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5 Cities Not to Overlook in Ohio

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With major metro cities like Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, Ohio’s smaller cities often get overlooked. But scattered across the Buckeye State are charming towns and underrated cities brimming with history, culture, and attractions.

Here are five cities in Ohio that deserve more attention:

1. Experience the Rich History and Culture of Athens

Athens is a college town in southeastern Ohio that is home to Ohio University, one of the oldest public universities in the country. With a population of around 24,000, Athens has a youthful, lively vibe fueled by its large student population.

The city hosts annual events like the Athens International Film Festival, BlackoutFest music festival, and the Athens Halloween Block Party, which draws over 20,000 visitors. Downtown Athens is dotted with art galleries, live music venues, and historic theaters showcasing local talent. Surrounded by the natural beauty of Hocking Hills, Athens provides ample opportunities to explore the outdoors with hiking trails, kayaking, and canoeing.

2. Experience Small Town Charm in Beavercreek, Ohio

Located in Greene County near Dayton, Beavercreek, Ohio, is one of the fastest-growing cities in the region. With a population of around 46,000, Beavercreek has a friendly small-town atmosphere while also offering the amenities of a larger city.

The downtown area along Dayton-Xenia Road features local shops, restaurants, and seasonal events like a farmers market. Beavercreek is home to two large shopping malls, The Greene Town Center and The Mall at Fairfield Commons, drawing shoppers from around the region.

Outdoor recreation abounds at parks like Rotary Park, Fryer Park, and Community Park. The Little Miami Scenic Trail runs through Beavercreek, Ohio, for hiking and biking. The city provides a blend of local charm and modern conveniences amidst beautiful natural surroundings.

3. Immerse Yourself in History in Marietta

Marietta, located along the Ohio River in southeastern Ohio, has the distinction of being the first permanent American settlement in the Northwest Territory. Established in 1788, Marietta still exudes old-world charm.

The city’s historic downtown district features buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries, like the Basilica of St. Mary of the Assumption. Museums like Campus Martius provide glimpses into pioneer life. Outdoor recreation abounds, with boating, fishing, and kayaking along the rivers.

From its origins to its old architecture, Marietta is steeped in early American history.

4. Ride the Rides in Sandusky

Sandusky may only have a population of around 25,000, but it punches above its weight class with attractions. Located on Lake Erie in northern Ohio, Sandusky is most famous for Cedar Point, known as “The Roller Coaster Capital of the World.”

With 17 roller coasters and over 70 rides and attractions, Cedar Point draws millions of visitors every year seeking thrills. Beyond Cedar Point, Sandusky offers water recreation on Lake Erie, such as cruises, charter fishing, and ferry trips to the lake’s islands. Sandusky mixes small-town charm with big-time attractions.

5. Cheer on Sports in Oxford

Oxford, located in southwestern Ohio, is home to Miami University. With around 22,000 residents, Oxford has a spirited college-town atmosphere. As the home of the Miami RedHawks sports teams, Oxford takes athletics seriously. On game days, the town buzzes with energy and school spirit. Beyond sports, Oxford has a thriving downtown area with shops, restaurants, and nightlife that attract both students and residents.

Annual events like Miami University Homecoming and SummerFest celebrate the town’s university pride.

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