Looking for the best things to do in Ohio but not sure where to begin? You’ve come to the right place!
Our team has put together this extensive guide of some of the top Ohio things to do, organized into several categories: outdoors, indoors, family-friendly, romantic, budget-friendly, unusual, and seasonal.
Read on to discover your next Ohio adventure. You’ll see why the Buckeye State is our favorite!
Exciting Outdoor Things to Do in Ohio
6947 Riverview Rd, Peninsula, OH 44264
Ohio’s only national park has over 125 miles of scenic hiking trails — there’s a trail for everyone! Backpackers can also follow the statewide Buckeye Trail to explore the park where it intersects.
The park is over 30,000 acres, and there’s so much to see and do all year. Fish at Kendall Lake. Paddle down the river. Take a scenic train ride through the park. Have a family picnic. Attend one of the park-hosted excursion or education programs, like the Bird Walk and Ranger Talk events. Go snowshoeing during winter.
From summer to early fall, head down to Howe Meadow on Saturday mornings to check out the Countryside Farmer’s Market!
4521 Spring Grove Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45232
This 1840s graveyard isn’t so spooky but rather a scenic escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Escape the city to explore this magnificent, over 700-acre space full of trees, vast lawns, and lovely architecture designed by renowned architect Adolph Strauch.
The Ohio park features trees from all over the world, lakes with islands, a preserved forest, footbridges, and winding paths that lead you to explore the rest of the 12 ponds, chapels, and detailed mausoleums.
714 N Portage Path, Akron, OH 44303
At one time, this historic estate was home to F.A. Seiberling, the co-founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The astounding property is one of the largest historic estates in America and is even registered as a National Historic Landmark.
Both guided and self-guided tours are available of various areas of the estate’s 70 acres, which include 10 gardens and five buildings. Step back into time inside the 65-room Tudor Manor Revival House, where most of the furniture is original.
Tour the Great Hall, indoor swimming pool, Great Lodge, and Corbin Conservatory, or simply explore the grounds and gardens to see the beautiful flora of Ohio’s outdoors.
480 E Town St, Columbus, OH 43215
If you’re an art lover, you’ll love The Topiary Park — it’s the only topiary representation of a painting in the world. This Ohio park is a topiary recreation of famous post-impressionist artist Georges Seurat’s painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
In 1989, Columbus sculptor James T. Mason began crafting the installation by creating hills and even a pond to resemble the painting. Today, you can picnic among sculpted yew trees depicting 54 people, 8 boats, 3 dogs, a monkey, and a cat.
2844 River Rd, Willoughby Hills, OH 44094
Squire’s Castle isn’t a full castle but rather a gatehouse built in the 1890s, inspired by German and English baronial castles. You can find Squire’s Castle nestled within the North Chagrin Reservation, which is part of Cleveland Metroparks.
Explore Ohio history and Ohio outdoors on the castle’s grounds. Walk or bike around the park, and enjoy the sunshine. The surrounding park and its lovely lawns make for the perfect picnic spot too, or even a beautiful spot for a wedding!
2210 OH-245 E, West Liberty, OH 43357
Just an hour from Columbus are the largest caves in Ohio! With more than 2 miles of tunnels and colorful rock formations, the Ohio Caverns are definitely one of the best things to do in Ohio.
See an amazing variety of stalagmites and stalactites, including one of the most impressive stalactites in the entire world. This 5-foot-long, approximately 400-pound stalactite can be found inside Crystal King’s Cave. You can’t miss it!
Explore these Ohio caves in any season — the caverns are always about 54 degrees. Several different guided tours are available.
9550 Sperry Rd, Kirtland, OH 44094
Holden Arboretum is an absolutely lovely, vibrant place, and one of the best things to do in Ohio outdoors. The 3,500-acre arboretum boasts a beautiful selection of native Ohio flora and fauna, such as in the Holden Wildflower Garden, among other plants and animals.
Walk through treetops along the Murch Canopy Walk, which features a bridge that’s 65 feet off the ground. Experience tranquility as you watch butterflies and hummingbirds in the Holden Butterfly Garden.
