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Top things to do in Dayton

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Things To Do in Dayton

Known as "The Birthplace of Aviation," Dayton is home to a fascinating history and vibrant local culture. The hometown of Orville and Wilbur Wright, the city is most famous for its aviation heritage and features attractions like the National Museum of the United States Air Force and the Wright brothers' historical home. Dayton is packed with experiences that go beyond flight history—rivers and parks offer a natural respite from the bustle of the city with plenty of recreational activities, while Dayton's downtown buzzes with restaurants, bars, and an astounding visual arts scene. All of Dayton's exciting things to do and see come paired with the small-town charm that makes the city one-of-a-kind.

Areas & Neighborhoods

While a hub for modern research and manufacturing industries, Dayton is also home to many historic neighborhoods that feature a wide range of architectural styles. Explore the city's mix of contemporary and antique areas while learning about its heritage.

Oregon Historic District

One of ten historic neighborhoods in Dayton, Oregon was built in the early 1800s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The district represents one of the earliest combinations of commercial and residential architecture in Dayton, boasting Victorian, Federal, Italianate, and Greek Revival structures. East Fifth Street is a popular local destination lined with trendy bars, foodie-friendly restaurants and The Trolley Shop, the oldest tavern in the city.


Downtown Dayton is the entertainment and nightlife hub of the city. The area is home to the Dayton Art Institute as well as the Schuster Performing Arts Center, home of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and Dayton Ballet—one of the oldest professional dance companies in the United States. Downtown's nightlife is centered around Brown Street and the University of Dayton, whose eclectic bars and cozy lounges offer evening atmospheres to suit all tastes.

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

This National Historical Park commemorates the work of the Wright brothers and the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. The park is home to famous landmarks like the Wright Cycle Company building, the Huffman Prairie Flying Field—where the Wright brothers built and tested their flying machines—and the historic home of Paul Laurence Dunbar.

What to See in Dayton

Dayton's National Museum of the United States Air Force is one of the most popular attractions in Ohio. Along with a collection of over 360 aircrafts that include presidential planes and rare military aircrafts, the museum showcases the history of aviation and the US Air Force. You can find the world's first practical airplane, the Wright Flyer III, in Carillon Historical Park, which also hosts exhibits about local transportation history. The Five Rivers MetroParks park system is a scenic escape into natural beauty where families can relax and appreciate the landscapes.

Things to do, Landmarks & Attractions

Dayton lives up to it nickname of "The Birthplace of Aviation" with plenty of flight-focused museums and landmarks. Spend a day or 2 exploring the National Aviation Heritage Area, a National Heritage Area composed of over 15 flying-related Dayton sites like the National Historic Landmark of Hawthorn Hill—the historic home of Orville Wright—and the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Dayton is also home to a booming craft beer industry, hosting the annual AleFest that celebrates both craft brews and sumptuous food. Try local produce and cuisine at the PNC Second Street Market, Dayton's oldest operating public market in the Five Rivers MetroParks. In the summer, catch the spectacular Vectren Dayton Air Show, a flight exhibition dating back to 1910 that showcases the world's best civilian and military pilots. Festivals like the Dayton Blues Festival and Dayton Celtic Festival occur throughout the year, showcasing local talent and the authentic culture of the city.