A tourist in Toledo

. July 30, 2013.
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It’s easy to take for granted all the unique and interesting places to see and explore around the Toledo area. With quaint river towns, historic canals, battle sites, and a plethora of outdoor recreation opportunities, Northwest Ohio has many of the attractions that draw tourists. So get out, explore and appreciate the places that you haven’t made it to in a while, or take an adventure to places that are under your radar. Either way, have fun being a tourist in your own hometown!

 

 

 

View nature from a different perspective at the National Center For Nature Photography

Open year round, Saturdays & Sundays, 12-5pm. Free.
10001 W. Central Ave., Berkey. 419-407-9757.
www.metroparkstoledo.com

Take a deep breath and become inspired by wildlife at the National Center for Nature Photography. Nestled in the 600-acre Secor Metropark, the nationally renowned center showcases the beauty of fauna, flora and the environment to encourage education about the natural world through the storytelling eye of a lens.

 

 

Have lunch on the roof of the Main Library

Open year round, Mon.-Thu.
9am-8:30pm; Fri. & Sat. 9am-5:30pm.
September-May, Sun. 1-5pm. Free.
325 North Michigan St.  419-259-5200.
www.toledolibrary.org

Escape the office and take your lunch break at this quiet oasis in the heart of downtown. The rooftop garden is the perfect urban hideaway to relax and catch up on your latest read. Don’t work downtown? Come on the weekend and relax after you browse the great resources the Main Library offers.
 

 

Low Keys: Hip places that go under the radar

San Marcos Taqueria, 235 Broadway St.
This place used to be downtown’s best kept secret, but the word got out! Where else can you get cantina-style lengua tacos and authentic horchata?

Rocky’s, 4020 Secor Rd.
There’s no place like a no frills rock-n-roll bar to throw back some cold ones. Adjacent to our friends at Culture Clash Records, Rocky’s is a welcoming joint with great tunes and frequent live music. And you won’t be bombarded with TVs!

Pho Viet Nam, 3636 Upton Ave.
This quaint little place serves Soul Food along side Vietnamese cuisine. We were sold on it immediately! If you’re not on the Pho train yet, this gem will turn you into a believer of the Vietnamese noodle soup!

Boyd’s Retro Candy Store, 954 Philips Ave.
Who can take a tomorrow and dip it in a dream? Boyd’s! Toledo’s candy man provides a nostalgic trip back to ol’timey candy shoppes. Relive your hoodrat days with some politically incorrect candy cigarettes!

New Empire Restaurant, 6540 Centers Dr., Holland
The best weekends end on Sunday morning (yeah right, more like 1pm if you’re like the TCP staff!) with Dim Sum at this Chinese establishment off of Airport Hwy. Enjoy small plates of a variety of culinary creations with every flavor and texture imaginable. And they have deep-fried bacon-wrapped shrimp. ‘Nuff said.

Koreana, 1423 Bernath Pkwy
This low-key Asian escape offers a delicious menu of Korean favorites such as Bibim Bap (a veritable rice salad) as well as a full sushi bar, manned by sushi chef extraordinaire, Kengo. The best part of Korean dining is all the sauces, chili pastes, fresh herbs, and other “toppings” used to tailor any dish to your specific tastes.
 

 

 

 

Explore the Toledo Botanical Gardens

2700 broadway / 419-385-5721 www.toledozoo.org
5403 Elmer Dr. / 419-841-3905 / www.toledogarden.org

Northwest Ohio is full of wonderful botanical destinations. Not only does the Toledo Zoo have amazing animal exhibits, it is also home to The Ziems Conservatory. What makes the conservatory stand out is that the Horticulture department at the Zoo is in charge of the lush beauty in and around the Conservatory. There are alluring gardens adjacent to the main glass house, full of hybrid teas, roses and floribundas.

If you haven’t visited the Toledo Botanical Garden you’re missing out on one of the city’s great escapes! Positioned on 60 acres of land, it is comprised of 17 smaller, unique gardens, each with their own personality and design. Navigate through the estate, and you will come across The Green Garden, tucked around a stone wall and reminiscent of the popular children’s book, “The Secret Garden.” In addition to the natural beauty, Toledo Botanical Garden also sponsors fantastic art, history and science classes for all ages.

