The summer of quarantine: A bucket list to make this your best Dayton summer yet

Now that the summer has officially begun, many Daytonians are wondering what their summer months will look like in the midst of a major health crisis.

At this point, nearly all of the festivals and major events have been canceled and all of the typical summer haunts have been altered to comply with new health codes.

With all of these changes in place, one thing is certain — your summer in Dayton is going to look a bit different this year. Despite this difference, your summer months can still be bliss, even if you never leave the city limits.

Here are the must-do summer adventures in and around the Gem City.

🔆⛱Hang out at a local brewery

Fifth Street Brewpub: Offering carryout and patio service. Check out their carryout menu (which also includes delicious cuisine), by visiting their website.

Toxic Brew Company: Offering carryout, patio and limited inside service. Call ahead at 937-985-3618 or visit their website.

Warped Wing Brewing Company: Offering curbside carryout and delivery via DoorDash. Place your order by visiting

Dayton Beer Company: Offering inside dining. More info: website

Lock 27: Open for inside dining beginning on June 3. Currently, Lock 27 is offering patio dining and curbside pickup from 3-8 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. More info: website

Branch & Bone Artisan Ales: Offering carryout and shipping services. Follow developments as they occur on the brewery's Facebook page.

Star City Brewing Company: Offering inside dining.

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

🔆⛱Chow down at a Yellow Cab Food Truck Rally

Each week, from Thursday to Sunday, Yellow Cab Food Truck Rallies are held at the Yellow Cab Tavern, located at 700 E. 4th St. in Dayton. This Dayton staple will feature food trucks, free live music, local craft brew and cocktails — all while maintaining a proper social distance. For a full list of the event's coronavirus policies, pay a visit to their website.


- Thursday and Sunday: 4-10 p.m.

- Friday and Saturday: 4-midnight

Entry is free.

🔆⛱View Dayton from the Woodland Cemetery

Aside from visiting the famous Daytonians who are buried here, Woodland offers a view like no other. Lookout Columbarium stands at the highest point in the city and is the ultimate spot for sightseers. 

>> 17 things to see and experience at Woodland Cemetery

🔆⛱Hike the Clifton Gorge

The prettiest 2-mile stretch of the Little Miami State and National Scenic River east of John Bryan State Park, hiking the Clifton Gorge is a must-do summer adventure. It's the perfect example of post-glacial canyon cutting and offers the most beautiful views for hikers. 

>> New Storybook Trail added to John Bryan State Park

>> WORTH THE DRIVE: Hocking Hills State Park to reopen several popular hiking trails

🔆⛱Hit the Great Miami River trail

Are you ready for an adventure? With 75 miles of trails, the Great Miami River Trail is the ultimate spot for runners, skaters or cyclists. The trail winds through downtown Dayton, RiverScape, museums and several monuments.    

🔆⛱Eat Dayton-famous food

Challenge: Eat all Dayton-made food for a day! After all, who doesn't enjoy Mikesells potato chips, Esther Price Chocolates and Marion's pizza? Here's a list of "Dayton classic" foods to make it easier for you.

🔆⛱Get your climb on at Urban Krag

When that adventurous spirit strikes, you know where to head. The indoor rock climbing wall is designed to test your strength, provide a safe atmosphere and brings families together with a fun activity. Bonus: it's great even when the sunny weather fails. Urban Krag will be open to members beginning on June 1 at 5 p.m., and then to non-members on June 9 at 3 p.m. For a full list of the center's coronavirus policies, visit their Facebook page.

🔆⛱Shop Local

Looking to support these small businesses? There are numerous local boutiques and shops in Dayton and the surrounding suburbs, like Heart Mercantile, Clash Dayton, Luna Gifts & Botanicals and Fox Gallery. For a larger list of shopping destinations in the Dayton area, browse through our Best of Dayton list.

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

🔆⛱Shop at 3rd on Third

Check out some of the area's hottest vendors at this outdoor market that runs until October on every third Sunday of the month from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year, the market will be reopening to the public on Sunday, June 21. The outdoor market typically features art, crafts, antiques, vintage, collectibles, local handmade items, food trucks and more. For more information about 3rd on Third, head to their Facebook page

>> Reasons to go to 3rd on Third

Credit: Photo contributed by Peter Benkendorf

Credit: Photo contributed by Peter Benkendorf

🔆⛱Climb burial mounds

One of the largest conical Native American burial mounds is located right here in Dayton. The Miamisburg Mound State Memorial is an exciting way to learn about the great Adena culture that once thrived in this area. 

