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20 Best Things to Do in Toledo, OH for First Timers

Toledo Botanical Gardens

Sitting at the tip of Lake Erie and by the Maumee River, Toledo is a city in Ohio that is famous for its glass production. It is also a popular tourist destination due to the range of activities and attractions to enjoy in the area. If you are visiting this city, you will find plenty of things to see and do as there is something to suit all tastes and ages. To make the most of your visit to this interesting and diverse city, you should plan your itinerary in advance to make sure you do not miss out on the best it has to offer. Here are the 20 best things to do in Toledo for first-timers.

Registry Bistro

20 Dine at the Registry Bistro

One of the best known and most popular places to dine in Toledo is at Registry Bistro. This is set within a building that was once the Sector Hotel. A combination of modern and classic dishes are served at this bistro, and they use only the finest produce to create the food. One of the most notable features of the restaurant is the large French doors, which open out to the outdoor dining area.

Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral

19. See the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral

Built to replicate Mudejar, the Cathedral in the Spanish city that is also called Toledo, the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary is the most significant religious structure in Toledo, Ohio. It was constructed in the early 20th century, and it is located in the Old West End The cathedral arguably boasts the most magnificent architecture in the city. Take along your camera to capture the beauty and magnificence of this structure.

Real Seafood Company

18. Eat Seafood at the Real Seafood Company

According to The Crazy Tourist, one of the top places to eat in Toledo is at the Real Seafood Company, especially if you are a seafood enthusiast. This upscale restaurant serves high-quality dishes featuring fresh and local produce. Other than the food, one of the most appealing features of this restaurant is the location. It sits by Maumee River, so diners can enjoy spectacular views of the rive while enjoying their seafood.

Hollywood Casino Toledo

17. Have Fun at Hollywood Casino Toledo

A fun place to visit while you are in Toledo is the Hollywood Casino Toledo. You will find the casino along Miami Street close to the banks of the Maumee River. It is a huge casino that boasts 20 poker tables, arcade games, slot machines, a roulette wheel, and much more. There is also entertainment to enjoy on-site. The casino complex is home to several hotels, so you might like to book a room in one so that you are close to all the fun and action.

Valentine Theater Toledo

16. Catch a Performance at the Valentine Theater Toledo

If you want some entertainment in the evenings, then one of the best options is to watch a performance at the Valentine Theater Toledo. This theater has a jam-packed schedule of events and performances throughout the year with something to suit all tastes. If you want to watch a performance, you should check out what is one and book tickets in advance.

Toledo Firefighters Museum

15. Visit the Toledo Firefighters Museum

Although there are several museums to visit in Toledo, an interesting museum to visit is the Toledo Firefighters Museum. This museum first opened in 1837, and it gives an insight into the fire service in the United States and the history of the work of the firefighters in Toledo. The exhibits in the displays include photographs, equipment, newspapers, and fire station documentation. In addition to the interesting displays, visitors are educated about fire safety and fire prevention. It is free to visit this museum.

Ottawa Park

14. Stroll Around Ottawa Park

You will find plenty of things to keep you entertained in Ottawa Park, which covers more than 370 acres. There are golf courses, 16 tennis courts, paved trails, and mountain bike trails to explore. This park also has stunning landscaped areas. It is a great place for families to spend time outdoors together, and a good spot to enjoy a picnic in nice weather. It is also a free activity to include on your itinerary if you are keeping the cost of your vacation to a minimum.

Glass Art at the Glass Pavilion

13. See the Glass Art at the Glass Pavilion

Toledo is known for its glassmaking, so it makes sense to see some of the glass during your visit. This attraction is part of the Toledo Museum of Art, which was founded by glassmaker Edward Drummond Libbey. The glasswork on display is stunning, and there is also a glass-making facility on the site.


12. Go to the Metroparks

There are several Metroparks in Toledo, and these are a great way to get away from the busy urban vibe for a couple of hours and enjoy more peaceful surroundings. One of these parks that you should visit is the Side Cut Metropark, which is by the connection between the Erie and Miami canals. This is a nice spot to visit if you want to go fishing during your stay in Toledo. Another to visit is Swan Creek Preserve Metropark. This park covers 441 acres, plus an extra 154 acres with the special swan creek corridor.

Wildwood Park

11. Stroll Around Wildwood Park

Wildwood Park was established in 1938, and it was originally part of the family estate of Robert A, Stranahan. Now, it is one of the most visited parks in Toledo. The park covers approximately 493 acres, and there are multiple trails to explore. The trails cover varied terrain, so some trails are easy and others are a little more challenging. There are interesting plants and animals to watch out for as you explore the park. It is free to enter the park, so it is a good place to visit for people who enjoy the outdoors and are visiting this city on a budget.

