The Top 10 Toledo Attractions That Are Not Just for Tourists

No matter how long you’ve called Toledo home, there are so many places left to explore. Many of them might be considered “touristy” attractions, but we happen to think they are just as enjoyable for residents of the Toledo area.

It’s time to explore your own city from a fresh perspective. Who knows? You may even want to revisit some of these places you haven’t been to in years!


1. Toledo Museum of Art

With constantly rotating exhibitions at the Toledo Museum of Art, you’ll have a completely different experience each time you visit this creative empire. You may be dismissing this option as you expect an expensive entrance fee (especially if you’re bringing the whole family!) but keep in mind that admission to the Toledo Museum of Art is always free.

Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion

Photo Courtesy of Richard Goodbody via the Toledo Museum of Art

Make sure to stop by the postmodern Glass Pavilion, home to the museum’s world-renowned glass collection featuring more than 5,000 works of art from ancient to contemporary periods. This expansive building is itself a work of art, and is certainly worth a visit!


2. Toledo Botanical Garden

Get in tune with the heartbeat of the local horticulture community at the Toledo Botanical Garden. You can simply take in the natural beauty of the many gorgeous gardens or gain knowledge about plant life you can apply to your at-home gardening. One of the best ways to experience the Toledo Botanical Garden is to attend one of their events, which are both educational and fun!

No matter when you visit the gardens, you may simply walk around, go bird-watching, eat a picnic, read a book, practice your photography or drawing skills, and enjoy nature all the while.


3. Toledo Zoo & Aquarium

Toledo Zoo & Aquarium

Photo Courtesy of Toledo Zoo & Aquarium

Okay, okay. We talk about the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium quite a lot, but there is just so much to do at the zoo! It can be a popular attraction for tourists in Toledo, but it’s just as attractive for permanent residents in the area — especially those who take advantage of their membership program. Explore the myriad of animal species at the zoo, attend an event after-hours or enroll your kids in a fun educational program. There are so many reasons to be proud of Toledo, and the city’s exceptional zoo is certainly one of them!


4. National Museum of the Great Lakes

Why is it that out-of-town guests sometimes know more about Toledo than we do? That just isn’t right. A visit to the National Museum of the Great Lakes will change that, as you learn about the area’s rich history from a nautical perspective. Explore hands-on experiences and unique media at the museum, which is home to the S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker ship — once the largest freighter on the Great Lakes! Don’t miss the beautiful maritime park along the Maumee River, hosting historical artifacts and gorgeous landscaping.

Take an interactive tour to preview what you can expect to see at the National Museum of the Great Lakes!


5. Rosary Cathedral

Rosary Cathedral Toledo, Ohio

Photo Courtesy of Nheyob (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Much like its sister city in Spain, Toledo has several gorgeous historical churches, including the Rosary Cathedral located in the Old West End. This breathtaking church was constructed in a Spanish Platteresque style in 1931. While the exterior certainly stands out, the church is most known for its intricate and colorful interior.

You can see the interior for yourself during parish office hours (Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.), or a half-hour before and after every Mass. Mass occurs each Sunday at 10 a.m., Monday through Friday at 7 a.m., and Saturday at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Or you might opt for a guided tour of the Rosary Cathedral to get a more in-depth picture of this historical building.


6. Toledo Flavors Food Tours

Get a fresh taste of the region’s best local flavors with Toledo Flavors Food Tours. Their themed tours provide an insider view of the history, architecture and culture of Toledo’s most tasty downtown neighborhoods. Suitable for all age groups and fitness levels, these tours debut delectable foods from local restaurants and specialty stores while sharing exclusive information about the chefs, owners and the establishments themselves.

This is a unique way to get a sense of Toledo’s culinary heartbeat, explore the area by foot and taste incredible food in the meantime!


7. Old West End

The historic Old West End neighborhood is a must-visit for tourists in Toledo, as they explore 25 city blocks hosting one of the largest collections of late Victorian houses left standing in the United States. As we are in the business of buying and selling homes, this area is especially fascinating to us! 

Old West End Neighborhood Toledo, Ohio

Photos Courtesy of Old West End

Simply take a stroll through the neighborhood, admiring these gorgeous examples of Colonial, Georgian, Italian Renaissance, Queen Anne, Dutch Colonial, French Second Empire, and Arts and Crafts homes. Or attend an event hosted by the neighborhood — especially their annual festival with house tours, delicious food, a beer pavilion and more. Need some direction? This map outlines the parameters of the Old West End district.


8. The Oliver House

The Oliver House is a jackpot for experiencing Toledo culture, as it hosts a variety of venues for every occasion. This former hotel built around 1859 is rich with history, and is now home to a steakhouse, sports bar, cafe and one of the best breweries in the area — the Maumee Bay Brewing Company. This creative pub serves beers crafted at the brew house located just across the street. The brewery is always concocting new surprises, but is perhaps best known for their delicious Buckeye Beer. Sample their drinkable ales, lagers, porters and stouts, and relax in the upbeat yet comfortable environment within this historic pub.


9. Fifth Third Field

Fifth Third Field Toledo, Ohio

Photo Courtesy of Hensville

Going to a baseball game is often considered a newcomer activity, but we think you should cheer on the Mud Hens at least once per season! There is something special about taking in the sights, sounds and excitement of a live game, and that is certainly true with our beloved Mud Hens at Fifth Third Field. The addition of Hensville located in the Warehouse District has made the field that much more attractive, as you can enjoy a myriad of restaurants and bars nearby — some of which look over the field! Enjoy a delicious meal at NINE or Fleetwood’s Tap Room, then head upstairs to the Top of Nine or Fleetwood’s Rooftops, where you’ll take in a picturesque view of the field.


10. Tony Packo’s

Tony Packo’s is one of the first things people think about when visiting Toledo. In fact, they may even know about it well before they step foot in the city, as it was mentioned on several episodes of the TV show, M*A*S*H. And once they taste the tantalizing flavor of the Hungarian hot dogs served at this Toledo staple, they’ll never forget the place.

The influx of tourists at Tony Packo’s should not deter you from an occasional visit! This restaurant is rich with history, character and of course — undeniable flavor.


What would you add to this list?

We know there are so many more “touristy” attractions that you and your family enjoy visiting!

Written: Jan 25, 2017

About The Author

Holly Ragsdale

Holly Ragsdale

Holly is a content specialist for Danberry Realtors. The Home Sweet Toledo blog focuses on community guides + local events, as well as home inspiration + design trends. Enjoy!