🔆⛱Riverscape Inventor's Walk 

Admire Daytonian inventions by strolling down the green-and-white towers at Patterson Boulevard Canal Parkway. The Dayton Inventors River Walk at RiverScape MetroPark celebrates the history of invention in Dayton against a stunning backdrop of the Great Miami River. More than 150 tiles are present in this river walk, commemorating inventions that were dreamed up right here in the Miami Valley. This inventor's walk is always open to the public. 

🔆⛱Enjoy a Buckeye milkshake from Young's Jersey Dairy

Enjoy the most delicious milkshake in the history of milkshakes at Young's Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs — the Buckeye Bullshake. This local ode to the buckeye is concocted using chocolate peanut butter and peanut butter cup ice cream blended with chocolate sauce, peanut butter sauce and cold milk and topped with a scoop of peanut butter cup, whipped cream, Reese's pieces and a homemade buckeye — phew! (You can also try it as a sundae).

>> How Dayton region small businesses adapted to survive

For now, Young's Jersey Dairy is open from Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. with limited inside dining, carryout and service via the drive thru. 

Young's Jersey Dairy is located at 6880 Springfield-Xenia Road in Yellow Springs.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

🔆⛱Get on your bike and ride

Dayton has an abundance of bike trails for all ages and experience levels. The Miami Valley region provides over 340 miles of paved, multi-use recreational trails.

>> Dayton's best bike trails, and how to make the most of them

🔆⛱Be a kid again at the Boonshoft

No matter your age, the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery is bound to steal your heart. Despite the fact that the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery remains closed, online science lessons, an online summer camp and Virtual Sloth Tai Chi are just a few of the offerings that the museum is streaming to visitors. Pay a visit to the museum's Facebook page for more information about these virtual offerings that prove to be an especially useful cure for boredom over the summer months. 

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

🔆⛱Hit up all the MetroParks

This just in: Nature is open! With 18 MetroParks, plus the recently reopened 2nd Street Market, in the Dayton area, this could keep you pretty busy all summer — especially given the fact that social distancing is easier to do in the great outdoors. Pack a picnic or take a hike, as the possibilities are endless. Currently, due to the coronavirus pandemic, certain amenities or points of interest within the MetroParks are still closed where it is deemed that social distancing is impossible. For more information about the MetroParks' coronavirus policies, head to their website

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

🔆⛱Travel back in time at Sunwatch Indian Village

Sunwatch Indian Village is open for the summer. The indoor exhibit and theater remain closed, but the village is open. Head over to their Facebook page to catch the latest virtual lesson.

Credit: Kristy Creel

Credit: Kristy Creel

🔆⛱Drink margaritas! 

Grab your friends and refresh your thirst with Bad Juan Margaritas from Elsa's, where they are doing carryout food and drinks and patio service. Need more margarita recommendations? Here are a few more of our favorite places in the Dayton area to grab a margarita.

🔆⛱Go camping 

Spend a relaxing day getting back to basics with family and friends. Camp, fish and enjoy the great outdoors, even at one of our MetroParks. Don't forget to make s'mores.

>> Your guide to camping out and stargazing in Dayton

🔆⛱ Learn more about art through the Dayton Art Institute's virtual learning series 

Though it is anticipated that the Dayton Art Institute will be closed through at least July 4, the local art authority is still bringing culture to Daytonians, via their Facebook page. Every day of the week, the Dayton Art Institute, now closed to the public until the end of the pandemic, will be showcasing different pieces of art on their Facebook page. Though not all pieces of art are part of the Dayton Art Institute’s series of collections, many Daytonians (especially art lovers) can find comfort in the daily virtual art offerings from the museum.

🔆⛱Butterfly house 

The butterfly house at Cox Arboretum is one of our favorite places. After you visit it, you’ll see why. 

🔆⛱Hit the Aviation Trail

Whether you’re a Wright Brothers fanatic or a full-on aviation enthusiast, this is something you’ll want to check out. The Aviation Trail, located at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, tells the story of Dayton’s aviation history. 

