Ohio located in the center of one of the most populous areas in the United States. Ohio is aptly and affectionately nicknamed “the heart of it all.” Although much of this picturesque state is made up of pretty, tranquil farmland, you can also find lush forests and picturesque rolling hills, and lovely Lake Erie makes up much of its northern border.
Although known for its sizeable Amish community, the Midwestern state is also home to the cosmopolitan cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus, with their excellent museums and entertaining tourist attractions. This striking contrast between bustling cities and laid-back country life is part of the reason there are so many different things to do in Ohio and what makes it so appealing to travel around.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
In downtown Cleveland, on the shores of Lake Erie, is the extraordinary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which is a must-see if you love music. Through a fascinating mix of memorabilia and multimedia, the museum takes you on a whirlwind journey through the history and development of rock music.
In addition to all of its interesting and informative exhibits on rock’s roots, influences, and impact, the museum also boasts an amazing array of artifacts from the likes of The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Jimi Hendrix. With so many incredible instruments, photos and outfits from some of history’s most iconic musicians, the entertaining Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is not to be missed.
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
Often regarded as one of the best zoos in the United States, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is a place worth visiting if you get the chance. Since its opening in 1875, it has not stopped growing and is now home to all kinds of amazing mammals, birds and reptiles.
Very popular place, it has all kinds of animals, from alligators and Asian elephants to hippos, komodo dragons and polar bears. Seeing these incredible creatures up close is an awe-inspiring experience, and the educational exhibits teach you all about their natural habitats and behaviors. As well as being highly regarded for its breeding programs, the zoo’s magnificent gardens are a delight to explore, with over 3,000 types of flowers, plants and trees lining its pretty pathways.
Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park, with its deep gorges, rugged rock formations, and sparkling waterfalls, is a spectacular place. It is sure to delight nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts as it offers a wealth of recreational activities, with hiking, camping and horse riding being particularly popular.
Protected as part of a park since 1924, its incredible nature covers a vast area, with countless cliffs and caves found among its endless hills and forests. Among its most outstanding attractions are the Cueva del Fresno, which looks like an amphitheater, and the fabulous waterfalls of the Cueva del Viejo. In its many lakes and rivers you can also fish, sail and swim. Located in the south central part of the state, Hocking Hills is Ohio’s most popular park for its stunning scenery.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
A very nice and quiet place to spend some time is the fantastic Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. It spans a large part of East Columbus and features several flower beds, beautiful grounds, and greenhouses that visitors can wander through.
Built in 1895, its charming conservatory is now home to more than 400 plant species, ranging from desert and jungle biomes to exotic Pacific Island flora. One of its many highlights is the elegant Palm House; its glass and steel structure exhibits exquisite Victorian-style architecture. Additionally, guests can explore its lush lawns and stroll through its impressive botanical gardens.
Lake Erie Islands
The archipelago of enchanting Lake Erie Islands stretches along the state’s coastline. While some of the idyllic islands are known for their picturesque nature and wealth of water sports, others are dotted with resorts and restaurants and have plenty of entertainment on offer.
One of the main tourist centers is the town of Put-in-Bay, on the island of South Bass. It is packed with hotels and taverns, with some quality wineries to visit nearby. By contrast, both Kelleys Island and Pelee Island are quiet and sparsely populated, with stunning coastline and scenery to explore. Easily accessible by ferry, the islands are very popular to visit in the sunny summer months, with great swimming, fishing and boating.
Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati)
In the heart of the city, on the banks of the Ohio River, is the gigantic and gleaming Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds, the first professional baseball franchise in the United States. When you’re in town, it’s worth watching them play a match for the intoxicating and unforgettable atmosphere.
Since replacing the franchise’s former home ground, Cinergy Field, in 2003, this state-of-the-art stadium has hosted countless games. His two smokestacks shoot off fireworks after every Reds home run and win. In addition to seeing a game, visitors can stop by the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, which features various exhibits on the history and accomplishments of the team and its players.
Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum
A fascinating place to visit, the incredible Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum is located on the outskirts of Wapakoneta, the small town where the famous astronaut grew up. In addition to offering an interesting insight into his life and achievements, the magnificent museum also documents Ohio’s significant contributions to aeronautics and space exploration.
Founded in 1972, it’s packed with lunar memorabilia and shiny spaceships; his futuristic building looks like it could be a moon base. Named after the first man to walk on the Moon, the sprawling exhibit halls feature informative displays for visitors, as well as artifacts from Apollo 11 and the gleaming Gemini 8 spacecraft.
