40 Reasons I Love Dayton, OH

Image courtesy Dayton Hikers

Image courtesy Dayton Hikers

I tend to gush about the Dayton, OH area. I grew up in the military and then served in the military (and am now back in the Reserves), so I have lived my fair share of places. I still stand by my assertion that you can be happy wherever you live, but the Dayton area (aka the Miami Valley) has been so amazing in so many ways that I am constantly talking about how much I love it. I’ve even begun sending my parents and sister house listings in hopes that they’ll find a place they adore and move here. Then it truly would be perfect. 😉

A friend recently lamented the cost of homes in her area and I told her she should consider a move here. Nice, affordable housing is just one of many perks. Then I jokingly told her that, if she wanted, I could send her an entire list of reasons that Dayton is great. She said, “I’d like to see that list.” I posted my list, initially 15 reasons, on Facebook and was immediately flooded with more reasons my local friends love it here. I want to share the list we’ve come up with.

Regarding places to visit, I’ve tried to restrict it to places less than an hour away; otherwise, this would be a “Reasons I Love Ohio” post. Incidentally, I do, and I subscribe to Ohio magazine, which reinforces monthly why this is a great state to live in.

So without further ado, in no particular order:

40 Reasons I Love Dayton, OH

1.   Broadway (and other amazing) shows at the state-of-the art Schuster Center (ex. we saw Wicked)
2.   The (free) National Museum of the United States Air Force
3.   Public (free) beaches easily accessible (Caesar’s Creek State Park, Kiser Lake, Cowan Lake) as well as hiking
4.   An extensive park system (the Five Rivers Metropark) as well as dozens of city and county parks (for example, our small suburb has 36 parks)
5.   Wonderful farmer’s markets (like 2nd St Market with entertainment on Saturdays and Oakwood Farmer’s Market)
6.   The Dayton Art Institute
7.   IKEA and Jungle Jim’s are just 45 min away
8.   King’s Island Amusement Park is also about 45 min away
9.   Scene 75, the largest indoor entertainment center in the country, is here
10. The Newport Aquarium is about an hour away
11. Dayton is an easy drive from Cincinnati, Columbus, and Indianapolis
12. A surprising amount of good restaurants (although our faves aren’t on the list)
13. It has an international airport, and is also close to other major cities so the prices are competitive
14. Tons of shopping between the multiple malls
15. Major concerts and shows come to the Wright State Nutter Center (we’ve seen Rascall Flatts and Transiberian Orchestra)
16. Extensive, interconnected library systems (e.g. Dayton Metro library, Greene County library)
17. Close proximity to two top-rated zoos, Cincinnati Zoo and Columbus Zoo
18. Home of the popular Class A minor league baseball team the Dayton Dragons
19. Young’s Jersey Dairy Farm, a working dairy farm with restaurant, bakery, miniature golf, driving range, and batting cage
20. Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, a a children’s museum that focuses on science and offers a “mini-zoo” of live animals native to Ohio
21. Dorothy Lane Market, regularly rated the best (independent) gourmet grocery store in the country
22. Ohio named the cheapest state in the country by TIME magazine; Dayton has a low cost of living
23. Home of the popular United States Air Force Marathon
24. Tons of local festivals, found here, that include everything from the Troy Strawberry Festival to the Beavercreek Popcorn Festival
25. Largest system of bike trails in the country
26. The Neon, a movie theater that shows independent films, as well as drive-in movie theaters
27. Numerous top-rated school districts as well as a large homeschooling community
28. Affordable colleges like Wright-State University and Sinclair
29. An abundance of thrift stores and flea markets, including massive Treasure Aisles and Trader’s World, about 30 min away
30. Carillon Historical Park, a 65-acre park and museum containing historic buildings and exhibits on history of tech & Dayton (as well as a killer carousel for kids)
31. Skydiving available in Middletown
32. Yellow Springs, home to a huge arts community
33. Sunwatch Indian Village and Archaeological Park
34. Kids Bowl Free and discounted movie theaters during summers
35. (Usually) moderate traffic compared to other cities
36. Dayton Air Show
37. The Fraze Pavillion hosts top musicians during the warmer months
38. Dayton Performing Arts Alliance provides top talent in ballet, opera, and the Philharmonic Orchestra
39. America’s Packard Museum
40. The Oregon District, a scenic downtown Dayton area renowned for its architecture, atmosphere, and restaurant/bar nightlife

As I write this, I have only lived in the area for 3 years. I am certain that I have missed aspects of the area’s awesomeness. Feel free to add them in the comments.

Natl Museum of the Air Force Image courtesy Planes of the Past

Natl Museum of the Air Force Image courtesy Planes of the Past




9 Responses to “40 Reasons I Love Dayton, OH”

  1. Vanta says:

    One thing this list doesn’t consist of is community relations. Dayton is one of the most segregated cities as well as contains some of the most ostracized neighborhoods to be expected of an American city considered “immigrant-friendly”.

  2. Emily says:

    41. Internationally known Dayton Contemporary Dance Company

  3. Amy bear says:

    You are completely correct. I can’t say enough good things about my home town. We are the nicest , salt of the earth people also. Don’t forget that. :-). 🙂

  4. pam says:

    The Dayton Aviation Museum.

  5. Leslie says:

    *Woodland Cemetery (beautiful and important historically)
    *Riverscape (Downtown Dayton)

  6. Kendra says:

    Nationally ranked Health Care

  7. Andi Lynn says:

    42. Spirit Expeditions Haunted Historical Tours! It’s a 2-hour walking tour of Downtown Dayton’s main streets. On the tour you will hear tales of Dayton’s history, haunts, and urban legends! You even get to go “ghost hunting” in a few really interesting locations! The tour guides are two wonderful ladies from the Greater Dayton area, they run the tour on Friday and Saturday nights. They are incredibly knowledgeable, and an absolute blast! I highly recommend it to anyone who would be looking for something fun and exciting to do on a Friday or Saturday night in Dayton!

  8. Emily Ann says:

    Graeter’s. How I miss Graeter’s.

    Marion’s Pizza – more for my brother’s point of view

    Ohio Caverns – about an hour away –

    Awesome locally owned restaurants, cafes, pubs, etc. far too many to name – thinking of

    Historic sites in Tipp City – Erie canal – rail roads

    Awesome Hindu Temple –

    Amazing Japanese restaurant with killer service –

    Charleston Falls
    Houston Woods, All the metro parks, horse riding parks, Al

    An Amazing British imports store in Huber Heights –

    And so much more.

  9. Anne Harvey says:

    Neal Gittelman, conductor of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra; UD Flyers Basketball; Esther Price candy; the Miamisburg Mound; Wright State Arts Gala.


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