I know I’m often guilty of falling into the “there’s nothing to do here” trap, but in reality, there are so many options for things to do around Dayton. I love playing tourist in my own hometown! Here are some of our favorite places to spend a free weekend afternoon, and a couple I haven’t tried out yet (don’t worry, that’ll soon change!)
This park has become one of my favorite places. There is so much to see that it takes multiple visits to really take it all in. When people think about Dayton’s history, the first thing that comes to mind is the Wright brothers, and while they played a significant role in our history, there were so many more innovators contributing to our society through the years; including John H. Patterson, Charles Kettering, and Col. Edward Deeds to name a few. In addition to the park, you can tour Hawthorn Hill, the Wright family home in Oakwood every Wednesday and Saturday. (Open daily until 5 pm, tickets $10)
This museum is MASSIVE! It now has 4 hangers full of artifacts and information. Again, it would take multiple visits to see everything. I grew up coming to this museum; I remember this was one school field trip that my mom joined, and I was so excited having her serve as our unofficial tour guide. Despite being an Air Force kid, I was never big on planes, but I am still awed by the genius required to make it all work! (Open daily 9 am to 5 pm, FREE admission)
This park is located at the site of the Wright brothers’ print shop where the boys grew up. Learn about what their lives were like in those early years. We also really enjoyed the flight simulator for the Wrights’ early plane (so much harder than it seems!) Also, nearby was the home of Paul Lawrence Dunbar, also open for tours. (Open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm, FREE admission)
Whether you’re an art aficionado or not, this is a fun place to spend an afternoon! From the traditional paintings to more modern works to Asian art and even the building itself! I love wandering around this beautiful building. We recently enjoyed the exhibit featuring portrait photographer, Yousuf Karsh. These temporary exhibits are often changing, so there’s always something new to see along with your old favorites! (Hours vary, tickets $8)
If you prefer to spend your time outdoors, check out of the local metroparks! There are a total of 19 parks all varying in size and amenities available. 2nd Street Market is probably the smallest of the parks, operating out of an old railroad freight house, this farmer’s market runs Thursdays through Sundays until 3 pm. Germantown is one of the larger parks with more than 1,600 acres and 14 miles of trails; I love getting out there for a good stretch of the legs! (Most parks are open dawn to dusk, FREE admission)
Perfect for the little ones (or the child at heart), this museum will feed the curious mind, with lots of hands-on experiences to make learning fun. My favorite part was definitely the Discovery Zoo, where they have live animals for those who love their furry friends! (Open daily until 5 pm, tickets up to $14.50)
If you want to learn about those who lived here long before Dayton was settled, this is the place for you. An archaeological dig revealed this 800-year-old American Indian village, now museum. (Open Tuesday – Saturday until 5 pm (Saturdays only Nov – Mar), tickets $7)
This museum operates out of an old Packard dealership in downtown Dayton and boasts “the largest collection of Packard automobiles and memorabilia anywhere in the world!” I have not yet been to this museum, but it has made the short list, so I hope to rectify that soon! (Open daily noon to 5 pm, tickets $6)
Small Town Shopping
I love heading down to Waynesville to spend a lazy day perusing the antique shops and having lunch (I recommend the Cobblestone Café). Another great place for antiques and other fun shops is up north in Tipp City (for a place to eat, try Sam & Ethels) and Troy.
These are just some of our old standbys, and sure there are more I’ve forgotten. What’s your favorite place to spend an afternoon? Leave a comment!