20 Amazing Cities In Ohio

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A Midwest titan when it comes to industry, finance, politics and culture, Ohio is an American state that’s birthed some of the most influential figures in American history and stood at the forefront of some of the USA’s most significant achievements of the last 200 years. Cities in Ohio such as Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus are well-known but hidden gems like Mansfield and Mentor are also intriguing to explore. Some cities in Ohio, such as Toledo, Dublin and Athens are named after famous cities around the world.

Toledo’s cities are where skyscrapers collide with thundering rivers and rolling hills and where coastal towns, middle-of-nowhere destinations and urban metropolises combine to treat travellers to cultural, historic, culinary and entertainment. Here are the best cities in Ohio, the Buckeye State.

Cities In Ohio

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20 Ohio Cities To Visit

1- Columbus

View of downtown Columbus Ohio Skyline at twilight in USA.
They say that one of the best cities to live in Ohio is Columbus.

The capital of Ohio and situated right in the state’s geographic centre.

Columbus is a fascinating city and the home of the University of Ohio State’s main campus.

Part sophisticated and cosmopolitan city and part college town, Columbus is a unique Ohio city that represents the very best that the state has to offer cultural, historic and entertainment-wise.

From the magnificent Ohio State Capitol to the lively Ohio Stadium, there are many world-class sights and attractions to experience in the Buckeye State.

Top tour: The Escape Game Columbus: Epic 60-Minute Adventures.

2- Cincinnati

downtown, panoramic overview at the sunset.
Cincinnati is one of the largest cities in Ohio and an exciting city to explore.

Nicknamed the Queen City, Cincinnati is Ohio’s culinary epicentre and one of the most fascinating and scenic cities the United States has in store.

The city sits across the Kentucky state border and overlooks the mighty Ohio River, which is a fun outdoor recreational area and a beautiful natural backdrop to Cincinnati’s iconic skyline.

Cincinnati is Ohio’s third-largest city and has a large collection of fun and worthwhile attractions to explore.

Sports fans get to enjoy the MLB’s Cincinnati Reds at the Great American Ball Park and the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals at the Paycor Stadium, both in Downtown Cincinnati.

If sports aren’t your thing, how about visiting the American Sign Museum, the Cincinnati Music Hall or the Cincinnati Art Museum? 

Top tour: Ultimate Queen City Underground Tour.

3- Dayton

Dayton skyline aerial view
Dayton is another cool city in Ohio to explore.

Super historic and delightfully charming, Dayton is a fantastic mid-sized city best known for being the Birthplace of Aviation.

In Dayton, the Wright Brothers developed the first operational aircraft in 1903, a significant historical feat that visitors can learn all about at any of the numerous museums dedicated to celebrating that momentous achievement throughout the city.

Dayton’s top attractions include the scenic Caesar Creek State Park, the historic Wright Cycle Company Complex and the Schuster Performing Arts Center, all fantastic things to do whilst in Dayton.

Built off the back of industry, modern-day Dayton is a city that’s home to a vibrant arts and culture scene, as well as plenty of historical and outdoor landmarks, making it truly one of Ohio’s top cities to visit.

Top tour: Dayton Dash Scavenger Hunt.

4- Mentor

Mentor is a small city in northeast Ohio that’s famous throughout Ohio for its beaches, scenic wildlife and charming historic sites.

The city’s downtown area is where all the top boutiques, cafes and museums can be found, while greater Mentor is home to stunning outdoor attractions such as the Carol H. Sweet Nature Center and the Overlook Beach Park.

With interesting attractions and outdoor scenery to marvel at, Mentor is one of Ohio’s cities to tick off your list. 

5- Canton

Canton city buildings at night
Canton may not be one of the biggest cities in Ohio but it’s still worth visiting.

Home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Canton is a favourite tourist destination in Ohio thanks to its pleasant mix of cultural and historical attractions.

The city is roughly an hour’s drive from Cleveland and within a two-hour drive from Pittsburgh and Columbus, making Canton one of Ohio’s most centrally located cities.

While the Pro Football Hall of Fame is undoubtedly the most visited attraction in Canton, the city is home to several other equally impressive landmarks.

From the McKinley Presidential Library and Museum to the Canton Museum of Art, Canton’s a real treasure trove of culture and history. 

