Located in the heart of the American Midwest and situated near glistening Lake Erie, Toledo has long played an important role in the development of Ohio. This has long been a city of trade and commerce, and lately, it has become a go-to destination for travelers of all ages.
The people who live in Northeast Ohio, as well as those who live a bit farther away, have found that the welcoming atmosphere of the city is refreshing and its story of resilience and strength is admirable.
Toledo is a tough city that has endured its own struggles throughout history, but today, it is on the path toward revitalization, providing residents and visitors alike with many opportunities and attractions to enjoy.
Our guide will provide you with everything that you need to know about the best things to do in Toledo Ohio.
About The Glass City
Known to the locals as The Glass City, Toledo is home to more than 270,000 people. What was once a city defined by trade and manufacturing today is a vibrant community filled with a diverse range of residents, many of whom are involved in the developing arts scene, the health care industry, the automobile manufacturing sector, and the growing foodie culture.
Toledo Ohio History
To understand how Toledo got to be where it is today, you need to know a little bit more about its past. This Midwestern town was established along the banks of the Maumee River in the 19th century.
However, prior to its official establishment as a city, this was a region of Ohio that was occupied the Wyandot tribe and the Council of the Three Fires. The native people who first lived in the Toledo region began trading with the French, which set the stage for the importance of trade within this region for centuries.
Throughout the 19th century, an influx of European settlers came into the area, further pushing the tribes who had long controlled the region off of the land. By the year 1845, the Miami and Erie Canal was completed, making trade and industry development easier than ever in the city — and its population boomed.
In the early 20th century, Toledo was hit hard by the Great Depression, but this allowed its residents to showcase their hardy resilience. The city benefited from many public works projects, and soon, it was on its way to being a Midwestern powerhouse once again.
However, the latter half of the 20th century proved to be challenging, and the Great Recession that defined the first decade of the 21st century certainly had a significant impact on the health and development of the city. Fortunately, since the waning days of the Great Recession, the city has once again bounced back.
Toledo Ohio Today
Today, Toledo is a bustling metropolitan center, and its downtown is showcasing the progress of the revitalization efforts that residents have made throughout the last 15 or 20 years.
Toledo is the type of place where people can go to immerse themselves in culture, dine on delicious food and make memories with the people that they love the most.
Where to Stay When You Visit Toledo
If you are planning a visit to Toledo, you will be pleased to know that there are many unique places where you can stay and engage with the local people who call this place home. From vacation rentals that offer long-term stays to hotels Toledo Ohio features with skyline views, you will find a comfortable place to rest your head in this city.
These are a few of the best places to stay in Toledo:
This towering hotel in downtown Toledo is perhaps one of the most iconic sites in the city. It is conveniently located in the center of the downtown area, and many of its rooms boast waterfront views of the Maumee River.
The Casey-Pomeroy House
The Casey-Pomeroy House is perfect for history buffs who want to learn more about the city’s past. This boutique hotel is located inside a home that was built in 1870, and it is decorated with period furniture throughout.
While it may be historic in nature, there are still modern amenities available for all guests in this six-bedroom hotel.
For an authentic Toledo experience, consider booking a vacation rental. One vacation rental that is available is a high-rise loft that is located on the penthouse level of a local building. You can make yourself right at home as you explore everything that the city has to offer.
Toledo East/Stony Ridge KOA Journey Campground
At the Toledo East/Stony Ridge KOA Journey Campground, you can escape to the beauty of the great outdoors after you spend a day enjoying the cosmopolitan attractions in the city.
This campground offers pull-through, full-hookup spots for RVs, and guests can enjoy its premier amenities, including the gem mining area, the mini-golf course, and the children’s playground.
Enjoy the Flavor of the City at These Local Toledo Restaurants
When you spend a day experiencing the sights and sounds of Toledo, you are bound to work up an appetite. Fortunately, this city has become a haven for locally-owned restaurants that specialize in menu items crafted from fresh, seasonal ingredients. You are sure to find something that will fill your belly as well as your soul in The Glass City.
These are some of the local Toledo restaurants that you should include in your itinerary:
Tony Packo’s Cafe
Tony Packo’s Cafe is one of the oldest restaurants in the city, and it has earned its place as one of the most iconic spots in Toledo. The restaurant was started in the height of the Great Depression by the son of an immigrant who needed to find a way to make a living.
