OHIO TRAVEL & TOURISM GUIDE TO OHIO ATTRACTIONS
1.5 million visitors last year*.
STANDOUTS in OHIO TOURISM
The following organizations are recognized by OhioTraveler.com for being
STANDOUTS in Ohio tourism:
pure natural beauty of ice formations at Hocking Hills State Parks is
a standout in Ohio tourism, bar none! Waterfalls freeze creating an
ice cone extending upward like a mini mountain and also downward from
the top of the falls, sometimes connecting to create a solid column. A
panoramic view if icicles in areas like Old Man’s Cave toward the
Upper Falls catches sunlight to offer photo ops that’ll make even a
novice photographer look like they work for National Geographic
Magazine. This winter wonderland is amazing when there is a deep
freeze and well worth the trek to see it. There’s an annual winter
hike event that draws over 5,000 hikers to the Hills every January.
Plus many toasty indoor winter opportunities make for a great weekend
video showcases some of the things to do and see when
Hocking Hills freezes over.
A Christmas Story House: This Standout
in Ohio Christmas tourism is actually open year round and needs no
triple dog dare to want to check it out. The house is where the
popular holiday classic, "A Christmas Story", was filmed. It is
five minutes from downtown Cleveland and has been restored to its 1983
movie appearance. Across the street is its museum featuring
movie-related memorabilia. You can even buy leg lamps, a pink bunny
suit, decoder pin and official Daisy Red Ryder Range Model 1938 Air
Rifle BB Gun complete with retro box from A Christmas Story – but be
careful, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”
Learn more about this legendary Christmas destination at
Pro Football Hall
of Fame: It is
the shrine to the biggest sport in America. And it's located where the
National Football League was founded
Canton, Ohio! Every year, new legends take the podium here and share
eloquent speeches followed by the first pre-season game of the season.
Inside kicks off a journey like no other museum can offer. Any fan
will find plenty to root for here with incredible memorabilia,
interactive displays and film covering every era. It culminates in the
solitude of the Hall itself with the likeness of icons of the sport
surrounding you. It is a pilgrimage every American football fan should
take at least once. Learn more about this standout in tourism at
Click here to play video.
Circleville Pumpkin Show:
It’s the GREAT PUMPKIN show, Ohio! This fall classic
started in Circleville over 100 years ago
and is now commonly referred as the greatest free show on Earth. It is the
biggest pumpkin festival in the United States, topping 400,000 visitors
annually. You know it’s great when it spans nine city blocks! Pumpkin pie
anyone? Last count, more than 23,000 pies alone sold during the 4-day
event. One pumpkin pie weighs in at over 400 pounds. And not to be
outdone, folks will buy over 100,000 pumpkin doughnuts. Don’t miss the
fun. It always starts on the third Wednesday in October and runs through
Learn more about this fall favorite at
Ohio Renaissance Festival:
Call it the king of festivals. This incredibly entertaining event is a
standout in Ohio tourism because it thrills folks of all ages for more
than 50 consecutive days every fall. Side splitting laughter and jaw
dropping reactions are plentiful throughout the 30 acre 16th
century village where about 100 shows are featured on 11 stages daily.
Sword fighting, full armored jousting and humorous storytelling are
only part of the adventure. Period craftsmen, artisans and food
peddlers add to the merriment. But it’s the number of folks in full
costume and accent that make this festival come alive. As do the
musicians and dancing.
Learn more about this great event at
Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens: This is
the nation’s 6th largest historic home open to the public – and it
founder of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, F. A. Seiberling, used
his wealth in 1915 to create an estate in the country that is today an
The estate includes five historic buildings and eight historic gardens
on 70 acres. Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens has many interesting
sights and tales.
One of which is giving birth to the world’s largest self-help
movement in the history of mankind – Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Throughout the mesmerizing gardens and ornate structures, there are
nooks and crannies that blow the mind. And all of the furnishings are
original. There’s even a butterfly conservatory.