 

 

Kayak down the Maumee River

March 15-October 15,
Mon.-Sat. 8am-6pm; Sun. 8am-5pm.
$20-$75. 24316 Front St.
 419-832-0989. www.riverlures.com

There’s no need to travel out of Northwest Ohio for excellent kayaking. There are plenty of places to launch from along the river if you have your own kayak or canoe. But if not, River Lures in Downtown Grand Rapids is a great place to go for outdoor adventuring on the Maumee. With several different rental packages available, your journey can range from a short nine-mile trip to Farnsworth Metropark to a full river excursion to Walbridge Park in Toledo. River Lures will even pick you up at your destination and take you back to your vehicle.

 

 

Bike the Greenbelt Parkway Bike Path

Parking available at Tribute
Memorial Park, Front St. at I-280.

Whether you’re a cycling enthusiast or a casual weekend rider, there are some great bike trails to explore after you dust off the old 10-speed. The University Parks Trail, the Wabash Cannonball Trail and, for the more extreme rider, the Jermain Park Mountain Bike Trail, are all fun rides with varying levels of difficulty. We suggest hitting the Greenbelt Parkway Bike Path just North of Cherry St., downtown. The path runs along a nature area on the side of Greenbelt Parkway then over the Craig Memorial Bridge to the East Side. It’s definitely a unique ride that showcases the majesty of civic engineering as you weave through the columns supporting the Veteran’s Glass City Skyway Bridge.
 

 

 

 

Travel back to 1812 at Ft. Meigs
Open year round, Wed.-Sat. 9:30am-5pm; Sun. 12-5pm. $4-$7
29100 W. River Rd., Perrysburg. 419-874-4121. www.fortmeigs.org

Ohio could easily have been a commonwealth of Great Britain if it wasn’t for this important outpost on the bend of the river where today the cities of Maumee and Perrysburg meet. Built during the War of 1812 under the command of General William Henry Harrison, this historical site fended off two sieges of Native American, Canadian and British forces. Today it serves as a memorial site and museum of early American life with war re-enactors and educational exhibits. You don’t have to be a history buff to think antique cannons and the strategic view of the river are super cool!

 

Duh! no-brainers for taking out-of-towners

Toledo Museum of Art, 2445 Monroe St.
With a world-class collection, a history of glass art innovation and a separate but equally renowned Glass Pavilion, Toledo boasts one of the country’s jewels of cultural institutions.

Toledo Zoo, 2700 Broadway
Established in 1900, the Zoo is consistently heralded as one of the country’s best. Exhibits range from the beasts of the African Savanna on the Tembo Trail to the Polar Bears of the Arctic Encounter, but really the coolest exhibit is the first-of-its-kind Hippoquarium.

Mud Hens Game, 406 Washington St.
Nothing represents Toledo pride more than the beloved minor league affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. The team, first assembled in 1902, and their home, Fifth Third Field, has been a catalyst for redevelopment downtown.

Tony Packo’s, 1902 Front St.
When Tony Packo first created the Hungarian Hot Dog, it was 1932. All these years later, Tony Packo’s is still operated by family and has expanded from a corner sandwich and ice cream shop into a delectable stop for locals and celebrities alike. Many a celeb have even signed a hot dog bun during their visit, and the buns are all on display for everyone to see.

Oliver House, 27 Broadway
Built in 1859, the Oliver House is home to multiple eating and drinking establishments, loft apartments, and the Maumee Bay Brewing Company. Treat your visitors to Toledo’s own Buckeye Beer, brewed right in house!

The Docks, Main St., East Side Toledo
Sitting on Toledo’s best real estate is a row of restaurants: Real Seafood, El Vaquero, Zia’s and, the latest addition, Forresters. While they represent some interesting cuisine, the real draw is the amazing view of our downtown skyline from across the river.
 

