Chillicothe, a charming city, offers a plethora of attractions for visitors to discover. The city boasts an array of historical sites, including the renowned Adena Mansion & Gardens, the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, and the Yoctangee Park Historic District.
Nature enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities, as Chillicothe is home to numerous parks and trails. Among these are the Scioto Trail State Park and the sprawling Yoctangee Park.
Throughout the year, Chillicothe hosts several festivals that pay homage to the region's vibrant history and culture. Notable among these celebrations are the Chillicothe Balloon Fest and The Ohio Hills Folk Festival.
In 2022, Smithsonian Magazine recognized Chillicothe as one of the 15 best small towns to visit, cementing its status as a must-see destination.
With its diverse range of attractions, it comes as no surprise that Chillicothe remains a popular Ohio destination, drawing in visitors with its unique charm and numerous activities.
So let's get started and discover the 24 Best Things to do in Chillicothe, Ohio. But before we proceed, why not check out my previous post on Top 10 Once In A Lifetime Things To Do In Los Angeles You'd find it interesting.
24 Best Things to do In Chillicothe Ohio
Here are the 24 Best Things to do in Chillicothe Ohio.
Things to do in Downtown Chillicothe
1. Go Shopping in Chillicothe, Ohio
Chillicothe, Ohio is an amazing place to go shopping where you'll find many unique and one-of-a-kind things. There are plenty of options available, whether you are seeking for gifts or unusual household goods.
Chillicothe Antique Emporium, Porch Swing Days Antique Shop, and the American Vintage Warehouse are popular places to look for hidden gems.
Grandpa Joe's Candy Shop is a nostalgic candy store that sells unusual items as well as hard-to-find snacks and sodas. This is an excellent stop for both children and adults.
Outside of the conventional mall experience, Chillicothe has a plethora of different shopping opportunities. The downtown area is home to a variety of small businesses that sell handcrafted goods and vintage things. All you have to do is walk around town looking for them.
2. Ride The Chillicothe Trolley
Introduced in the summer of 2022, the Chillicothe Trolley presents an excellent opportunity to discover downtown Chillicothe. This convenient mode of transportation offers complimentary rides, taking passengers on a loop route that covers the popular areas of the city center.
The trolley ensures accessibility for all individuals as it features a wheelchair ramp, allowing everyone to partake in the city's visual and auditory delights.
Moreover, the trolley serves as a convenient means of transportation from public parking areas situated slightly farther away from the bustling downtown scene.
3. Step Aboard the Chillicothe Railroad Museum
Situated along Water Street, on the outskirts of Yoctangee Park, the two striking red cabooses have become prominent highlights in Chillicothe.
Nestled within these cabooses is a compact museum that provides insight into the rich history of the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) railway.
Keep in mind that the museum operates under limited hours, and unfortunately, it was closed during our visit. Nonetheless, we thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to admire the fascinating train cabooses up close, despite not being able to explore the museum itself.
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Things to do in Chillicothe for History Lovers
4. Explore the Adena Mansion & Gardens
One of the Top Things to do in Chillicothe, Ohio is to explore the Adena Mansion and Gardens Historic Site. The home was built in the early 1800s as a residence for Thomas Worthington, the 6th Governor of Ohio and former US Senator.
The ancient site has been thoroughly renovated, and many original furniture are on show inside. Visitors can tour the property and explore the grounds, which comprise five original buildings and formal gardens, for a charge.
Guests can peep through a clearing in the trees from an overlook on the property to see the landscape that inspired the Great Seal of the State of Ohio.
5. Discover the Indian Mounds at the Hopewell Culture National Historic Park
Exploring the ancient earthworks of the Hopewell Culture, a Native American civilization, is one of the top things to do in Chillicothe.
Centuries ago, even before the City of Chillicothe came into existence, the Hopewell Culture utilized the land in the region for their ceremonial gatherings. Impressive mounds were purposefully built for burials, yielding numerous unearthed artifacts of great significance.
The Mound City Group stands out as the most well-preserved complex of these earthworks and proudly holds its place within the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park.
A noteworthy advantage for visitors is that the park offers free admission! Exploring the mounds and admiring the artistic relics housed in the on-site museum can be enjoyed without any cost.
6. Explore the Ross County Court House Architecture
Located in Chillicothe, Ohio, the Ross County Court House stands as a remarkable and historically significant architectural gem. Situated approximately two blocks away from Totem Supply Co., visitors can easily stroll between the two locations and explore other attractions mentioned in this list.
