Toledo is a post-industrial Rust Belt city that sits sprawled out over old docklands and riverside parks on the edge of the Great Lakes. But it has a thriving arts and culture scene, picturesque parks and interesting historic tourist attractions.
A must for any culture vulture visiting T-Town is the Toledo Museum of Art. Set between rows of pretty Georgian mansions in the Old West End, it houses some seriously totemic works.
1. Toledo Museum of Art
The Toledo Museum of Art is a privately endowed, non-profit institution that opens its collection to the public--free of charge--six days a week, 309 days a year. It pleasantly surprises visitors with treasures from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome; paintings by Old Masters such as El Greco, Rubens, Rembrandt, Gainsborough and Turner; decorative arts, African and Asian art; and works by modern masters as Matisse, Picasso, Hopper, and Nevelson.
The main Museum building has four and a half acres of floor space on two levels. It contains 45 galleries, 15 classroom studios, a 1,750-seat Peristyle concert hall, and a 176-seat Little Theater lecture hall. It also includes the Resource Center for Educators, the Family Center, and the Visual Resources Collection.
2. National Museum of the Great Lakes
The National Museum of the Great Lakes is a great place to get a feel for the natural and man-made history of the Great Lakes region. The museum is located in the Toledo Maritime Center, on the Maumee River in east Toledo.
The Great Lakes are the largest body of fresh water in the world, and they also represent thousands of years of history. This history has shaped the social, economic and political fabric of North America.
The National Museum of the Great Lakes tells the awe-inspiring stories of these lakes through over 300 genuine artifacts, powerful audiovisual displays and 40 hands-on interactive exhibits. The stories span hundreds of years, from the fur traders in the 1600s to the Underground Railroad operators in the 1800s, the rum runners in the 1900s and the sailors on the thousand-footers sailing today.
3. Wildwood Preserve Metropark
The Wildwood Preserve Metropark is the most popular of the Toledo Metroparks and offers a wide range of attractions for visitors. It features a historic manor house, gardens, and several miles of trails that traverse a variety of terrains.
The preserve is home to one of the largest tall-grass prairies in Ohio and is a breeding site for ground-nesting birds like field sparrows and American woodcock. It also hosts a variety of prairie wildflowers in the summer.
The Manor House, which was built in 1938, is partially open to the public for free tours, while other buildings on the property are used as public restrooms and visitors centers. It is also the location of a holiday celebration, The Holidays at the Manor House, which draws around 40,000 people every December.
4. Glass City Metropark
One of the city's most popular attractions is the Glass City Metropark, a riverfront park with many amenities that is free to explore. This metropark is home to three nature-themed playgrounds, a plaza for winter and summer activities and all-purpose trails that can be used by walkers, bikers and more.
The park is also home to a new sustainability-focused lecture series and an ongoing Maumee River cleanup program. In addition, a $1 million grant from Dana Incorporated will help fund construction of phase 2 of the Glass City Riverwalk, a 300-acre greenway on the east and downtown sides of the Maumee River.
With 19 Metroparks covering 198 miles of paved trails, Toledo has everything from urban parks to natural landscapes that will leave you feeling far from civilization but close to the action. In the winter, you can enjoy sledding and snowshoeing in many of these parks, including Wildwood Preserve, Ottawa Park and Oak Openings Preserve.
5. Imagination Station
Imagination Station, the new hands-on science museum that replaced the old COSI on the Toledo waterfront, is a great place to take kids. It has hundreds of exhibits that will teach them about science and how it works.
- There is also a lot of fun displays that will surprise them from sight, sound and touch. They have a flash bulb room that records your shadow, Pepper’s ghost trick, sound effect and music rooms and more!
- This is a great place to spend an entire day with the kids. It has lots of fun things for them to do including a bike they can ride 20 feet in the air, an area for little kids and shows.