and charming 19th-century houses. You’ll also find lots of great local restaurants and shops. Don’t miss these local favorites:
- The Book Loft | 631 S. Third St, Columbus, Ohio
- Pistacia Vera | 541 S. Third St, Columbus, Ohio
- Fox in the Snow Cafe | 210 Thurman Ave. Columbus, Ohio
8. Ohio Caverns
Often called, “America’s Most Colorful Caverns”, Ohio Caverns is the largest cave system in Ohio. Tours are available year-round.
Location: 2210 E. State Route 245, West Liberty, Ohio
9. See The World’s Largest Gavel
If you like quirky public art, then you’ll want to cruise through downtown Columbus, Ohio to see the world’s largest gavel. This sculpture is 30 feet long and 13 feet high.
Location: 145 S. Front St, Columbus, Ohio
10. See The World’s Largest Basket Building
If unique roadside attractions are your thing, then you’ll definitely want to check out the world’s largest basket. This 7-story tall building shaped like a basket once housed Longaberger Basket’s headquarters.
Location: 1500 E. Main St, Newark, Ohio
11. Rock n’Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame is a must when you’re visiting Cleveland. The Hall of Fame features permanent galleries and special exhibits that showcase the history of Rock and Roll music. Tickets can be purchased online.
Location: 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd, Cleveland, Ohio
12. Pro Football Hall of Fame
Ohio is home to another Hall of Fame too — The Pro Football Hall of Fame. Fun fact: the Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton because Canton is the birthplace of the National Football League (which was originally called the American Professional Football Association).
Location: 2121 George Halas Dr. NW, Canton, Ohio
13. Go to a Cleveland Browns Game
Cleveland is a football town and there is nothing quite like the energy of a crisp fall day at a Cleveland Browns game. If you want the full experience, get a ticket in the Dawg Pound section of seats.
Location: FirstEnergy Stadium | 100 Alfred Lerner Way, Cleveland, Ohio
14. Go to a Cleveland Cavaliers Game
While hometown favorite LeBron James has moved on, Cleveland Cavs fans are still a loyal bunch. You’ll love the energy of the city on game day. Single-game tickets are available here. Fun Fact: Usher is a minority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Location: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse | 1 Center Court, Cleveland, Ohio
15. Experience E. 4th Street in Cleveland
The E. 4th Street area in downtown Cleveland is full of great restaurants, bars, and entertainment and is a popular spot during Cleveland Cavaliers games.
Location: E. 4th St, Cleveland, Ohio
EXPLORE MORE: If you’re looking for more foodie experiences in Cleveland, you’ll love taking a guided food tour. Check out the Little Italy Food Tour, the Tremont Neighborhood Food Tour, or the Ohio City Food Tour.
16. Visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Did you know that Ohio has a National Park? Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located just outside of Cleveland and has some great hiking trails for the outdoor lover.
Location: Boston Mill Visitor Center | 6947 Riverview Rd, Peninsula, Ohio
READ MORE: Cuyahoga Valley National Park Hiking Trails
17. Visit Dave Grohl Alley and The World’s Largest Drumsticks
Any Foo Fighters or Nirvana fan will want to check out Dave Grohl Alley in Warren. In addition to some cool murals painted by local artists, you’ll find the world’s largest drumsticks. Grohl, himself, even attended the official opening in 2009.
Location: Main Street SW in downtown Warren, Ohio
18. See The World’s Largest Rubber Stamp
Another “world’s largest” that Ohio can claim is the world’s largest rubber stamp! The 49-foot stamp features the word “free” on it, honoring soldiers from the Civil War and freedom from slavery.
Location: Williard Park | East 9th St and Lakeside Ave in downtown Cleveland, Ohio
19. Explore West Side Market
West Side Market is the oldest market in Cleveland and includes 100 vendors selling fruits, veggies, meat, baked goods, dairy, flowers, and more. You can take a tour of the West Side Market that includes samples at 15 select vendors (a great way to experience the market for the first time).
Location: 1979 W. 25th St, Cleveland, Ohio
20. Visit The Christmas Story House
You can visit the house from A Christmas Story and even stay overnight. Across the street from the house is the A Christmas Story museum featuring memorabilia from the film. This Ohio attraction is one of the stops on the Hidden Sights and Stops of Cleveland tour.
Location: 3159 W. 11th St., Cleveland, Ohio
21. Visit the Ohio State Reformatory (The Shawshank Trail)
The Ohio State Reformatory, also known as the Mansfield Reformatory, was made famous when it was featured in the hit movie, The Shawshank Redemption. You can take a guided tour or do a self-tour of the facility.
