Ohio — Attractions
Ohio is one of America’s most underrated travel destinations. It has fun, lively, historic cities in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus. The country’s largest Amish community lives in Holmes County, and there are dozens of state parks supporting the impressive Cuyahoga Valley National Park. From top-flight amusement parks to unique attractions like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ohio has a really diverse range of activities that will appeal to all kinds of visitors.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
A highlight of both Ohio and Cleveland is this shrine to America’s greatest rock and roll musicians. There’s nothing else like it in America, with a cool timeline of exhibits chronicling the evolution of rock to priceless relics from legends like Jimmy Hendrix, James Brown, and a whole wing devoted to Elvis. Rotating exhibits and new inductees every year ensure the collection remains fresh, and the building designed by architect IM Pei is an attraction in itself.
Address: 1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44114
The central eastern region of the state is home to America’s largest Amish community. A cruise through this picturesque county provides a rare look at one of the country’s most interesting cultural groups, who prefer to live their lives without the distraction of modern technology. The Amish are renowned for their craftsmanship, and known for driving horse and buggies instead of cars. Several working Amish farms are open to curious visitors, and the small towns of Holmes County like Millersburg are packed with amazing shops selling the beautiful art, crafts, and food of the Amish.
Address: Eastern Ohio
Ohio’s coolest urban scene is found in Cleveland, a spirited little city on the shores of Lake Erie. This place has an amazing amount of things to see and do, from professional sports games to the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The city also has a superb dining and nightlife scene tucked into its neat little neighborhoods like Shaker Heights and Coventry Village. The incredibly fun Cedar Parks amusement park is right on the edge of town, while big boats like the Goodtime III depart from North Coast Inner Harbor for daily pleasure cruises along Lake Erie.
Address: Northern Ohio
The Queen City of the West (as the poet Longfellow labeled Cincinnati) is a fantastic little city tucked into the hills along the Ohio River. There’s a lot of history in its neighborhoods like Over-the-Rhine and plenty of star attractions like the world-renowned Cincinnati Art Museum, its impressive zoo, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Take a riverboat cruise along the Ohio River, catch a professional baseball game with the Reds, or have a day of fun at Kings Island, one of Ohio’s top amusement parks. This city is a real travel gem, with plenty of culture, entertainment, and friendly folks.
Address: Southern Ohio
Another of Ohio’s big cities is the underrated star, Columbus. It’s extremely friendly to visitors, very walkable, and boasts a solid selection of top attractions like the world-class Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. Historic downtown is a joy to explore, from the bars and Victorian architecture of the German District and Brewery District to the slick planned development of the Arena District. The open-air North Market has been selling to locals since 1876, while the Ohio Historical Center and Ohio Village offers a look at Columbus in the 19th century with its massive museum and neat recreated historic village.
Address: Central Ohio
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Ohio’s one and only national park is something special. This large region of rolling farmland, hills, and the Cuyahoga River is a magical place. Visitors can explore it in many ways, by walking or biking the fantastic 20-mile Towpath Trail that runs along the historic Ohio & Erie Canal or hiking deeper into its unspoiled landscape where wildlife abounds. The park also contains several restored historic homes and farms where the public can learn more about the early era of northern Ohio. Cuyahoga is within easy striking distance of Cleveland or Akron.
Address: 1550 Boston Hills Road, Peninsula, OH 44264
The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
Often ranked as America’s best zoo, this engaging wildlife center in Columbus is one of Ohio’s top tourist attractions. More than 700 species of animals make up the zoo’s population of 7,000 creatures, covering pretty much the entire planet on land and sea. Connected to the zoo are other fun attractions like the Zoombezi Bay water park, Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild conservation program, and The Wilds jeep safari park. You can easily spend two or three days enjoying the range of activities here.
Address: 4850 West Powell Road, Columbus, OH 43215