Toledo Food Tour

10. Take a Toledo Food Tour

If you are a foodie, then you should take one of the Toledo food tours. These tours highlight the wonderful produce of Toledo. There are many companies that offer these tours, and the focus is different for each. For example, one company offers a food tour in the Warehouse District that includes visits to a restaurant, a food truck, a bakery, a coffee shop, a wine bar, and a pub. Others take visitors to sample the produce at the farmer’s market. In addition to having the chance to enjoy tastings, those who take the tour will learn more about the city and see many sights along the way.

Tony Packo’s Cafe

9. Eat a Hungarian Hot Dog at Tony Packo’s Cafe

If you want a fine dining experience, then Tony Packo’s Café isn’t the place for you. However, this casual eatery has become one of the most famous cafes in Toledo. This modest family business has been open since 1932, and it has become famous for Hungarian Hot Dogs, which are a culinary invention of the owner. It is so famous that celebrities often visit the café just to try one of the hot dogs, which all have homemade buns. If you are not a fan of hot dogs, there are plenty of other tasty dishes to try at this café.

National Museum of Great Lakes

8. Visit the National Museum of Great Lakes

The National Museum of Great Lakes sits on the banks of the Maumee River, and it is a fascinating place to visit. It is run by the Great Lakes Historical Society, and you can learn about the Great Lakes. There are more than 40 exhibits within the museum, and these contain over 250 artifacts and an interesting collection of photographs. There is also a maritime park that covers 3.5 acres for you to explore during your visit.

Bars in Downtown Toledo

7. Drink in the Bars in Downtown Toledo

Tripoyer recommends drinking in the bars of Downtown Toledo as one of the best ways to spend your evenings in this city. The downtown area is full of restaurants and bars, so there are some excellent places to eat and drink in the evenings. Some of the best bars and pubs to visit include Mulvaney’s Bunker Irish Pub and Grub, Brownstone Tavern, The Heights, Scene, Pad, and Mutz Sports Bar. Many of the bars also host live music as entertainment for drinkers and diners. You can visit a different bar each evening and enjoy a different experience in each venue.

Nature at Oak Openings Preserve

6. Feel Close to Nature at Oak Openings Preserve

A nice outdoor space to visit id the Oak Openings Preserve. This nature preserve is the largest park in Toledo and the surrounding area. It is home to the Buehner Center, which is an interactive nature center. The preserve contains rare species of plants, wetlands, vegetated dunes, sandbanks, and oak savanna. It is also a fantastic place for birdwatching as the park is home to bluebirds, indigo buntings, and whippoorwills. If you are interested in nature and wildlife photography, then this is an attraction to include in your itinerary as you will get some stunning shots of the wildlife and fauna in this preserve,

Imagination Station

5. Take the Kids to Imagination Station

A top attraction for families visiting Toledo is Imagination Station. This is an interactive science museum that you will find on Discovery Way. In the past, this non-profit organization was called the Center of Science and Industry. Now, the focus is on educating people in a fun way about topics including science, technology, engineering, and math. There are more than 300 interactive activities to explore, and this will keep the kids entertained for hours.

Wildwood Manor House

4. Go to Wildwood Manor House

An interesting historical landmark to visit is Wildwood Manor House. This is a Georgian Colonial home on West Central Avenue, and it is part of the Wildwood Preserve Metropark. There are free tours of the house daily. On some days throughout the year, visitors can take tea in the Solarium. This historical landmark is also used as a venue for various music events.

Toledo Zoo & Aquarium

3. Enjoy a Day at the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium

A great day out for all the family is a visit to Toledo Zoo & Aquarium. Within the zoo, there are many historic buildings, and the animal habitats are divided into sections. These include Cheetah Valley, Tiger Terrace, Kingdom of the Apes, and the Arctic Encounter. The zoo also features a 178,000-gallon aquarium that is home to more than three thousand aquatic animals. It is a fantastic place to learn about the different species of animals and about the wider subject of animal conservation. Therefore, this attraction combines fun and education in one expereince.

Toledo Art Museum

2. See the Amazing Exhibits at the Toledo Art Museum

The Toledo Art Museum was founded by glassmaker Edward Drummond Libbey in 1901, and it contains more than 30 thousand works. It moved to its current location in 1912 and underwent a series of expansions throughout the 1920s and 1930s. Although it is most famous for its large collection of glass art from the 19th and 20th centuries, the art museum also houses Renaissance, Roman, Greek, Japanese, European, and American art. The museum extends outside where you will find a sculpture garden.

Toledo Botanical Gardens

1. Enjoy Your Surroundings at Toledo Botanical Gardens

According to Vacation Idea, the best thing to do in Toledo for first-timers is to go to Toledo Botanical Gardens. You will find Toledo Botanical Gardens along Elmer Drive in downtown Toledo. It is a 60-acre garden that is free to visit, so it is a good activity for those on a budget. The gardens are divided into sections, some of which include the perennial garden, the herb garden, the pioneer garden, and the green garden. Throughout the gardens, you will see sculptures dotted around. There are also several events that take place at this attraction throughout the year.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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