Top Attractions for First Timers

With so many things to see and do in Dayton, narrowing down the attractions for first timers can be tough. Here’s a lineup of must-visit museums, performing arts venues, outdoor spaces, and other attractions to add to your Dayton itinerary.

Art and History Museums

Get acquainted with Dayton’s incredible contributions to innovation and culture by visiting these top art and history museums. National Museum of the U.S. Air Force – Aviation history comes to life with hundreds of aircrafts, spacecrafts, missiles, and technology. Don’t miss the Early Years Gallery to see the Wright Brothers’ achievements up close. Dayton Art Institute – Ohio’s oldest art museum boasts an impressive collection spanning 5,000 years. Wander Egyptian tombs and contemporary galleries in this architectural gem. Boonshoft Museum of Discovery – Families will love this interactive children’s museum. Get hands-on with science through dinosaur displays, planetarium shows, and an indoor zoo.

Performing Arts

Experience the arts come alive at Dayton’s wonderful performing arts venues. Dayton Live – Catch touring Broadway productions, concerts, comedy acts and more at Dayton’s largest performing arts center. Don’t miss shows at the gorgeous Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center. Dayton Ballet – Watch professional ballerinas bring grace and beauty to the stage. The Dayton Ballet is the second oldest ballet company in the U.S. Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra – Hear top classical works performed by one of the nation’s best regional orchestras right in downtown Dayton’s Schuster Center.

Outdoor Activities

Dayton’s an outdoor lover’s paradise. Enjoy nature, sports, and leisurely strolls at these top green spaces. RiverScape MetroPark – Rent kayaks, browse the farmers market, or catch a free outdoor concert along the Great Miami River in the heart of downtown. Eastwood MetroPark – Explore 1,800 acres of natural beauty with hiking trails, fishing spots, gardens, and outdoor concerts at Hara Arena. Dayton Dragons Baseball – Cheer for the popular minor league team at Fifth Third Field in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. The Dragons boast the longest consecutive sellout streak in North American sports.

Historical Attractions

Step back in time by touring Dayton’s best historical sites revealing the city’s past. Carillon Historical Park – Ohio’s first outdoor history museum brings centuries of transportation, technology, and Dayton history to life through exhibits and demonstrations. Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park – Visit the very birthplace of aviation and the Wright brothers’ bicycle shop and home at this national park preserving Dayton’s aeronautical history. Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum – Pay respects to Daytonian founders and luminaries buried in this lush National Register of Historic Places cemetery filled with monuments, mausoleums, and memorials.

Unique Experiences

Discover some unexpected, only-in-Dayton experiences during your visit. The Neon Movies – Grab dinner and a craft cocktail at Dayton’s only independent movie theater screening indie, foreign, and limited release films in a retro-cool atmosphere. Yellow Springs – Take a day trip to Dayton’s artsy, eclectic village bursting with galleries, boutiques, hiking trails, and eateries. It’s also the site of Antioch College where Rod Serling of Twilight Zone fame attended. 2nd Street Market – Sample fresh produce, baked goods, coffee, international cuisine, and more at this indoor/outdoor public market dating back to 1855. Don’t leave without browsing the unique shops.

How to Get Around Dayton

As a midsized city, Dayton offers convenient transportation options for getting to key attractions and neighborhoods. Here’s an overview of public transit, rideshares, and group transportation choices.

Public Transportation

The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority (RTA) operates Dayton’s public bus system with over 55 routes across the city and metro area. Major bus routes run every 20-30 minutes on weekdays. Popular tourist routes include Route 1 for Carillon Historical Park and Oregon District, Route 5 for the University of Dayton, and Route 11 for the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. The free Flyer route also circulates through downtown Dayton.

Taxis and Rideshares

When buses don’t fit your schedule or route, rely on a taxi or rideshare. Top Dayton taxi companies include Dayton Express Cab and Dayton Yellow Cab. Uber and Lyft both operate in Dayton as well. Taxis offer flat rates around downtown Dayton. Rideshares are convenient for short trips but can add up for long distances. Surge pricing applies during peak times.

Charter Buses

For group transportation, charter buses are the way to go in Dayton! Whether you’re a tour group, school group, or traveling with family and friends, charter buses provide a comfortable, customizable transportation experience. Perks include professional team to handles navigation, onboard amenities like WiFi and entertainment systems, and direct group drop-offs and pickups at attractions. Dayton Party Bus Company offers modern charter buses including 56-passenger motorcoaches with restrooms. Call 937-396-7255 for group charter quotes.

Ready to Get Started?

We hope this first timer’s guide gets you excited to visit Dayton! With top museums, performing arts, outdoor activities, historical sites, and unique local finds, Dayton truly offers an amazing variety of attractions for all interests. Getting around Dayton is a breeze with public transit, taxis, rideshares, and charter bus rentals ready to go when you are. Dayton’s waiting to impress you with its Midwest charm. All you have to do is hop on a flight or plan a quick Ohio road trip, then get ready for a good time in one of America’s most underrated cities!