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7 Most Charming Cities in Ohio

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best cities in ohio

Acclaimed concert halls, local brewery tours, parks aplenty – our Geeks found so many great things to do in Ohio, you may just stay forever:

1. Wooster

Take a trip down Midwestern memory lane and find a huge selection of antiques, books, boutiques, fitness, furniture, art and jewelry at Blue Spruce Boutique and Poppy by Pursesnickety, and find old vinyl in great condition at Lucky Records. Satiate your sweet tooth at The Faithful Little Cupcake, or settle on something more substantial at City Square Steakhouse or Broken Rocks Cafe and Bakery, which specializes in Italian pasta and artisan bread – and round off the day at JAFB, a local brewery with the feel of a German beer hall.

2. Columbus

If you’re a music aficionado, you’re in heaven: Express Live and the Schottenstein Center host a regular procession of large touring acts, while Skully’s, Rumba Café and Ace of Cups are home to smaller, funkier bands – and Dick’s Den is a favorite for jazz fans. More into movies? Crack a beer at Studio 35, Gateway Film Center or the Summer Outdoor Film Fest, hosted by the Wexner Center art museum. Dial it down even further at The Book Loft, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum – which houses the largest collection of cartoons in the world, or the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library.

3. Cleveland

Choose your favorite brew at one many local roasteries, like Rising Star, Loop in Tremont, Fluffy Duck, Six Shooter, Common Grounds or the plant-friendly The Root Cafe. Then soak in the city by taking a walk across the Hope Memorial Bridge, the Cultural Gardens along Martin Luther King Boulevard or the recently facelifted Public Square. Get your creepy on with a visit to Buckland Museum of Witchcraft or the supposedly haunted Franklin Castle, or simply hang with the cool kids and enjoy a mix of great art and live music at The Cleveland Museum of Art.

4. Hamilton Township

Hit the ground running at one of the renowned local ecological reserves, such as the Great Miami River Trail, with its 75 miles or curated trails complete with riverside views, the 82-acre Forest Run or Gilmore Metropark, which is a favorite among birdwatchers. Kids will love the BMX track, paintball courses at Cabin Creek or trying their hand at tumbling at Flip n Twist Gymnastics. Older members of the family – or those who simply need some quiet time – will enjoy the 27 private holes at Hamilton Elks Golf Club, which comes with a swimming pool and well-stocked clubhouse.

5. Brecksville        

Feed the birds first-hand at the local Nature Center, explore the creeks by hiking Brecksville Reservation, or go looking for red and grey foxes, river otters, coyotes, raccoons, white-tailed deer and even bald eagles at Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Then move the party indoors: the city offers fine-dining options in Dante and Lola, by Michael Symon, and a wide variety of more cheap-and-cheerful options, from the generous BBQ portions at Winking Lizard, the customizable menu at Feng Lz Habachi Sushi and the authentic Mexican specialties at Cozumel.

6. Cortland

Take the kids to meet the cows, ostriches and even camels on show at Wagon Trails Animal Park, find your new favorite beverage at Greene Eagle Winery, burn some energy at Extreme Air Trampoline Park or escape from city life with a camping and fishing trip to Mosquito Lake State Park. Motorheads will love the vintage vehicles on display at National Packard Museum, airheads may prefer the Ernie Hall Aviation Museum – while those with a more cultured taste will enjoy the exhibitions at Trumbull Art Gallery and learning about the history of the town at John Stark Edwards House and Museum.

7. Cincinnati

See Cincinnati as the locals do with a breakfast feast at Findlay Market: try a pastry from Blue Oven to go with a Honey Bear latte from Deeper Roots. Find anything and everything you need at Jungle Jim’s, a 20,000-foot maze that doubles as both theme park and grocery store. Show the kids the swings, slides, fountains, labyrinth and carousel as you stroll along the Ohio River, then introduce them to Fiona the Hippo at Cincinnati Zoo. Wind down with a beer on the roof at Rhinegeist, or while taking in the stunning view of the riverfront at Lager House at the Banks.