If you’re in the mood for a hike, you can traverse the 120-foot-tall Kalberer Emergent Tower. It’s well worth it for rewarding, 360-degree scenic views of the arboretum.
19852 OH-664, Logan, OH 43138
Hocking Hills is one of the most famous state parks in Ohio and has even received international testament to its greatness. There’s an abundance of fantastic trails with beautiful scenery, including wildflowers, cliffs, waterfalls, grottos, blanketing hemlock, steep rock walls, and multiple caves.
Spelunkers will enjoy Old Man’s Cave, Whispering Cave, Rock House, and Ash Cave. Cantwell Cliffs is in a more remote location in the park, but it’s well worth it to see the idyllic scenery. Other popular areas include Cedar Falls and Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve.
9601 Headlands Rd, Mentor, OH 44060
If you enjoy collecting sea glass, head to Headlands Beach State Park! It’s an Ohio beach known to have more abundant, lovely varieties of colorful sea glass.
While you’re at this Ohio state park, you can also enjoy swimming and sun tanning on its 35 acres of shores, featuring fantastic Lake Erie views.
Plus, nearby is the Headlands Dunes State Nature Preserve, where you can explore sandy dunes and beaches. You might spot wildlife too, such as monarch butterflies, bald eagles, and red foxes.
Fantastic Indoor Things to Do in Ohio
631 S 3rd St, Columbus, OH 43206
The Book Loft is a very cool bookstore that you don’t want to miss. Located in the historic German Village, it’s a haven for lovers of literature and provides plenty of space for all — it’s one of the biggest independent bookstores in the United States, featuring 32 rooms of bargain books.
What makes it even more unique are the pre-Civil War era buildings that it’s housed in, including a saloon, old general stores, and a nickelodeon cinema.
While you’re in the area, you can explore other worthwhile indoor German Village stops, such as Schmidt’s Fudge Haus, Keny Galleries, and Winans Fine Chocolates and Coffees. There are plenty of outdoor things to do, too!
Indulge on the Ohio Ice Cream Trail
Various locations throughout Ohio
Did you know that our state actually has its own official Ohio Ice Cream Trail? Take a road trip to explore every corner of Ohio and discover some of the best ice creams you’ve ever had! Here are a few of our favorite Ohio Ice Cream Trail stops:
Toft Dairy & Ice Cream Parlor
3717 Venice Rd, Sandusky, OH 44870
This parlor is part of Ohio’s oldest dairy, and its ice creams are made fresh each day with local milk. It has a few locations where you can indulge, but we prefer the Sandusky Ohio location.
Velvet Ice Cream
11324 Mt Vernon Rd, Utica, OH 43080
This long-standing ice cream parlor is open at Ye Olde Mill in Utica from May through October. Enjoy a scoop of Pure Cinnamon ice cream before exploring the scenic 20-acre area.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
900 Mohawk St, Columbus, OH 43206
Jeni’s is so good that it has multiple ice cream parlors in Ohio and other states, but the Columbus location is our favorite. It even distributes pints nationwide. If you enjoy unique flavors, you’ll love the Everything Bagel and Watermelon Taffy ice creams.
Rookwood Ice Cream Parlor
1301 Western Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45203
BONUS! Although it’s not an official stop on the trail, you should check out Rookwood Ice Cream Parlor in the Cincinnati Museum Center.
The fabulous art deco design, complete with old train station tiles, is worth the stop. If you enjoy architecture, take some time to explore Union Terminal too. According to the website, it features the “largest half-dome in the Western Hemisphere.”
1330 Monmouth Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45225
Check out the American Sign Museum’s astounding, vast collection of retired (but well-preserved) elaborate signs, from neon signs to ones dating back to the 1800s.
The large museum is over 20,000 square feet and houses more than 500 signs along Main Street, complete with shop windows and more. Aside from just seeing these interesting, cultural works of art, you’ll also learn about the history of commercial sign-making.