Dating back to the 1800s, during Ohio's tenure as the first capital of the Northwest Territory and the state itself, the Ross County Court House continues to serve as a venue for common pleas court proceedings to this day.
One can truly appreciate the essence of this remarkable structure without even stepping inside. Simply gazing at the Ross County Court House, even from across the street, offers a valuable opportunity to delve into local history while marveling at its captivating beauty and historical importance.
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7. Experience Historic Chillicothe and the First Capital District
The First Capital District in Chillicothe is the city's historic core, encompassed by Mulberry, Walnut, Water, and Fourth Streets.
The urban district has lately been restored, preserving architectural marvels while injecting new life into the old buildings.
The majestic Ross County Courthouse, with an elegant columned exterior and a rising clocktower, is located in the heart of the area.
It was built on the location of the first Ohio Statehouse in 1858. Visitors who want to view what the old Ohio Statehouse looked like can go to the Chillicothe Gazette building, which was constructed in 1940 as a reproduction of Ohio's first statehouse.
8. Discover the Best Chillicothe Murals
Exploring vibrant street art murals adds to the top things to do in Chillicothe, Ohio. The First Capital District boasts three captivating murals: the Mail Pouch mural, the Chillicothe Telephone mural, and the Canal mural.
The Mail Pouch mural, adorning the side of the historic Machinery Hall building on Second Street, dates back to the late 1800s. It was a hidden gem that emerged when the adjacent building was demolished.
On Main Street, visitors can discover the Chillicothe Telephone art mural, a captivating piece created by Eric Henn in 2006. At the intersection of Mulberry and Second Streets, the Canal mural awaits, painted by Jeff Speakman in 2003. This mural vividly depicts Chillicothe's appearance during the 1830s when the Ohio Erie Canal flowed through the city.
For travelers venturing to nearby towns, Bainbridge and Frankfort also offer their own intriguing murals to explore.
9. Explore the Ross County Heritage Center Complex
Managed by the Ross County Historical Society, the Ross County Heritage Center comprises a collection of museums in Chillicothe dedicated to showcasing the vibrant heritage of the city and its surrounding region.
For a nominal fee, visitors can delve into the rich history of Ross County through engaging displays housed within the Heritage Center Museum. Furthermore, guests are warmly encouraged to explore the Knoles Log House, an authentic structure dating back to the 1820s, which preserves period furnishings.
The Franklin House Museum, an architectural masterpiece envisioned by renowned Ohio architect Frank Packard, offers a captivating glimpse into the late 19th-century era with its remarkable architectural features and well-preserved home furnishings.
It's worth noting that the McKell Library is also an integral part of this complex, boasting an extensive collection of archival documents, books, and photographs that delve into the captivating history of Ross County and Chillicothe.
10. Embark on a self-guided stroll through downtown Chillicothe, Ohio.
Embarking on a captivating self-guided historic walking tour is among the best things to do in Chillicothe. By obtaining a map, visitors can uncover the city's noteworthy landmarks, exquisite churches, and architecturally distinct residences.
Outlined brochures serve as helpful guides for exploring different areas, such as the First Capital District, the attractions along Old Second Street, and the historic buildings lining Paint Street. Additionally, informative guides are available to navigate the historic residential homes, churches in Chillicothe, and Ross County cemeteries.
To optimize your experience, it is recommended to download and print maps and sight information before your trip to Chillicothe. Additionally, brushing up on the city's history through the city council website will enhance your appreciation of the sites you encounter along the way.
Experience the Arts and Culture in Chillicothe
11. Go on a Day Trip to Hocking Hills State Park
When visiting Chillicothe, it's essential to include an exploration of the captivating Hocking Hills State Park in your plans. Located approximately an hour northeast of Chillicothe, Ohio, this natural wonderland deserves a spot on your radar.
Hocking Hills State Park mesmerizes visitors with its awe-inspiring beauty, offering a serene escape from the urban hustle and bustle. Even during winter, the park retains its allure, transforming into an outdoor haven.
Encompassing secluded hollows, enchanting waterfalls, abundant flora and fauna, and an extensive network of hiking trails suitable for beginners and experienced adventurers alike, the park promises an unforgettable experience.
