Cincinnati Reds

21 Unique Spring Things to Do in Cincinnati & Greater Dayton (SW Ohio)

Whether you’re a longtime resident or plan on visiting, the Buckeye State is bursting at the seams with activity when springtime comes around. There’s always something new to explore, a new city to visit, and even new food to try in Ohio during the spring.

If you’re really looking to make the most of the season this year, there are plenty of spring things to do in Cincinnati, Dayton, & Southwest Ohio that couples, families, and groups of friends will enjoy. Check out our list of some favorites!

Watch a Spring Cincinnati Reds Game

If you’re visiting Cincy in spring, no trip to the city is complete without watching a Cincinnati Reds game. Baseball is known as America’s pastime, and Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park is well-known among fans nationwide as one of the best places to watch the sport.

The Reds’ rich history, which includes five World Series Championships, means that the team hosts the traditional opener each season. There’s nothing better than a spring baseball game, seeing the most talented players in the world, and snacking on hot dogs and peanuts.

Cincinnati Reds - Cincinnati, Ohio - Spring in Southwest Ohio
Cincinnati Reds | photo via @wisteeria

Dayton Baseball

If you live closer to Dayton, stop by Fifth Third Field to watch the Dayton Dragons, Cincinnati’s Class A affiliate. It’s super affordable and a great way to see up-and-coming stars in action.

You can experience a lot more things to do in Dayton Ohio as well.

Dayton Dragons - Dayton, Ohio - Spring in Southwest Ohio
Dayton Dragons | photo via @wallygirl24

Have a Blast at Kings Island in Spring in Southwest Ohio

Northwest Ohio residents frequent Cedar Point each spring and summer for its array of roller coasters and fun. But in Southwest Ohio, Kings Island is the place to be. In 2019 alone, it’s estimated that more than 3.5 million people visited.

If you love roller coasters and carnival rides, Kings Island has them in spades. One of the newest coasters, Mystic Timbers, debuted in 2017 and takes visitors 109 feet high and speeds around at up to 53 mph. Thrill-seekers can also try riding The Beast or The Bat, or try free falling on the Xtreme Skyflyer.

Soak City Waterpark

If you’re looking for something a little different, visit Soak City Water Park, one of the many sections of Kings Island. You’ll find more than 50 water activities, including waterslides, artificial wave surfing, a lazy river, and much more.

Visit the Cincinnati Zoo During Spring

Few things light up children’s faces faster than a trip to the zoo. The Cincinnati Zoo is the perfect spot for a family outing on a spring day.

The Cincinnati Zoo is actually the second-oldest in the United States and features more than 500 animals and 3,000 plant species. It’s well known internationally for its conservation and research efforts too. Among the many attractions you can see are:

  • Elephant Reserve — It’s home to two different subspecies of Asian elephants.
  • Gorilla World — This attraction is one of the nation’s leading places for gorilla births and home to western lowland gorillas.
  • Cat Canyon — This area is home to cougars, snow leopards, and tigers.
  • World of the Insect — Explore the largest building in the United States dedicated to insect displays.
  • Dragons — This exhibit features five species of monitor lizards, including the Komodo dragon.
  • Hippo Cove — Home to Fiona, this is one of the zoo’s newest attractions, and Fiona is a star on social media.

Check Out a Museum During Spring in Cincinnati & Dayton

There are plenty of outdoor spring things to do in Cincinnati, Dayton, & Southwest Ohio, but don’t discount the indoor fun. You’ll find some of the best Ohio museums in this region that are chock-full of history and worth visiting.

National Museum of the US Air Force

This museum, near Dayton, is the world’s largest and oldest museum for military aviation. Visitors can walk through four presidential aircraft, board cargo planes, enjoy STEM learning opportunities, and much more.

National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton - Spring in Southwest Ohio
National Museum of the US Air Force – PT-19A Cornell | photo courtesy of Ashley Pichea

Cincinnati Museum Center

Located at Union Terminal, this center houses three museums in one building — the Cincinnati History Museum, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, and the Museum of Natural History and Science.

Cincinnati Museum Center, Cincinnati - Ohio Museums, Spring in Southwest Ohio
Cincinnati Museum Center | photo via @d.murray_photography

Dayton Art Institute

This art museum houses a collection of more than 20,000 works that span 5,000 years. It features Asian, European, and Oceanic art among its many exhibits.

