8 Things To Do in Dayton, Ohio, When School's Out

A guide of 8 exciting options to fulfill your summer boredom in Dayton, Ohio.

a street in dayton at sunrise



Jan 21, 2021

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Photo courtesy of wildfire01 on imgur.

Ah, summer! There’s nothing like a much-needed extended break at the end of a long year in order to prepare for the next.

However, despite the initial excitement that comes from  that sweet, sweet summer release, it can be easy to slip into what you might call a “summer slump.”

Maybe you’re finding yourself with too much time, ironically enough. Monday blurs into Tuesday, which then blurs into Friday. As soon as you know it, a week has gone by, and you can’t shake the feeling that you’re not getting out and doing anything.

Maybe you even feel an intense FOMO—fear of missing out—seeing friends and family vacation in faraway places. What you don’t realize: is that you have an amazing selection of summer activities to do right in your hometown of Dayton, OH!

Fear no more! We’re here to give you 8 amazing pointers on what to do in Dayton this summer.

Just keep reading to find out why you should:

  • Get cultured: Museums to check out
  • Get hungry: Underrated restaurants that you have to try
  • Get sweaty: Amazing suggestions for nature- and exercise-lovers

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Get cultured: Dayton’s museums

When school’s out of session, you are provided with an amazing opportunity to learn non-traditionally, and what better way to do that than to visit some of Dayton’s best museums?

These are our top picks for outside-the-classroom learning this summer.

Dayton Art Institute

Dayton Art Institute
Photo courtesy of the Dayton Art Institute.

Take a trip to the Dayton Art Institute for one of the best fine arts venues in the region.

This year, the Dayton Art Institute celebrates 100 years of operation since opening in 1919 as the Dayton Museum of Art. The museum also functioned  as an art school and the joint opwidely popular among the community.

For as little in admission price as $0 for youth & children 17 and under, college students 18+ with ID, and members; $5 for seniors 60+, active military, and groups; and $8 for adults, you can view 5,000 years worth of art!

The featured art includes collection highlights such as: African, Ancient, Asian, Native American, Oceanic, and pre-Columbian art.

If you’re hooked, membership rates begin at $40, which includes not only free admission but also access to special exhibits, featured shows and concerts, and 14 other Ohio museums—plus, discounted programs, such as classes and workshops.

“In the Dayton area? This is a must see. [...] The view from the museum alone is art. Located on a hill sitting above the river and with a view of the Dayton city skyline. Just breathtaking.” —Yelp Review

The Dayton Art Institute is located at 456 Belmonte Park North, Dayton, OH, 45405, and is open Wed - Sat 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM, and Sun 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM. Extended hours on Thu until 8:00 PM.

National Museum of the United States Air Force

National Museum of the United States Air Force
World War II planes housed at the NMUSAF. Photo courtesy of Dayton Daily News.

The world’s largest and oldest military aviation museum is housed right here in Dayton. Who knew?

The museum’s mission is to collect, research, conserve, interpret, and present the Air Force’s history, heritage, and traditions. These duties are delegated by the Secretary of the Air Force and accomplished on behalf of Americans nationwide. “We are the keepers of [the Air Force’s] stories,” the museum says.

Plus, admission is completely free—which is almost  as cool as the planes you’ll see during  your visit! For an extra charge, you can also visit the Air Force Museum Theatre or choose to try out the museum’s flight simulators. You can visit here for the additional price list and showtimes.

“This place is so good words don’t come to me. I’ve been coming here off and on since moving to Michigan in the mid-80’s. It was small then. Now it’s gigantic. Filled to the brim with aircraft from all years.” —Yelp Review

The NMUSAF is located at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, at 1100 Spaatz Street, Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, 45433. The museum is open Sun-Sat (seven days a week) from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM, excluding Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
Photo courtesy of the Boonshoft Museum.

Whether you’re a child, teenager, or adult, you’re sure to have a blast at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, Dayton’s local children’s museum, science and technology center, and zoo!

With so many different activities, the Boonshoft Museum is difficult to sum up in a few sentences!

Exhibits include the Hall of the Universe, Discovery Zoo, and Exhibit Construction (and much more).

A few special events and activities include the Boonshoft Bash, Super Science Saturdays, and GeekProm (21+ night).

“Wow, amazing, what a pleasant surprise! A very engaging place for young ones with all varieties of interactive exhibits: water, live animals, building, climbing, physical sciences, and more.” —Yelp Review

The Boonshoft Museum is located at 2600 DeWeese Pkwy, Dayton, OH, 45414. They are open Mon-Sat from 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM (special exhibition hours 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM), and Sun 12:00PM - 5:00PM.

Get hungry: Dayton’s best eats to try this summer

Lucky’s Taproom

Lucky’s Taproom
Photo courtesy of Lucky’s Taproom.

Looking for a unique but classic dining experience in Dayton? Look no further than Lucky’s Taproom!

Located in the Oregon District, Lucky’s is a chill bar and restaurant that serves up no-fuss, classic American grub with a cool atmosphere—not to mention prices that are reasonable for almost any budget.

Lucky’s has 20 different rotating beers on tap, vegetarian and vegan options, and brunch—meeting a variety of eating needs!

The namesake of the restaurant, “Lucky,” was a huge car-lover, so while you’re chowing down, you can even check out some of the vintage cars and models that Lucky’s has on display.

“Great service, laid back vibe...if I lived in Dayton, I’d be a RE...GU...LAR!!” —Yelp Review

Lucky’s is located at 520 E 5th St, Dayton, OH, 45402. They are open Mon-Fri 11:00 AM - 2:30 AM, and Sat-Sun 10:00 AM - 2:30 AM.