Location: 100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, Ohio
22. Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens
The Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens is a National Historic Landmark in Akron, Ohio. The 70-acre property features a 65-room main house, the Gate Lodge, a Conservatory, and plenty of gardens. Fun Fact: The Gate Lodge is the birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous. Guided tours are available.
Location: 714 N. Portage Path, Akron, Ohio
23. Spend The Day at King’s Island
If you love amusement parks, you’ll definitely want to spend the day at King’s Island. If you’re of a certain age or enjoy old TV shows, you may remember this park from an episode of The Brady Bunch that was filmed in 1973 during the park’s second season of operation.
Location: 6300 King’s Island Drive, Kings Island, Ohio
24. Findlay Market
Findlay Market is a local gem that’s been in operation since 1855, making it Ohio’s oldest continuously operating public market. This gathering place aims to bring together local merchants, farmers, and artisans to offer locally made, fresh products at fair prices to the people of Cincinnati. You can visit on your own or you can take a guided tour with tastings.
EXPLORE MORE: Are you looking for more foodie activities? You’ll visit Findlay Market along with local restaurants on this Cincinnati Street Car Food Tour. Satisfy your sweet tooth on a Cincinnati Wine and Dessert Tour, or explore plant-based food on a Cincinnati Vegan Food Tour.
25. Eat Your Way Through The Butler County Donut Trail
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you can embark on the Butler County Donut Trail! If you complete the trail, you’ll earn a coveted Donut Trail shirt. You can download a map and Donut Trail passport online.
Location: Butler County Ohio
26. Over-The-Rhine in Cincinnati
Check out the hip Over-The-Rhine (OTR) neighborhood in Cincinnati for craft breweries, great restaurants, shops, and entertainment. Highlights include Cincinnati Music Hall, Findlay Market, and Washington Park. If you’re not sure where to start, take an Over-The-Rhine food tour or a tour of Findlay Market complete with food tastings.
Location: North of E. Central Pkwy and East of 127
EXPLORE MORE: If you’re into the craft beer scene, you won’t want to miss this Cincinnati Craft Brewery Small Group Tour.
27. Cincinnati Museum Center
Cincinnati Museum Center is a multi-museum complex located in Union Terminal, a National Historic Landmark. It includes the Cincinnati History Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science, the Cincinnati History Library and Archives, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, and the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX Theater.
Location: 1301 Western Ave, Cincinnati, Ohio
28. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park is a non-profit park and outdoor sculpture museum. It spans over 300 acres and is home to over 80 outdoor sculptures. Visitors will also enjoy the Ancient Sculpture Museum, which mimics an ancient Roman home and is filled with can’t-belive-this-is-in-Ohio ancient art.
Location: 1763 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton, Ohio
29. Cincinnati Reds Game
If you’re visiting Ohio in the spring or summer, be sure to enjoy a day at the ballpark at a Cincinnati Reds game. Single-game tickets are available online.
Location: Great American Ball Park | 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, Ohio
EXPLORE MORE: Baseball fans will also love this guided tour that explores the controversial 1919 World Series between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox.
30. Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, which opened in 1873, is one of the oldest zoos in the country and is home to the famous hippo named Fiona. She was the first Nile hippo to be scanned in utero using ultrasound, and the first hippo to be born at the zoo in 75 years.
Location: 3400 Vine St, Cincinnati, Ohio
31. Visit The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Located at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, the National Museum of the U.S Air Force displays over 360 aircraft and missiles. It’s the oldest and biggest military aviation museum in the world.
Location: 1100 Spaatz St, Dayton, Ohio
32. Loveland Castle
Did you know you can visit a castle in Ohio? At Loveland Castle & Museum, visitors can tour the castle, learn about how it was made, explore the grounds and gardens, play games and puzzles, or simply enjoy a family picnic.
Location: 12075 Shore Dr, Loveland, Ohio
33. The Wilds
The Wilds is my pick for the #1 fun thing to do in Ohio! This non-profit outdoor safari park and conservation center is also one of the most unique things you can do in Ohio. You can take an open-air safari tour or a specialty tour, and you can even spend the night on the property. It’s a fantastic place that will have you questioning if you are actually in Ohio or not!