Dayton Art Institute in Dayton - Spring in Southwest Ohio
Dayton Art Institute | photo via @t407_6256

Cincinnati Art Museum

Housing more than 67,000 artworks that span 6,000 years of history, this museum is considered one of the Midwest’s most comprehensive collections.

You’ll find a lot of other indoor things to do in Dayton Ohio too!

Cincinnati Art Museum - Cincinnati, Ohio - Spring in Southwest Ohio
Cincinnati Art Museum | photo via @ana_banana_newport

Warm Up in Spring With Cincinnati Specialty Dishes

Cincinnati is home to some great attractions, but it’s also home to some delicious foods that you need to try if you’re headed to Southwest Ohio. The Queen City offers mouthwatering cuisine, infused with flavors from all over the world. But a few that you need to sample are:

  • Chili — Cincinnati chili is well known in Southwest Ohio as a topper on many meals. It’s a spicy chili combined with beans and onions, and it’s usually put on Coney dogs, noodles, and even spaghetti.
  • Mock Turtle Soup — This dish was popularized by German immigrants in the 19th century and is a mix of beef, ketchup, and hard-boiled eggs.
  • Goetta — Similar to the Pennsylvania Dutch’s scrapple, this dish is a mix of ground meat, oats, and spices. In a lot of areas, it’s served as a breakfast food, but it can also be eaten on sandwiches, pizzas, and burgers.

Cincinnati Food Tours

If you’re having a hard time deciding where to eat, take a Cincinnati food tour. It eliminates all the guesswork and gives you a chance to sample the best that Cincy can offer.

The tours include stops at local eateries and the chance to see some of the city’s well-known landmarks with the help of a friendly tour guide.

Cincinnati Food Tours in Cincinnati - Spring in Southwest Ohio
Cincinnati Food Tours | photo via @skowatch

Butler County Donut Trail

For something sweet, hit the Donut Trail in Butler County. There are more than a dozen spots, and if you complete the trail, you get a special commemorative shirt. It’s a great way to sample some sweet treats and support local businesses.

Have Fun at a Playground During Spring in Southwest Ohio

There’s no better way for kids to enjoy spring weather than spending time on a playground. Fortunately, Southwest Ohio has plenty of them!

Cottell Park

Cottell Park offers something for kids of all ages and has plenty of space. There’s a designated spot for toddlers and picnics, and kids have tons of space to run around.

Land of Make Believe

Arguably one of the most unique play spaces in Cincinnati, this park is considered a hidden gem. It’s located right by an airport, so you’ll see plenty of planes, but it’s a place of pure fun for kids of all ages.

Makino Park

The Common Ground Playground at Makino Park is a one-of-a-kind space that’s accessible and encourages inclusivity. It has all kinds of great features and plenty of space for kids to roam.

West Fork Park

This park has recently been revamped and offers a great play space. There are unique features everywhere you look, including a zip line.

West Fork Park - Cincinnati, Ohio - Spring in Southwest Ohio
West Fork Park | photo via @mtadams1208

Check Out Southwest Ohio Spring Festivals

Anywhere you go in the Buckeye State, you’ll run into a bevy of awesome and fun festivals. Southwest Ohio has plenty of them that provide all sorts of fun during the spring season.

Food Truck Rally

If you love food, this festival in Troy is the place to be. There’s something for every culinary delight, whether you want a main course or a dessert.

Frontier Days

This festival began in Milford to celebrate the area’s heritage. Today, it has all the makings of a traditional festival — parades, marching bands, food, a carnival, and more.

Strawberry Festival

This festival in Troy is arguably one of the best in the state. It attracts more than a quarter-million visitors each year and features arts and crafts, a parade, car shows, and, of course, tons of strawberry goodies.

Oxford Wine Festival

This event is a great way to enjoy the charms of Oxford and a full day of international wine tastings. As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a beer garden, plenty of food, and live music.

Explore All the Spring Things to Do in Cincinnati, Dayton, & Southwest Ohio

Cincinnati, Dayton, and Southwest Ohio are jam-packed full of awe-inspiring history, delicious food, live sporting events, and so much more. It’s the perfect place to spend some time this spring by yourself, with family, or with friends.

Whatever you love to do for fun, you won’t leave Southwest Ohio disappointed. In fact, you’ll probably have so much fun that you’ll be chomping at the bit to make a return trip.

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