10 Best Cities/ Places to Visit in Ohio

 I firmly believe that every state in the country has many different aspects to it. Sure, we like to think of Florida as just its beaches and California as just Disneyland or San Francisco but every single state actually has many different sides to it. I also believe that by carefully selecting ten cities in each state to visit, the average traveler can get a really good feel for what that state is all about despite the fact that it has so many different sides to it.

So what about if you’re going to Ohio? What cities would you choose to see there to really get a feel for what the entire state of Ohio is like? It would really need to be a great combination of the big cities and the rural areas and the college towns because Ohio has all of these. It would need to combine liberal and democratic politics, northern towns and southern towns and other opposing forces that make up what this Midwest state is all about.

There are a lot of options to choose from since there are over 100 cities in the state but a good Top 10 Cities in Ohio selection to start with would be as follows:

1. Columbus. This is the capital of Ohio and its largest city so it’s a must-see city for any Ohio visitor. It can be found smack dab in the middle of the state and therefore serves as a great hub for branching out to explore all of the rest of Ohio. Park yourself at a hotel here, see all of the sights, explore the rich history of the area and then make your way to some of the smaller cities throughout the state. Be sure to see the landmarks associated with the explorer for which the city is named which includes a full-scale replica of the Santa Maria boat located at the Scioto Riverfront.

2. Cleveland. This city is another of the large cities in the state and therefore one that you really need to see and explore if you’re going to understand the urban areas of Ohio. This one, however, is located way up north so it’s got a different feel and flavor to it than Columbus does. One of the things that is really notable here is that it’s an urban hub for culture and the arts so if you want to see plays and theatre performances and even sports events in Ohio then you want to make sure to spend a decent amount of time in Cleveland.

3. Cincinnati. This is the third of the large cities that you really have to see when you explore Ohio. It’s located at the south tip of the state which makes it quite different from the other two big cities but it’s also an urban area. It’s got an interesting history as being one of the first cities that was considered to be truly American – rather than European in development like other East Coast cities and even other cities in Ohio. It’s not necessarily the most tourist-driven city in comparison to the other large cities but there are things to see here and you get to experience a side of urban Ohio that you might not see in the other two large cities.

4. Oberlin. Moving away from the large cities of Ohio, the first thing that you want to do is to check out the liberal college towns that are scattered all throughout the state. There are a lot of people who come to Ohio to take advantage of the numerous small colleges to be found here. Oberlin is a great choice because it is filled with arts and music students so there are a lot of creative things to find here. It’s located up north near Cleveland.

5. Medina. It’s important to see not only college towns in Ohio but also other small towns where rural folks are making a simple beautiful life for themselves. There are many of these towns to explore but a good pick is Medina. Located in the north central part of the state, it’s a little town with a great town square. They have music and arts stuff going on during some weekends, flea markets and antique shops to browse and generally just a lot of exploration for visitors despite being a small place.

6. Any town in Holmes County. It’s important to get a chance to gain an understanding of the Amish culture while you’re in Ohio since it’s a unique culture that can’t be found in most other states. This is a bit touristy to do but it’s a neat thing to add to your trip and to your understanding of Ohio. Pretty much any town in Holmes County can provide you with a bit of that experience.

7. Dayton. At the opposite end of the spectrum from the Amish is the part of Ohio where technological advancements are of extreme importance to the history of the area. That’s the case with Dayton, a city in southwestern Ohio which is known for its technology. It is especially known for aerospace technology and is famous because it’s the hometown of the Wright Brothers.

8. Sandusky. One of the things that you have to make sure to see when you’re in Ohio is Lake Erie. The Great Lakes are all amazing and definitely not something to miss when exploring a state that borders one. There are several cities in Ohio to see this amazing body of water but the one that is best is Sandusky because it’s also home to Cedar Point, a really cool amusement park filled with rollercoasters including amazing old wooden rollercoasters that you aren’t going to find in many other places that you may travel.

9. Toronto. Lake Erie is the big body of water that you should see but you should also make it a point to check out the Ohio River during your travels through the state. This will also give you the chance to see some of the small towns located in the southeastern part of the state. Toronto is a good pick but any town on the river in this area will serve to enhance your appreciation of the state.

10. Cuyahoga Falls. Another cool river in the state is Cuyahoga River and the best place to check that out is in this town named for the river’s waterfalls. This one is good, too, because it’s located really close to Akron which is another city worth seeing if you’ve got time to add an eleventh city to your tour of the state.

This article is one of a series citing the top ten cities to visit in any given state. Be sure to also check out the best cities to visit in Arizona, California and Pennsylvania. And then make sure to check out the Top 10 American Cities to visit overall.

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Comments 17 comments

Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 21 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Great list. Thanks for listing my home town as #10. I've been to Cleveland, Medina and Sandusky though. As a fellow Ohioan, nice work and voted up!


Sean Kurth 2 years ago

What about the lakes on US 250 near Wheeling, West Virginia? Sure the great lakes are...well, great, but in the summer that chain of lakes at the Appalachian foothills is something out of a hallmark card...


