Best things to see/do/eat between Toronto and Cincinnati?
May 4, 2011 7:46 AM   Subscribe

We will be driving from Toronto to Cincinnati about the second half of May. What are the "musts" along the way?
posted by uans to Travel & Transportation (21 answers total)
It's a little off the highways, but Point Pelee Park on Lake Erie is a neat birding spot and cool habitat overall. And both the Detroit and Toledo art museums are Excellent.
posted by ldthomps at 7:58 AM on May 4, 2011

Jungle Jim's in Fairfield, OH.
posted by the dief at 8:03 AM on May 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Are you going the way through Niagara or the way through Detroit? It's only 50km more to go down to the falls and stop off at the Anchor Bar for buffalo wings.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 8:08 AM on May 4, 2011

Response by poster: I imagine we'll go to Cincinnati through one route and use another on the way back to Toronto. We want to see as much as possible. So all suggestions are welcome!
posted by uans at 8:12 AM on May 4, 2011

If you loop through Columbus at any point, stop at Jeni's for ice cream. Perhaps with a cooler.
posted by librarianamy at 8:21 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cincinnati has great parks and great food, and there might be a festival or two going on. How long are you going to be in town and which days do you think you might be here?

If you take interstate 71 either way (to or from), make sure you stop at Grandpa's Cheese Barn (there will be loads of signs; you won't miss it). They have fantastic pickles of all kind, salsas, sauces, cheeses, meats...YUM.
posted by cooker girl at 8:22 AM on May 4, 2011

Response by poster: Our time is flexible. We're thinking three or four days in and around Cincinnati, and Columbus is definitely another part of the plan--we hear it has terrific architecture. Leaving May 17, must be back by the 25th.
posted by uans at 8:36 AM on May 4, 2011

Cincinnati has great architecture, too! The Museum Center is a great Art Deco example. Over-the-Rhine has absolutely beautiful old German buildings (Cincinnati is a VERY German town). Check out Findlay Market - it's our local farmer's market and you can get great stuff there. If you're here when there's a Red's game, you should try to get tickets. The stadium is really nice (especially if you get river views).

Unfortunately, I'm out the door in just a moment but I'll come back and add more if someone else hasn't already covered it all.
posted by cooker girl at 8:55 AM on May 4, 2011

Do you like hot dogs? I liked Lafayette Coney Island in Detroit. Detroit is also supposed to have good pizza, hamburgers and bbq. Also good Polish food. I don't have personal experience with any of it, but I've got a list of spots that I'm interested in that I could share if you like any of those things.

Also, nearby Dearborn has the highest concentration of Arabs in the US. I assume that means lots of delicious food.

If you stop in Detroit on one leg and Columbus on the other, you could compare Zingerman's to Katzinger's. There isn't really much of a comparison. Zingerman's is a juggernaut with a bakery, a creamery, a deli, a separate restaurant, a market... But Katzinger's has a deli and a market and the last time I was there, my sandwich was better than what I had on my one trip to Zingerman's deli. Zingerman's is actually in Ann Arbor, home of U of Michigan which might be another attraction. Ann Arbor is actually supposed to have a decent food scene.
posted by stuart_s at 9:09 AM on May 4, 2011

Ok you happen to be in my neck of the woods (raised in Lebanon, college in Cincy, now living in Columbus and in-laws from Toledo)! So feel free to memail me with any questions.

Glass Pavilion Part of the Toledo Art Museum. They host workshops where you can blow your own glass (call for schedule)
Fort Meigs Reconstructed fort from 1812

• Seconding Jeni's Ice Cream
Short North and Arena District both have lots of restaurants, shopping, galleries, bars, etc.
Schmidt's German restaurant, featured on the Travel Channel

Dayton Dragons Minor League baseball in a wonderfully relaxed park (you can choose to sit on the lawn)
National US Air Force Museum

Yellow Springs (kind of near Dayton)
• An offbeat town with lots of fun quirks More info here

Lebanon (between Cincy and Dayton)
• Eat at the Golden Lamb (Ohio's oldest hotel), then, cross the street to the Village Ice Cream Parlor for dessert. Lots of antique shops as well.