BIBIBOP Asian Grill

BIBIBOP Asian Grill
Photo courtesy of LA Eater.

BIBIBOP is a Korean-inspired chain based out of Columbus, OH. They feature build-a-bowl style eats with freshly-prepared and responsibly-sourced ingredients.

BIBIBOP is perfect for anyone who wants a quick bite but doesn’t want to sacrifice sustainability or healthy choices.

Pick a base like BIBIBOP’s signature purple rice or japchae—Korean sweet and savory glass noodles—and pile on your choices of protein and vegetables. To drink, try their beloved bubble tea!

“I’d eat here EVERYDAY if I could. This place is my favorite for Korean fast food. The healthy options are ideal and it’s not expensive at all. What a great concept. —Yelp Review

BIBIBOP’s Dayton location is located on 1200 Brown St, Dayton, OH, 45409. They are open Mon-Thu 10:30 AM - 9:00 PM, Fri-Sat 10:30 AM - 10:00 PM, and Sun 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM.

Lily’s Bistro

Lily’s Bistro
Photo courtesy of Cindy G. on Yelp.

For a chic New American eating experience, head over to Lily’s Bistro in the Oregon District.

Lily’s is a family-run, independent, eclectic restaurant that strives for “nice dining” while maintaining a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.

Lily’s collaborates with local farms and purveyors as much as possible to provide a farm-to-table, organic eating experience, while simultaneously supporting local businesses.  This sets them apart from many other restaurants in the area and also means that Lily’s menu is ever-changing, featuring seasonal ingredients and dishes that are different every single day (you read that right)!

Lily’s is located at 329 E 5th St, Dayton, OH, 45402. They are open for brunch and reopen for dinner every day. Happy hours are from 5:00 PM - 7:30 PM Tue-Fri.

“Excellent restaurant from start to finish. [...] Bright and inviting decor featuring local artists’ works for sale, fresh flowers on each table and superb service! Looking forward to returning soon!” —Yelp Review

For nature-lovers

Taking in nature at the Dayton Metroparks

Eastwood Metropark in autumn. Photo courtesy of Dayton.com.
Eastwood Metropark in autumn. Photo courtesy of Dayton.com.

Before heading back to stuffy classrooms and offices, definitely make sure to check out Dayton’s beautiful Metroparks, which feature hiking trails and amazing greenspace!

Dayton’s Five Rivers Metroparks is a regional public park system that consists of conservatories, recreation, education, and more.

Here are a few of Dayton’s beautiful parks that you should check out:

  • Twin Creek Metropark: Located at 9688 Eby Road, Germantown. Activities and features include:
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Historical features
  • Walking
  • Kayaking/canoeing
  • Sitting/relaxing
  • Equestrian trails
  • Eastwood Metropark: Located at 1385 Harshman Rd, Dayton. Activities and features include:
  • Biking
  • Cross-country
  • Hiking
  • Picnicking
  • Fishing
  • Mountain biking
  • Canoeing/Kayaking
  • Waterskiing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Tubing
  • Power boating
  • John Bryan State Park: Located at 3790 State Route 370, Yellow Springs. Activities and features include:
  • Natural features
  • Scenic views of the Great Miami River
  • Beautiful wooded area
  • Historical features
  • Historic twin arches
  • Deeds Point Metropark: Located at 510 Webster St, Dayton. Activities and features include:
  • Biking
  • Fishing
  • Historical features
  • Picnicking
  • Walking
  • Dog-walking

“Eastwood Metropark is known for kayaking. Love the arched bridges that make good photo ops. Great place to kayak or just enjoy nature.” —Yelp Review of Eastwood Metropark

Speakeasy Yoga Studio

Speakeasy Yoga Studio
Photo courtesy of Speakeasy Yoga.

Rainy day ruined your outdoor plans, but you still want to get out of the house and move your body? Check out one of Speakeasy Yoga’s two studios to flex and bend to your heart’s desire.

Speakeasy strives to empower their yogis’ lives by practicing on the mat to become better versions of themselves off the mat.

Speakeasy features two different downtown studios: one at the Wheelhouse Loft Apartments, and one at the Cannery Loft Apartments, the former being a non-heated studio and the latter being a heated studio.

The choice of two studios is just the start of clients’ options: Speakeasy offers several different levels of classes, depending on the client’s needs and level of practice. Some of the classes include: simple, strong + stretch, rest + restore, prenatal, strong, long slow + deep, gentle, community strong, and still. Private instructions are even offered.

An introductory offer of $40 for 30 days is available, but you also may pay $5 per class at a community strong class, which are discounted sessions led by yoga-teacher-trainees.

"Great group of teachers and amazing studio with simple to challenging classes. [...] I am happy I found this little gem." —Yelp Review of Speakeasy Yoga

The Wheelhouse Loft Apartments location (non-heated, blue door) is at 204 Wayne Ave, Dayton, OH, 45402. The Cannery Loft Apartments (heated, red door) is at 510 E 3rd St, Dayton, OH, 45402.

Classes may start as early as 6:00 AM and as late as 7:00 PM, but check out Speakeasy’s schedule to find what class time works best for you.

Summer boredom cured! And all right here in your favorite city, Dayton.

Now you’re well equipped with several diverse and exciting options for summer activities.

Still haven’t found the right thing for you? Take a walk in this beautiful city, and you’ll be sure to find your answer!

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July 10, 2019
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