🔆⛱ Go get brunch

Indulge in a weekend with a fantastic meal and some boozy drinks (Bloody Mary, anyone?) at one of our fantastic local restaurants. A must-read: 9 of the best brunch spots in Dayton

🔆⛱Go old-time at the drive-in

Bummed because local movie theaters are still closed to the public? Take the family to see a double feature at one of the area’s retro drive-in movie theaters.

🔆⛱ Plan a picnic

Planning the perfect out-of-doors fete is a piece of cake with our guides on where to go and what to bring with you to eatBon appetit!

🔆⛱Take a mini road trip

Though many popular tourist destinations across the state are still closed to the public, places like Hocking Hills State Park and Kingwood Center Gardens in Mansfield are open and accepting visitors. Stay glued to our Worth the Drive section to catch the latest road trip possibilities.

🔆⛱Watch an independent film from the Neon’s virtual film series

Though patrons are no longer allowed to sit and munch on popcorn in front of the big screen at the Neon in downtown Dayton, they can still do their part to support the indie theater from home. At least for the foreseeable future, patrons will be able to purchase films like "Military Wives" and "Driveways" from an online streaming platform accessible via their website, The theater will reopen July 1.



🔆⛱Spend a day in the Oregon District

Whether you're looking for a place to eat, shop or hang out with friends, the Oregon District is the place to go. Grab a cocktail from a locally-owned restaurant or enjoy a local craft beer at Toxic or Lucky's. Look for vintage goods at Clash or Feathers, check out records at Omega Music or find a new hat at BRIM. Seriously, the list goes on.

🔆⛱Take a tour of Dayton's murals

Over the past few years, artists have begun covering parts of the Oregon District and greater Dayton area with unique murals. In need of a bit of artistic inspiration without enduring large crowds? Take a tour of a few of a Dayton's greatest murals, beginning at the new mural on Stratacache Tower and then branching out to a few of our favorites.

🔆⛱Take advantage of Dayton's many patio dining opportunities

Sure, indoor dining is now possible in many restaurants and bars throughout the Miami Valley, but many are still finding patios, with their ample space and proximity to the warmer weather, a worthwhile substitute in the age of the coronavirus. Take advantage of this summer dining trend with our patio dining guide.

🔆⛱Attend Dayton Porchfest

Missing live music? The Dayton Porchfest is here to satisfy this need in a safe way. Dayton Porchfest 2020 is taking place in the historic St. Anne's Historic District neighborhood, with musicians and bands covering a variety of genres from funk to indie rock on porches. For now, the event, happening on Aug. 22 from 1:30-6:45 p.m., is still set to take place. Follow the event's Facebook page and website for the latest updates.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

🔆⛱Hike to the "Witches Tower" in Kettering

Built in the 1940s, the Witches Tower, or more commonly known as the Lookout Tower in Hills and Dales Metro Park, has been the subject of urban legends for decades. Located just off Patterson Boulevard in Kettering, the Witches Tower is a great place for some eerie fun. Though the tower is sealed, you can still get a good look at this haunting specimen of Dayton's past.

🔆⛱Visit where the first NFL game took place

Did you know that the first NFL game was hosted in Dayton? That's right! The Gem City hosted the first NFL game at the Dayton Triangle Park on Oct. 3, 1920. This was the first game, played by the Dayton Triangles and Columbus Panhandles, of what would become the National Football League. Located in North Dayton, the Dayton Triangle Park now includes both a baseball/softball diamond and a soccer field.

>> 8 things to know about the Dayton Triangles, the team that started it all



🔆⛱Go on a sculpture tour

From the outdoor sculptures in Kettering to the proposed outdoor sculpture garden from Front Street artists, there will soon be plenty of reasons to take a stroll through Dayton. Or, if you're willing to make a short drive, visit the many outdoor sculptures that have given Hamilton its place as the "City of Sculptures."

🔆⛱Kick back at The Dock

Want a summer escape that feels less like Ohio and more like, perhaps, a tropical destination without leaving the Miami Valley? Simply pay a visit to The Dock Food and Spirits in Enon. The restaurant, with its whimsical tropical decor inside and outside of the restaurant, feels like a trip to Florida without the cost of planning a vacation of any kind. The restaurant is now open from Thursday through Sunday from 5-8 p.m. and seating is first come, first served. Call the restaurant at 937-864-5011 when you arrive.

