One perk of being a Dayton resident is the plethora of hidden gems. From popular events like the Dayton Hamvention to secret adventures like the Carroll’s Farm Wildlife Safari, Dayton has something for everyone.
If you are new to Dayton or have lived here for years and would like to know what to see and do, this guide has you covered. With that, you can determine what makes the best Dayton attractions.
Here are the top things to do in Dayton, Ohio.
Top 4 Things to Do in Dayton, Ohio
If you’re looking to fill your free time, you don’t have a shortage of options in Dayton! Here are 4 of our favorite local attractions.
1. Explore the National Museum of the United States Air Force ✈️
Take a journey through aviation history at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. As the world’s largest military aviation museum, it is a must-visit attraction for enthusiasts and history buffs. The museum houses an impressive collection of over 360 aircraft, from the early days of flight to modern military aircraft.
Upon entering the museum, you’ll be greeted by the sight of the Wright brothers’ first powered aircraft, the 1909 Wright Military Flyer. This iconic aircraft was a training aircraft for the U.S. Army Signal Corps and played a significant role in the early development of military aviation.
You’ll encounter notable aircraft from World War I, World War II, and the Cold War era as you explore. The museum is home to famous planes like the B-17 Flying Fortress, the P-51 Mustang, and the SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet-powered aircraft ever flown.
Aside from the aircraft displays, the museum offers a wealth of interactive exhibits and educational programs. You can try flying in the simulators, climb cockpits, and even watch live demonstrations showcasing military aircraft’s capabilities.
To make the most of your visit, be sure to join one of the guided tours offered by the museum. These tours provide fascinating insights and behind-the-scenes stories about the aircraft and their historical significance. Whether you’re a history buff, an aviation enthusiast, or just curious about the world of flight, the National Museum of the United States Air Force is a captivating destination that shouldn’t be missed.
2. Visit the Dayton Art Institute 🖼️
Indulge your love for art and culture at the Dayton Art Institute. Located in the city’s heart, this world-class museum showcases various artworks from various periods and regions.
As you enter the museum, you’re immediately greeted by the grandeur of the Rotunda, an architectural masterpiece that sets the stage for the artistic treasures that await. Wander through the galleries and take in the beauty of works by renowned artists such as Monet, Renoir, and Picasso. The museum encompasses various artistic styles and mediums, from European masterpieces to contemporary art.
One of the highlights of the museum is the collection of Asian artworks, which includes exquisite sculptures, porcelain, and other decorative arts. Immerse yourself in Asia’s rich cultural heritage as you explore each piece’s intricate details.
In addition to its permanent collection, the Dayton Art Institute hosts a variety of special exhibitions throughout the year. These temporary exhibits offer the chance to see works from different artists and explore specific themes in depth. From contemporary installations to historical retrospectives, there’s always something new and exciting to discover.
🧠Museum’s Educational Programs
To enhance your museum experience, consider joining one guided tour or attending one of the museum’s educational programs. These opportunities provide deeper insights into the artworks, their historical context, and the artistic techniques employed by the artists.
After exploring the galleries, take a moment to relax and enjoy the beauty of the museum’s Sculpture Garden. This serene outdoor space features captivating sculptures surrounded by lush greenery, providing the perfect setting for reflecting and appreciating art in nature.
Whether you’re an art enthusiast or appreciate beauty in all its forms, the Dayton Art Institute promises a memorable and enriching experience.
3. Stroll Through the Five Rivers MetroParks 🌲
Escape into nature and immerse yourself in the stunning surroundings of the Five Rivers MetroParks. With over 16,000 acres of parks, green spaces, and recreational areas, these parks offer various outdoor activities that satisfy nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.
Head to the Cox Arboretum MetroPark for a serene experience. This sprawling park is home to various gardens, including a butterfly house, a native-plant garden, and an edible landscape garden. Take a stroll along the trails and immerse yourself in the sights and scents of the beautiful flora.
For those seeking a more active outdoor experience, the Englewood MetroPark is the perfect destination. This expansive park is centered around the scenic Englewood Lake, offering boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the miles of nature trails that wind through lush forests and meadows, allowing you to spot wildlife in their natural habitat.
🚲Great Miami Riverway
If you’re a cycling enthusiast, check out the trails at the Great Miami Riverway. This 99-mile paved trail follows the Great Miami River and provides stunning views of the river, farmland, and urban landscapes. Whether you prefer a leisurely ride or a more challenging cycling adventure, this trail network caters to all levels of cyclists.
The Five Rivers MetroParks are a haven for outdoor activities, educational programs, and events throughout the year. From nature walks and wildlife encounters to photography workshops and nature conservation initiatives, there’s always something exciting happening in these parks.
Whether seeking solitude and serenity or an action-packed day of adventure, the Five Rivers MetroParks have something to offer everyone. So, grab your hiking boots, pack a picnic, and get ready to connect with nature in Dayton, Ohio.
4. Immerse Yourself in History at Carillon Historical Park 🗿
Step back in time and discover the fascinating history of Dayton at Carillon Historical Park. This living history museum is on a sprawling campus, showcasing the city’s innovative spirit and industrial heritage.
One of the most significant highlights of the park is the original Wright brothers’ bicycle shop. This small building served as the birthplace of aviation, where the Wright brothers designed and built their early aircraft prototypes. Explore the exhibit and marvel at the bicycles and tools that sparked their curiosity and led to their groundbreaking work in aviation.
Visit Dayton, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio, offers a rich and diverse array of experiences for visitors to enjoy. From historical landmarks like the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop to modern attractions like the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, there’s something for everyone to explore. And if you’re a local, don’t let house projects hold you back from discovering all your city has to offer. Instead, let Johnson Restoration take care of all of your home’s exterior needs, so you can get back to what matters most. Visit our website and learn more about things to do in Dayton, Ohio.