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Favorite thing: "How does it compare in the outdoor recreation department?"
Honestly, it depends what you're comparing it to. I lived with a roommate from New Hampshire, and it's nothing like New England, Colorado, or California. She thought it was terrible that she couldn't climb a mountain. There aren't mountains and there isn't an ocean...it's the midwest! There ARE lots of lakes nearby, where you can boat, waterski, fish, and swim. They're lots of fun if you have a boat, and if not you can rent one. You can canoe or kayak in most of the area's rivers and lakes as well. You're within 2-5 hours of actual mountains and good rock climbing...the further you drive, the bigger the mountains get! There are tons of local parks where you can walk or hike, there are mountain bike trails, and there are indoor rock climbing places as well. In the summer, there are outdoor festivals every weekend. Dayton has a good network of long bike trails too. Additionally, those country roads outside of the city make for a great place to take long road bike rides on the weekends. There are several groups to meet up with to get started. There are also numerous adult-league sports both indoor and outdoor, year-round.
"How long of a drive to Lake Eerie(sic)?"
Parts of Lake Erie are 3+ hours away from Dayton. Other parts are much further east, and take longer to drive to. Almost the entire northern border of Ohio is Lake Erie.
"Are there any nice historical neighborhoods with good schools?"
Oakwood is both historical and has VERY good schools. Most of Dayton's historic neighborhoods are part of Dayton Public Schools, which generally are not "good". There are very good private schools within the city though, mostly Catholic. I lived in the Oregon District and absolutely loved it, but I wouldn't have lived there if I had children, because of Dayton Public and the yards being small. Oakwood is near University of Dayton and pretty close to several hospitals. It's very nice.
There is a Children's Hospital in Dayton, Miami Valley Hospital is very large, and there are several other hospitals as well, including in the suburbs. I think there's even a large group of practices called Dayton Medical Center. North of Dayton is Upper Valley Medical Center...it's a beautiful new facility in Troy.
Speaking of which, the suburbs of Troy, Tipp City, and Vandalia have good school systems and Troy and Tipp are less of a suburb and more of a small town/small city feel. They have numerous historic homes and also a traditional downtown Main Street. Those 3 are all north on I-75. South or east of the city are the more sprawling suburbs like Centerville and Beavercreek.
I liked growing up there enough that I moved back in my twenties. You'll like it as long as you keep a positive attitude and focus more on what it DOES have than on what it DOES NOT have. That was my roommate's problem, and I learned a lot from listening to her whine about the place!
For a city of its size, it has a lot of museums and historic markers. There is the USAF Museum (free), the Dayton Art Institute (free except for special exhibits), Boonshoft Museum of Discovery (natural history), and various parks centered around local history (Wright Brothers, NCR, etc.).
Fondest memory: Nights (and days) spent in the Oregon District! Fifth Street gets closed off for certain holidays. Halloween especially stands out in my mind. Costumed revelers walk the streets, listening to live bands, drinking, eating, watching freak shows, and admiring others' costumes.
Written Dec 1, 2009
Favorite thing: J. Seward Johnson has created a set of sculptures that capture daily American life in an honest, candid way that few artists can do. These are so realistic that, at a glance, they seem to be real. They certainly liven up the downtown sidewalks.
Fondest memory: If you walk around downtown, you'll see these.
Written Jul 23, 2008
Favorite thing: "Flyover" is a modern installation of artist David Black. Unveiled in 1996, it commemorates the first flight of Dayton's bicycle building and aviation pioneers, Orville and Wilbur Wright. (It also represents the actual arc of that flight.)
"Flyover" is in the median of south Main Street in downtown Dayton.
Written Jan 11, 2008
Favorite thing: This beautiful theater, in the French Empire style, has had more lives than a black cat. Originally opened in 1866, it's been rebuilt three times: after a fire in 1871, a flood in 1913, and another fire in 1918.
138 N. Main Street
Written Jan 11, 2008
Favorite thing: Dayton's Masonic Temple occupies a commanding position on the Great Miami River, next door to the Art Institute. The structure, in a strict neo-classical style popular in civic buildings of early 20th century America, cost $2.5 million when it was constructed in the 1920s.
Written Jan 10, 2008
Favorite thing: This beautiful Romanesque Church was built in 1904 as one of the downtown anchors of the Roman Catholic diocese of Dayton. Declining attendance forced the closure of the parish and the subsequent sale of the building to a Vietnamese congregation. Fortunately, the building is still in beautiful shape!
217 W. 4th Street
Written Jan 4, 2008
Favorite thing: In 2003, but especially the month of July, celebrations and events marking the 100th year of powered flight took place in and around Dayton, Ohio.
Wilbur and Orville Wright dreamt and developed their Wright B Flyer in Dayton, with their crowning achievement occurring on North Carolina's Outer Banks on Dec. 17, 1903.
The Wright brothers grew up in Dayton and operated their bicycle shop and printing press on Third Street.
In commemoration of the Wrights' centennial, the 2003 Dayton International Air Show was a four-day affair (July 17-20). It included the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels, the USAF's Thunderbirds and Canada's Snowbirds flying teams.
Also numerous historical sites, such as their home, bicycle shop and testing areas were either updated or created in the area to help tourists get a feel of the brothers' work.
Fondest memory: Fireworks along the RiverWalk on the 4th of July is one of the more fun events.
Updated Apr 1, 2005
Favorite thing: If you are near Dayton Ohio try the USAF Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. They have a superb collection of airplanes . You really have to be a student of aircraft history to appreciate most of what is on display . But , for those in your party that are not airplane freaks , they can go to the US Presidents Aircraft Gallery . On display there are the presidential planes of Roosevelt , Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy , a most interesting display .
Updated May 14, 2004
Fondest memory: Well, I don't really want to call it a fond memory, but I went to the University of Dayton for a semester. Hated it.
Extracurricular Activity of Choice:
Beer of choice: Milwauke's Best, aka BEAST!!
I should add that I don't drink at all. No, I'm not lying.
Updated Mar 16, 2004
Favorite thing: Dayton has numerous things to do, more than you might think for a small city.
If you have Quicktime installed on your computer, you can watch these clips of some interesting sites in Dayton (the airport, city skyline, river, etc.).
This website also contains a lot of other tourism information.
Updated Mar 9, 2004
4 Reviews and 146 Opinions Nice looking hotel. Indoor/outdoor heated pool and hot tub. Great place to stay after a night out...
1 Review and 65 Opinions Excellent hotel handy to the National Museum of the US Air Force, being south of downtown Dayton...
2 Reviews and 242 Opinions Crowne Plaza Dayton is a very good four stars hotel located in Dayton's downtown business district...