Click here to play a video showcasing the grounds and read more about
this enchanting place.
Cincinnati Union Terminal:
What was one of the last great train
stations, built in 1933, is now a standout in tourism featuring three
mega museums inside its historic art deco walls. Together, they form
what is now Cincinnati Museum Center but it’s more than that. In
addition to housing sensational museums of local history, natural
history and a children’s museum, there’s an OMNIMAX® theater, eateries
and hundreds of annual events and traveling exhibits. Not only that,
it is still an active train terminal for Amtrak and visitors can even
checkout Tower A, where rail operations used to be controlled. The
eye-popping architecture and colorful Rotunda make this a very
photogenic whistle stop.
Visit their web site by clicking here.
Water skiing without a boat
makes Wake Nation Cincinnati a standout in tourism.
This full-sized cable wake park is the first and only in the Midwest.
park is for wakeboard, water ski, kneeboard, and wakeskate
riders of any skill level.
This unique concept brings extreme excitement to the adventurous
whether you are a kid, adult, novice or champion rider.
The 10 acre lake tows up to six wakeboarders, skiers, or kneeboarders
simultaneously with ropes attached to a moving cable system suspended
high overhead. Riders can circle the lake or hit the optional sliders
and rails to increase the rush of watery fun.
Visit their web site by clicking here.
Original Bob Evans Farm:
There are restaurants and then there are iconic eateries that are
standout names like Bob Evans. Incredibly, folks can visit the
original restaurant in Rio Grande, Ohio. Not only that, but Bob’s
original farmhouse is just out back. Talk about “down on the farm”!
The old homestead is full of entrees. The vast rural landscape is
nestled in Southern Ohio’s rolling hills along the Ohio River and
Appalachian country. The old farmhouse is now a museum that shares the
family and restaurant’s history. And every fall,
the Bob Evans Festival attracts thousands with its entertainment and
activities. The festival is also an Ohio standout in tourism!
Visit their web site by clicking here.
Hartman Rock Garden: There are rock
gardens and then there is Hartman Rock Garden in Springfield, Ohio.
Trust me there is nothing else like it.
Renown as one of the nation’s most intriguing works of in
situ folk art, an ordinary resident in an ordinary neighborhood
began building extraordinary things out of stone in his backyard. He
filled his yard with over fifty structures of historical significance.
In a recent restoration, it has again become a sight to see featuring
amazing structures, colorful landscaping and hundreds of handmade
figurines. Hundreds of thousands of stones were used to create this
one-of-a-kind garden. And it is free to visit.
Visit their web site by clicking here.
Allen County Museum: This isn’t your ordinary county
museum. It has the infamous gangster Dillinger locked up, rare birds
riding a Ferris wheel and a display showcasing the things locals
choked on over the years. That and so much more make it a STANDOUT in
Ohio tourism! Oddities aside, The Allen County Museum in Lima, Ohio is
serious about history. So much so, it has the distinct honor of being
the only county museum in Ohio accredited by The American Association
Learn more at
their web site by clicking here.
This is an Ohio STANDOUT in tourism as one of the most unique and
historic workshops turned museum. It was over 100 years ago that
Ernest “Mooney” Warther began carving history. Warther’s one-of-a-kind
collection of 64 ebony, ivory and walnut train carvings has been
appraised by the Smithsonian Institution as a “priceless work of art.”
The eclectic property and state-of-the-art facility has a bustling
cutlery business, tours of the original home and workshop, Swiss-style
flower garden and an amazing arrowhead collection and button
collection arranged in beautiful designs on the walls and ceiling.