You can even see tube-benders creating neon signs in the Neonworks of Cincinnati neon workshop, located inside the museum. Make sure to plan ahead for your visit because the museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
401 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115
If you feel like shopping but don’t want to miss out on the sunset, The Arcade in Cleveland Ohio may be the perfect place for you. It’s an astounding, historical shopping mall with beautiful architecture and a 300-foot-long, very high glass skylight. It feels like being outside even though you’re technically inside.
One of the country’s largest business magnates, John D. Rockefeller, funded the construction of The Arcade in the late 1880s. Construction of the structure was completed in 1890.
The shopping mall’s design, which includes a pair of nine-story towers and a five-story arcade, was inspired by the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan Italy. This opulent arcade was one of the first indoor shopping malls to open in the United States and is still in operation today.
953 Eden Park Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45202
The Cincinnati Art Museum is simply one of the best things to do in Ohio, especially if you’re an admirer of art. The art museum has been showcasing magnificent pieces of art since the late 1800s.
The immense collection features over 67,000 pieces dated within a spectrum of 6,000 years. It even has multiple annual national and international traveling exhibits. Expect to see the works of many renowned artists, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and Jacob Lawrence.
5440 Dixie Hwy, Fairfield, OH 45014
Although a bit unusual, Jungle Jim’s may very well be the most interesting grocery store you’ll ever go to. Jim is definitely not your everyday grocer. You’ll discover hard-to-find culinary delights among the collection of international cuisine and friendly, singing animatronics.
The almost 300,000-square-foot store has a diverse collection that’s been expanding since the 1970s. It currently sells more than 180,000 products. Some obscure items that you may be surprised to find include ground kangaroo, rattlesnake, and Buffalo Wing Soda. The eclectic decor won’t disappoint either.
Excellent Family-Friendly Things to Do in Ohio
1 Cedar Point Dr, Sandusky, OH 44870
This famous Ohio amusement park has been in operation since 1870 and is one of the best things to do in Ohio. It’s the perfect spot for adrenaline seekers and families alike, with 70 rides that will delight all family members.
Cedar Point has 17 roller coasters and other family-friendly activities, including immersive dining, live shows, shopping, summer events, and access to Cedar Point Beach on the shores of Lake Erie. Right next door is Cedar Point Shores Waterpark, the perfect destination for summer fun for all ages.
157 Easton Town Center, Columbus, OH 43219
Families can immerse themselves in the world of LEGOS in this 36,000-square-foot building — the “Ultimate Indoor LEGO Playground.” The LEGOLAND Discovery Center has kids’ play areas, interactive games, rides, a 4D theater, and more!
A fun, quick ride is Kingdom Quest, where you’ll fight LEGO monsters with laser guns shaped like LEGO pirate pistols. You’ll discover how LEGOS are made, and you’ll have the chance to build your own creations too! In addition, test the speed of your own crafted LEGO cars and race them on ramps.
Toy & Plastic Brick Museum
4597 Noble St, Bellaire, OH 43906
If you haven’t had enough of LEGOS yet, check out the Toy & Plastic Brick Museum for more! Its collection features more than 4 million — yes, million — plastic bricks, organized into mind-blowing statues and huge art pieces, some with animatronics.
Also known as the Unofficial LEGO Museum, it holds the Guinness World Record of having the World’s Largest LEGO Brick Image. Founder Dan Brown claims to have the biggest, private LEGO collection in the world. It’s definitely one of the most unique and best things to do in Ohio for families.
14000 International Rd, Cumberland, OH 43732
For a unique, more immersive Ohio zoo experience, visit The Wilds. It’s a nonprofit park dedicated to conservation and designed to give you and your family a safari adventure.
Visiting the zoo feels like being transported to the savannah. You’ll see wild animals like rhinos, African-painted dogs, bantengs, dholes, cheetahs, and more.
The Wilds has other activities aside from the zoo experience itself, including zip lining, fishing, and horseback riding. Families can also stay overnight in a cabin or participate in a camping experience with close-by exotic animals (WildNights at the Outpost).
418 4th St, Marietta, OH 45750
This historic, Gothic-Revival Ohio castle in Marietta was once home to influential, upper-class residents. Since 1855, it has been a spot for important community and business events.