Not only did he make a living, but he created an experience that would become a tradition in Toledo. This casual restaurant has several locations in the city, all of which offer Eastern European meals.
This restaurant is located inside a historic building, yet it represents the modern revitalization efforts that have taken place in downtown Toledo over the course of the past decade. Its extensive menu appeals to both local residents and visitors, making this one of the most popular dining spots in the city.
For a fine dining experience with a panoramic view, consider dining at Brim House, which is located at the top of the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Toledo.
This is a hot spot for business travelers, and it also is considered to be one of the most romantic restaurants in the city.
Sip Craft Beer at the Top Breweries in Toledo
Not only has Toledo become famous for its flavorful restaurants, but it also has become a haven for those who love to sip well-rounded beers at craft breweries. The craft beer scene in Toledo was established in the early 1990s — long before it became the thing to do.
Not only are some of its original establishments still thriving today, but many other innovative brewers have joined in the mix. These are the best places to get craft beer in Toledo:
Black Frog Brewery
Black Frog Brewery was established by a Toledo native and Army veteran who felt that the people of this city deserved a low-key, comfortable place to come and drink delicious beer.
This brewery is known for its extensive tap list, which consists of more than 40 different types of beers. This is a place where you can come to experiment with flavors and styles, and you will never be disappointed.
Maumee Bay Brewing Company
Established in 1995, the Maumee Bay Brewing Company was the original player in the craft beer scene in Toledo. While it may be nearly 30 years old, it still has a loyal following of patrons while still attracting newbies who are just discovering what craft beer is all about.
In addition to having a diverse tap list, this brewery also features a full dining menu.
Upside Brewing Company
Upside Brewing Company is actually a nano brewery that offers craft beer drinkers an intimate experience.
The thing about visiting this brewery is that you will never find the same beer twice. It specializes in small-batch brews, which means that you can always find something special and distinct.
Patron Saints Brewery
Patron Saints Brewery is a small craft brewery in Toledo that is run by two brewers who began their careers as hobbyists. Its small location in West Toledo is perfect for its regulars, but this brewery hopes to grow significantly in the coming months and years.
When you visit this brewery, you will quickly notice that each beer is named after a Saint. Choose the one you want to sip with, and enjoy!
Things to Do With Your Kids in Toledo
While the extensive food scene and the burgeoning beer scene ensure that all adults in Toledo can always find someplace to have a good time, it’s important to remember that there are many family-friendly activities and attractions in the city.
Toledo has long been considered a place where families of all shapes and sizes can go to spend a day and make lifelong memories together. These are just a few of the things to do with kids in Toledo:
Visit the Toledo Zoo
This zoo, which opened in the city in the year 1900, is currently home to more than 10,000 animals across more than 720 species. Boasting up-close-and-personal exhibits, this zoo is ideal for young children as well as those who are young at heart.
In addition to the many animal exhibits to visit and explore, the zoo also has interactive activities, such as feeding the giraffes or enjoying a zipline ride over the African savanna. It plans seasonal events and activities throughout the year, but its Lights Before Christmas exhibit is one of the most popular holiday events in the town.
Enjoy hands-on learning at the Imagination Station
The Imagination Station is a hands-on museum located in the heart of downtown Toledo. This museum is dedicated to science and technology, and children of all ages can come to the museum to see science in action for themselves.
In addition to its permanent exhibits, this museum also constantly rotates new exhibits into the building, ensuring that every child can learn something new during each visit to the museum.
Play on the playground
Toledo boasts an extensive parks system, and many of its city parks include playgrounds for kids of all ages, stages, and abilities. Some of the best playgrounds in Toledo can be found at the Metroparks Toledo offers: Wildwood Preserve Metropark, Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, and Ottawa Park.
Free and Cheap Activities in the City
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you decide to vacation in Toledo. There are plenty of free and cheap things to do in Toledo, many of which are designed for people of all ages to enjoy.
Looking to save a few dollars? Consider these free and cheap things to do in Toledo:
Take a self-guided tour of the Art Loop
From April through December, the Art Loop opens up every Thursday evening. Guests can buy a wristband for just more than $1 and learn more about the artists, collections, and installations that are part of the Art Loop.
