Chillicothe, OH, is a historic city located in the southwestern part of the state. The city is situated along the Scioto River with a population of approximately 21,000 residents.
Not so many know that Chillicothe was the first capital of Ohio from 1803 to 1810. During this period, the city developed and it was the center of its political activities.
The name of the city comes from the Shawnee word meaning “principal town”. It is believed that the name originated from the Algonquian language family.
At its core, Shawnee was a tribe that played a significant role in the history and culture of the region, contributing to the rich tapestry of Native American heritage in the United States.
Today, the city combines its historical roots with a thriving arts and cultural community, making it a destination that offers a blend of heritage, natural beauty, and engaging experiences.
Let’s have a look together at the best 15 things you can do in Chillicothe, OH if you plan to make a visit.
Things to Do in Chillicothe, Ohio
1. Explore the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
Hopewell Culture National Historical Park preserves and interprets the archaeological remains of the Hopewell culture, a Native American civilization that thrived in the region from approximately 200 BC to 500 AD.
The Hopewell people were known for their complex social systems, advanced trade networks, and impressive earthworks.
It’s advisable to check the park’s website or contact the visitor center for up-to-date information on operating hours.
2. Visit the Adena Mansion and Gardens built by the state’s first governor, Thomas Worthington
Constructed between 1806 and 1807 by Thomas Worthington, who was not only Ohio’s first governor but also a prominent statesman and influential figure in the early history of the state. Worthington designed the mansion in the Federal architectural style, reflecting the tastes and trends of the time.
Thomas Worthington, the visionary behind Adena Mansion, played a crucial role in shaping Ohio’s early development. He was a strong advocate for education, public infrastructure, and economic growth.
Adena Mansion and Gardens have been meticulously preserved and restored to their original grandeur.
3. Take a scenic walk or bike ride along the Paint Creek Recreational Trail
Offer yourself the chance to enjoy the tranquility of the natural surroundings, breathe in the fresh air, and appreciate the beauty of the area. Exploring the trail by bike is a unique experience.
The trail is approximately 33 miles long and winds through the beautiful countryside of Ohio, providing opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to immerse themselves in nature.
4. Tour the Ross County Heritage Center
Whether you are interested in Ohio’s early history, local culture, or the accomplishments of notable individuals, a visit to the Ross County Heritage Center provides a fascinating journey through time and a deeper understanding of the region’s significance in Ohio’s historical narrative.
When Ohio was established as a state in 1803, the new county formed in the southern part of the state was named in honor of James Ross. James Ross was a prominent lawyer and politician who played a significant role in the formation of the Northwest Territory, which eventually became the state of Ohio.
The museum offers a comprehensive overview of the county’s development.
5. Attend a performance at the historic Majestic Theatre
Built in 1853, the theater has stood as a beacon of artistic expression for over a century. Its stunning architecture and ornate decor evoke a sense of grandeur and nostalgia.
Attending a performance at the Majestic Theatre is more than just a night out—it’s an opportunity to be transported to another world, experience the power of live entertainment, and support the arts in a historic setting.
The theater’s cozy ambiance, impeccable acoustics, and warm hospitality ensure that every visit is an unforgettable experience.
6. Visit the Chillicothe Railroad Museum to delve into the region’s railroad history
The museum stands as a fascinating testament to the rich history and heritage of the city’s railroad industry.
The museum houses an impressive array of vintage locomotives, railcars, and various railway equipment that have been meticulously preserved.
The Chillicothe Railroad Museum also offers a glimpse into the lives of the people who worked on the railroads, showcasing their experiences, stories, and contributions to the industry.
7. Explore the Pump House Center for the Arts
Originally built as a municipal water pumping station in 1882, the Pump House underwent a remarkable transformation to become the esteemed arts center it is today. The building itself is a masterpiece, blending historic charm with modern amenities. Its red-brick exterior and distinctive architectural details evoke a sense of nostalgia, while the interior boasts spacious galleries, intimate performance spaces, and state-of-the-art facilities.
Today the center offers a wide range of workshops, classes, and educational programs designed to nurture creativity and inspire individuals of all ages and skill levels.
8. Take a leisurely stroll through Yoctangee Park
Yoctangee Park has an extensive trail system, perfect for leisurely walks, invigorating jogs, or peaceful bike rides. As you meander along the winding paths, you’ll be enchanted by the natural beauty that surrounds you, including lush greenery, vibrant flowers, and the tranquil waters of the park’s scenic pond.
The trails also provide access to various park amenities and attractions, making it easy to explore and discover everything the park has to offer.
9. Enjoy a round of golf at Chillicothe Country Club
This is an experience that combines natural beauty, challenging play, and a warm sense of community.
If you’re seeking a golfing experience that combines breathtaking beauty, exhilarating challenges, and a touch of luxury, look no further than Chillicothe Country Club.
Discover a world where your passion for golf meets extraordinary moments, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
10. Attend the Feast of the Flowering Moon Festival
This vibrant and lively festival is a must-see for first-time visitors, offering a delightful immersion into the rich heritage and cultural traditions of the region.
