Dayton isn’t just another sleepy farmer’s town in Ohio, it’s a very popular city that attracts tourists and visitors from all over. You have our pick of a variety of attractions: museums, performing arts centers, sports venues, parks to explore, and more.
As the sixth largest city in Ohio, Dayton will certainly keep you busy for a number of days trying to see and do everything. To help make things a little easier for you, we’ve narrowed down the ten best attractions that are worth your while.
Take a trip to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and you’ll find the official museum of the United States Air Force, filled with the most Air Force memorabilia in the country. Full-sized aircraft, missiles, and authentic equipment spanning the history of the U.S. Air Force. A very humbling experience for all walks of life.
If you’re traveling with little ones, don’t miss this awesome children’s museum in Dayton. Here, kids can play while actually learning a lot about science and nature. Inside is a combination of aquarium, planetarium, and a zoo. Everyone will be having fun getting up close and personal with animals at the sanctuary or at the tidal pool where sting rays and fish swim right past you.
If you have an eye for art, the Dayton Art Institute is conveniently located downtown and easily identifiable by its classic Renaissance architecture. The museum itself is beautifully ornate with over 20,000 individual pieces of work on display, spanning over 5,000 years of history.
Haven’t gotten your fill of aviation museums, Dayton has another great collection of history, paying tribute to the Wright Brothers and Paul Laurence Dunbar. Everyone knows who the Wright Brothers are, the men who successfully built the first plane to be able to take off and land safely. Paul Laurence Dunbar is a bit less known, but he is no less talented when it comes to his writing abilities; an author who wrote many famous plays, books, and poems. This park houses multiple museums, as well as replica of the Wright Brother’s first flyer.
This park is filled with all sorts of interesting history and information about the height of industrial and transportation accomplishments. Dayton played a major role in innovating and pushing America’s industrialization. The Carillon Historical Park was the lovechild of Edith and Edward Deeds, who sought to preserve the city’s fascinating and inspiring history with a large collection of artifacts and documents detailing its history.
6: Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center
From the Dayton Philharmonic, to the Dayton Ballet, and the Dayton Opera, whatever entertainment for the night that you happen to visit on, you’re in for a treat. This theater has some fantastic acoustics and interior design. Comfort is the rule here, even after the show is over, as you’ll find easily accessible restaurants and a winter garden for you to observe.
You don’t have to visit Detroit to see a glimpse into the past of the automotive industry. Packard automobiles aren’t a household name like Ford, GM, or Chrysler, but they have plenty of important and fascinating history relevant to 20th century Americana. If you’re a car lover or history buff, then this is a must-stop attraction in Dayton, Ohio.
Musicians have their Halls of Fame, it’s only fair that America’s rock stars of aviation get their own. In the Hall of Fame Learning Center, visitors can learn the rich history of the United States Air Force, American space pioneers, and the accomplishments of all the creative architects that put man into the skies and beyond. The Hall of Fame isn’t just a celebration of aviation history, it continually adds names to that list every year, with 2017 welcoming Air Force pilot Robert J. Gilliland, astronaut Scott Carpenter, turbojet engine inventor Frank Whittle, and NASA’s Charles Bolden.
Part ancient archaeological site, part Native American village, and part museum, but all extremely important American history. SunWatch is a well-preserved display of how Native Americans lived over 600 years ago. Visitors will get a first-hand look at the cultural and functional nature of Native life; there are gardens, prairies, and homes reconstructed to be exactly how they were hundreds of years ago.
The Wright Brothers didn’t just up and build a flying airplane out of nowhere, they applied their expertise with building bicycles that they built in the 1890’s. They actually were good at building bikes, too, if you can believe it. It helped them fund their future flight experiments. The Wright Cycle Company Complex connects with the Hoover Block and an Aviation Trail Visitor Museum, so there’s plenty to see and do here for a whole day, if you wish.