 

 

 

Tour the 577 Foundation

Open yearlong, Mon.-Sun. 9am-5pm.
Reservations are required.
577 Foundation E. Front St.,
Perrysburg. 419-874-4174.
www.577foundation.org

This pretty riverside garden in Perrysburg offers a variety of activities and classes for children and adults. There’s also a dairy and a pottery barn. One of the coolest features on the property is the Geodesic Biodome housing a climate controlled garden and koi pond. Its systems track the weather and different panels on the structure will automatically open or close to vent air and maintain a constant temperature.

 

Get lost at Wheeler Farms
Obee Rd., Whitehouse. 419-877-2733.
www.wheelerfarms.com

The sprawling farm is home to numerous activities and attractions including the Whitehouse Christmas Tree Farm, Whitehouse Shrimp Farm and a world-class Butterfly House filled with beautiful and rare winged beauties. Every year, the farm hosts a themed, 16-acre corn maze. Last year we wandered our way through Mitt Romney’s nose, but this year’s theme will be the UT Rockets and BGSU Falcons. When you visit, keep a lookout for the farm’s newest animal acquisitions: a pair of peacocks.
 

 

 

Play a round of disc golf

Open year round.
Carter Park, 401 Campbell Hill Rd.  
www.bgohio.org

Looking for a leisurely outdoor activity that won’t wear you out in the summer heat? Try a round of disc golf. Ottawa Park offers a great urban course that’s perfect for beginners. Just a short drive away in Bowling Green, there’s a nationally recognized 18-hole disc golf course at Carter Park, located just off I-75 in BG. The course is challenging enough for hardcore disc golfers and still accessible for novices.
 

 

 

Go cruisin’ on a sunny afternoon
Dock at Jefferson Ave., Promenade Park.  419-537-1212.
www.sandpiperboat.com

Plan a staycation and book a cruise along the Maumee. For a historic journey you can head to Providence Metropark for a ride on a canal boat, the Volunteer. For an urban water excursion, the Sandpiper (pictured)in downtown Toledo offers several cruises throughout the week from lunch cruises on Thursdays to picturesque sunset cruises on Sunday nights. Rides upon the Sandpiper highlight the architecture of homes along the river and the might of our port, where the Maumee meets Lake Erie.

 

Have fun in the sun  at Maumee Bay State Park

1750 State Park #2 Oregon. 419-836-1466.
www.parks.ohiodnr.gov/maumeebay

Whether it’s for a day in the sun or an entire weekend, there’s plenty waiting for locals looking to get away from the daily grind. While the beach offers the sun and the sand, there are also plenty of trails to explore the wildlife of Northwest Ohio. Stay in a cabin, at the lodge or camp in the State Park for a weekend away. Consider a day trip for boating, picnicking, golfing, exploring or other fun activities.

 

On the Main Campus of the University of Toledo is a gateway to the universe at the newly upgraded Ritter Planetarium with its state of the art Spitz SciDome XD projection system, the world’s first. With more than six million pixels projecting on the 40-foot dome above you, you’ll feel fully immersed in all the action. Explore the constellations visible in Toledo’s night sky, and travel to galaxies far, far away to glimpse deep-space astronomy’s latest discoveries.

Public programs run Fridays, Through August, 8:30pm. $5-$7.
University of Toledo campus / 419-530-4037 /www.utoledo.edu

 

This is just a short list—there’s so much more to do in Northwest Ohio! Share some of your favorite spots on our Facebook page, and don’t be shy, share your pics with us too!

Here are a few local celebs’ favorite spots in T-Town

Pete Gerken, Lucas County Commissioner

  • Kayaking off my back dock on River road and showing the beautiful homes and scenery on the Maumee River.
  • Ruby’s Kitchen, a soul food restaurant at 4933 Dorr St.
  • Erie Street Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning.
  • A Toledo Mud Hens baseball game.

Joe Napoli, President and General Manager of the Toledo Mudhens Baseball and Toledo Walleye Hockey

  • Walking across the Maumee River at Sidecut or Farnsworth Metroparks during low tide.
  • A Bowling Green Falcons hockey Game.
  • A University of Toledo football game.
  • Fossil Park in Sylvania.

Marcy Kaptur, Congresswoman

  • Exploring our Metroparks.
  • Christie’s Candies and Mints.
  • Wixey Bakery.
  • El Tipico.