Dayton International Visitor's Program

Attractions in Dayton and Southwestern Ohio

Dayton, located southwestern Ohio, boasts many historical and recreational attractions.

Aviation History. Dayton was the home of Orville and Wilbur Wright, inventors of the first practical airplane. Nicknamed “the birthplace of aviation,” Dayton has continued its connection with aviation. The Dayton area is home to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, the world’s largest and oldest military aviation museum. One of the U.S. Air Force’s largest installations, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is located next door to Wright State. “Wright-Patt,” as the base is sometimes called, is the headquarters of the Air Force Material Command, Aeronautical Systems Center, Air Force Research Laboratory, and the Air Force Institute of Technology. Visitors interested in aviation history should also note that Wright State’s Dunbar Library is home to one of the world’s most complete collections of Wright brothers photographs and papers.

Poet Paul Laurence Dunbar and African American attractions. Dayton is the birthplace of African American writer and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. Tourists can visit Dunbar’s turn-of-the-20th-century home in west Dayton. The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in nearby Wilberforce explores the history of African Americans through exhibits and programs. The annual Dayton African American Cultural Festival showcases live entertainment, cultural demonstrations, food, arts and crafts, and an authentic African village.

Parks, Green Space, and Waterways. The Greater Dayton area boasts more parks and green space than any other metropolitan area its size. Five Rivers MetroParks (so-named because five waterways converge in Dayton) provides outdoor recreation and education experiences that promote a personal connection with nature. The MetroParks website at lists many opportunities to enjoy nature and the outdoors.

Sports. Dayton is within an easy drive of two professional sports teams—the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, and the Cincinnati Bengals American football team. In late May, the world-famous Indianapolis 500 automobile race, advertised as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” is only a few hours’ drive to the west. In addition, every summer the Dayton Dragons bring minor league baseball action to fans at Fifth Third Field in downtown Dayton.


Museums and Historical Parks. Numerous museums and historical parks around Dayton include SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park, on the site of a 12th century Native American village, which educates visitors on the history of native peoples in the Miami Valley. The Dayton Art Institute has 26,000 collected art objects spanning 5,000 years of art and archaeological history. The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery is a local children’s science museum with many exhibits, an indoor zoo, and Space Theater. Carillon Historical Park, situated on 65 beautiful acres beside the Great Miami River, is home to the original 1905 Wright Flyer III, as well as the largest carillon (bell tower) in Ohio.

The Arts. Dayton is ranked 33rd in the U.S. metropolitan areas in arts and culture. The region has two major theatres—the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center and the Victoria Theatre— which offer world-class art concerts, lectures, and traveling shows. Dayton has a number of dance companies including the Dayton Ballet, one of the oldest professional dance companies in America, as well as a thriving community theatre scene.

Shopping. Visitors to Wright State have many options for finding food, clothing, and specialty items close to campus, as well as throughout the Dayton area. Two major supermarkets, Kroger and Meijer, are close to Wright State’s campus. The Mall at Fairfield Commons, just a short drive from Wright State, has dozens of stores under one roof. The stores around the mall offer a vast selection of household goods such as bed linens, ready-to-assemble furniture, and electronics. In addition, there are several international grocery stores within a few miles of campus.

Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Dayton and southwest Ohio also provide an opportunity for international visitors to experience the culture of Midwestern America. Throughout the year, there are numerous local festivals, ethnic celebrations, and professional sporting events—and all are very affordable. Explore Dayton’s many cultural offerings at, the website of the Dayton–Montgomery County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

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PDFPlease take a look at a brochure from "The Welcome Club",
a project of the WSU Retirees Association.