Learn more at
Ye Olde Mill:
Ohio STANDOUT is like a cherry on top of a sundae. Utica, Ohio is home
to Velvet Ice Cream and Ye Olde Mill. And the Dager family business is
about to celebrate the century mark. What started as a hand-cranked
delight by a young Joseph Dager, is now a household name. Nestled on
20 rolling wooded acres, there’s am 1817 grist mill with water wheel
and a 19th century style ice cream parlour. Visitors get to
explore the ice cream making business with a behind-the-scenes factory
tour. There is also a museum, restaurant, gift shop, nature trail and
spring ice cream festival. Celebrate a century of deliciousness in
2014 and visit Ye Olde Mill. Learn more at
Shadowbox Live is Ohio’s STANDOUT in live performances. Their
entertainers feature rock-n-roll and sketch comedy acts and are
masters at both. Note-for-note, their singers can stand toe-to-toe with any
American Idol. On the comedy front, Saturday Night Live can eat their
heart out. This club is edgy, fun and probably not for everyone. It’s
an Ohio original and it’s the best nightlife not just in Ohio but
probably the Midwest. Be prepared, this theater scene is high energy
and will take its audience for a ride like no other. Learn more at
Hocking Hills Canopy Tours:
Not only is Hocking Hills Canopy Tours a STANDOUT in Ohio Tourism,
it’s a standout in zip lining circles nationwide! This “World-Class”
destination is what zip lining was meant to be – an absolutely
exhilarating experience amidst breathtaking beauty. Even with the
professional guides, jaw-dropping zip lines a plenty, panoramic
natural beauty and hours of fun there’s more. The SuperZip™ is over a
quarter mile long and reaches 50 miles per hour. You can also zip in
darkness. At the other end of the spectrum is the Dragonfly tour for
little kids. Learn more at
Buckin’ Ohio: Cowboy-up, Ohio! You’re in for a ride. This Ohio
STANDOUT is a wild bull riding rodeo. It’s the real deal and it
attracts professional bull riders from across the country to a farm in
Burbank, Ohio. This family-owned bucking bull ranch packs a wallop.
There’s plenty of western-style entertainment but the adrenaline boost
is seeing up-close, the power of the bulls and the bravado of the
riders. Things can get real hairy at times, and that’s when the
audience goes nuts. It is a great outing offered several times per
year nestled along the back roads of rural Medina County. Find out
offers a rare opportunity for visitors to explore a legendary World War
II submarine. It performed the only international sub to sub rescue in
history. This standout tour allows the freedom to explore everything
onboard from the torpedo room to the large guns on deck, mess hall and
sleeping arrangements. It’s also rare in that it has not been altered to
accommodate tourism: You have to use ladders and squeeze in tight spaces
just as its crew members did. Oh, and the staff’s storytelling and
friendliness is superb.
Columbus offers a
surreal experience. It’s like crawling into a painting and exploring it
Georges Seurat’s famous painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La
Grand Jatte.is recreated in topiary right down to topiary boats floating
on water. Visitors
are free to roam and explore all aspects of this unlikely recreation,
becoming part of art.
topiaries are nestled within what was historically called Old Deaf
School Park, which has a past spanning back to the early 19th century.
one of the most well done experiential tourism opportunities anywhere.
It is as its name says – KitchenAid Experience. From the factory tour
where new products are created to the mini museum where legendary
products are laid to rest, in between is a store but what stands out
here is the cooking class. That’s right; you get the full KitchenAid
Experience right in their kitchen. This foodie delight is smack in the
historic small town downtown of Greenville, Ohio.
KD Guest Ranch:
This authentic dude ranch isn't just an Ohio Standout, it is one of
the best in the country. The hospitality is as incredible as the
husband and wife duo who teach guests how to be real cowboys or
cowgirls. You adopt and care for your own horse, pen animals, take
horseback rides in gorgeous settings where it is still wild as far as
the eyes can see. Evenings come with music, fireside games and some of
the best down-home cooking around.
Wilds: This safari
experience will have you wondering if you somehow transported to the
This is one of the largest and most
innovative wildlife conservation centers in the world. Located on
nearly 10,000 acres in southeast Ohio, it is home to rare and
endangered species from around the world, like rhinos, giraffes, and
cheetahs, living in natural, open-range habitats.
only way to see them is by special safari vehicles.
even spend the night in your own yurt.
