Whether your group is itching for natural beauty, longing for luxurious lodging or needs to sink their teeth into new and unique experiences, the Buckeye State has it all. Ohio is home to big cities with thriving culture and arts scenes and secluded getaways full of comfort, history and charm. Planning a trip soon? Consider this your invitation to explore the vastness of the Buckeye State and some of its beloved and hidden treasures.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Between light displays, art installations, flowers in bloom and more, there is never a dull time to visit the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The conservatory is a Columbus landmark where art, people and plants come together in awe-inspiring beauty. With multiple exhibitions and installations all year long, the conservatory offers numerous experiences for all ages.
Guests can explore its glasshouses, the historic John F. Wolfe Palm House, multiple gardens and the vibrant, lively and extensive glass artwork of Dale Chihuly, the largest Chihuly collection housed in a botanical garden.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
In downtown Cleveland is a cooler-than-most museum. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame may be rebellious, but it’s not without a cause: It houses the world’s largest collection of rock ’n’ roll music artifacts and celebrates the contribution and significance of the genre. With exhibits, programs and concerts that pay tribute to legends of yesterday and today, guests will leave riffing on air guitars, slamming on air drums and whistling those irreplaceable melodies. The modern building itself is reminiscent of the Louvre in Paris — and for good reason: They were both designed by contemporary architect, I.M. Pei.
Center of Science and Industry
Considered one of the nation’s top science museums, the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus has delighted visitors from central Ohio and beyond through its trademark hands-on, experience-based learning for more than 50 years.
The COSI facility spans 320,000 square feet. Such a grand scale allows COSI to feature more than 300 exhibits, multiple interactive experiences, nine galleries, thrilling live shows, a permanent dinosaur exhibit with a life-size Tyrannosaurus rex and a planetarium. When it comes to group tours interested in science, COSI’s experiences run the gamut.
Up and Coming
The Heights is the new on-rooftop lounge of the Renaissance Toledo Downtown Hotel that offers sweeping panoramic views, creative cocktails, global bites and a dazzling, upscale atmosphere day or night. An open room with floor-to-ceiling windows allows for large group gatherings, and small groups can reserve “igloos,” newly created, individually decorated see-through rooms atop the roof. Take your group to The Heights for stunning decor, resplendent outdoor seating and spectacular views overlooking the Maumee River. From The Heights, guests can even get a glimpse of Detroit.
Coney Island Park
Any spotlight on Ohio would have to include a theme park, and this one is no exception. On the banks of the Ohio River, Coney Island Park has been thrilling visitors for more than 100 years and continues to grow with Cincinnati today. Its new Challenge Zone invites the adventurous to tackle a water-based obstacle course. Slides, freefalls, balance beams, tunnels, climbing walls and more add a new “ninja warrior” element to an already tempting experience for groups.
Hocking Hills Region
The Hocking Hills region is home to an eponymous state park — Ohio’s most popular — and numerous private and nonprofit attractions that embrace the outdoors with plenty of new attractions to enjoy. For the adrenaline lover, check out the newly opened Ultimate Zipline to experience the magic of flying through the trees. Unique-getaway seekers can go glamping at Nature’s Mystique, Lord of the Rings-themed Hobbit holes built into the hills. Or let the vastness of the night sky take your breath away at the recently opened John Glenn Astronomy Park, situated in the darkest part of the state for wow-factor night sky viewing.
The crown jewel of downtown Columbus is the Hotel LeVeque, a beacon of sophistication that’s defined the city’s skyline since 1927. New owners have recently restored the Hotel LeVeque with modern updates and a new celestial theme — guests can use the telescopes in their rooms to see the stars or the Scioto river running through downtown.
In 1803, Jonas Seaman paid $4 for a license to operate a “house of Public Entertainment” in the newly founded village of Lebanon. More than 215 years later, his establishment on Broadway still feeds and lodges travelers. A reservation today will give groups a mix of modern amenities, historic antiques and Shaker-style architecture and decor. The hotel has lodged authors including Charles Dickens and presidents including William Taft.
Velvet Ice Cream
In the town of Utica, Velvet Ice Cream’s roots go back more than a century to 1914, when Joseph Dager first sold his chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice creams out of a basement confectionery. Today, the ice creamery delights and satisfies with its popular desserts, lunch and dinner, carriage rides, carousel, entertainment and wide-open spaces.
Gervasi Vineyard and Bistro
Within the Canton city limits is a working farm, award-winning vineyard and Old World, Tuscan-inspired restaurant: The Gervasi Vineyard and Bistro.
Stroll through the lush rows of grapes or take a walk around the lake before heading inside for a glass of wine and a plate of rustic, upscale Italian cuisine.