The attractive barbecue joint opened last year in the rising Pendleton neighborhood. The burnt ends feel straight out of Kansas City. Mustard and vinegary sauces harken to the Carolinas. And the brisket nearly tastes like a slice of Texas.
American Sign Museum
Some immigrant roots are most visible beneath the streets. Craig Maness, a guide for American Legacy Tours, holds the keys to crypts beneath St. Francis Seraph Church and massive tunnels dug by beer barons before modern refrigeration.
Every night, colored lights illuminate Columbus’ first skyscraper. The downtown building was renovated in 2017 and reopened as the celestial-theme Hotel LeVeque. But the dreamiest view is after lights-out. Lie down to see the Milky Way, constellations and shooting stars—projected over your bed from a high-tech star globe.
the future is now
check out our road trip playlist
The Olmsted Brothers, of Central Park fame, designed this 65-acre open-air history museum. With 30 historical buildings, it includes the John W. Berry, Sr. Wright Brothers National Museum and a one-of-a-kind brewery.
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Between bites of tuna poke and bison burger, we steal glances of the old canal beyond the patio at Lock 15 Brewing. Chef John Taylor cooks up fish and chips, steak salads, and the decadent Devil Strip Dog.
National Veterans Memorial and Museum
John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge
No credit cards. No reservations. No real changes since 1947. Even a former owner still hangs here, his ashes stashed in a beer stein above the bar in this steakhouse. Owner Dave Hulme says consistency and principles are his secret—and tells how that once meant asking Barbara and George Bush to wait at the bar for a table on a busy night.
Stylish shops and a booming dining scene have radically transformed streets that were riddled with crime only a decade ago. In the past two years alone, 85 new businesses moved into the neighborhood, known for Italianate architecture and German heritage.
Going strong since 1997, the large brewery with a tasting room gave new life to an 1800s brewing building. Try one of their single-barrel beers or a blood-orange IPA.
Middle West Spirits Service Bar
Shop, dine or simply pop inside for photos in one of Cleveland’s most iconic public spaces. The Victorian-era retail center features a massive glass ceiling, sparkly railings and lampposts, and the Hyatt Regency Hotel.
For about $60, Columbus Food Adventures shuttles hungry explorers on a progressive meal at several restaurants. Themes include taco trucks, desserts or an Alt Eats tour of the cuisines of Somalia, El Salvador
Herb gardens, play structures and a Hocking Hills-inspired splash area—waterfall and all—cover the new 2-acre Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden. Also at the conservatory: Visitors this summer can spot many of Dale Chihuly’s signature glass creations during the Chihuly: Celebrating Nature exhibit through March.
We ended a long day exploring the city with a nightcap cocktail and sweet treats in this cozy spot on the second floor of Hotel Leveque. The French brasserie also serves delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.
As our honorary tour guide through a recreated bike shop, Orville’s great-grandniece Amanda Wright Lane shared the story of the hometown aviation heroes, one failed flying machine at a time. In the back of the museum, we found the 1905 Wright Flyer III. This one that didn’t fail is now a National Historic Landmark.
with us on instagram
The Dayton Art Institute
Short North Arts District
Drury Plaza Hotel Cleveland Downtown
Akron Coffee Roasters
Cowell and Hubbard
Pad your walking times for mural gawking. Bolivar Alley in the emerging Pendleton neighborhood showcases raw graffiti creations by teens in the ArtWorks apprentice program.
Frank’s Bratwursts has been filling hard rolls with kraut, spicy mustard and plump sausages for 48 years. We ate ours on the go while eyeing massive apple fritters, sampling cheeses and basking in the 107-year-old indoor market’s cross-cultural history. Outside, vendors sell fruits, veggies and farm-fresh staples year-round.
Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum
The museum’s galleries explore both our nation’s history and the
less familiar stories of people trapped in slavery today. One of the most sobering exhibits is a slave pen relocated from Kentucky. Outside, the Freedom Flame will stay alight until all slavery ends.
1 self-driving shuttle ridden.
Smart Columbus Experience Center and Shuttles
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland
Smale Riverfront Park
21.7 miles walked.
RiverScape MetroPark and Invention Stations
Glass walls incorporate The Akron Art Museum with the urban streetscape surrounding it. Starting June 27, the Downtown at Dusk free concert series launches in the courtyard garden that opened in 2016.
Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens
Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Muesum
Some legends, like 2018 Hall of Fame inductee Sister Rosetta Tharpe, are finally getting their due for planting the seeds of rock and roll in electric gospel. Starting July 1, visitors can jam on guitars, drums and other instruments in The Garage. Take a lesson or record your session and create custom band merch in the new space.
The filming location from the 1983 “you’ll shoot your eye out” Christmas classic holds all the goods that sparked decades of relentless quoting and holiday schtick. A Red Ryder BB gun. A copy of Ralphie’s C+ paper from Miss Shields. And not one, but several leg lamps, just in case—they’re fra-gee-lay. You can even rent a bunny suit onesie for an irresistible photo op in the house.
Ohio gave the world aviation, eight U.S. presidents and more big cities than any other Midwest state. The three major metros each top 2 million residents. We partnered with Ohio’s tourism team to chart an action-packed route through the state of many skylines.