Darrell Coldiron profile image

Darrell Coldiron 3 years ago

I don't think your right about the liberal things you are saying sounds more like a political statement,maybe if you stay in the cities Cleveland and maybe Columbus which you really don't want to see, trust me.I've been to just about everywhere in Ohio and the best places for me where Up and down the Muskingum River where at the south end is one of the first capitols ,Marietta where George Washingtons survey camp was and north is historical Zanesville with the Y bridge and old style 19th century buildings and the road along the river traces the civil war path of Morgans raiders with old time dams and abandon paddle wheel boat nestled in the Appalachian mountains.Theres Hocking Hills,Bob Evans Farm, and the Ohio river small towns are great.I could go on and on about this region (south east Ohio).The other things I would say are good are Cedar Point,Kings Island.Put-in-Bay.Fort Ancient Little Miami River Canoeing and camping,fishing .Bicycling Paths that connect around the state.You can literally ride a bike around the state.If your into Native American stuff theres Fort Ancient mounds, Serpent mound in Adams County,Hopewell burial mounds in Chillicothe (first capitol of Ohio)and one of Tecumseh the Indian chief leader of the Shawnee and others made there home in Portsmouth and Xenia.During the civil War Ohio was known for is natural resources.Its waterways canals connected goods north to south using Erie canal,great lakes,Miami erie canal(Ohio) , Ohio and Erie canal (Ohio)connecting rivers (Cuyahoga,Muskingum,Scioto,Licking)(Maumee,Miami) and a manufacturing dynamo for the time to the Ohio River to the Missisippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.You could litterally reach almost anywhere in the U.S.A. by water from Ohio at that time.Over half the state is flat great for riding bikes the other section Hilly to mountainous and forested great for hunting,camping,canoeing,hiking and even skiing with 5 ski resorts.Theres a lake in every county to go swimming or fishing.Way to many things to mention and also depends on what your into.Thanks for letting me comment.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 4 years ago from Taos, NM

I am originally from Cuyahoga Falls so of course I think it is beautiful there. Don't forget the Cuyagoga Valley National Park three miles away-the only national park in Ohio.


Sunshine 4 years ago

I have a 13 yr old son an a husbanb where would be a nice place for my family and I to move in Ohio?


villasandhomes profile image

villasandhomes 4 years ago

great hub, and great pics... love the choices, thanks for letting m know about this hub...


b.o.b 5 years ago

cedar point dude the beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Kevin 5 years ago

Cedar Point voted best Amusement Park in the world for around the last decade.

And in around Cincy, is Kings Island, also nationally ranked and owned by the same group as Cedar Point. It is every bit of fun as Cedar Point, especially the last few additions.

And don't forget about the Neil Armstrong Muesum in Wapak,Ohio.


pravo13 5 years ago

While Columbus is the largest city in the state according to population within city limits, the greater Cincinnati and Cleveland metro areas are both a bit bigger than Columbus. As a Cincinnati native, I am required to tell people to try the Cincinnati chili. Don't just go for the chain restaurants like Skyline and Gold Star though. The best chili parlors are the small ones like Blue Ash Chili (in Blue Ash, of course) and Dixie Chili (in Newport, KY). Visit the Hofbrauhaus in Newport for some great microbrew beer, and feel free to learn a thing or two about Cincinnati's history at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center right on the river between the stadiums. Also, the Cincinnati suburb of Mason is home to one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world each summer, the primary tune up tournament to the U.S. Open. Two other great cities/areas outside of my own to visit: Athens (great college town, beautiful countryside) and Massillon/Canton, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame as well as two great towns that pride themselves on their football.


1337guy profile image

1337guy 6 years ago from Ohio USA

The largest free festival in the US is held in Circleville every year, it's quite fun.


ColumbusHomesRE profile image

ColumbusHomesRE 6 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Great post... you make Ohio sound exciting for something other than football!


Jindo Tales profile image

Jindo Tales 6 years ago

Awesome shout out for C-Bus!


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

Please contact me about including this hub in the new Hubtrail!


Dayton OH Realtor profile image

Dayton OH Realtor 7 years ago from Dayton Ohio

Hi Kathryn! Great post. My wife loves Holmes County Ohio. I've been told that Ohio Amish Country is the second largest tourist attraction in Ohio, right behind Cedar Point!

Thanks for including Dayton in your Top Ten. One great feature of the Dayton area is the National Air Force Museum. It's the largest of its kind in the US and maybe the world. People actually come from around the world to visit the museum. It would take a day to tour the museum and is very enjoy for families with kids. The kids love the similators and all the exhibits they can enter and climb on. Thanks again!


Handy Hubby 7 years ago from Portland/Vancouver Metro area

I just wanted to add, if I may, I know this isn't a city in Ohio, but just off of Sandusky around two miles off shore are the Bass Islands-they are South Bass, Middle bass, and North Bass, I have been to Middle Bass twice (also known as "Put in Bay" this island is great when I went it was a 30 or 40 minute jet boat ride and was well worth it. There is another island, Kelly's island, I think that has glacial grooves on it which might be interesting. I spent 39 years growing up in Ohio, I now live in Washington and before that Oregon , but I still have very nice memories of my life there. And it is a great place to raise a family.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 years ago from Houston, Texas

I agree that every state has its different character and flavor and if people can spend the time to discover the treasures found in each locale they would be enriched. Thanks for this "heads up" on Ohio.


Direxmd profile image

Direxmd 7 years ago from Sonoma County, California

I like your first paragraph--it's absolutely true, all states have far more outside of their stereotype, then again, at the same time (paradoxically) I can't help but think of Ohio as the state everyone forgot about--the state where everyone just goes on with their lives, and nothing really new occurs. Nothing really to get excited about, same ol' same ol'.

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