Whether you are new to the Miami Valley or thinking of visiting the area you’ll find plenty of places for you and the whole family to be entertained such as parks, entertainment centers, museums and more. The Dayton area has something for everyone, including festivals, dining and nightlife and the entertainment offerings have never been more varied and vibrant.
– Menna Elarman & Corinne Minard
When it comes to locations that can entertain the whole family, the Miami Valley is overflowing with options.
The region is home to many museums that cover a wide variety of topics, from science to history. The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery (2600 DeWeese Parkway, Dayton) aims to make global natural history, science and nature fun to visitors of all ages. Make sure to stop by the museum’s Discovery Zoo as well as its planetarium. The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (1100 Spaatz St., Wright-Patterson AFB) is the world’s oldest and largest aviation history museum. There, you can see historic planes such as the Wright 1909 Military Flyer, The Memphis Belle and Air Force One. And Carillon Historical Park (1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton) allows visitors to experience Dayton’s history by exploring historic buildings.
There are also options for those seeking some excitement. Scene75 Entertainment Center (6196 Poe Ave., Dayton) is the largest indoor entertainment center, with 160,00 square feet of arcade games, go-karts, laser tag and more. And further south is Kings Island (6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason), a 364-acre amusement park.
And for sports, head downtown to Day Air Ballpark (220 N. Patterson Blvd, Dayton) to watch the minor league baseball team, the Dayton Dragons, play.
One of the best ways to explore the region’s dining and shopping scene is to visit Miami Valley’s Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas, or DORAs. Within a DORA, one can purchase an alcoholic beverage from a participating vendor and then sip and stroll throughout the designated area. Currently, Middletown, Dayton’s Oregon District, Tipp City, Fairborn, Hamilton, Oxford and Springfield all offer their own DORA, though many other communities are looking to add one.
If you’d rather stay home, Dayton’s local food delivery service, called 937 Delivers, offers delivery from about 20 local restaurants, including Warped Wing Brewing Company, Ghostlight Coffee and The Pizza Bandit.
Want to explore downtown’s shops and restaurants but not sure where to start? The Downtown Dayton Partnership is an excellent resource, offering free maps and lists of vendors and selling e-gift cards called Downtown Dollars.
The Miami Valley hosts several large events throughout the year that draw visitors from across the region. Typically, one can attend the Troy Strawberry Festival and Dayton Air Show in June, the Dayton Celtic Fest in July, the GermanFest Picnic in August, and Oktoberfest at the Dayton Art Institute in September.
Art and music lovers have plenty of places to see live performances. Dayton Live brings more than 300 performances to the region each year, from touring Broadway productions at the Schuster Performing Arts Center (1 W. Second St., Dayton) and Dayton Ballet performances at the historic Victoria Theatre (138 N. Main St., Dayton) to black box shows at the PNC Arts Annex (46 W. Second St., Dayton) and local theater productions at The Loft Theatre (126 N. Main St., Third Floor, Dayton).
Outside of downtown, one can find concerts featuring national touring acts at the Rose Music Center at the Heights (6800 Executive Blvd., Huber Heights) and at the Fraze Pavilion (696 Lincoln Park Blvd., Kettering).
During the summer, make sure to stop by Levitt Pavilion (134 S. Main St., Dayton). Located near RiverScape MetroPark and the Oregon District, the pavilion hosts 50-plus free concerts each year.