Toledo Museum of Art
Known the world over for its colossal collection, the stupendous Toledo Museum of Art houses over 30,000 fabulous paintings, photographs and sculptures. Located just outside the center of Toledo, in a large Greek-style building, it has 45 magnificent galleries to explore, with beautiful works of art everywhere you look.
Opened in 1901, it displays wonderful works by such famous artists as Rubens, Rembrandt and Van Gogh, with sublime sections on African and Japanese art. The wonderful museum also houses temporary installations and exhibitions, and conferences, workshops and cultural events are regularly held in its classrooms and concert hall.
West Side Market (Cleveland)
Just southwest of downtown Cleveland is the wonderful West Side Market, which has a lively yet laid-back atmosphere. Its Byzantine-style brick building impressively houses more than a hundred stalls, with vendors selling fresh food, vegetables and fruit from all over the world.
Very European in appearance, the market’s many stalls are dotted around its immense open-air interior and atmospheric arcade outside. Thus, walking through its rows of butchers, bakeries and local shops is a lot of fun, with tasty delicacies to taste from places as far away as Italy, Ireland or Iran.
King’s Island (Mason)
The largest amusement park in the Midwest, Kings Island is a place for a fun family day out. Located 25 miles northeast of Cincinnati, its staggering array of more than a hundred attractions is just outside the small town of Mason.
As well as thrilling rides and roller coasters, it has some lovely themed areas to explore such as Planet Snoopy and Rivertown. In this popular park there are excellent restaurants and shops, as well as Soak City, a water park with many pools and slides. With regular events and entertainment, Kings Island guarantees visitors a thrill every minute.
One of the biggest and best amusement parks in the world, Cedar Point sits on a peninsula jutting out into Lake Erie. Known as the “roller coaster capital of the world”, it boasts a huge number of rides, with a world record 71 rides for visitors to try.
There are 17 roller coasters scattered throughout the venue, six of which reach a height of 60 meters or more. Although they are designed to excite and thrill, there are other rides and carousels on Planet Snoopy that are more suitable for children. As if all of its restaurants, resorts, and attractions weren’t enough, Cedar Point is also right next to a gorgeous beach and wild water park.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located in the northeast of the state, revolves around the winding river of the same name. Located in a serene location between Akron and Cleveland, it boasts dramatic landscapes, scenery, and nature for visitors to enjoy, as well as countless outdoor activities.
Protected and conserved since 1974, the vast valley and its wonderful forests, waterfalls and wildlife are a delight to explore on foot and by mountain bike. In addition to its natural wonders, Ohio’s only national park is home to some fascinating historic sites, including Hale Farm and Town. Remnants of the various Native American peoples who inhabited the region can also be found along the banks of the Cuyahoga River.
Cleveland Museum of Art
On the east side of the city is the world famous Cleveland Museum of Art, which features beautiful works of art from around the world. Although it is especially known for its extensive collection of Asian and Egyptian art, its endless galleries include everything from paintings by Botticelli and Goya to Auguste Rodin’s sensational sculpture The Thinker.
Since opening in 1913 on the edge of beautiful Wade Park, its collection has grown and now includes more than 60,000 phenomenal paintings, photos, and prints. With sections on Impressionism, Indian and Islamic art, among others, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most visited art museums in the world.
National Museum of the United States Air Force
Just outside Dayton is the National Museum of the US Air Force, the world’s oldest and largest military aviation museum. It is a very popular place, with more than 360 aircraft and missiles on display, as well as countless artifacts and memorabilia related to the history and development of aviation.
Since its opening in 1923, its colossal collection has not stopped growing; Its huge hangars now house everything from a replica of the Wright brothers’ 1909 Military Flyer to presidential planes and shiny spaceships. One of Ohio’s most popular tourist attractions, this massive museum is located on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
With its fertile farms, serene landscapes, and interesting historical sites, the Amish country of Ohio is a real joy to travel to. Surrounding Millersburg, in Holmes County, is the second largest Amish community in the country, after Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
To better understand and appreciate their way of life, it’s worth going to the Hershberger Farm & Bakery. As well as having plenty of tasty treats to try, there’s also a petting zoo for the whole family and an antique farm shop. However, it is best to take a leisurely carriage ride through the picturesque countryside.