Almost two years ago, I published my original “40 Reasons I Love Dayton, OH” list. If you haven’t read that one yet, check it out first; otherwise, you’ll be wondering why obvious reasons like low cost-of-living, the Air Force Museum, and exceptional area parks are absent from this list. Now, though, I’ve had another couple years to get to know the Dayton area better and I am happier than ever that we have settled here. We were considering a move a few months ago, and I am so happy we decided against it. The longer I spend here, the more places and events I learn about, deepening my appreciation for the area. I’ve found that the people who complain about it are invariably the people who don’t take advantage of all there is to see and do.
As with my original list, I have tried to keep places to visit within a one-hour drive of Dayton; otherwise this would be a list of reasons to love Ohio.
In no particular order, here are another 20 reasons I love our area:
1. Hartman Rock Garden, in Springfield, is a stunning example of American folk art that I have affectionately dubbed the “Folk Art LEGOLand village.”
2. Urban Krag Climbing Center has 8,ooo sq ft of vertical terrain of varying heights for both advanced and beginner climbers.
3. The newly built Rose Music Center at the Heights brings in entertainment like Vince Gill and Gladys Knight.
4. Amazing charities (and their equally amazing volunteers and donors) like Shoes 4 the Shoeless, which provides new socks and shoes to area kids in need
5. Idle-Hour Ranch in Troy, provides sanctuary and care to more than 200 animals and is open to the public for tours.
6. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum, about 45 min away, is an amazing outdoor sculpture park and also has a 10,000 sq ft museum of Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Etruscan sculpture thousands of years old.
7. The Dayton Maker Fest encourages a collaborative DIY community in the Dayton area by showcasing exploration and tinkering.
9. Gem City Comic Con in downtown Dayton brings together artistic talent, inspires the imagination, and encourages creative cosplay.
10. Miamisburg Mound Park is the largest conical earthwork of its kind in the United States and served as a major Native American burial site hundreds of years ago.
11. Although I included “festivals” in my original list, I truly feel the Ohio Renaissance Festival deserves its own shout-out due to its size (100 daily shows, 135 booths) and duration (7 weekends).
12. The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, an internationally recognized group of performers
14. TechFest, held at Sinclair Community College, offers free STEM family fun.
15. Hot air balloon companies that offer you the opportunity (and adventure) to see the area from a new vantage point
18. The Dayton Chess Club, in existence since 1957, offers the opportunity to stretch your mental muscles and enjoy yourself at the same time.
19. The impressive Dayton Masonic Center was completed over a 2-year, 9-month period by 450 workers in 1928 and hosts numerous tours and events, including the Festival on the Hill.
20. The Dayton Dutch Lions, a soccer team founded in 2009, which has experienced tremendous growth and success over the last several years
I still haven’t hit on everything–multiple water parks, beautiful houses of worship for the four major religions, abundant horseback riding opportunities, the Korean War Memorial, the 9/11 memorial, etc…..I could go on. I am in love with this area.
Incidentally, the most common suggestion from people for future lists was specific parks. I listed “Five Rivers Metroparks and city and county parks” in my original list because honestly, there are just TOO MANY amazing, gorgeous parks to list them individually. But yes, Wegerzyn, and Glen Helen, and Charleston Falls, and all the others around here are absolutely fantastic, and one of my favorite things about living in the Miami Valley is the abundance of parks and natural spaces.