Best things to do in Dayton, Ohio

Today’s post is sponsored by Ohio. Find it Here. and Dayton CVB. As always, all opinions are my own.

Looking for the best things to do in Dayton, Ohio? Keep reading! 

I’ve lived in Ohio most of my life and never explored all that Dayton, Ohio has to offer. And let me tell you, it’s A LOT! We had the opportunity to head down for a few days and explore some of the best attractions and experiences and I’m going to break it all down for you today! And hopefully, a visit to Dayton will be in your near future too 🙂

Dayton is only a short drive from Cleveland at right around three hours. We arrived at our hotel, the Marriott at the University of Dayton late Monday afternoon and headed straight for RiverScape Metropark! The view was absolutely stunning and it was the perfect day to stroll around! So many beautiful monuments to see! You can also take a stroll on the Dayton Inventors River Walk and enjoy life size monuments of all Dayton’s famous inventions like the pop top, cash register, and more! 

We had worked up quite the appetite so dinner at Troll Pub was next on the list. The food was delicious and the trolls outside the restaurant were a huge hit!

We woke up early Tuesday morning and kicked off the day at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park Wright Dunbar Interpretive Center! We picked up our Dayton Aviation Trail Passports so that we could each earn a Wilbear Wright teddy bear after visiting 8 of the 17 locations! The kids couldn’t wait to get their stamp at each stop and eventually, take home their own Wilbear! They had a blast exploring all of the interactive exhibits and memorabilia.

We walked next door to the Wright Cycle Co and it was crazy to know this was the very building they used to build and sell their bikes! The building had been many things since the original shop, so they used a photo to replicate it as close to the original building as they could. And they did a great job!

From there, we went to Paul Laurence Dunbar’s house. We started in the museum and were able to see some of his clothing items, bike, etc. And then we toured his home! 

The kids had a lot of questions at Paul Laurence Dunbar’s home, so we were a little tight on time when we hit Carillion Historical Park and Wright Brothers National Museum. But we made the most of our time and tried to see as much as we could! The Carousel of Innovation was obviously a favorite; Dayton is home to many inventions and the carousel features many of them. The pop top, cash registers, airplanes, and more!

Our next stop was Hawthorn Hill, otherwise known as the Wright Brothers Mansion. Which unfortunately, Wilbur never even got to see because he passed away before they broke ground. So much of the house is original but they’re planning to restore the things that aren’t within the next few years. But the library (pictured below) holds the most original pieces, including the carpet and a special chair for Orville after his accident.

It’s hard to choose a favorite stop but I have to say, getting to ride in the Wright B Flyer at the Wright Brothers Airport was an amazing experience! We weren’t able to get up in the air that day (normally they offer rides!) but we were still able to taxi around and it was SO cool. Airplanes have come a long way and to be in a replica of their plane was surreal!

Before heading back to the hotel we stopped at Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum. We took a bus up to the Wright Brothers gravesite, as well as Paul Laurence Dunbar’s memorial. The grounds are absolutely beautiful and you can even get a great view of the city from the lookout! 

To end the day, we attended a Dayton Dragons game at Day Air Ballpark and the kids had a BLAST! My son even caught a foul ball! Totally a family-friendly atmosphere, great food options, and the players stuck around to sign balls for the kids after the game. 

We began our next day with a trip to the National Museum of the U.S Air Force! This place is HUGE y’all… And it’s FREE! I couldn’t believe it! We spent two hours there and probably could have spent another two more if we had time! The kids loved getting to walk into all of the planes, space craft, and vehicles. The history throughout the four hangers is unreal and it’s such an amazing spot to visit for all ages! My personal favorite exhibit was the Air Force One plane that Kennedy flew into Dallas on the day he was assassinated. Can’t believe I stood in the same spot! 

Before heading out of town we stopped in at the Dayton Heritage Area National Historical Park. We turned in our completed Aviation Trail Passports and received our Wilbear Wright bears! (Normally you have to send in your passport and you’ll receive them by mail, but they were able to arrange us receiving ours so we could share them with all of you!)

Our last stop was Huffman Prairie Field; this was especially cool to see where the Wright Brothers really learned how to fly and step foot on the same ground where such a historical event took place! You can even see the first “Airport”, the original hanger where they kept their plane. 

Dayton has so much to offer visitors of all ages and there was so much we want to go back to do and experience! Have any questions about our trip? Leave them below! Happy traveling! xo



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