When you step inside The Castle, it will feel like being transported to another time. You can tour the historic house museum any day of the week besides Wednesday.
Aside from tours, there are programs for kids and adults, including Cemetery Tours, Archaeology Camp, Princess Ivy’s Adventure, and more.
The Olander Park System consists of several parks, including Sylvan Prairie Park, Whetstone Park, Olander Park, Southview Oak Savanna, and the very unique Fossil Park.
5705 Centennial Rd, Sylvania, OH 43560
Visitors of all ages can dig for fossils at Fossil Park’s 5-acre rock quarry — one of only two great Devonian Era sites. You get to keep the fossils that you find! The park contains more than 200 different species of fossilized prehistoric life. You may be lucky enough to take home a brachiopod or fossilized coral.
8601 Brint Rd, Sylvania, OH 43560
Another Ohio park favorite is Sylvan Prairie Park, a rehabilitated area that features the natural beauty of the prairie and wetlands. It’s a great spot for skating, cycling, walking, and fishing. In wintertime, it’s a popular spot for sledding.
Explore Lake Erie’s Islands
Bass Islands and Kelleys Island
Hop on a ferry, and enjoy the many family-friendly things to do on Lake Erie’s islands!
One of the best things to do in Ohio for families is to visit Put-in-Bay, where you can explore Crystal Cave (walking around the world’s largest celestite geode), the Butterfly House, Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center, South Bass Island State Park, Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial (the tallest Doric column in the world), the Chocolate Museum, Stonehenge Estate, and the Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve.
Kelleys Island is fun to navigate — families can enjoy renting bikes or a golf cart when they arrive. Island highlights include Kelleys Island State Park, the Charles Herndon Galleries and Sculpture Gardens, sandy beaches, hiking areas, kayaking, beautiful views of Lake Erie, and dining and shopping options.
However, Kelleys Island is most famous for its National Natural Landmark — the glacial grooves, remnants of the ice age. They’re the largest in the world, measuring 400 feet long by 35 feet wide and up to 10 feet deep.
1779 Home Rd, Delaware, OH 43015
Take a self-guided tour through these fascinating Ohio caverns. Thousands of years ago, an underground river cut through limestone, forming the Olentangy Caverns. About a hundred years ago, the caves were used by settlers, and before that, by the Wyandot Tribe.
Explore the on-site museum to learn more about the caverns’ interesting history and see artifacts found there. Aside from the caves, there are plenty of other things to do at the family fun center.
Olentangy Caverns also has a walking trail in the woods, a petting zoo, miniature golf, a treasure hunt maze, gem mining, Cave Yoga, and summer camp activities.
Best Romantic Things to Do in Ohio
Visit Ohio’s Wine Country
Ashtabula County, OH
Enjoy a romantic getaway in Ohio Wine Country, a nickname rightfully awarded to Ashtabula County. The scenic area is home to more than 30 fantastic wineries. Sit down for a tasting, savor a deliciously paired charcuterie board, and stay awhile to explore the vineyards.
It’s the perfect place to get away from your daily routine and take in the relaxing scenery (with a glass of wine, of course). A few of the top Ohio wineries include Harpersfield Vineyards, M Cellars, Cask 307, Debonne Vineyards (which also has a microbrewery), and Laurentia Vineyard & Winery.
Make sure not to miss one of the best scenic spots in the county, the Harpersfield Covered Bridge. Relax at the nearby park while you admire the 230-foot-long Ohio covered bridge that spans the Grand River.
Various Ohio station locations
Get cozy on this about 3.5-hour train ride through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. You’ll be able to experience so much of the park’s natural beauty without ever leaving the train!
In the late 1880s, these same rails were used to transport coal. But since 1975, the scenic railroad has been taking passengers along on its beautiful, forested journey. Up the luxury and romance of your ride by upgrading to Upper Dome Class, which provides panoramic views.
The route is nestled between Independence and Akron, and you can board at a few different stations. If you want to explore the park and hitch a ride back to your vehicle, you can with an Explorer pass!
