20 Things To Do In Mansfield Ohio

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Situated in Northeast Ohio and the seat of power of Richland County, Mansfield is halfway between Columbus and Cleveland. It’s known as “The Fun Center of Ohio” due to being the largest city in the Mid-Ohio region. The city became an industrial hub during the 19th and 20th centuries when the railroad connected Mansfield with the larger cities nearby.

It was in 1994 that Mansfield shot to international fame as the setting for the film The Shawshank Redemption. Today, Mansfield has world-class museums, famous filming locations from the Shawshank Redemption, scenic parks and Broadway theatrical venues. Here are some of the best things to do in Mansfield, Ohio.

Mansfield, Ohio

20 Things To Do In Mansfield

mansfield ohio map of ohio with Mansfield pinned in red
Looking for things to do in Mansfield Oh? Check out our list.

1- Follow The Shawshank Trail

A self-guided driving tour, the Shawshank Trail explores the locations around Mansfield featured in the 1994 Hollywood classic movie ‘The Shawshank Redemption’.

Since its inception, the trail has been a major boon for the local tourism industry and is today one of Mansfield’s biggest attractions.

The trail features 15 filming locations for movie buffs to discover and explore, each with its unique backstory and history.

You can start at any point and make sure you spend time at the Shawshank Prison and the Shawshank Oak Tree.

The Shawshank Trail is at 124 N Main St, Mansfield, OH 44902.

2- Visit The Ohio State Reformatory

Also known as the ‘Mansfield Reformatory’, the Ohio State Reformatory is a Romanesque Revival-style former prison built between 1886 and 1910.

It remained a fully-operational prison from its completion until 1990 and features one of the most unique and striking facades of any prison building in the United States.

The prison served as the setting of countless TV shows and films during and after its service duty, none more famous than the 1994 film ‘The Shawshank Redemption’.

The film placed the prison and the town of Mansfield on the proverbial map and has provided the prison building with a new lease of life as a tourist attraction and museum, forming part of the Shawshank Trail.

Ohio State Reformatory is at 100 Reformatory Rd, Mansfield, OH 44905.

3- Go On The BibleWalk

things to do in mansfield man holding a bible
Exploring the bible museum is a unique thing to do in Mansfield Ohio.

The BibleWalk is a bible museum that depicts scenes and characters from the Bible in wax form.

Affiliated with the Diamond Hill Cathedral, the exhibit is situated in Madison Township, just outside Mansfield, and was formed in 1987 using leftover wax models of celebrities acquired from other wax museums going out of business.

Featuring 78 Bible scenes and more than 300 life-size wax characters, the exhibit hosts five tours and a rare wax scene depicting ‘The Last Supper’ created by Marie Tussaud.

BibleWalk is at 500 Tingley Ave, Mansfield, OH 44905.

4- Pick Fruit At Apple Hill Orchards

things to do in mansfield ohio apples on a board
Visiting a fruit farm is a fun thing to do in Mansfield Oh.

Apple Hill Orchards is a family-run fruit and vegetable farm situated just outside Mansfield, Ohio, growing and selling fresh produce, baked goods and deli meats to Mansfield locals and visitors year-round.

Established during the midst of the Great Depression, the orchid is famous for its family-friendly activities hosted during the autumn.

From hand-picking fruit to joining a hayride, this family-owned farmstead boasts cool and unique attractions and activities for all ages, making it one of Mansfield’s best places to visit.

Apple Hill Orchards is at 1175 Lexington Ontario Rd, Lexington, OH 44904.

5- Cycle The B&O Bike Trail

Connecting Mansfield with the surrounding towns of Bellville, Lexington and Butler, the 18-mile (29 km) B&O Bike Trail whisk cyclists past some of Northern Ohio’s most scenic forests, farmland and rivers.

The pathway is open to the public year-round for cycling, jogging, hiking and, if weather permits, cross-country skiing.

Built along the tracks of the former Baltimore & Ohio Railway, the bikeway links together many of the area’s top landmarks and attractions and is one of the best ways of traversing Mansfield and the surrounding villages.

6- See The Historic Richland Carrousel

Right in the centre of Downtown Mansfield, Richland Carrousel Park has been one of the region’s most loved attractions since it opened in 1991.

The carousel park is within a Dan Seckel-designed building that features a pavilion and a gift shop, as well as the hand-carved carousel itself, which was inspired by the works of renowned carousel designer G. A. Dentzel.

Open six days a week, Mansfield’s carousel is one of the unique attractions in the city and an absolute must when travelling with children.

Richland Carrousel Park is at 75 N Main St, Mansfield, OH 44903.