The Feast of the Flowering Moon Festival pays homage to the Native American tribes that once inhabited this land.
The beating of traditional drums, the mesmerizing dances, and the colorful regalia of Native American performers transport you to another time, evoking a sense of wonder and connection to the past.
The Feast of the Flowering Moon Festival is typically held during the last weekend of May, spanning three days of festivities
11. Experience the thrill of live harness racing at the Scioto Downs Racino
Experience the electrifying world of live harness racing at Scioto Downs Racino! This thrilling sport showcases the incredible speed, agility, and teamwork of horses and their skilled drivers.
Prepare to be captivated as these majestic equines, pulling their sulkies, gallop down the track with unmatched power and finesse.
But the excitement doesn’t stop there! Beyond the racing, you’ll find a world of entertainment at Scioto Downs Racino. Explore the vibrant gaming floor, where a wide array of slot machines and thrilling table games await.
12. Visit the Ross County Fairgrounds
The Ross County Fairgrounds hold a special place in the hearts of Chillicothe residents and draw visitors from neighboring areas. It is a place where people come together to celebrate and showcase the best of the local community.
Spanning over several days in August, the fair brings together the community and visitors from near and far for a memorable experience.
13. Take a guided tour of the historic Bishop Flaget Log House
The log house was constructed around 1806 and served as the residence for Bishop Edward Fenwick, the first Catholic bishop in the Northwest Territory. It is named after Bishop Benedict Joseph Flaget, who succeeded Bishop Fenwick and continued the work of expanding the Catholic faith in the area.
The house was originally located in the rural countryside but was later moved to its current site, where it has been preserved and restored for public viewing.
Stepping into the Bishop Flaget Log House is like taking a step back in time. The interior showcases the simple and rustic lifestyle of the early settlers, with its exposed log walls, hand-hewn wooden beams, and vintage furnishings.
14. Discover the historic architecture and charming shops in Chillicothe’s downtown area
One of the most relaxing activities when visiting a new place is taking a leisurely stroll through the downtown streets and admiring the well-preserved historic architecture.
Downtown Chillicothe is dotted with charming independent shops and boutiques where you can find one-of-a-kind treasures, handmade crafts, and local artwork.
If you get tired you can stop at a cozy cafe where you can treat yourself to a delicious meal or grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the local ambiance.
15. Enjoy a picnic or fishing at Paint Creek State Park (just outside of Chillicothe)
This activity is the perfect opportunity for a day of outdoor relaxation, picnicking, and fishing. The park is nestled amidst the picturesque landscape of southern Ohio, boasting rolling hills, tranquil forests, and the sparkling waters of Paint Creek.
If you want to visit Paint Creek State Park make sure you have a fishing license to fish in the park’s lake or other designated fishing areas.
Best Things to Do in Chillicothe, Ohio with Kids
Here are the top 5 best things to do in Chillicothe, Ohio, with kids in case you are planning a family trip:
- Adena Mansion and Gardens: Explore the historic Adena Mansion, the home of Thomas Worthington, a prominent figure in Ohio’s history. Kids can learn about early 19th-century life, tour the mansion, and enjoy the beautiful gardens.
- Yoctangee Park: This spacious park offers playgrounds, walking paths, and open green spaces perfect for picnics and outdoor play. It’s a great place for families to relax and enjoy nature.
- Hopewell Culture National Historical Park: Discover the ancient history of the region by visiting the Hopewell Culture sites. Kids can explore earthen mounds, learn about Native American cultures, and participate in educational programs.
- Majestic Theatre: Catch a family-friendly show or movie at the historic Majestic Theatre. This charming venue often hosts special events and screenings suitable for kids.
- Chillicothe Paints Baseball Game: If you’re visiting during baseball season, attend a Chillicothe Paints baseball game. It’s an opportunity for kids to enjoy a live sports event and experience the excitement of a local team.
Best time to visit Chillicothe, Ohio
The best time to visit Chillicothe, Ohio, depends on your preferences for weather, outdoor activities, and events. Here’s more information about the different seasons in Chillicothe:
Spring (April to May): Spring is a lovely time to visit Chillicothe as the weather starts to warm up. The trees and flowers are in bloom, making it a picturesque season for exploring parks, gardens, and hiking trails. This is also a good time for outdoor activities before the heat of summer sets in.
Summer (June to August): Summer is a popular time to visit for those who enjoy warm weather and a full range of outdoor activities. The region offers hiking, camping, and opportunities to explore the Scioto River. The city also hosts various festivals and events during this season.
Fall (September to November): Fall is a favorite time for many visitors due to the vibrant foliage. The surrounding landscapes come alive with hues of red, orange, and yellow. This is an excellent time for scenic drives, hiking, and enjoying the natural beauty of the area.
Winter (December to February): Winter can be a quieter time in Chillicothe, with fewer tourists. It’s a peaceful season to explore indoor attractions, museums, and historical sites. While outdoor activities are limited due to colder temperatures, Chillicothe can still offer a cozy getaway.