429 N Ohio Ave, Sidney, OH 45365
If you’re looking for an opulent, unique romantic getaway, you’ll love GreatStone Castle. The more than 100-year-old, limestone castle-like mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places and now operates as a bed and breakfast. It has three turrets and ancient oaks leading up to the property.
You’ll feel like royalty as you drive through the castle’s 2 acres of gardens and lawns and arrive in your relaxing, historic suite — the suites include a fireplace too. Complete your getaway with a rejuvenating massage and spa experience for you and your loved one.
3901 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214
Enjoy a romantic afternoon strolling through beautiful rose gardens, complete with paved walkways and benches. The 13 acres of Whetstone Park are full of 12,000 roses and herb and perennial gardens, making the Columbus Park of Roses one of the biggest public rose gardens in the United States.
The accredited arboretum is divided into five sections: the Formal Rose Garden, the Heritage Rose Garden (which features roses cultivated prior to 1867), the Perennial Garden, the Herb Garden, and the Backyard Garden. The park is free to visit and is open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk.
Cheap, Budget-Friendly Things to Do in Ohio
Visit Ohio State Parks
Various locations throughout Ohio
We’ve already mentioned a few fantastic Ohio state parks. But, there are many more sprinkled throughout Ohio — and they’re always free to visit!
Mercer County District Library Branches
You may never expect to find a dazzling, massive mineral collection housed within a public library. The well-curated collection is Ohio’s largest mineral collection, comprised of close to 1,000 pieces from around the world.
The collection is divided into 21 display cases between three branches of the Mercer County District Library
- Marion Branch Library at 5 E Franklin St, Chickasaw, OH 45826
- Mendon Union Branch Library at 105 Market St, Mendon, OH 45862
- St Henry Branch Library at 200 E Main St, St Henry, OH 45883
Fascinating Art Museums
We’ve compiled a list of some very cool and unique, yet budget-friendly, Ohio art museums, ranging from free admission to just $16 per person.
19255 W Portage River South Rd, Elmore, OH 43416
Located in Schedel Arboretum and Gardens, this museum displays lithophanes, which are thin sheets of stone (often porcelain) with art designed to be revealed when they’re backlit. They were popular during the Victorian era.
331 Karl Ave, Dover, OH 44622
Here, you can see a fascinating collection of Ohio-born master carver Ernest Warther’s work. He’s known as one of the best woodcarvers in America.
524 Wick Ave, Youngstown, OH 44502
This free museum has four centuries of American art. You can join a guided tour and even participate in art classes.
11150 East Blvd, Cleveland, OH 44106
For free, you can peruse more than 45,000 artworks that span 6,000 years. The museum features lectures, music, and films as well. Plus, it has a restaurant.
2445 Monroe St, Toledo, OH 43620
With a 40-acre campus, the Toledo Museum of Art is internationally known for its collection of 30,000 objects across 45 galleries. Its glass-walled extension features 5,000 pieces of glass artwork.
215 W Main St, Van Wert, OH 45891
The Brumback Library is just like most other libraries — except that the exterior is a Gothic and Romanesque-inspired castle. Designed by Toledo architect David Stine, it was the first country library to open in the United States.
This Ohio library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been in operation for over 120 years. You can grab a book and read inside this Ohio castle. It’s always free to visit!
Unique & Unusual Things to Do in Ohio
2511 Essex Pl, Cincinnati, OH 45206
Upon entering the Lucky Cat Museum, you’ll be greeted by over 2,000 waving cat paws. This Japanese icon dates back more than a century. Lucky cats are said to bring good luck and monetary fortune to those who display them.
You’ll find many variations of the lucky cat here, created from varying materials, such as ceramic, stone, wood, metal, plastic, and even the more modern, plushy version of the maneki-neko. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. by appointment only, so plan ahead before visiting.
228 E Main St, Alliance, OH 44601
This eclectic hidden gem is home to thousands of collectible trolls displayed in a 14-room immersive museum. Check out the Troll Hall of Fame, The Troll Bowl, Sigrid’s Workshop, the Troll Hunter Cabin, the Troll Cave, and so much more. Guided tours of The Troll Hole are available both in-person and virtually.