Embark on memorable hikes with your family, including your furry friends, as Hocking Hills State Park warmly welcomes dogs. To extend your stay, consider renting a dog-friendly cabin in Hocking Hills, ensuring everyone can fully enjoy the trip.
Be prepared to be captivated by the breathtaking vistas at Old Man's Cave, Ash Cave, and Conkles Hollow. These three renowned destinations within the park showcase unique geological formations, such as sandstone caves and rugged gorges, leaving visitors in awe.
12. Watch Tecumseh! an Outdoor Drama
Experience the thrilling Tecumseh! Outdoor Drama, an extraordinary spectacle held during the summer months at the magnificent Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheater in Chillicothe, Ohio. Ensure you secure your tickets in advance, as they tend to sell out rapidly.
This captivating 2.5-hour production revolves around Tecumseh, an esteemed leader of the Shawnee tribe, who exhibited unwavering devotion to protecting his land and people. As the central character, Tecumseh's legendary presence dominates the stage. The show not only delivers a mesmerizing performance but also weaves an enlightening narrative.
Immerse yourself in the rich culture and historical legacy of the Shawnee people as you witness this enthralling performance. The storyline provides valuable insights while keeping the audience thoroughly entertained.
Set against the breathtaking backdrop of Sugarloaf Mountain, Tecumseh! delivers an unparalleled and unforgettable experience that resonates long after the final curtain call.
Buy your tickets in advance – as they often sell out!
13. See a Show at the Historic Majestic Theater
The renowned Majestic Theater in Chillicothe holds the prestigious title of being the oldest continuously operating theater in the United States, and to this day, it remains an exceptional venue to enjoy live performances and movies.
With its origins dating back to 1853, the Majestic Theatre stage has hosted an impressive array of acts, ranging from opera singers and country stars to local comedians. Interestingly, during the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918, the theater served as a temporary morgue, giving rise to the nickname “Bloody Alley” for its back alley.
To secure tickets for upcoming shows, visitors can conveniently visit the theater's official website.
For more theatrical experiences, the Chillicothe Civic Theatre is another remarkable venue within the city that presents captivating live performances.
14. Embrace local art at the Pump House Center for the Arts.
While street art holds its charm, Chillicothe offers more than just that for art enthusiasts. Nestled within the historic brick Water Pumping Station, the Pump House Center for the Arts stands as a noteworthy landmark and a delightful small art gallery.
Within the gallery's renovated pump station, visitors can admire a diverse range of artworks crafted by talented local artists. The displayed artwork is ever-changing, ensuring there's always something new to appreciate. Moreover, many of the showcased pieces are available for purchase, while the adjacent gift shop offers a delightful selection of locally crafted gifts and collectibles.
Pro Tip: Entry to the Pump House Center for the Arts is free of charge, making it one of the top attractions that won't dent your budget in Chillicothe, OH!
15. Relax in Brick Haven Spa
Located at the end of Main Street in Chillicothe, Brick Haven Spa is an exquisite day spa that specializes in providing luxurious massage services and a range of pampering treatments.
The spa's dedicated team of professionals ensures the utmost quality of service for customers seeking relaxation and indulgence. The extensive list of offerings includes rejuvenating full-body massages, comprehensive hair and nail services, invigorating skincare treatments, and more.
Whether you desire a tranquil massage or an indulgent beauty regimen, Brick Haven Spa conveniently caters to your needs. With licensed therapists and a distinctive selection of treatments encompassing hair, nails, skincare, and body massages, your visit promises to be an unforgettable experience.
For those seeking a complete getaway, Brick Haven Spa offers vacation packages that combine the pleasures of a gel manicure, pedicure, and a soothing facial. Make sure to allocate some time to unwind in this oasis of tranquility.
16. Take a Retreat at Steiner’s Speakeasy
For an unforgettable night out with friends or colleagues, look no further than Steiner's Speakeasy. Situated on South Paint Street, this hidden gem provides an exceptional array of meticulously crafted, prohibition-style cocktails.
The speakeasy exudes a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, enhanced by the delightful presence of live music on many evenings, further enhancing the overall ambiance.
Whether you seek a casual evening of enjoyment or a memorable celebration, Steiner's Speakeasy is the perfect destination. However, it's advisable to grab dinner beforehand, as the establishment does not offer a food menu.
Renowned for its distinctive atmosphere and delectable drinks, Steiner's Speakeasy holds its place as one of the most sought-after venues in town for an incredible night out.