6- Cleveland

cleveland skyline at dusk
When making a list of cities in Ohio to visit, make sure you include Cleveland.

In northern Ohio, on the banks of Lake Erie, Cleveland is Ohio’s largest metro area and home to world-class attractions such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The city is sandwiched into only 78 square miles (20,202 ha), making compact Cleveland a breeze to explore.

Not only is Cleveland filled with way too many things to see in a single visit, but the surrounding lakeside towns and amusement parks make Cleveland the perfect platform to explore everything Northeast Ohio has in store.

7- Akron

downtown buildings seen during cloudy day.
Akron is one of the smaller cities in Ohio to explore.

Situated along the Ohio & Erie Canalway, Akron is the birthplace of the founders of the Goodyear Tire Company and Alcoholics Anonymous, making it a historically significant city in the Midwest.

The city is surrounded by Cleveland and the scenic Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which puts Akron at the crossroads of two of Ohio’s most visited venues.

With places like Canal Park, Historic Downtown Seville, and the John S. Knight Center, Akron is always a fun Ohio city to stop by.

8- Middletown

Middletown is a delightful Ohio city between Dayton and Cincinnati.

The city offers visitors a plethora of indoor and outdoor attractions to experience.

Armbruster Nature Preserve and Bulls Run Nature Sanctuary and Arboretum are two great attractions in Middletown to stop by if you want to explore the region’s rich natural beauty.

For a more cultural Middletown experience, the Middletown Arts Center and the Middletown Visitors Bureau are two must-see attractions in this unique mid-sized Ohio city.

Top tour: Fairchild PT-19 Private Flight Experience in Middletown.

9- Toledo

how many cities are in ohio toledo skyline
Toledo is a city in Ohio you’ll love visiting.

Right on the Ohio-Michigan state border, Toledo is one of the biggest urban centres in Ohio and is an hour’s drive from Downtown Detroit.

Toledo was named after the city of Toledo in Spain and enjoyed rapid growth during the early 20th century thanks to northern Ohio’s industrialist economy.

Today, Toledo is one of Ohio’s most vibrant art cities, featuring many entertainment options and historical landmarks.

From architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright to the award-winning Toledo Zoo, Toledo treats travellers to some of Ohio’s famous attractions.

Top tour: Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Toledo by Crazy Dash.

10- Lima

Named after the capital of Peru, Lima is a mid-sized city rich in small-town charm and history.

The city was once an important locomotive and tank manufacturing plant during the early 20th century, which helped put this small Ohio city on the proverbial map.

Art galleries and natural parks eventually replaced the city’s industries, turning Lima into a gentrified destination.

Today, the city is a popular destination in Ohio’s less-developed West-Central region and a favourite stopover destination thanks to the city’s convenient location between Toledo, Columbus, Fort Wayne and Dayton.

11- Sandusky

Featuring over 22 miles (35 km) of pristine Lake Erie coastline, Sandusky is one of Ohio’s most popular summertime destinations and the state’s most iconic resort town.

The city’s most popular attractions are its many amusement parks and water parks, however, the city is also home to a range of fantastic public parks and historic landmarks to explore.

If you’re looking for a fun and family-friendly city to visit in Ohio, stop by Sandusky.

Top tour: Sandusky’s Underground Railroad Tour.

12- Mansfield

Nicknamed the ‘Fun Center of Ohio’, Mansfield is the unofficial halfway point between Columbus and Cleveland.

Mansfield is the largest city in the Mid-Ohio region and was an industrial hub during the 1800s and 1900s, however, it was in 1994 that Mansfield shot to international fame. 

The city was the setting for the 1994 classic “The Shawshank Redemption”, with many of the city’s historic landmarks appearing as backdrops throughout the film.

Today, the city is a must-visit venue for movie buffs.

The Shawshank Trail and the Ohio State Reformatory are two world-class attractions to stop by to get an up-close look at the movie’s iconic filming locations.

13- Cuyahoga Falls

Cuyahoga Falls is one of Ohio’s most scenic destinations and a unique attraction that draws over 2.4 million annual visitors to its many forests, verdant hills, nature trails and historical landmarks.