Search for fossils at Fossil Park
Fossil Park in Sylvania is home to more than 200 prehistoric species, and visitors can explore the three different dig sites at this park to see if they can uncover their own fossils. With free admission, you can’t beat this deal.
Enjoy live music
Throughout the year, the city hosts live music events that are free for residents. Many of these concerts take place at local parks, and visitors can grab food from food trucks or bring their own picnic as they enjoy the sounds of the city.
Take a walking tour of the Victorian homes in Toledo
Throughout Toledo, you can find colorful and ornate Victorian homes that have stood the test of time, but perhaps no collection is quite as magnificent as that found in the Old West End neighborhood.
If you love historic homes, then spend a few hours walking through this neighborhood and discover many different architectural styles, including Queen Ann, Arts and Crafts, and Georgian homes.
Explore the Toledo Botanical Garden
The Toledo Botanical Garden consists of more than 60 acres of flora and fauna, but that’s not all. This museum — which boasts free admission — also has a sculpture garden where you can enjoy local art.
Visit the Toledo Farmer’s Market
Throughout the entire year, the Toledo Farmer’s Market hosts local vendors from around Ohio who want to sell their fresh produce, homemade baked goods, and handmade products. It is free to visit, but you also can find some of the most affordable local products
Summer Things to Do in Toledo Ohio
Situated in the northeast corner of Ohio, Toledo is known for its long and dark winters, but by the time spring and summer arrive, locals and visitors are thrilled that there is so much to see and do in the city. Due to the increasing temperatures and the abundance of sunshine, this is one of the most popular times to visit Toledo.
Visit Metroparks in Toledo
When the spring and summer do finally arrive in Toledo, most people find that they want to spend as much time as possible outdoors. The Toledo Metroparks system is comprised of more than 20 distinct parks, all of which offer a different experience for those who like to explore outside.
There are parks with endless hiking and biking trails that wind around natural preserves as well as parks with opportunities for recreation, such as basketball, baseball, or disc golf. Of course, there is an abundance of playgrounds for those youngest explorers who want to have fun and make friends in the city.
Catch a Toledo Mudhens Baseball Game
Another summer activity that you can’t miss in Toledo is experiencing a Toledo Mudhens game at Fifth Third Field. This minor league baseball team has a loyal following of fans in and around Toledo, and visitors appreciate the fact that they can enjoy big-league ball play in a field that is both fun and intimate.
What to Do in Toledo During the Fall
As the leaves begin to transition from green to gold, orange and red, it’s hard not to feel a little bit sad that summer is winding down in Toledo.
While you may be experience hits of longing for the summer that has just passed you by, it’s important to remember that fall is full of possibility in this city. Here are some of our favorite fall things to do in Toledo Ohio…
Enjoy a NW Ohio Fall Color Tour
NW Ohio fall color tours are particularly popular in Toledo, especially because the colors of the leaves are especially vibrant in this corner of the Midwest – it’s one of the best places to see fall colors in Ohio.
If you want to spend an afternoon soaking up the sights of the city in the fall, then consider visiting one of the five Metroparks Toledo boasts along the Maumee River.
There’s nothing quite like seeing the trees glisten in the water’s reflection on a sunshine-filled fall day. For an all-encompassing experience, consider a hike through the forested trails of Secor and Pearson Metroparks.
Visit a Toledo Ohio Apple Orchard & Cider Mill
Of course, you will want to make time for all of those traditional fall activities that you need to fit in each year in Toledo. The apples begin to ripen in early September, and you can pick a few for yourself at the local apple orchard.
MacQueen’s Apple Barn and Cider Mill is a well-loved destination where you can pick your own apples as well as sip fresh cider that is made from the fruit from their orchards.
Pick a Pumpkin at a Toledo Pumpkin Patch
In order to get the best pumpkin for your Halloween festivities, you will want to visit Fleitz Pumpkin Farm. This farm has been welcoming visitors since the early 1990s, and each year, thousands of people come from all across Toledo in order to find a round, orange pumpkin to bring home and carve.
After you have picked your pumpkin, you can enjoy the corn maze or grab some donuts and cider.