17. Eat at the Best Restaurants in Chillicothe, OH
Here are some of the best food in the city by local recommendations and online reviews. They include the top eateries in the city.
Burger Bar at 50 West for Burgers
At 50 West Burger Bar, simplicity reigns supreme on the menu, featuring classic burgers, fries, and shakes. However, what truly sets it apart are the extraordinary “coast to coast” toppings.
While the Classic Style burger is a surefire choice, it becomes truly irresistible to resist the allure of the “Ohio” burger, generously stacked with Cincinnati chili, shredded cheese, house mustard, and onion.
Old Canal Smoke House
The Old Canal Smoke House, is a warm and inviting atmosphere that specializes in delightful flavors of savory, smoked meats. Each dish that is made from the kitchen is a culinary masterpiece, but people have said, that the classic smoked Angus beef brisket captured their hearts. To be accompanied by potato salad as a delectable side.
Hometown Hibachi for Asian Eats
Hometown Hibachi is highly regarded as the finest Asian cuisine in Chillicothe. The restaurant consistently receives glowing reviews for its delectable dishes. The have such a bustling crowd, and the generous portions of food served there are truly impressive.
Crispie Creme Donut Shop
Crispie Creme, distinct from Krispy Kreme in name but pronounced similarly, is a traditional donut shop known for crafting delightful, classic-style donuts that are remarkably affordable. With a history dating back to 1929, this establishment has been serving delectable treats for many years.
While everything they offer is scrumptious, it's highly recommended to indulge in their cake donut sticks for an exceptional experience.
Carl’s Townhouse Chillicothe, Ohio Diner
Carl's Townhouse, a beloved nostalgic diner, specializes in serving up timeless American breakfasts and lunch platters. When it comes to indulging in their offerings, the Cheeseburger Baskets reign supreme, offering a delectable experience. However, be sure to save room for dessert, as it's an absolute must-try!
18. Attend the Best Events in Chillicothe, OH
Discover a vibrant tapestry of enjoyable and exhilarating occasions in Chillicothe, spanning from festivals and fairs to markets and marathons.
Whether you're a resident or a visitor, Chillicothe offers a diverse array of events to captivate your interest. Stay up-to-date with the upcoming events in Chillicothe by referring to the official calendar of the Chillicothe Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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19. Drink Local Craft Beer at the Best Bars in Chillicothe
In downtown Chillicothe, there is an impressive concentration of three exceptional craft beer taprooms within a mere couple of blocks. Beer enthusiasts will find this area to be a delightful haven, offering a variety of options to explore and savor.
50 West Brewing
This particular establishment, located within a refurbished old bank building, now exudes a vibrant and enjoyable atmosphere. With an onsite beer production facility, 50 West offers an extensive selection of delectable brews, allowing visitors the opportunity to sample before making a purchase.
It is highly recommended to take advantage of their happy hour specials, and be sure to mark your calendar for upcoming event nights, as they promise to be memorable occasions.
The Pour House at Machinery Hall
While not primarily functioning as a brewery, The Pour House restaurant boasts an impressive collection of 30 beers on tap. Notably, they place a strong emphasis on featuring brews originating from Ohio.
This establishment offers a diverse and extensive selection, ensuring that beer enthusiasts can delight in a wide range of flavors and styles, all conveniently available under one roof.
Old Capitol Brewing
Established in 2021, Old Capitol Brewing is a brewery proudly owned by locals. The taproom, featuring a charming blend of industrial and chic elements, creates a cozy and welcoming ambiance for patrons to enjoy.
The subdued lighting adds to the inviting atmosphere, making it an ideal spot to leisurely savor their selection of refreshing craft beers.
Outdoor Activities Near Chillicothe
20. Go Canoeing and Kayaking in Chillicothe
Indulge in a serene day on the water by embarking on a canoeing or kayaking adventure along Paint Creek in Chillicothe.
Waters Edge Canoe Livery provides convenient rentals and drop-off services for trips of various durations up the creek. Whether you prefer a leisurely 2-hour excursion or an extended journey of 8+ hours, Paint Creek offers options to suit your preferences.
With changing water levels throughout the year, both beginners and experienced kayakers can find suitable trips along the creek. It caters to a range of skill levels, ensuring everyone can enjoy the experience.
