While every Dayton guide mentions the city's importance to the aerospace and defense sector, Dayton also offers a variety of fun, low-tech attractions. Enjoying many of these local treats is cheap or free, making them accessible to just about everyone.

For a trip back through time,  one should visit the SunWatch Indian Village, a reconstructed Native American village maintained for its archaeological and historical value. This site rests on three acres of land by the riverside, complete with rebuilt dwellings, gardens, a plaza, and an interpretive center. SunWatch also hosts special events on a regular basis, such as powwows featuring male and female dancers decked out in a variety of traditional regalia, from native grass to bright shawls to long feathers.

One of the most distinctively Dayton things to do is a little more familiar to the average joe—riding a bike. Dayton provides flat terrain, clean streets, bicycle-only lanes downtown, and 70 miles of off-road, well-paved trails stretching from southwest Columbus to east of Cincinnati. In fact, the League of American Bicyclists has dubbed Dayton one of just two bicycle-friendly major cities in Ohio.

Finally, no respectable guide to Dayton could leave out the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. As the oldest and biggest museum of military aviation in the world, the museum houses more than 360 missiles and aircraft. One important exhibit is the B-29 known as Bockscar, famous for dropping the “Fat Man” atomic bomb on Nagasaki at the end of World War II. As a side note, with free admission year-round, a trip to this museum is one of the best Dayton deals for history buffs.

In short, things to do in Dayton include everything from watching Native American dances to cycling through miles of green trails to gaping at shining warplanes, making this mid-sized city far from ordinary.

Read More