23 Best Places to Visit in Ohio (in 2023)
I’ve lived in Cincinnati and Cleveland, and after exploring much of the state, I have insights into the best places to visit in Ohio.
You’ll find it all in the Ohio, from big cities to small towns, history, hiking trails, and more.
This guide covers a range of popular attractions for all types of visitors, as well as a few unexpected spots. For example, did you know you can take an island vacation in the Midwest? Read on for more hidden gems you won’t want to miss.
Table of Contents
- 23 Best Places to Visit in Ohio
- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
- Huntington Park
- Cedar Point Amusement Park
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- Hocking Hills State Park
- Franklin Park Conservatory
- Cincinnati Museum Center
- Merry Go Round Museum
- Strouds Run State Park
- Fountain Square
- Columbus Zoo
- Cincinnati Music Hall
- West Side Market
- Progressive Field
- Cleveland Museum of Art
- National Museum of the US Air Force
- American Sign Museum
- Toledo Museum of Art
- Lake Erie Islands
- NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame
- German Village
- Amish Country
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23 Best Places to Visit in Ohio
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
An epic shrine to rock and roll
📍 Google Maps | Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Website | 👉 Browse Cleveland Hotels on Booking
Located in downtown Cleveland, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a museum where you can learn tons about the history of rock music. Exhibits discuss notable figures who have played a role in developing the genre.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a building with seven levels. The lowest level is home to the Ahmet M. Ertegun Exhibition Hall, the main gallery of the museum. It contains exhibits on the artists and origins of rock and roll.
There are many other fascinating exhibits, including the actual Hall of Fame on the third floor. The building itself is a work of art, containing an array of geometric forms that overlook Lake Erie.
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
A historic, quaint building and space
📍 Google Maps | Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens Website | 👉 Browse Akron Hotels on Booking
This is a historic house in Akron which has been converted into a museum. You can explore the estate, which includes the main mansion, a greenhouse, gardens, and a carriage house. It has been restored multiple times, and there are many tours available to visitors.
It is often used for special events, and it is considered to be one of the loveliest wedding venues in northern Ohio.
A fantastic hub for baseball fans
📍 Google Maps | Huntington Park Website | 👉 Browse Columbus Hotels on Booking
This park is Columbus’ baseball stadium. It’s the home of the Columbus Clippers, a minor-league baseball team, and an affiliate of the Cleveland Guardians.
The stadium is known for its optimal location, great design, and amenities for baseball fans. For sports fans, this is certainly one of the best places to visit in Ohio.
Cedar Point Amusement Park
An “Amazement Park” on the banks of Lake Erie
📍 Google Maps | Cedar Point Website | 👉 Browse Sandusky Hotels on Booking
Cedar Point Amusement Park is located in Sandusky, Ohio on the shore of Lake Erie. It’s one of the best places to visit in Ohio, sure to create some amazing memories. There are so many family-friendly rides to enjoy, as well as thrill rides, such as Millennium Force.
In fact, some people refer to Cedar Point as The Amazement Park! In addition to the 17 world-class roller coasters, you can enjoy tours on the boardwalk, charter a boat, or just enjoy the view of the Lake Erie shore.
Also, during the summer, you can cool off at the neighboring Cedar Point Shores Waterpark. There are pools for children, tons of water gadgets, and fun water slides you can enjoy.
🌊 Love Waterparks? Check out Soak City of Kings Island, Great Wolf Lodge Water Park, and Coney Island Park in Cincinnati!
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Ohio’s only national park, featuring a plethora of things to do and see
📍 Google Maps | Cuyahoga Valley National Park Website | 👉 Browse Cleveland Hotels on Booking
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is found between Cleveland and Akron. This park is unique among national parks in that it borders two large urban areas.
It consists mostly of rural landscapes along the banks of the Cuyahoga River. The park also features small towns, multiple parks, and a dense road network.
This is one of the best places to visit in Ohio for outdoor enthusiasts. There are many amazing sights, both natural and man-made. These include breathtaking waterfalls, such as Brandywine Falls.
Enjoy taking in natural beauty or get some exercise on the hiking trails and mountain biking trails. In the winter, you can go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and more!
👉 Love History? The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad runs through Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Take a train ride tour to learn about the interesting history of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad!
Hocking Hills State Park
An eventful haven for nature lovers
📍 Google Maps | Hocking Hills State Park Website | 👉 Browse Logan Hotels on Booking
No list of the best places to visit in Ohio would be complete without Hocking Hills State Park. It’s located in Logan and is a must-visit for fans of outdoor activities. There are seven hiking areas in this park, including Rock House, Cedar Falls, Ash Cave, and Old Man’s Cave.
Hocking Hills State Park is home to not only hiking trails, but also a popular campground adjacent to Old Man’s Cave. There are fully-equipped campsites and cabins, as well as a hike-in camping site that is considered more of a primitive campground.