For those seeking an immersive outdoor experience, camping in a primitive tent along Paint Creek is an option. If you don't have your own tent, Waters Edge offers rentals and even assists with setting it up for a nominal fee.
Embark on a memorable water adventure, surrounded by the tranquility of Paint Creek, and create lasting memories in the natural beauty of Chillicothe.
21. Explore the great outdoors at Scioto Trail State Park.
Escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and bask in the serenity of nature at Scioto Trail State Park. Situated a mere 15-20 minutes south of Chillicothe, this park presents an ideal retreat with a plethora of outdoor activities, including hiking, fishing, and paddling.
Visitors to the park are treated to awe-inspiring vistas of the picturesque Scioto River Valley. With several miles of scenic trails, nature enthusiasts can embark on peaceful walks while immersing themselves in the park's tranquil ambiance.
Additionally, the park features a pristine lake and a inviting beach, providing opportunities for paddling and refreshing water-based adventures. Picnic areas and shelters are also available, offering perfect spots for relaxation and enjoying meals amidst the beauty of the surroundings.
Open year-round, Scioto Trail State Park is a haven for those seeking solace in nature or embarking on thrilling escapades on the lake. Spanning 218 acres, this captivating state park caters to a wide range of interests and guarantees a rejuvenating experience.
22. Relax at Yoctangee Park
Yoctangee Park, a verdant sanctuary nestled within the city, offers an idyllic setting for leisurely strolls and relaxation. This sprawling park encompasses various amenities, including sports fields, a skate park, a playground for children, scenic walking paths, and a tranquil pond.
Exploring the park provides a delightful and family-friendly experience, making it one of the enjoyable activities to partake in Chillicothe.
Moreover, Yoctangee Park serves as the venue for numerous annual events in Chillicothe, Ohio. Festivities such as the vibrant Feast of the Flowering Moon Native American Festival in spring and the festive Farmer's Fall Festival in autumn take place on these sprawling grounds, adding to the park's allure.
Within Yoctangee Park, a dedicated Veterans Memorial Park pays homage to the city's World War II veterans, providing a space for reflection and remembrance.
23. Explore Great Seal State Park
Experience the great outdoors in Chillicothe by embarking on a thrilling hike at Great Seal State Park, which offers some of the best outdoor activities. Noted for its challenging trails, the park rewards hikers with breathtaking vistas of the Scioto Valley.
In addition to hiking, the park also boasts a Disc Golf Course, a Storybook Trail, and picnic shelters for a complete outdoor experience.
With a network of twenty-three miles of trails, seventeen of which are open to mountain bikers and horseback riders, there are options for various outdoor enthusiasts. While the trails may be relatively short in length, the steep inclines make them physically demanding. It's essential to come prepared with appropriate footwear and ample water if you plan to hike.
For more exceptional parks in the vicinity, consider visiting Tar Hollow State Forest, a highly recommended destination by our family and friends, although we haven't personally visited it yet.
This park caters to outdoor enthusiasts and offers a range of activities. Another nearby option is Scioto Trail State Park, characterized by its dense woodland and captivating viewpoints.
Unleash your adventurous spirit and explore these remarkable parks near Chillicothe, Ohio, where you can revel in the beauty of nature and engage in various outdoor pursuits.
24. Attend a Chillicothe Paints Baseball Game
Catch the excitement of summer baseball by attending a game of the Paints Baseball Club, a collegiate team competing in the Prospect League. It's an enjoyable summer activity to experience in Chillicothe, Ohio!
The games take place at VA Memorial Stadium, located on the north side of the city, and offer affordable entertainment with single game tickets priced at less than $10.
Pro Tip: Stay informed about the calendar of events to make the most of your experience, as there are exciting promotional events such as Thirsty Thursdays and Fireworks Nights to look forward to.
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1. What are the best outdoor activities in Chillicothe?
The best outdoor activities in Chillicothe are:
- Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
- Yoctangee Park
- Scioto Trail State Park
2. What are the top attractions to visit in Chillicothe?
The top attractions to visit in Chillicothe are:
- Adena Mansion and Gardens Historic Site
- Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
- Yoctangee Park
- Scioto Trail State Park
- Great Seal State Park
3. What are the most popular things to do in Chillicothe with kids?
The most popular things to do in Chillicothe with kids are:
- Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
- Adena Mansion and Gardens Historic Site
- Yoctangee Park
- Mound City
- Great Seal State Park
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