Ohio, nicknamed the Buckeye state, is the 7th most densely populated state in the U.S. and the 34th largest by area. The name comes from the Algonquin word ohi-yo which means great river or large creek. The state links the Midwest and Northeast and so is within a one-day drive of half of North America’s populous making it an affordable place to vacation for much of the continent. When driving through Ohio, you will note that much of the state is quite flat, but that does not mean that it is boring. Fun and adventure can be had in most areas of the state without too much research needed. Cedar Point, Hocking Hills State Park, Wright Brothers National Memorial and other very popular points of interest are found in what seems to be the central hub of North America.
10. Funny Bone Comedy Club
The Funny Bone Comedy Club is a franchise comedy club with locations in over 25 markets in the United States and is still expanding making an uproarious impact wherever it opens. The first Funny Bone opened in Pittsburgh, PA and has been in operation for over 30 years. Big names like Jerry Seinfeld, Tim Allen, Drew Carey and Rosanne Bar, to name-drop a few, have graced the clubs with their delightful comedy shows. They also feature new, up-and-coming talent as well as local talent in each of their locations.
Funny Bone Comedy Clubs can be found in several cities in Ohio such as Columbus, Dayton and Toledo. You can enjoy some casual cuisine while watching a show but guests must be age of majority to be admitted. The Dinner and Show Package includes preferred seating (as opposed to first come first served), a non-alcoholic beverage, salad and your choice of entree, plus all taxes and gratuity. The restaurant offers a full menu where you can order your meal prior to or during every show. For a gut-busting good time, the Funny Bone is a fabulous choice.
9. Beer Tasting and Tours
Northern Ohio is home to many breweries and events focusing on beer and beer tasting. The Cleveland Beer Bus, for one, will take you around to visit three of the great Cleveland Breweries while educating you on their operations and giving you the opportunity to sample their fine-tasting beers. They will also schedule tours in other cities.
The Great Lakes Brewing Company hosts free brewery tours on Fridays and Saturdays but drop-ins are limited so you’ll want to plan ahead and reserve your spot on the tour. Private brewery tours for up to 20 people are also available at a nominal cost from Monday to Thursday. You can also attend a Private Beer School with a minimum of 20 people where you will receive a graduate t-shirt, beer glass and more. There are many more brewery tour companies and breweries throughout Ohio that host tours, tastings, classes and more. If you love beer, you can’t go wrong on one of these tours.
8. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Located in downtown Cleveland on the shores of Lake Erie, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a museum dedicated to the music industry and the birth of rock and roll. Cleveland was chosen as the home for the museum because disc jockey, Alan Freed was the first person to use the phrase “rock and roll” and was responsible for heavily promoting the genre. The city was also the location of the first major rock and roll concert – Freed’s Moondog Coronation Ball. Many big names like David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen followed suit in the 70s and 80s.
There are seven levels to the building where exhibits from different places, artists and eras are on display. You will see and hear exhibits featuring The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and many other rock legends. You will want to plan to spend quite a bit of time at the museum because of the expanse of the building, the numerous exhibits, films, audio tracks, souvenirs and other attractions in that you won’t want to miss.
7. Ohio Theatre
Located in Columbus, the Ohio Theatre is a performing arts center and is known as the “Official Theatre of the State of Ohio”. In 1928, the museum operated as a movie palace and was spared from demolition in 1969 when it was completely restored and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977.
The theatre building is famous for its magnificent architecture with each room having a unique theme, like “Africa Corner” which was the decorator’s favorite. It also features lush men’s and women’s lounges with separate smoking and telephone rooms. The theatre seats 2,779 and was originally a movie theatre until its last movie, “Play Dirty” with Michael Caine was shown there. Live shows and concerts were hosted to raise money to keep the theatre open and eventually became one of the earliest restorations of a movie palace for use as a performing arts center in the United States. It is an amazing and beautiful piece of American history to behold and experience.
6. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a U.S. National Park in Northeast Ohio that runs along the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland. The park spans 20,339.22 acres (8,231 hectares) and is the only national park in the state of Ohio. The Iroquois name Cuyahoga translates to “crooked river”.
The park has many trails for hiking or bicycling through it to sop up the scenic beauty including the crushed limestone along portions of the Towpath Trail. Other popular attractions in the park include waterfalls, rolling hills, steep narrow ravines, lush farmlands and winding rivers. The Ledges are cliffs where you can relax watch a stunning sunset and absorb the scenery and wildlife that is abundant in the park below. In the winter months, sled riding is a popular activity. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad runs along the towpath from Rockside Rd. to Akron where passengers can get off to explore the area at any of the six stops along the way.