7- Admire The Architecture Of Oak Hill Cottage

Oak Hill Cottage is a large Gothic Revival-style brick estate built in 1847 for the superintendent for the Sandusky, Mansfield and Newark Railroad, John Robinson.

Famous for its impeccable design and period-correct furnishings, the estate was once the best Gothic home in the United States, designed by architect Ralph Adams Cram (who also designed the New York Cathedral).

The estate was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969 and is a museum that visitors can tour to get a glimpse into the lives of Mansfield’s railroad elite during the 19th century.

Oak Hill Cottage is at 310 Springmill St, Mansfield, OH 44903.

8- Enjoy The Outdoors At Gorman Nature Center

Encompassing over 150 acres (61 ha) of pristine prairies, forests and waterways, the Gorman Nature Center is a beautiful outdoor landmark open to the public year-round.

The park is the flagship public outdoor space in Richard County Park District and is a popular destination for locals, travellers, and nearby schools on field trips due to the park’s diverse landscapes and public educational programs.

The park is excellent for hiking during the warmer months and has an abundance of well-maintained nature trails scattered throughout the park.

During the wintertime, the park’s stunning arrays of flowers and plants are replaced by a thick blanket of snow, inviting local skiers to partake in some cross-country skiing.

Gorman Nature Center is at 2295 Lexington Ave, Mansfield, OH 44906.

9- See A Performance At Mansfield Playhouse

The Mansfield Playhouse is Ohio’s second-oldest continually operating community theatre, established in 1967 by a group of volunteers.

The venue is one of the largest of its kind in Ohio and was established to provide high-quality live performances at an affordable price, a role in which the theatre still excels even today.

On the programme are several Broadway-quality theatrical plays throughout the year that won’t break the bank.

An important hub in the local arts scene, catching a show at the intimate Mansfield Playhouse is a great way of supporting the local theatrical community.

Mansfield Playhouse is at 95 E 3rd St, Mansfield, OH 44902.

10- Visit The Ohio Bird Sanctuary

things to do in mansfield oh pregrine looking at the camera
Spending time in the bird sanctuary is one of the things to do in Mansfield Ohio for wildlife lovers.

Part nature preserve and part living museum, the Ohio Bird Sanctuary rehabilitates and protects the native bird species of Ohio and teaches the public about them in the process.

The sanctuary is perched on a 90-acre (36-ha) piece of land just outside Downtown Mansfield and is home to over three miles (5 km) of pristine hiking trails surrounded by woodlands and marshland.

The sanctuary hosts several educational programs to help get visitors interested in the conservation of birds and even features a gift shop where visitors can purchase something to remember their visit.

Ohio Bird Sanctuary is at 3774 Orweiler Rd, Mansfield, OH 44903.

11- Go Shopping At North End Farmers Market

things to do in mansfield today basket of fresh vegetables
One of the things to do in Mansfield is to wander around the farmer’s market.

The newly established North End Farmers Market, organised by the North End Community Improvement Collaborative, is a community market seeking to connect local artisans, bakers and farmers selling their goods with the residents of Mansfield.

Hosted every Thursday during the summer between June and September, the market organises live demonstrations and various events to engage and entertain visitors of all ages.

If you’re looking for the freshest foods or the most delectable homemade pastries, stopping by this popular summertime market is an absolute must when visiting Mansfield.

North End Farmers Market is at 311 Bowman St, Mansfield, OH 44903.

12- Enjoy Nature At Fowler Woods

The Fowler Woods State Nature Preserve is a stunning 187-acre (76 ha) nature retreat and the only state nature preserve in Richland County.

Purchased in 1971 and officially established as a nature preserve in 1972, the park features diverse landscapes ranging from swampland to beech-maple forest.

Renowned for its colourful arrays of marigolds, wildflowers, violets and trilliums, the park is an absolute treat for nature lovers.

The preserve is a fantastic spot to enjoy some birdwatching and features a scenic nature trail cutting right through the park’s forest landscape, making enjoying this amazing outdoor venue that much easier.

13- Step Back In History At Mansfield Memorial Museum

Founded in 1889 by Edward Wilkinson, the Mansfield Memorial Museum is Richland County’s oldest museum.

It features a mix of exhibits ranging from natural history to Mansfield’s rich industrial legacy.

Among the museum’s centrepieces is ELEKTRO, the oldest robot in the United States, which was featured at the 1937 World’s Fair in New York.

The museum is also renowned for its extensive collection of Civil War memorabilia and artefacts, as well as the museum’s various African and Asian collections.

Situated inside an F.F. Schnitzer-designed building listed on the National Register, the museum is one of Mansfield’s best historical and cultural landmarks to tour.