National Museum of The
U.S. Air Force:
This is one of the
best deals not only in Ohio but nationwide! It's FREE to see
at the world's largest and oldest
military aviation museum. It's climate controlled hangars feature more
400 aerospace vehicles from the Wright Brothers to the modern age and
every era in between. Sensory rich exhibits, hands-on educational
programs and entertaining special events entice the imagination and
bring the Air Force story to life. You can even board President
Kennedy's Air Force One.
RainForest at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo:
does Cleveland have a Rain Forest, it's one of the largest tropical
indoor environments in the world. Housed in a massive two-acre,
two-story, glass and granite structure, it features more than 10,000
plants and 600 animals from the tropics in the Americas, Africa and
Asia. Many are endangered species from threatened habitats. Its unique
design blends the jungle in and out of exhibits making you feel you
are a part of it, not just on the outside looking in.
Ohio State Reformatory: This
prison experience rivals Alcatraz! It is so captivating, major movies
have been filmed here.
resembles a castle. In fact, it’s the largest castle-like structure in
the state and fifth largest in the country. It still holds the record
for housing the world's tallest free-standing steel cell block. It
consists of 6 tiers, 12 ranges and 600 cells. And that’s just in the
East Wing of the prison. If that isn't arresting enough, this 19th
Century structure has walls that talk. See for yourself in an
overnight ghost hunt.
Jungle Jim's International Market:
This grocery store is a foodie haven like no other. Their vast variety
of offerings from around the world are truly amazing in and of itself
but the presentation throughout their two massive stores near
Cincinnati makes shopping an entertaining adventure.
Lehman's Hardware Store:
Amish heartland, this was once the local hardware store but it has
since grown to become a fascinating array of non-electric merchandise.
Whether it's old-world or cutting edge, a trip here is a trip to
Yesteryear. Even Hollywood comes calling them for authentic set props.
West Side Market:
The ethnic diversity here is why there's the term "melting pot." More
than a hundred stands bring the freshest produce, meats, seafood and
more to greater Clevelander's and have done so for more than 170
years. Get a bite at the historic hot dog stand and find a seat up in
the rafters to people watch.
reigning world's largest indoor train display brings out the child in
old and young alike. The different eras of trains, towns, and all of
the tiniest details that make this experience come alive is evident as
visitor after visitor mouth "WOW!" It's a must-see whistle stop for
Generation after generation, this place never grows old ...in a sense.
It boasts the
largest and most perfectly formed pure white crystal stalactite found
in any cave in addition to other
anomalies only found in this
subterranean paradise. It is known as one of
America’s most colorful caverns.
The Unusual Junction:
The Unusual Junction is a STANDOUT in unusual Ohio tourism, shopping
and dining! This eclectic whistle-stop fills a uniquely restored train
station that was built in 1895. Wander through the antiques,
collectibles, and memorabilia, including the authentic PRICE IS RIGHT
sign, autographed by Bob Barker. It also features a retro 50's diner
and gourmet deli. This West Laffayette, Ohio gem is what traveling is
And, I'll let you in on a little secret; this one-of-a-kind attraction
is about to be two-of-a-kind (West Laffayette and Cambridge, Ohio).
Memphis Kiddie Park: This is a standout amusement park for
toddlers and preschoolers. Here, you hope that you’re shorter than
the height stick! There are about a dozen rides, including North
steel kiddie coaster.
Other nostalgic favorites include the train ride, airplane ride, boat
ride, a little Ferris Wheel, Merry-Go-Round and more. It’s a survivor
of a bygone era when kiddie parks thrived. This one remains
family-operated. Located in an old Cleveland neighborhood, it is a
delight for generations of tiny thrill-seekers and parents alike. The
lines are small and the smiles are big!
This award recognizes Ohio's truest standouts in tourism. More details
about the award and all award recipients are at
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