What is Ohio known for?

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Ohio is known as the Buckeye state, and was welcomed into the Union as the 17th state in 1803. But despite this early welcome, due to an oversight in the original paperwork, Ohio only became an official state in 1953. Ohio is within the Great Lakes region with shores on Lake Erie, so there are many excellent destinations along the lakeshore to set sail or relax on its beaches. Check out its famous ‘Three C’s’ of Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati. Each city offers its own unique charm and distinct Buckeye flair. Columbus, Ohio’s capital city, sits either side of the Scioto River and is filled with pleasant parks and fountains, museums and a traditional German Village remarkably well-preserved from its 1800s settlers.

Ohio is often referred to as the ‘Mother of Presidents’ as seven presidents of the United States were from the state. Ohio’s presidents are Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Harrison, McKinley, Taft and Harding. This relatively small state is surrounded by five others; Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The state is well-known for its variety of popular treats including Buckeye candy, Cincinnati Chilli and delicious fruit such as apples and pawpaws, which grow plentifully in the state. Pawpaws grow wild and are endemic to the state, with a flavour similar to mangoes and pineapples, and celebrated during a yearly autumn festival in Albany. The state is known for many famous feats throughout its history, including being the birthplace for aviation, the home of the NFL and the birthplace of famous inventor Thomas Edison. Check out what Ohio is known for.

What Is Ohio Known For?

1- Buckeyes

Handful Of Buckeyes On White
Buckeyes are what Ohio is known for producing.

Ohio is nicknamed the Buckeye state because a buckeye is a tree found in Ohio that was native and plentiful before European settlers arrived.

The settlers used its wood for fuel and building materials, and the trees number soon fell.

There are however plenty of buckeye trees still in Ohio to see, particularly during autumn when the buckeyes can be found on the ground.

The buckeye takes its name from Native American legend linking it to a deer or bucks eye due to its rich brown colour with a creamy centre.


Buckeyes are not safe to eat, so Ohio created a tasty candy to replicate this famous tree.

A buckeye candy is is made from peanut butter dipped in chocolate to replicate the nut of the Ohio Buckeye tree.

Ohioans tend to make this delicious and rich treat at home, however many confectionary stores do sell buckeyes.

2- Professional Baseball

Ohio Baseball
Professional baseball is what Ohio is known for.

Ohio can claim itself as the home of pro baseball thanks to its first team, the Cincinnati Base Ball Club.

Otherwise known as the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the club was the first to began to play professional baseball in 1869 after being founded in 1866.

The first professional baseball games were played on cricket pitches before eventually moving to custom baseball fields as the sport grew.

The team went on to become one of the most successful Pro Ball teams in the league, with five World Series Championships to their name.

Great players such as Babe Ruth and Pete Rose got their start at the team before going on to become icons of the sport. Book your tickets to a Cincinnati Reds Baseball Game at Great American Ballpark.

Recommended tour: Cincinnati Ballparks & Breweries Bus Tour

3- Ohio River

Fog Over The River In The Forest On A Cold Early Morning
The Ohio River what is Ohio known for.

Ohio takes its name from the Ohio River, which is 981 miles (1579 kilometres) long and runs from Western Pennsylvania to the Mississippi River in Illinois.

Along the river are 20 dams that moderate the flow of the river and has created a series of slower moving pools of water rather than a fast flowing river.

Within Ohio the river is vital as it supplies the state with drinking water.

The river runs along the 451 miles (725 kilometres) of Ohio’s southern border and alongside the city of Cincinnati.

It is also a historic river in the state as it was a crucial crossing for escaped slaves leaving Kentucky during the time of the Underground Railroad.

The river was called the ‘River Jordan’ by many escapees as it symbolised home and a brighter future.

Cincinnati opened its Underground Railroad Freedom Centre in 2004 as a memorial to this dangerous passage to freedom.

Recommended tours:

4- Pro Football Hall of Fame

Only the greatest of the greats make it into Ohio’s Pro Football Hall of Fame, which is home of American Football and dedicated to celebrating the successes of the best players in history.

The hall of fame is in Canton, Ohio, and includes a Hall of Fame gallery, museum, touch screen displays and films documenting some of the greatest NFL moments in history.

Canton was chosen as the location for the Hall of Fame as it is where the American Professional Football Association, now the NFL, was founded in 1920.

To enter into the Hall of Fame, a player or coach has to have been retired for 5 years, and to have been carefully selected by a panel.

Those lucky enough to be welcomed into the Hall of Fame attend a celebration ceremony at the Hall.

Winners receive a golden jacket, Hall of Fame ring and a bronze bust alongside displays on their career achievements in pro football.

5- LeBron James

LeBron James is one of the most famous sportspeople from Ohio.

LeBron was born in Akron, and he began playing basketball in high school.

He began to rise to fame as he made the cover of Sports Illustrated aged just 17 in a story naming him ‘the Chosen One’ due to his high school basketball success.

His professional basketball career saw him staying in his home state for the Cleveland Cavaliers, before moving on to Miami Heat and LA Lakers where he plays today.

LeBron has had many firsts, including being the first black male to land a Vogue magazine cover in 2008.

He is also the oldest current NBA player, entering his 21st season aged 38.

Despite his fame and fortune, LeBron hasn’t forgotten his Akron roots, and has set up the LeBron James Family Foundation which aims to help students in the area access education and extra-curricular programs to help them succeed in school and beyond.

6- Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is what Cleveland, Ohio is known for.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation opened its physical museum and hall in 1995 after vast support from locals and city officials in Cleveland.

The Hall of Fame is packed with a range of exhibits that are continually evolving as more and more people are welcomed into its walls.

At the museum visitors can learn about the history of rock and roll and how it grew and changed with trends and influential artists, before encouraging visitors to get hands on with interactive kiosks and of course lots of music.

The Hall of Fame is where you will find information about some of the greatest musicians in Rock and Roll History, artefacts from concerts, music videos and more, and even hand written lyrics to some of the most famous rock and roll songs of all time. Skip the line and book your tickets to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

7- Castles

Squire's Castle
You might be surprised to learn that castles are what Ohio is known for.

Castles may not be the first thing that springs to mind when thinking about Ohio, but those in the Buckeye state celebrate its 16 castles as a unique part of their architectural landscape.

Most of Ohio’s castles are open to the public with some serving as museums and gardens while others have been transformed into charming bed and breakfast accommodations.

For a castle reminiscent of English medieval castles visit Loveland Castle, built by Sir Harry Andrews in 1927.

This unique structure celebrates what it means to be a knight and is open to the public between spring and fall.

Brumback Library is an unusual castle in Ohio as it was built as a library rather than a home, serving the entire Van Wert county.

A truly magical and Germanic castle can be found at Loudonville.

Landoll’s Mohican Castle is a resort that allows visitors to spend the night inside this luxury building, or in its cosy cottages in the surrounding woodland.

8- Wright Brothers

Postage Stamp
The Wright Brothers is what Ohio is known for.

Ohio is considered the birthplace of modern aviation thanks to two of its sons, Wilbur and Orville Wright.

The Wright Brothers began their careers working at a newspaper printing factory before moving into the bicycle industry where they began to make bikes and learn more about engineering.

It was at their bicycle shop that the Wright Brothers began to draw up plans to create an aeroplane.

The brothers discovered that they needed wings in order to generate lift to get their prototypes off the ground.

Their other discoveries included the importance of shifting weight while in flight which could cause a plane to roll and crash if not addressed properly.

Their first successful flight was in 1903 in a machine designed to offer pilots sustained flight with control.

In Ohio there are plenty of famous Wright Brothers sights to explore.

The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical park includes the Wright Cycle Shop the brothers founded, and their Wright Flyer III dating from 1905.

9- Cornhole

Cornhole is a fun and family-friendly lawn game where players throw bean bags into a raised and angled board with a hole at one end.

The game was popularised in Cincinnati in the 1970s and soon spread across the neighbouring states.

Cornhole became so popular that in 2005 the American Cornhole Association (ACL) was founded and headquartered in Milford.

Cornhole sets are available across the state and range from traditional and simple boards and bags to ones with more elaborate and colourful designs.

Each year the ACL hosts an open tournament in Canton where Cornhole players of all ages and abilities can compete in a series of tournaments.

The sport is so popular that a pro shootout series was founded and is now broadcast on TV.

Cornhole can also be found as a sport played by many of the states colleges.

10- The Ohio Grassman (and Bigfoot)

The Ohio Grassman is a legendary cryptid believed to be found in the woods of Ohio.

This mythical creature has been described as being similar to Bigfoot as it is tall, bipedal and found in wooded areas.

Unlike Bigfoot however, Ohioans believe the Grassman to be more aggressive when confronted by humans.

Locals believe that the first sighting of the Grassman was in Minerva, a small village, in 1978, when some young children apparently spotted the creature in a gravel pit.

There are however other tales putting the Grassman in Ohio much earlier, in the 1860s.

In Logan, an annual Bigfoot festival is held over 2 days celebrating all things Bigfoot, with music, talks and presentations all about the famous creature.

Vendors selling Grassman and Bigfoot themed souvenirs and snacks attend, and there is even a moonlit walk out into the woodland offering participants the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the creatures.

11- Ohio State Fair

Carnival Ride
The Ohio State Fair is a famous event in Ohio.

The Ohio State Fair is not only the largest fair in Ohio but in the entire United States.

The fair is held each year between July and August in Columbus.

Ohio State Fair has been held annually since 1850 and celebrates all that is great about the state including food, drinks, games, livestock and arts and crafts.

There are concerts held throughout the duration of the festival which include the performances from the All-Ohio State Fair Band, youth choirs and local bands.

One of the most famous attractions at the Ohio state fair is the butter cow which was introduced in 1903.

A.T. Shelton & Company made the first butter cow during a butter sculpting contest which was so popular it then became an annual tradition as part of the festival.

Alongside the famed butter cow are a number of other butter sculptures which have previously included a butter Darth Vader, Neil Armstrong and a salute to chocolate milk.

12- Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chilli is a comfort food for many Buckeyes and is a unique dish found across the city.

Cincinnati Chilli was made famous by Skyline Chilli, a chain of chilli restaurants in the Ohio.

This unique dish consists of spaghetti topped with chilli and covered in grated cheese, with optional extras of beans and diced onions.

Skyline prides itself on its unique family chilli recipe which it keeps as a closely guarded secret.

It is believed that the secret behind a true Cincinnati Chilli is the addition of allspice, cloves and unsweetened chocolate in its sauce.

There are more locations beyond Skyline Chilli serving this unique and delicious dish.

Each destination offers their own twist on the chilli itself, but all stick to the core of spaghetti and a lot of grated cheddar cheese to top the dish off.

Recommended tours:

13- The Cardinal (state bird)

Male Northern Cardinal In An Oak Tree In Winter
The Cardinal is the state bird of Ohio.

The cardinal is the state bird for Ohio and is seen by the state as a symbol of hope and joy.

This beautiful bird is bright red in colour and has a distinctive song.

The cardinal became the state bird of Ohio in 1933 after many began to live in the state as settlers removed thick wooded areas close to the state borders.

Cardinals naturally prefer open areas with some forests, so this shift in landscaping was welcome for these vibrant birds.

The cardinal is more than a beloved state bird, it is also helpful to humans as it eats garden insects that would otherwise be considered pests.

Ohio sadly is not the only state to have this bright red bird as its state bird, as Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky all claim it as their own.

This beautiful bird can be seen in woodlands and in hedgerows, with some even making their nests in state parks.

14- Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio in 1930, and went on to become not only one of the most famous Ohioans, but one of the most famous men in the world.

Neil Armstrong began to take flying lessons at the age of 15, before heading to Perdue University to undertake a degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

Armstrong went on to fly for the Air Force in the Korean War before getting a job at NACA, NASA’s predecessor.

Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon in an historic landing in 1969.

To fully appreciate Armstrong’s impact on his state and local community, visit the Armstrong Air and Space Museum in the town of his birth.

The museum opened three years after he famously set foot on the moon and celebrates not only Armstrong’s aeronautic achievements, but those of other Ohioans who work for NASA’s space program.

15- Haunted Buildings

has a large collection of supposedly haunted buildings, and while it didn’t make Forbes list of the 10 most haunted states in America, there are still plenty of destinations to give you a fright.

One of the most haunted destinations in Ohio is the Old Licking County Jail in Newark, where shadow figures have been seen, and knocks and even distant screams have been heard.

Franklin Castle, otherwise known as Franklin Mansion, in Cleveland is another spooky destination where it is believed a horrific murder of a child took place.

Visitors to the castle have heard a baby crying and have seen a man looking out of its windows.

Another excellent haunted destination to visit in Ohio is the Majestic Theatre, which is considered to be one of the most active haunted buildings in the state.

The theatre was built in 1852 and was temporarily used as a morgue to store the bodies of those who succumbed to the 1918 flu epidemic.

The state welcomes visitors looking for haunted attractions and offers numerous ghost walks, tours and even nights inside some of its spookiest buildings.

Recommended tours:

Map Of United States With Ohio Highlight

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Sarah Holmes
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.