5. A Christmas Story House
A Christmas Story House, a museum located in Cleveland, Ohio, is aptly named after the movie “A Christmas Story” where the 19th century Victorian house was featured and is open to the public year round. The house in the film was located in Hohman, Indiana, a fictional town modeled after Hammond, Indiana. Only the exterior of the house was featured in the film. Cleveland’s Higbee Department Store was also featured in the movie.
A Christmas Story House has been restored to look exactly as it did in the movie and directly across the street is A Christmas Story House Museum featuring original props, costumes, hundreds of behind-the-scene photographs and memorabilia from the movie. After visiting the house and museum, you can pick up some great gifts, movie memorabilia like the leg lamp and souvenirs from the museum gift shop. If you watched the movie, this is your opportunity to feel like you are a part of it when you are surrounded by props and movie setting.
4. Cleveland Museum of Art
The Cleveland Museum of Art is an art museum found in Cleveland’s east side on the southern end of Wade Park. It is home to more than 43,000 works of art from all over the world. Touted as one of the wealthiest museums in the nation, general admission into the facility is free of charge. Wade Park features an outdoor gallery in the Wade Park Fine Arts Garden.
The museum’s collection is divided into 15 departments: Chinese Art, Modern European Art, African Art, Drawings, Prints, European Painting & Sculpture, Textiles & Islamic Art, American Painting & Sculpture, Greek & Roman Art, Contemporary Art, Medieval Art, Decorative Art & Design, art of the Ancient Americas and Oceania, Photography and Contemporary Art. The Ingalls Library, also housed in the museum, is one of the largest art libraries in the United States. With such an extensive and diverse art collection, the Cleveland Museum of Art appeals to most anyone who appreciates artistic talent.
3. Kings Island
Kings Island is a 364-acre amusement park located in Mason, Ohio about 24 miles northeast of Cincinnati. The park features over 80 rides including 14 roller coasters, a 33-acre waterpark and live shows. It is normally open from April to Labor Day and reopens on weekends in September for Halloween-themed events. It is the second-most visited amusement park in the United States behind Cedar Point and has won the Gold Ticket Award for 13 consecutive years for having the “Best Kids’ Area” in the world.
Action Zone is a 100-acre section of the park featuring a Lion Country Safari by monorail. Dinosaurs Alive! features more than 60 animatronic life-sized dinosaurs that make you feel like you’ve stepped back into prehistoric times. There are bumper cars, a favorite attraction at most amusement parks. Many of the rides that are common in other amusement parks are found here but the extras make this a gem to visit.
2. Hocking Hills State Park
Located near Logan, Ohio in Hocking County is Hocking Hills State Park featuring a narrow deep gorge, waterfalls, amazing rock formations, caves and cliffs. The Park is divided into five sections: Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, Ash Cave, Cantell Cliffs and Rock House. There are about 200 campsites in the park -most being equipped with electricity and other amenities if you plan on staying there and the campground is in close proximity to hiking trails.
The area has many attractions and activities for visitors that include cabins, restaurants, a zipline, canoeing, boating, rock climbing, swimming, hunting and fishing, archery, air tours and more. The picturesque scenery, cascading waterfalls, awesome cliffs and amazing caves make the park a unique natural wonder to behold. You can hike or mountain bike through the area on a guided tour and maybe even have the privilege to see some of the wildlife living there like white tailed deer, wild turkeys or box turtles. There are daily events and programs held at the park so you don’t miss the best places to see.
1. Cedar Point
Located in Sandusky, Ohio, Cedar Point, also known as “The roller coaster capital of the world”, is a world-class 365-acre amusement park which opened in 1870 and is the second oldest operating amusement park in the United States. The park is home to a record-breaking 72 rides featuring 16 roller coasters which ties it with Canada’s Wonderland for having the second-most roller coasters and has received the Golden Ticket Award 16 years in a row for being the “Best Amusement Park in the World”. It is usually open every day from May through to Labor Day in September and then open on weekends until the beginning of November.
The Millennium Force roller coaster is known as the best steel roller coaster in the world and is a must-experience for anyone who loves heart-pumping thrill rides. With all the roller coasters in the park though, there is no shortage of thrills. There are also areas specifically designed to cater to younger guests with shows, kid-size rides and games. You can check out some of the water rides, family rides, or cool off at Soak City Waterpark. Live entertainment and great food will round out your visit to this incredible vacation destination.