Mansfield Memorial Museum is at 34 Park Ave W, Mansfield, OH 44903.

14- Blueberry Patch

things to do in mansfield ohio for kids blueberries in punnets
Visiting the Blueberry Patch is one of the fun things to do in Mansfield Ohio for kids.

The Blueberry Patch is the largest blueberry farm in Ohio and was established in 1981 when Steve Beilstein and his brother, Doug, purchased a plot of land to grow apples.

While the plot of land wasn’t suited for growing apples, it was perfect for growing blueberries, which is exactly what the two brothers did, planting 1,500 blueberry trees to start their blueberry farm.

Today, the farm offers 27 different blueberry varieties, which visitors can pick by hand or buy in the farm’s shop, a cafĂ© to enjoy a light meal, a gift shop, a restaurant, and even a winery.

Blueberry Patch is at 1285 W Hanley Rd, Mansfield, OH 44906.

15- Buckeye Imagination Museum

The Buckeye Imagination Museum, formerly known as the Little Buckeye Children’s Museum, is a child-oriented interactive education centre where kids between the ages of 2 and 10 can learn and develop through play.

With over 30 colourful and eye-catching exhibits dedicated to all sorts of topics, such as discovering dinosaurs, fighting fires and piloting planes, the museum is a must-do when travelling with children.

Buckeye Imagination Museum is at 175 W 3rd St, Mansfield, OH 44902.

16- Mansfield Fire Museum and Educational Center

The Mansfield Fire Museum and Educational Center opened in 1994 to preserve and celebrate the history of firefighting in Mansfield and beyond.

Featuring exhibits and artefacts – such as old firefighting pictures and horse-drawn firefighting carriages – the museum is a treat for history buffs.

Housed within a state-of-the-art facility with a reconstructed, full-scale replica of a 20th-century fire station, the museum has interactive displays and exhibits to discover.

From a collection of old fire trucks to old firefighting equipment, don’t miss this world-class collection of firefighting memorabilia.

Mansfield Fire Museum and Educational Center is at 1265 W 4th St, Mansfield, OH 44903.

17- See Thought-Provoking Art At Mansfield Art Center

Founded and operated by the Mansfield Fine Arts Guild in 1945, the Mansfield Art Center is an award-winning venue neatly nestled on an 8.5-acre (3 ha) forested property just outside Downtown Mansfield.

The centre features an annual exhibition schedule displaying ceramics, paintings, sculptures, glassware, and jewellery made by local artists.

Hosting seasonal events throughout the year, the centre is the perfect destination to browse thought-provoking art and a fantastic place to pick up a one-of-a-kind gift to take back home with you.

Mansfield Art Center is at 700 Marion Ave, Mansfield, OH 44903.

18- Wander Around Kingwood Center Gardens

The Kingwood Center Gardens is a beautiful 47-acre (19 ha) public garden on the historic Kingwood Hall estate, built for brass magnate Charles Kelley King in 1926.

Designed by prominent landscape architectural firm Pitkin and Mott, the gardens feature an incredibly diverse array of flowers and plant species, nature trails, a duck pond, and a visitor centre.

Renowned for its rose garden, herb garden and tropical house, home to colourful tropical plants, the gardens are a magnificent Mansfield attraction filled with tons of history and incredible natural beauty.

Kingwood Center Gardens is at 50 Trimble Rd, Mansfield, OH 44906.

19- Renaissance Theatre

Opened in 1928, the Neo-Classical-style Renaissance Theatre in Downtown Mansfield is the largest operational venue for the performing arts in North-Central Ohio, capable of seating more than 1,400 patrons.

The theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and hosts shows ranging from classical music concerts and Broadway musicals to the annual Miss Ohio Pageant.

Formerly known as the ‘Ohio Theatre’, the venue is one of Mansfield’s best cultural spots and the place to go if you’re a fan of the performing arts.

Renaissance Theatre is at 138 Park Ave W, Mansfield, OH 44903.

20- Malabar Farm State Park

The Malabar Farm State Park sits on the grounds of the former 900-acre (364 ha) estate of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Louis Bromfield, who built this magnificent farmstead in 1939.

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, the park features the original farmhouse, scenic nature trails, and unblemished landscapes for visitors to enjoy year-round.

Complete with a visitor centre and a gift shop selling old Bromfield novels and fresh produce, the park provides visitors with a perfect mix of history and nature.

Whether it’s to tour the ‘Big House’ where Hollywood royalty Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall got married or to stop by the annually-held Maple Syrup and Ohio Heritage Days Festivals, this state park is a fantastic destination to visit.

Malabar Farm State Park is at 4050 Bromfield Rd, Lucas, OH 44843.

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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.