What Your Perfect Day Should Look like in Dayton, Ohio

Choose-your-own-adventure style!

a hiker standing a the top of a hill


Jade Marzolf


Jan 21, 2021

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HER is here to take you on a customized journey in the Gem City of Ohio. To start your adventure, select a house in Dayton which you’ll spend the night in and then wake up ready to go exploring!

Consult HER, REALTORS® for the best selection of homes in Dayton, Ohio >

Fuel up the tank

After you get the hardest part of the day over with and slide out of bed, you’ve got to get some coffee or scrambled eggs in that bod.

Choice 1: But I don’t eat breakfast

Well, today you do, my friend. I’m sure you’ve heard before how “breakfast is the most important meal” and it’s true. Breakfast food is the best food. HER isn’t going to tolerate any empty stomachs, so we’re sending you to a place with outstanding coffee and a relaxed atmosphere, perfect for waking up: Ghostlight Coffee. They have a coffee and espresso bar with a number of unique syrups you can add in like “pumpkin coconut” and “lumberjack.” Consider ordering one of their homemade breakfast pastries to compliment your joe or save for a later time. Ghostlight offers vegan and gluten-free options. They also sell bean-to-bar chocolate!

photographs framed on wall and wooden furniture
‍Source: Yelp

Choice 2: Give me all the waffles and bacon!

I’m glad you understand the power of bacon. I bet you’re a morning person, aren’t you? Maybe the thought of your favorite cereal is what motivates you to roll out from under the covers when your alarm goes off. I’m with you there. Today you should be even more excited, because you’re going to the Golden Nugget Pancake House! This is the place to grab some of the best flapjacks in the Dayton region. You can order a complete breakfast that includes your favorite sides like sausage and fresh fruit for a winning price. From butter cream waffles to chocolate oreo pancakes, you can bet your meal will be golden.

pancakes, bacon, sunny-side-up eggs, and fruit on a plate
‍Source: Postmates

Go on a tour

Now that your stomach has received some quality nutrients, it’s time to go seek some brainfood in the form of a museum visit!

Choice 1: Show me the best art

You like looking at stuff? Then you’re off to the Dayton Art Institute, one of the top rated museums in America, according to Best Things Ohio. It’s also named one of the best museums for children in the United States, most likely because of the variety of programs and workshops offered for passionate kids. The Institute offers walk-in or self-guided tours for those who don’t wish to schedule a specific guided tour of the exhibitions. If you’re delighted by visual work, definitely check out the museum's collection of more than 26,000 objects! Reservations are not required.

paintings inside Dayton Art Institute
‍Source: bizjournals

Choice 2: Teach me about Dayton

If you’re gonna explore the Gem City, you might as well learn about it, too! Since the airplane was invented in Dayton, you should spend a few hours at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park to discover more about the history of flight, and how Dayton played a huge part in it. The park consists of 5 historic sites that tell the stories of Wilbur & Orville Wright, through their refurbished printing office, bicycle shop, and their third airplane. Did you know Orville Wright was born in Dayton? August 19, 1871 to be precise. If you find the Wright brothers especially inspiring, you can continue to follow their footsteps at the Huffman Prairie Flying Field and their mansion, Hawthorn Hill.

display inside dayton aviation heritage national historical park
‍Source: MiniTime

Explore even more

After soaking in the stunning inventions and visual masterpieces in the Dayton museums, you suddenly realize you need to see more!

Choice 1: I’m an outdoor person!

I like your attitude. HER is sending you to the Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum to roam over the luscious green hills and admire the Victorian architecture of the buildings. Sure, it is a cemetery, but it’s also a garden - one that will take your breath away. The cemetery was designed specifically to entice people to visit and includes over 3,000 trees and 100,000 monuments. Tour the gravesites and keep an eye out for famous peoples’ headstones, like the Wright Brothers and Governor James Cox. Before you leave, meander your way up to the “lookout terrace”, the highest elevation point in Dayton which harbors the most breathtaking overlook of the city.

sun shining through cemetary
‍Source: Woodlandcemetery.org

Choice 2: I’m already tired...

You can’t be tired yet! The day is only half over. But, okay...we’ll let you rest a bit while still experiencing the best of Dayton. You’re going to watch a movie at the Victoria Theatre! The theatre provides a number of entertainment options for Dayton citizens and visitors. Since the 1940s, it’s been the place to go to get lost in an on-screen adventure. Check out their website for a list of shows in their current series and buy a ticket in advance. Or, purchase one at the door - still only $6 each. Plus, FREE popcorn and soda is offered in the lobby starting one hour prior to showtime. Better get there early!

Victoria Theatre exterior
‍Source: Cinema Treasures

Check out something strange

Dayton is packed full of hidden treasures, and you need to see at least one so you can Instagram a picture of it and make your friends jealous they’re stuck at home with only their boring avocado toasts to photograph.

Choice 1: Strange like...aliens?

Almost, but not quite. We suggest you see one of Dayton’s most unusual attractions, the Avrocar. It’s a real flying saucer and it can be found at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. I’ll let you find out the entire story when you visit the UFO, but for now I’ll say it involves the Cold War and a cancelled project.

white and black photo of a flying saucer
‍Source: LaesieWorks

Choice 2: It’d better involve ghosts

It’s the undead or you aren’t impressed, huh? There isn’t a zombie museum in Dayton (there is in Evans City, Pennsylvania), but we think you’ll still enjoy learning about this unique attraction. It’s a grave in the Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum with a memorable story. Once upon a time, a 5-year-old lad named Johnny Morehouse was playing with his faithful dog by the Miami and Erie Canal when he fell into the water. His dog leapt in and tried to rescue the young master, but the boy drowned and was later buried at the Woodland Cemetery. The dog stood by Johnny’s grave for weeks, waiting for him to return, and surviving only on scraps fed to him by sympathetic mourners. The gravestone actually helps Johnny’s story remain so memorable, so much that visitors tend to leave behind small gifts like flowers and toys as a tender acknowledgement of his death. But, you’ll have to see the headstone for yourself!

Have a feast

Well done, my friend. You’ve just had a full, satisfying day of learning and sightseeing. Now it’s time to eat until your hungry stomach is equally full and satisfied.

Choice 1: I have specific dietary restrictions

HER suggests dining at Meadowlark Restaurant - a new American joint that’s vegetarian friendly and offers vegan and gluten-free options. You can call a couple days ahead of your visit to ensure the restaurant staff understands exactly what you need, and they’ll go above and beyond to make it a wonderful experience for you. Doesn’t a vegan spring vegetable risotto sound divine? Meadowlark seeks to bring bright-tasting flavors from around the world to the table that everyone can enjoy, no matter their dietary restrictions.

vegan spring vegetable risotto
‍Source: TripAdvisor

Choice 2: Carb me up

I, too, can get behind some solid carb-loading, which is why I know Mamma DiSalvo’s Italian Ristorante is the dinner spot for you. In 2017 it won first in the Best Italian category in the Best of Dayton contest. The restaurant cooks up loads of different homemade pasta dishes, from gnocchi to lasagna. They also make pizza, meat-focused entrees, and offer a few vegetarian options. All of their red sauces are gluten-free. Also, don’t forget to order dessert! A chocolate dipped cannoli or slice of cheesecake would be the perfect end to your meal.

lasagna on a plate
‍Source: dayton.com

So what does your perfect day in Dayton look like? Describe your journey in the comments!

July 24, 2018
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