There are plenty of things to do at Hocking Hills, with all the waterfront trails for hiking and horseback riding. You can also go rock climbing or just take in the beauty of the rolling hills.
👉 Pro Tip: Be sure to research hiking trails before visiting, as some like Cedar Falls are more challenging. Also, take a look at our Hiking Essentials Checklist to arrive prepared!
Franklin Park Conservatory
A green refuge in the middle of Franklin Park
📍 Google Maps | Franklin Park Conservatory Website | 👉 Browse Columbus Hotels on Booking
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is in Columbus, Ohio. It’s one of the best places to visit in Ohio for plant lovers.
You can see over 400 amazing plant species in the botanical gardens here, from climate zones all over the world. There are also stunning Dale Chihuly glass sculptures to admire. This Conservatory became part of the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Cincinnati Museum Center
A train station and a fountain of knowledge
📍 Google Maps | Cincinnati Museum Center Website | Where to Stay in Cincinnati | 👉 Browse Cincinnati Hotels on Booking
North of the Ohio River in the Queensgate neighborhood of Cincinnati lies the Cincinnati Museum Center. It definitely qualifies as one of the best places to visit in Ohio.
This is the biggest half-dome building in the Western Hemisphere and definitely one of the most notable historic buildings in Ohio.
Operating out of the Cincinnati Union Terminal train station, it is home to three different museums. These include the Cincinnati History Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science, and Duke Energy Children’s Museum. All of these museums are full of amazing and interactive exhibits.
Merry Go Round Museum
A place to go round and round while learning
📍 Google Maps | Merry Go Round Museum Website | 👉 Browse Sandusky Hotels on Booking
Located in Sandusky, the Merry Go Round Museum opened its doors to the public in 1990. Here, you can learn all sorts of interesting things about the carousel. There is also a carousel at the heart of the museum, with multiple colorful figurines. This carousel is a work of art in itself.
You can even take a tour of this museum, learning all about the art and history behind the carousel. This is easily one of the best places to visit in Ohio.
Strouds Run State Park
A serene getaway full of outdoor adventures
📍 Google Maps | Strouds Run State Park Website | 👉 Browse Hotels Near Athens on Trip Advisor
Located in Athens (southeastern Ohio), this park consists of acres of hardwood forest, coves, and hills, as well as a scenic lake.
If you’re a fan of natural history, you’ll find this park especially intriguing. The effects of glacier movements are still visible in the landscape of this park.
Strouds Run State Park is also abundant with wildlife. It’s an excellent location for bird watching and a refuge for nature lovers in general.
👉 Pro Tip: For more natural wonders, visit Serpent Mound in Adams County, about 50 miles east of Cincinnati. Built by American Indians, this effigy mound pictures the shape of a curved snake.
Downtown Cincinnati’s restaurant and entertainment hub!
📍 Google Maps | Fountain Square Website | 👉 Browse Cincinnati Hotels on Booking
Located just north of the Ohio River, Fountain Square is a city square in downtown Cincinnati, full of shops, hotels, restaurants, and bars. The Tyler Davidson Fountain is the centerpiece of this entire buzzing district.
There is a constant stream of events going on here, including an ice rink open every day in the winter!
Home to animals from all over the world
📍 Google Maps | Columbus Zoo Website | 👉 Browse Columbus Hotels on Booking
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium was named the number one zoo in the country by the USA Travel Guide. This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Ohio, as you can see more than 800 species, with over 7,000 animals in total. There are eight sections in this zoo, each representing animals from parts of the world.
Along with housing these animals, the Columbus Zoo participates in multiple conservation efforts. It’s donated to over 70 projects all over the world.
👉 Pro Tip: The Columbus Zoo isn’t the only zoo that ranks among the best places to visit in Ohio. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden opened in 1875 and is the sixth-oldest zoo in the nation.
Cincinnati Music Hall
Cincinnati’s historic performance venue
📍 Google Maps | Cincinnati Music Hall Website | 👉 Browse Cincinnati Hotels on Booking
Connoisseurs of the arts will definitely see Cincinnati Music Hall as one of the best places to visit in Ohio. It is home to various arts organizations, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. There’s also the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and Cincinnati Ballet. Other musical performances are put on by the May Festival Chorus and Cincinnati Opera.
The main concert hall for performances is the Springer Auditorium, and the Music Hall Ballroom is often used for large gatherings.
West Side Market
A historic market featuring global cuisines
📍 Google Maps | West Side Market Website | 👉 Browse Cleveland Hotels on Booking
West Side Market is the oldest publicly owned market in Cleveland. You may not see a marketplace as one of the best places to visit in Ohio, but it truly can be. When I first went, I was astounded by the diversity of the products available.
There are more than 100 vendors representing many ethnicities. They sell seafood, dairy products, baked goods, fresh produce, fine meats, candies, nuts, flowers, and much more.
