Are you heading to Dayton, Ohio for vacation or work and looking for the best way to spend your time?
Dayton is one of the largest cities in the United States and there are so many things to do that you will be overwhelmed with choices!
Whether this is your first time in Dayton or you’ve been there before, you may not know which sights are worth your money and your time. That’s why we’ve curated this list of 10 amazing things to do in Dayton (see also “Amazing Things To Do In Columbus“).
The city is well-known for its long relationship with aviation but there is so much more to see in Dayton. No matter what you’re looking for, there is sure to be something on this list for you.
We hope that you enjoy our choices and your stay in Dayton! Let’s get started with our list.
With free admission and parking, this museum is definitely worth the money (see also “Amazing Things To Do In Boca Raton Worth The Money“)! It covers the full breadth of aviation history and has several galleries that include the Early Years, World War II, and Space.
There is a large collection of planes and missiles to view as well as engines and weapons. You can also enjoy the theater and flight simulators although there is a charge for these.
There is so much to see at the National Museum of the United States Air Force that you won’t be able to see it all in a single day.
If you’re more interested in the history of aviation, then the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park is a great choice and it’s another free option.
It has a large focus on the story of the Wright Brothers and how they were able to take the skies for the first time.
The park is located at the site of the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop and printing press and you can tour the shop as part of your visit. There are informative videos and models to see as well.
The park is also home to The Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site where you can learn all about the influential Dayton poet.
Compared to many other museums and historical sites on the list, the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park is on the small side so don’t expect to spend a full day here. However, it’s a must for anyone interested in the early days of aviation.
Only open Wednesday through Sunday, the Dayton Art Institute is a must for any art lovers. Adult tickets are $15 and youth tickets are $5, with admission for under sixes being free.
The institute has a mix of fixed and temporary exhibits so make sure to check the website to see what temporary exhibitions will be there during your stay.
The institute is located in a beautiful building and is just as beautiful inside as well.
There are galleries of art from all around the world as well as galleries dedicated to styles of art such as contemporary art, modernism, and colonial art. Give yourself a few hours to see everything the institute has to offer.
Many of Dayton’s most famous citizens are buried in the Woodland Cemetery including the Wright Brothers and Erma Bombeck.
It was founded in 1841 and is one of the oldest rural gardens in the United States. It spreads over 200 acres and can be both walked and driven through.
The arboretum part of the cemetery is well worth a visit as well. It boasts over 3,000 different trees and 165 species and has many trees that are over a century old.
You can also visit the Romanesque Gateway and Chapel during your stay, the latter of which has an original Tiffany window. Whether you want to pay your respects or go through a gentle walk underneath the trees, this is a great and free option.
If you have kids that love to explore and learn, then the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery is a great place to take them.
It’s full of interactive exhibits and activities that kids of all ages are sure to enjoy. Admission costs $14.50 for adults and $11.50 for children, with children under three being free.
The Museum includes a small zoo and has animals such as otters, insects, foxes, and a sloth. There are many collections and galleries to visit, with the largest being the Anthropology collection which boasts over 1.4 million items!
One of the best places to experience and learn about the history of Dayton is at Carillon Historical Park.
The park spreads out over 65 acres and is an open-air history museum. It costs $14 for adults, $10 for children, and children under two can visit for free.
While at the park, you can experience many living exhibits. For example, you can enjoy a soda at a 1930s cafe, and see an 1850s-style brewery, a nineteenth-century schoolhouse, and an eighteenth-century tavern!
You can even see the original 1905 Wright Flyer III during your visit.
There are many museums in Dayton dedicated to aviation, but if ground-based vehicles are more your style, then you should consider a visit to the Packard Museum.
Tickets cost $10 and there is free parking available. A visit to the museum should take around two hours.
While at the museum, you can see a wide range of classic cars. The oldest car on display dates back to 1903 and as well as the many civilian vehicles on display, you can also see an army truck from 1918.
The museum also takes education seriously so you will be able to learn about car design and how different car parts work.
This old-school style market is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and is free to visit. It’s hosted in an old railroad building and is filled with stalls selling delicious locally-grown produce and food.
There are vendors selling fresh produce throughout the year, but you can also enjoy prepared and specialty foods as well.
There are also a number of artisan stores selling handmade items such as pottery and glass. And don’t worry if you’re vegan, there are stalls that cater specifically to vegans as well!
At over 300 acres, there is plenty of nature to see at Aullwood Audubon. Entry costs $12 for those aged over 13 and $8 for children aged 4 to 12. While at Aullwood, you can enjoy the farm, nature center, and nature sanctuary.
The farm has many heritage and rare breeds of livestock and the sanctuary has a variety of different habitats that you can enjoy walking through and experiencing.
There are many hiking trails you can follow that range from small distances to medium ones.
One of the main selling points of Aullwood Audubon is the Troll that Hatched an Egg exhibit. These are three large trolls that also act as bird nests.
Seeing the full exhibit will take a 90-minute hike, but you can see part of the exhibit in only a few minutes.
Carriage Hill covers over 900 acres of land and has a wide variety of different natural landscapes to enjoy.
For example, the park has prairies and scenic woodlands, as well as a large lake and smaller ponds. The park is open to the public throughout most of the year but is usually closed on Mondays.
As well as the natural landscapes that you can enjoy walking around, the park also includes a working farm and stables.
The historical farm has been maintained to reflect the 1880s and there are many knowledgeable staff members on hand to teach you about the farming methods of the time. Of course, there are also many farm animals to see during your visit as well!
You can also ride horses at the riding center. There are pony rides available for younger children on Saturdays during the main season and you can enjoy weekend trail rides and horse lessons.
In this article, we listed 10 amazing things to do in Dayton, Ohio that are worth the money (see also “Amazing Things To Do In Toledo Ohio“). Dayton is known as the Birthplace of Aviation so of course, we included some things centered around aviation.
If aviation doesn’t appeal to you, however, we made sure to include several other options for you to choose from as well.
Whether you want to see some cars, learn some history, or enjoy some local food and flavor, there is something in Dayton for you. Dayton is a wonderful city and we hope that whatever you choose to do, you enjoy your stay!
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