Owner Sherry Groom has been collecting trolls since age 5. She has been the Guinness World Record holder of the Largest Collection of Trolls since 2012. Groom had adopted over 8,000 of the little creatures when her record was renewed in 2018 — and that number has kept growing.
100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, OH 44905
This popular Ohio destination is one of the best things to do in Ohio, even if its story is a bit unusual. Its captivating architecture and beautiful exterior contrast its dark history, which dates back nearly 130 years — it first opened in 1896.
It’s well known in the paranormal community as being quite haunted. Search for signs from the other side at the former Mansfield Reformatory during a ghost hunt or tour. Around Halloween, you can participate in The Haunted Prison Experience.
If ghosts aren’t your cup of tea, you should also know that the award-winning film “The Shawshank Redemption” was primarily filmed here. Take the Hollywood Meets History tour or the Shawshank Bus Tour to learn more.
Top Seasonal Things to Do in Ohio
Spring Things To Do in Ohio
100 Short Ct St, Chardon, OH 44024
This is the oldest, and one of the biggest, maple festivals in the United States! The festival has been happening every April since 1926. Expect tree tapping, arts and crafts, pageants, live music, and more.
Downtown Chillicothe, OH
Head to Downtown Chillicothe for this annual festival, held every Memorial Day weekend. The festival serves to protect and celebrate Native American heritage, including the Chillicothe Tribe. It has plenty of family-friendly entertainment including Native American music, dancing, and crafting.
Check out more spring things to do in Ohio!
Summer Things To Do in Ohio
110 Lighthouse Dr, Marblehead, OH 43440
Marblehead Lighthouse is one of the oldest, continuously operating lighthouses on the American side of the Great Lakes. In fact, it just celebrated its 200th birthday — it has been operating since 1822! The lighthouse is open daily, noon to 4 p.m. from late May through early September.
4500 Navarre Ave, Oregon, OH 43616
Looking for a nostalgic summer thing to do? Head to the 1950s-style Sundance Drive-In, Northwest Ohio’s longest-running drive-in movie theater complete with two full screens and a concession stand.
There are even more summer things to do in Ohio!
Fall Things To Do in Ohio
24858 Big Pine Rd, Rockbridge, OH 43149
Part of Hocking Hills State Park, which is open year-round, fall is a wonderful time to visit this nature preserve. Conkles Hollow Rim Trail around this area is known for being particularly beautiful for admiring the fall foliage.
136 E Bagley Rd, Berea, OH 44017
Enjoy gorgeous views of changing fall colors in the trees that surround Berea Falls. There’s also an idyllic bridge that looks lovely in autumn.
You can experience even more fall things to do in Ohio!
Winter Things To Do in Ohio
Visit Amish Country
Holmes, Tuscarawas, and Wayne Counties
Ohio is home to the world’s largest Amish and Mennonite community! In the winter, the snow-covered, idyllic expanses of rolling hills and farmland are absolutely stunning.
Take a breath and enjoy the slow pace. Stay at a cozy inn. Get out of the cold to have a hot beverage and freshly baked goods at one of the local bakeries.
3100 Possum Run Rd, Mansfield, OH 44903
Ski, snowboard, and snow tube at this popular winter resort. It was the first of five ski resorts in Ohio to open and has been operating since 1961! The trails are suitable for all skill levels — from beginning to expert.
Find more winter things to do in Ohio!
Frequently Asked Questions About Things to Do in Ohio
How can I find things to do in specific regions of Ohio?
What are some of the most popular Ohio destinations?
To name a few — Cedar Point, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hocking Hills State Park, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
What Ohio city is the best to stay in if visiting from out of town?
There are quite a few great options, but it depends on what you’re planning to do on your trip. If you would like to explore multiple regions of Ohio, we recommend staying somewhere more central. There are some great day trips from Columbus!
More Attractions & Things to Do in Ohio
For more things to do in Ohio, check out our in-depth guides with categories ranging from good eats to seasonal attractions and family-friendly things to do.