Architreks Walking Tour
• Felling adventurous? You could try to break into the old Subway (I've never done it but want to!) :) Its kind of neat just to know it's there
Freedom Center National Underground Railroad Museum
• You could go on a dinner cruise down the river
posted by halseyaa at 9:14 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're taking I-90 through PA, I'd recommend this place for lunch or dinner. I've eaten there twice - and it was really good both times, and is in a lovely setting. A much nicer place to take a break than the chain restaurants right off the interstate and worth the 10-minute detour.

South of Columbus is the Hocking Hills, which has wonderful caves and scenery and it's worth a detour to see the peculiar Logan Round House, which is just outside Logan, on Chieftain Drive, between Kroger's and the Canoe Livery.
posted by essexjan at 9:32 AM on May 4, 2011

Columbus is definitely another part of the plan--we hear it has terrific architecture

Then you might want to check out the Darwin-Martin house in Buffalo or various other Frank Lloyd Wrights in the area. OTOH, you can check those out as a day trip from TO some other time.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:53 AM on May 4, 2011

Skyline chili coneys. I'm pretty sure they're doing the habanero cheddar right now. If you do end up going through Buffalo at all, I'd recommend duff's over Anchor Bar. They're both really great though.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:57 AM on May 4, 2011

I would have recommended the giant Jesus statue, but it got burnt down from a lighting strike last year. Anyone know if it was actually rebuilt? I still chuckle at that.!5563769/lightning-strikes-down-giant-jesus-in-ohio

I strongly second Jungle Jim's, it has so many things that are hard to find. It has dedicated sections for many areas of the world. Just know that you pay a premium for many things.

I'd also second the National Air Force Museum in Dayton. Its an absolutely huge place with numerous types of aircraft. Sadly, they did not receive a space shuttle from NASA. I still hope that can be revised.
posted by graxe at 11:08 AM on May 4, 2011

The statue has not been rebuilt but I believe they have started working on an improved (and hopefully fireproof) one. I'll nth Jungle Jim's and the Air Force Museum. If you like aviation at all then the museum is certainly not to be missed.

As for ice cream I am far more partial to Graeters or Aglamesis than Jeni's. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanic Gardens is quite good and they are currently in their "Zoo Babies" promotion which includes a baby giraffe. Who doesn't love baby animals?
posted by mmascolino at 11:51 AM on May 4, 2011

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the Rock and Roll hall of Fame in Cleveland.
posted by Dolley at 12:39 PM on May 4, 2011

Ooh, yes, you'll go through Cleveland one way or the other! For the love of all that's holy, please eat at Sokolowski's University Inn.
posted by cooker girl at 12:46 PM on May 4, 2011

Response by poster: We've been to Cleveland and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Missed Sokolowski's, unfortunately--because I didn't think to Ask MeFi before going. I'm not letting that happen again.
posted by uans at 1:38 PM on May 4, 2011

If you are going to Cleveland, I was pretty blown away with the collection at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and admission is free, which is pretty cool. And seconding the town of Yellow Springs - soooooo adorable! Maybe not worth going too far out of your way for, but absolutely worth a stop if it's somewhat along your route.
posted by naoko at 3:49 PM on May 4, 2011

I should have more recommendations if you were to stop through Cleveland. Sadly, I really don't.

I've never been to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but have heard its very good. The Cleveland Museum of Art is extremely good. It finally reopened last year or slightly prior, after being under significant construction for some time. The Botanical Garden is also pretty nice and in the same area. (University Circle, which happens to be filled with nice things)

I'd recommend Coventry if you were looking to spend a day or half a day somewhere. They have a wonderful used book store, Mac's Backs Books, good food ala Tommy's and The Grog Shop, a bar that brings in a lot of local music.
posted by graxe at 5:08 PM on May 4, 2011

Speaking of art, the Cincinnati Art Museum has a very broad collection and free admission. The Contemporary Arts Center downtown is in a fantastic building. It doesn't have a permanent collection but rather does a series of staggered exhibitions. It has free admission on Monday nights.
posted by mmascolino at 9:37 PM on May 4, 2011

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