Winter Activities in Toledo that Will Keep the Chill Away
Winter seems to enjoy its fierce arrival every year, but that doesn’t mean that you have to stay away. The city of Toledo has plenty of indoor attractions that are perfect for fighting those winter blues while still staying warm and cozy.
Also, if you enjoy the crisp and cool air of winter, then you will quickly discover that there are many opportunities for outdoor recreation in the city during this frosty season.
Indoor Things to Do in Toledo in Winter
If you are the type of person who prefers to stay indoors — but who is also sick of staying at home — then consider one of these indoor things to do in Toledo:
This art museum boasts one of the most extensive collections in the Midwest. It has exhibits for people of all ages, and it is dedicated to its mission of art education. Not only are you going to see some of the most magnificent works of art that the city has to offer, but you also are going to learn more about the techniques and tools that the artists used as well as what inspired their works.
Tour the Manor House
The Manor House is located on the grounds of one of Toledo’s Metroparks, and guests are able to tour the grounds during the wintertime. If you happen to go during the holiday season, you can see the house decked out in all of its festive decor.
Catch a Show at the Valentine Theater
The Valentine Theater is a historic theater in Toledo that still hosts performances today. You will stay warm and cozy inside as you watch a live performance that is sure to take your breath away.
Outdoor Winter Things to Do in Toledo
While winter is the perfect time to cuddle up and stay warm, you also may find that it’s fun to get outside and play in Toledo. Some of the most popular winter things to do in Toledo include snowshoeing and sledding.
When the snow is plentiful, you can head to many of the Metroparks in order to go sledding down a hill or snowshoeing across an open trail.
When there isn’t as much snow on the ground but the temperatures are still frigid, you can go ice skating at some of the natural and synthetic ice rinks in the city.
Frequently Asked Questions About Toledo
Is there anything fun to do in Toledo?
In a word, yes! There are so many fun things to do in Toledo, you may find it hard to narrow down your options for your itinerary. From family-friendly attractions such as zoos, parks, and museums to restaurants and bars designed specifically for adults, everyone of every age and stage can find something fun to do in the city.
What is there to do in Toledo for adults?
Toledo is a playground for adults, particularly those that love to be entertained. The downtown is home to a growing entertainment district, and there are many shows to experience, restaurants to try and cocktails to imbibe.
Where can I take my kids in Toledo?
Toledo has earned a reputation for being a family-friendly city. Some of the most popular places to take kids in Toledo include the Toledo Zoo and the Imagination Station. In addition, there are many parks and playgrounds located throughout the city where kids can play, burn some energy and use their imaginations, all while making some new friends along the way.
What is Toledo known for?
Over time, Toledo has been known for many things. It was once famous for the frogs who resided in the city, and then it became a hub for industry and trade. Today, however, Toledo is most well-known for its resilience, strength, and entrepreneurial spirit.
The people of Toledo have been tested time and again, but they have always risen to the occasion. Toledo is in the midst of a mass revitalization effort, and progress can be seen at every turn. This is a city that will continue to stand strong in the face of adversity.
Why is Toledo called Frogtown?
While Toledo is sometimes referred to as The Glass City, its other famous nickname is “Frogtown.” Toledo earned this nickname due to the many marshy banks that lined the Maumee River, which were home to hundreds upon hundreds of frogs.
While it was once called Frogtown due to the plethora of amphibians who also resided in the city, the marshes have all but disappeared due to development in the area — yet the nickname has stood the test of time.
What food is Toledo known for?
Toledo is known for is American fusion food. Many of its locally-owned restaurants have created comfortable American dishes that include flavorful and creative twists, giving diners a unique experience.
Perhaps one of its most famous food options is the Hungarian hot dog, which is a sandwich that was created by the owner of Tony Packo’s Cafe.
How far is Toledo Ohio from me?
If you’re wondering how far Toledo Ohio is from other major cities in the area, here are a few estimates between city centers to help you plan your travels:
– Distance from Columbus Ohio to Toledo: 142 miles
– Distance from Cincinnati Ohio to Toledo: 202 miles
– Distance from Cleveland Ohio to Toledo: 115 miles
– Distance from Fort Wayne Indiana to Toledo: 102 miles
– Distance from Detroit Michigan to Toledo: 69 miles
– Distance from Ann Arbor Michigan to Toledo: 55 miles