The city sits just outside northeast Akron and is home to the Cuyahoga Falls National Park, one of the most-visited US national parks (it’s more popular than the Everglades and Death Valley).

If you love being out and about in nature, Ohio’s favourite outdoor city is a must-see destination in the Buckeye State.

14- Findlay

Findlay is a charming mid-sized city in northwest Ohio, home to several one-of-a-kind attractions and landmarks.

The city is about 47 miles (76 km) from Downtown Toledo, making it an excellent day trip destination from Toledo to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

It has the world’s only known picture book museum and the largest antique store in northwest Ohio.

There are also a bunch of fantastic art galleries, restaurants and public parks to visit all throughout Findlay, so be sure not to miss out on seeing one of Ohio’s best small cities.

15- Dublin

Home to more than 60 scenic public parks and over 100 miles (161 km) of nature trails, Dublin is a gem of a city if you’re a fan of the great outdoors.

It was named after the capital of Ireland and is a mid-sized city northwest of Columbus.

Dublin treats travellers to a refreshing mix of indoor and outdoor attractions, such as the majestic Indian Run Falls, the eccentric Morgan House and the fantastic Abbey Theater.

History, beautiful Ohio nature and tons of Dublin culture are just waiting to be discovered in this vibrant Midwest city, making it one of the best places to visit in central Ohio.

16- Put-in-Bay

Put-in-Bay is among the most unique and visually spectacular destinations you’ll find anywhere in the Midwest.

Not quite a city and not quite a small town either, Put-in-Bay is situated on Lake Erie’s South Bass Island, a 3.5-mile long (5.6 km) island just off Sandusky’s coast.

It has excellent hotels and restaurants, as well as fun attractions to experience, such as the Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial and the South Bass Island State Park.

Surrounded by Lake Erie and disconnected from the Ohio mainland, Put-in-Bay deserves a visit whenever you travel around Ohio.

17- Youngstown

Old courthouse in Youngstown
If you’re looking for smaller cities in Ohio to check out, here’s the old courthouse in Youngstown, Ohio.

Youngstown is a fascinating mid-sized city near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border in the Buckeye State’s northeast.

It’s a major arts and entertainment hub in the Mahoning Valley, with several top-notch galleries and live music venues across Youngstown.

The city is roughly the halfway point between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, making Youngstown a great destination if you’re interested in exploring these iconic American cities from one convenient location.

With tons to see and do all around Youngstown, it’s one of the must-visit mid-sized cities in Ohio that promises to keep you busy and entertained throughout your stay.

18- Hamilton

The second-largest city in the greater Cincinnati metro area, situated just 20 miles (32 km) from Downtown Cincinnati, Hamilton, is a great middle ground between urban city life and slower-paced suburbia.

Hamilton is home to many unique things to see and do, such as the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum, the Holiday Auto Theatre and the Butler County Courthouse.

From cosy craft breweries to excellent vantage points of the Cincinnati skyline, Hamilton is always a fun and entertaining city to visit in the Buckeye State.

19- Athens

Athens is a charming college town on the edge of Ohio’s scenic Hocking Hills region.

The city’s main attraction is the campus of Ohio University, whose large student population provides Athens with a youthful atmosphere and plenty of budget-friendly restaurants and entertainment options.

The city is less than an hour’s drive from Downtown Columbus.

It is home to great attractions such as the Athens County fair, the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway and the Downtown Athens Historic District for travellers to enjoy.

A laundry list of landmarks and things to do and the city’s convenient location near the Hocking Hills and Columbus make Athens one of Ohio’s top cities to visit.

20- Marietta

Situated right at the Ohio River and Muskingum River confluence in Mid-Ohio, Marietta is as delightful a city as you’re likely to come across when travelling around Ohio.

The city was the first permanent pioneer settlement in the Buckeye State, making Marietta one of Ohio’s most historic cities to visit.

From scenic riverfront views to the city’s charming and compact downtown area, Marietta is undoubtedly one of Ohio’s must-see destinations that feature landmarks such as the National Forest Covered Bridge Scenic Byway and the Ohio River Museum to experience. 

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Jessica Shaw is a storyteller who has lived in four U.S. states - Missouri, Georgia, Ohio and Illinois - and has visited many others. She loves history and nature and is a big fan of road tripping.