Cleveland Museum of Art in University Circle
head in the clouds
EAT + DRINK
EAT + DRINK
Hotel 21C Museum Hotel
Banks Entertainment District
A blur of flashing lights and marquees on Euclid Avenue creates a mini Broadway in Cleveland. It’s one of the country’s largest performing arts centers. Ten theaters and the 2 blocks they cover host 1,000-plus events per year, including outdoor summer movies and touring shows. Just look for the world’s largest outdoor chandelier lighting up the street.
American Legacy Queen Underground Tour
John W. Berry, Sr. Wright Brothers National Museum
Prefer to linger at one spot? We found a great one: Middle West Spirits Service Bar offers distillery tours and tastings, plus flavor-packed meals from Chef Avishar Barua.
At Carillon Brewing, brewers stick to 1850s recipes and methods, stoking fires and working pulleys beside diners and drinkers. Order a flight to get a sense of the beer variety and pair it with a giant pretzel or Wurst Platter.
Murals by Cora Holden from 1931 are fully restored in the two-story lobby of the former Cleveland Board of Education building. The hotel opened in 2016 after a $52 million renovation of building.
This mod roastery and coffee shop serves up delicious pour-over in a downtown space attached to The Nightlight Cinema indie movie theatre.
A Christmas Story House
In a former jewelry store beside Playhouse Square, Chef Zack Bruell channels his fine craft for food into eclectic dishes. The menu jumps from Indian curry and Middle-Eastern style lamb to escargot and plenty of vegan options.
Short North has morphed into a
20-block mosaic of fashion boutiques, restaurants, bars, murals and new faces. This summer, $500 million of investment will add more storefronts and lofts. Step inside Sharon Weiss Gallery or Studios on High Gallery to meet some Short North trailblazers who have stuck around.
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
The Pine Club
Encounter 20 rare items on loan this year as the museum celebrates its 100th annivesary. The permanent collection includes one of Impressionist Claude Monet’s Water Lilies series.
not for us alone
Thirsty Dog Brewery
EAT + DRINK
From hand-carved wooden letters to the neon revolution, signage history presents a fun and colorful lens on U.S. history and commercialization. Rows of flashing lights and a Main Street USA exhibit cranked up our nostalgia and selfie game.
At Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the massive National Museum of the U.S. Air Force collection spans a 1909 Wright Military Flyer, retired presidential planes and lunar landers. The free museum has nearly every type of major aircraft.
Carillon Historical Park
Late astronaut and Ohio senator John Glenn helped spearhead the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, an $82 million facility that opened last fall. Exhibits include video interviews and soldiers’ letters, plus interactive elements like hoisting a 75-pound pack.
EAT + DRINK
The Burnt Carrot Salad has a cult following. It’s one of the only items to remain on the menu since Metropole opened seven years ago. At breakfast, try the goetta for a true Cincy-German experience.
Akron Art Museum
You could spend hours at Stan Hywet touring the 65-room Tudor Revival home. But those who wander the 70-acre grounds can find a sunken secret garden and a tea house, built on a quarry lagoon where Goodyear co-founder F.A. Seiberling saw a vista that inspired his estate.
The Keep Cocktail Bar
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Bolivar Alley Murals
Big yellow penguins and a play-yourself ping-pong mirror greeted us in the lobby of this hotel-meets-art museum. The galleries are free and open 24-7 to all (including dogs). Drink on the Sunset Terrace rooftop or eat at Metropole, named for the building’s original 1912 hotel.
Stroll along the Ohio Riverfront in The Banks Entertainment District. Restaurants, live music and storefronts connect Cincinnati's major sport venues—Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park—in this new development with more than $600 million in investment.
EAT + DRINK
The Arcade Downtown
We hadn’t even seen a work of art yet, and the CMA’s vast marble-
and-wood-walled atrium stopped us in our tracks. Light pours through a glass ceiling to illuminate sculptures and plants. Leaving our jaws on the floor, we broke up to explore the free, two-story labyrinth of surrounding corridors and galleries.
Gardens, flowering pots and reflecting pools line the banks of the Great Miami River downtown. We followed the River Walk to find large-scale sculptures of the cash register, pop-top soda cans, the Wright Flyer and other Dayton inventions that changed history.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Lock 15 Brewing
This year, America’s first pro baseball team celebrates its 150th anniversary with a $5.5 million renovation of its hall of fame, adjacent to Great American Ball Park. Stop in to see World Series trophies, an 1869 baseball card worth $65,000, and a wall of 4,256 game balls—one for each of Pete Rose’s MLB hits.
Columbus Food Adventures
2 flight simulators flown.
In partnership with Progressive, we put together a summer road trip playlist so you can keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
West Side Market
385 miles driven.
LINCOLN SOCIAL, COLUMBUS
Maria, the self-driving autonomous shuttle, zipped us along a 1.5-mile loop that is free for the public in downtown Columbus. Stop at Bicentennial Park, COSI (science museum), the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, and Smart Columbus Experience Center, where you can test-drive electric vehicles for free.
Take it from our crew: Adults do not require the company of minors to play at this 45-acre gem. Climb up to pilot a flying pig, meditate in a labyrinth or rock on swinging benches overlooking the river.