A structure that fits right into the industrial areas of Cleveland, just for baseball fans
📍 Google Maps | Progressive Field Website | 👉 Browse Cleveland Hotels on Booking
Home to the Cleveland Guardians, Progressive Field is a Major League Baseball stadium in downtown Cleveland. This team has won many different accolades since moving to Progressive Field. Sports fans will definitely find this place to be worth visiting.
The exposed steel structure and vertical light towers make this venue unique. These design elements were chosen to fit in with the smokestacks of buildings in industrial Cleveland.
Cleveland Museum of Art
A free, diverse repository of some of the finest art in the world
📍 Google Maps | Cleveland Museum of Art Website | 👉 Browse Cleveland Hotels on Booking
The Cleveland Museum of Art is located in the University Circle neighborhood of Cleveland. It’s acclaimed for its permanent collection of over 61,000 pieces of art from all over the world. It’s especially well-known for its Egyptian and Asian art galleries.
The museum draws approximately 770,000 visitors every year, making it one of the most visited art museums in the world. Perhaps the best part is that admission is free to the public, making it not only one of the top museums in Cleveland, but truly one of the best places to visit in Ohio.
National Museum of the US Air Force
Be educated on the history of aviation
📍 Google Maps | National Museum of the US Air Force Website | 👉 Browse Dayton Hotels on Booking
This is the official museum of the United States Air Force, located at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base north of Dayton. It’s the largest and oldest museum of military aviation worldwide.
Most exhibits at this museum can be seen online with the Virtual Tour, launched in 2010. However, some of these displays are much more impressive in person, such as the Boeing B17-F Memphis Belle and the Apollo 15 Command Module Endeavor.
If you visit, you will be able to see over 360 missiles and aircraft on display. With approximately a million visitors every year, this is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the state of Ohio.
American Sign Museum
A collection of signs from various decades
📍 Google Maps | American Sign Museum Website | 👉 Browse Cincinnati Hotels on Booking
Located in Cincinnati, this museum archives, preserves, and displays collections of signs. It also features the equipment that has been used in the design of these signs.
There are more than 200 signs and other items on display at this museum. There is an extensive collection, ranging from the late 19th century to the 1970s. Some of the older items include gold leaf lettering on glass, which serve as an impressive contrast to neon signs from later decades.
Toledo Museum of Art
A collection of incredible galleries, free to the public
📍 Google Maps | Toledo Museum of Art Website | 👉 Browse Toledo Hotels on Booking
The Toledo Museum of Art is known all around the world for the quality of its collections, as well as the architecture of the building itself. It is a non-profit institution that is open to the public, with no admission fees.
There are more than 25,000 works of art housed in this museum, with more than 40 galleries. The Glass Pavilion is one of the most famous collections of glass art worldwide. Both antique and contemporary works of art are featured in this museum.
Lake Erie Islands
Unexpected island getaways in the Midwest
📍 Google Maps | Lake Erie Islands Website | 👉 Browse Lake Erie Hotels on Booking
The Lake Erie islands are great for anyone who wants a serene, quiet getaway. Kelleys Island is the largest of the islands and is great for anyone who loves nature, with its lush forests and sandy beaches.
South Bass Island, also known as Put-in-Bay, was established as a visitor destination mostly by wine making and other amenities. There are several amazing amenities on North Bass Island and Middle Bass Island as well.
NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame
A shrine to excellence in pro football
📍 Google Maps | NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame Website | 👉 Browse Canton Hotels on Booking
Given this attraction, Canton is often referred to as the Hall of Fame City. It’s essentially a shrine to all sorts of inspirational figures in pro football. These include not only players, but also coaches, franchise owners, and other officials. This is definitely one of the places to visit for sports fans.
Historic streets taking you back in time
📍 Google Maps | German Village Website | 👉 Browse German Village Hotels on Booking
The German Village is a historic neighborhood in Columbus. Here, you’ll find rows of stately brick houses built by immigrants in the 19th century. There are many charming little shops that sell handmade jewelry, books, traditional fudge, and more. In German Village, you also can learn about local history and attend an array of special events.
An Amish refuge in Holmes County
📍 Google Maps | Amish Country Website | 👉 Browse Holmes County Hotels
If you want to escape reality for a few days and be exposed to a simpler way of life, you should travel to Holmes County. Here, you can experience Amish country. You can learn about Amish traditions when it comes to making simple, yet beautiful furniture, clothing, and other items.
Those are my picks for the best places to visit in Ohio! Hopefully, you found this guide to be helpful. Enjoy experiencing these worthwhile destinations!
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As usual, very little mention of any areas in southern Ohio… the natural beauty of southern Ohios hill country rivals anything in the Lake Erie area but it’s Appalachia… and is often considered not really a part of the Ohio image most want to promote!
What about Spangler candy company. Ohio famous dum-dum sucker.