Location: 14000 International Road, Cumberland, Ohio
24. Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park offers some of the best hiking in Ohio. In addition, you’ll find cool rock formations, waterfalls, and caves. You can visit during a day trip or you can spend the night in one of the region’s cabin rentals.
Location: 19852 OH-664, Logan, Ohio
35. The Alan Cottrill Sculpture Studio
The Alan Cottrill Sculpture Studio is located in Zanesville and it’s one of the most unique things to do in Ohio. Alan Cottrill is a sculptor who grew up in the area and came back after traveling the world to set up a studio/gallery. At the studio, you’ll see the largest collection of bronze sculptors by any living artist. Cottrill’s work can be seen throughout the United States including pieces at The Ohio State University and the U.S. Capital Statuary Hall, and the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center in Georgia.
Location: 110 S. 6th St, Zanesville, Ohio
36. Visit Put-In-Bay
Put-In-Bay is located on South Bass Island in Lake Erie. On the island, you’ll find plenty of outdoor and water activities to make the most of your summer vacation.
Location: Put-In-Bay Visitor Center | 470 Loraine Ave, Put-In-Bay, Ohio
37. Cedar Point
According to authorities like Travel & Leisure and The Travel Channel, Cedar Point is one of the best amusement parks in the U.S. Uniquely situated on a peninsula in Lake Erie, this park has 18 roller coasters, and plenty of attractions for families and kids, plus Cedar Point Shores Waterpark.
Location: 1 Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, Ohio
38. Lakeside Chautauqua
If you like wholesome family fun, head to the shores of Lake Erie for a family vacation in Lakeside Chautauqua. This private community offers family activities that make you feel like you stepped back in time.
Location: 236 Walnut Ave, Lakeside, Ohio
39. Kelleys Island
Kelleys Island, located in Lake Erie, is a popular Ohio summer vacation spot. Since there are no bridges connecting the island, you’ll need to take a boat, ferry, or private plane to get there. Once on the island, you’ll find activities like boating, fishing, swimming, camping, and more.
Location: Kelleys Island, Ohio
- The Wilds – My recommendation for the #1 Ohio attraction!
- Rock n Roll Hall of Fame
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- Hocking Hills State Park
- Put-In-Bay/Lake Erie
- Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
- Cedar Point
- National US Air Force Museum
- German Village
- Franklin Park Conservatory
Q: What is Ohio best known for?
Ohio is well known for these fun and interesting things:
- It’s the birthplace of aviation and home to many astronauts including John Glenn
- Dublin, Ohio is home to the Memorial Golf Tournament and Wendy’s Restaurants
- Akron is the rubber stamp capital of the world and the birthplace of LeBron James
- Columbus is home to The Ohio State University and the wildly popular Ohio State Buckeyes football team
- Famous Ohioans include John Glenn, LeBron James, Neil Armstrong, Steven Spielberg, Paul Newman, Rob Lowe, Luke Perry, Russel Wilson, Dave Grohl, Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ben Roethlisberger, John Legend, Toni Morrison, Dean Martin, Clark Gable, Doris Day, Dave Chappelle, Drew Carey, and Jack Nicklaus.
- Cedar Points is often recognized as the best amusement park in America
Q: What is unique to Ohio?
Some of the most unique attractions in Ohio are:
- The Wilds
- Rock n Roll Hall of Fame
- National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
- Pro Football Hall of Fame
- A Christmas Story House
Q: What can you do for free in Ohio?
If you’re looking for free things to do in Ohio, check out these activities:
- Go hiking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park or Hocking Hills State Park
- Explore Dublin, Ohio and Indian Run Falls
- Explore the Findlay Market in Cincinnati
- Explore German Village in Columbus
- Take a wacky roadside attractions road trip to see the world’s largest gavel, the world’s largest rubber stamp, the world’s largest basket building, and the world’s largest drumsticks
Q: What food is Ohio famous for?
Ohio is a great place to visit if you’re a foodie! First, you’ll want to visit Schmidt’s in Columbus’ German Village which has been featured on Man vs. Food. You can also try the Thurmanator at Thurman Cafe — a huge burger that’s also been featured on Man vs. Food. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll want to try the hometown favorite, Jeni’s Ice Cream, and you can’t visit Ohio without sampling a buckeye. These peanut butter and chocolate candies are in the shape of the buckeye nut that gives Ohio its nickname.
Q: What are the best things to do in Ohio with kids?
If you’re visiting Ohio with kids, you’ll want to check out these attractions:
- Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
- Cedar Point
- King’s Island
- Butler County Donut Trail
- Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden