Things To Do In Dayton – The Top 10 Tourist Attractions

Despite what many people think, Dayton isn’t just another sleepy town in Ohio, in fact, it’s quite the opposite, and often welcomes huge flocks of tourists and visitors to its bustling and busy environment, and there’s also plenty of things to get up to during a trip to Dayton, so you’ll certainly never be bored of visiting!

Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Dayton, Ohio

Whether you’re looking to enjoy your time walking around some of the many museums in Dayton, explore some of the incredible parks, or even pay a visit to one of the sports venues or performing arts centers, Dayton is packed with attractions, which can make it hard to decide what you should do during your visit.

So, to make your life easier, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best attractions you can find in Dayton, Ohio, all of which will help ensure you have the best experience there!

1. National Museum Of The U.S. Air Force

If the U.S. The Air Force has always been of interest to you, or even if you’re just something of a museum enthusiast, then paying a visit to the National Museum of the U.S. The Air Force is certainly worth your time if you’re planning a trip to Dayton, Ohio.

Located on-site at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, this official museum is filled to the brim with all sorts of Air Force memorabilia, so much so that it actually houses the biggest collection of Air Force memorabilia in the entire country.

Taking a look around the museum you can expect to see aircraft, missiles, and a range of authentic equipment from the entire width of the U.S. Air Force’s expansive history.

2. Boonshoft Museum Of Discovery

If you’re planning on visiting Dayton, Ohio with your children, then one attraction you should absolutely not miss out on is the incredible Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, which allows kids to explore and learn more about science and nature as they play.

This museum is essentially a combination of a zoo, aquarium, and planetarium all in one, which means that there is certainly plenty of exploring to do during your visit, and you can be sure that your children will be able to learn a lot as they get to see some of their favorite land and aquatic creatures up close.

Of course, while the museum is mainly designed for kids, it doesn’t mean that the adults won’t be able to have their own fun too, so it’s safe to say that this is an attraction that the whole family will be able to enjoy!

3. Dayton Art Institute

If you’re a fan of art, then a visit to Dayton’s very own Art Institute should definitely be on your trip’s itinerary, and since it’s located right at the heart of Dayton’s downtown area, you should have no issues finding this amazing attraction.

The institute itself is instantly recognizable thanks to its Renaissance architecture, and inside the museum, you will be able to explore the 20,000 different pieces of work that make up the institute’s collection, which spans over 5,000 years, so it’s also an attraction for the historians too!

4. Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

If a trip to the National Museum of the U.S. The Air Force wasn’t enough to satisfy all of your aviation needs, so you should also consider visiting the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, which features a fantastic historical collection that pays homage to the Wright Brothers, as well as Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Of course, everyone is aware of who the Wright Brothers are, being the men who successfully created the first plane that was able to take off and land safely.

However, you might not be fully aware of who Paul Laurence Dunbar was, he was an author of many great plays, poems, and books, and was incredibly talented too.

There are a whole host of different museums to explore here, so be sure to check them out if you have the time!

5. Carillon Historical Park

If you want to learn more about the history of Dayton, then there is no better place to visit than the Carillon Historical Park, which contains loads of information and history about Dayton’s involvement in the role of American Industrialization, with details of the various industrial and transportation accomplishments made at the time being scattered throughout the park.

The park was the idea of Edith and Edward Deads, who wanted to ensure that the fascinating history of Dayton was preserved and honored in a way that would document its history and allow people to learn more about it.

6. Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center

No trip to Dayton is complete without a visit to the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center, and with everything on show from the Dayton Opera, to the Dayton Philharmonic, as well as Dayton Ballet, then you can be sure that there is something for everyone here, so you should definitely check out what’s on during your visit to Dayton.

The seats are super comfortable, the acoustics are excellent, and the interior design of the building itself is incredible, which makes a visit here even more special.

Plus, there are a load of restaurants that are easily accessible for you to visit once the show is over too, and there’s even a winter garden that’s worth visiting!

7. America’s Packard Museum – The Citizens Motorcar Company

While many people will tell you to go to Detroit if you want a get a better look into the history of the automotive industry in America, you can actually do so during your visit to Dayton too, and although Packard isn’t as much of a household name as Ford, GM, or Chrysler are, they are still relevant to the history of America’s 20th-century automotive industry.

So, if you’re a car lover and automotive history enthusiast, then a day trip is certainly worth your time!

8. National Aviation Hall Of Fame

A hall of fame for the heroes of American aviation? Only in Dayton! This hall of fame is also a learning center for people to learn and discover more about the vast history of not only the United States Air Force, but also its space pioneers, as well as the numerous accomplishments of the people who have helped us reach new heights.

The hall of fame isn’t simply for history, however, as it regularly inducts new entrees, including various astronauts, air force pilots, engineers, and NASA officials!

9. SunWatch Indian Village And Archaeological Park

A combination between a Native American village and an archaeological park, this museum covers some of the most important aspects of American history, and is a near-perfect example of how Native Americans would have lived 600 years ago, and visitors to the park will get a close up look at the culture and daily life of a Native American, with gardens, homes, and prairies all being reconstructed as closely as possible to how they would have been!

10. The Wright Cycle Company Complex

Their aviation exploits might have made them famous, but their mechanical expertise stemmed from building bicycles during the 1890s, and it was these bikes that helped them to fund their flight experiments.

The complex is also home to the Aviation Trail Visitor Museum and the Hoover Block, so you can have a full day exploring the complex if you wish!


We hope that this guide to some of the best attractions in Dayton, Ohio (Also check out Small Towns In Ohio) has helped you to decide where you’re going to be visiting and what you’re going to be seeing throughout the duration of your stay in the city. Thanks for reading!

Alex Kallen
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