>> Restaurants as famous for their atmosphere as their food

🔆⛱Take the kids to Mike's Indoor Bike Park

When the kids are feeling especially restless, take them to Mike's Bike Park, a destination for BMX, mountain and hybrid bikes, as well as scooters and skateboards, on First Street in Dayton. Though the policies have changed to address concerns over the coronavirus (riders will have to bring their own equipment and there is a limit of 50 riders each day), there is still much fun to have at this 50,000 square-foot facility. The facility is open from Monday through Thursday from noon to 9 p.m., Friday from noon to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. A day of riding costs $20 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and $15 from Monday through Thursday. Children under 12 only pay $10 and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

🔆⛱Compete in a virtual 5K

For those of you who can no longer participate in your 5K or race, there are still numerous virtual options that allow you to improve your best time. Here is a list of the virtual race events taking place this summer.

🔆⛱Sink your teeth into a delicious peach from The Peach Truck

The Peach Truck is visiting the Miami Valley once again! From Troy to Cincinnati, there are numerous opportunities this summer to sink your teeth into a juicy Georgia peach. For a full list of these opportunities, read over our comprehensive guide. 

🔆⛱Eat a slice of the best pie in Ohio

Though the Partial to Pie bakery is a relatively new establishment in the Dayton area, it has already been named as the "Best Pie Shop in Ohio" by a USA Today poll. The bakery, founded by Marie Clark and her father, Mike Clark, of Kettering, has become famous for its pies, quiche and sweet treats. The bakery is currently operating on an irregular schedule, with deliveries made through their back door. Be sure to check their Facebook page to stay up-to-date on the latest news from the bakery.

🔆⛱Have a Dayton-made movie marathon

Take a virtual trip to the movie theater with these films made and produced by Daytonians.

These are the Dayton-made movies to binge during your next movie night:

- American Factory (2019) - OSCAR WINNER!

- The Old Man & the Gun (2018) PG-13

- Carol (2015)

- Miles Ahead (2015)

- Tiger (2015)

- Marauders (2015)

- Goat (2015)

- Calamity Jane's Revenge (2015)

- We're Doing Fine (2015)

- Alone in the Ghost House (2015)

- The Avengers (2012)

Portions of this picture filmed in Wilmington, Ohio with many local crew.

- The Ides of March (2011)

Portions of this picture were filmed in Oxford Ohio and many Miami Valley based crew worked on this film.

- Dave Chapelle's Block Party (2005) R

For more Dayton-made film ideas, pay a visit to

🔆⛱Attend a virtual First Friday in downtown Dayton

Dayton's favorite local event, Downtown Dayton's First Friday, has turned virtual. At least for the foreseeable future, local businesses, creators and other movers and shakers in the area will be put on display via the Virtual First Friday series. To learn more about this event and catch a virtual event or two, pay a visit to the event's Facebook page.

🔆⛱Plant a victory garden

"Victory gardens" were originally initiated by President Woodrow Wilson during World War I in an effort to avoid possible food shortages. Now, as we work through a pandemic that is causing a food shortage, many are again planting their own victory gardens to ensure that their communities don't go hungry. Uncover the logistics of planting your own victory garden with our insightful guide.

🔆⛱Visit a breathtaking waterfall

Find a serene escape in one of the area's breathtaking nature preserves. Visit waterfalls at Clifton Gorge, Charleston Falls (currently closed, but looking to reopen later this summer), Ludlow Falls and West Milton.

🔆⛱Enjoy a glass of wine from a local winery

Make a pact to visit all of the great wineries surrounding Dayton in Warren, Preble, Butler, Greene, Clark, Miami and Darke counties. The Winery at Versailles, Old Mason Winery, Caesar Creek Vineyards, Olde Schoolhouse, Hanover Winery, Brandeberry Winery and Valley Vineyards are a few must-visit stops. Check their websites and Facebook pages for their separate coronavirus policies.

🔆⛱Search for bald eagles at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark

That's right - there are plenty of bald eagles spotted at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark.

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