[Fox News] A bucket list for Ohio travelers: Italian food, football and more

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Ohio, the Buckeye State, is not often one of America’s highly regarded states. 

While the state bordering Lake Erie has been given less-than-beloved nicknames by outsiders, including “The Mistake on the Lake,” it can be an enjoyable place to visit.

Across the state of Ohio are secret family recipes in Italian restaurants, various professional sports teams, landmarks with a lengthy history and pleasant tourist attractions. 


While it may not be the first state of the 50 states to cross off your bucket list, it is worth taking a detour to experience yourself.

If you’re passing through the Midwest and touching down in Ohio, here are various places you’ll want to consider for a visit.

Cleveland is a well-known city in Ohio. And while many know it for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, the city has much more to offer.

Cleveland is a central location for many Italian American families, many of whom have opened family-owned and operated restaurants. In Little Italy, just outside the downtown Cleveland area, you will find decades-old restaurants. The streets are full of aromas of roasted garlic and fresh basil, sautéed tomatoes and baked meatballs and sausage.

For a truly unique and intimate foodie experience, visit Valerio’s, Angelo’s Nido Italia Restaurant, Etna or Tavern of Little Italy “down the hill” off of Murray Hill. Stop by various shops, including La Bella Vita or Topsi Turvi or shuffle into the Murray Hill Market for a cold cuts sub sandwich.

In the summer, enjoy an Italian beer and a game of bocce ball at the Alta House or attend the Feast of the Assumption in mid-August. 

In the winter, sit at one of the local bars for a shot of homemade limoncello opposite the owners.

If you’re a fan of music, you’re no stranger to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. But have you visited?

The music hall is also located in the heart of Cleveland. Cleveland was chosen as “​​the winning site, over locales such as New York, San Francisco, Memphis and Chicago,” according to the hall’s site.


The hall opened in 1995 and has accepted local and tourist visitors for nearly three decades. Visitors can tour the hall and peer into some of music’s history with donated museum artifacts, including instruments, clothing, music scraps and more from decades ago.

Major stars and bands, including Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Billie Holiday, Madonna, The E Street Band, Janet Jackson, Tina Turner and others have previously been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

The nominees for the 2024 induction include Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Cher, Dave Matthews Band, Lenny Kravitz, Ozzy Osbourne and others.

Kelleys Island is a village in Ohio about two hours outside Cleveland and an hour outside Sandusky.

If you’re looking to be out on the water, especially during the warmer months in Ohio, Kelleys Island is a great location for the whole family. You will, however, need to take a boat or ferry from the mainland to Kelleys Island to get there.

The island features various casual dining locations. Tourists can rent homes, condominiums or townhouses, cottages, bed and breakfasts and hotels. The island is less than five square miles. If you intend on traveling during the summer months, book sooner rather than later as rental locations are limited.

If you love football, and you’re traveling to Ohio, you’ve come to the right place.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton, Ohio. 

Its website says, “The American Professional Football Association, later renamed the National Football League, was founded in Canton on Sept. 17, 1920.”

The site adds, “The Canton Bulldogs were an early pro football power, even before the days of the NFL. They were also the first two-time champion of the NFL, in 1922 and 1923. Canton citizens early in the 1960s launched a determined and well-organized campaign to earn the site designation for their city.”

Jerome Bettis, Pat Bowlen, Terry Bradshaw, John Elway, Brett Favre, Bob Griese and others have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Ohio wine country may not be Napa Valley, California, but it’s a great experience for wine lovers looking for a quiet, quaint getaway without traveling to the West Coast.

The wineries, consisting of mostly family-owned and operated vineyards, are located in Geneva, Ohio, and include Ferrante Winery & Ristorante, M Cellars, Debonné Vineyards and others.

During the warmer months, visitors can expect live music at some of the winery locations. Food, including locally sourced meats and cheeses and small bites, are also served at most locations.

Travelers from out of town can also book an inn, bed and breakfast or hotel stay at accommodating locations, including the Lakehouse Inn, The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, Buccia Vineyard Winery and B&B and more.

If you adore the outdoors and are looking to become one with nature, Hocking Hills State Park in Logan, Ohio, is superior for camping, hiking, hunting and fishing. Visitors can also climb rocks, mountain bike, canoe, boat and more.


Hocking Hills, whether summer or winter, is an ideal getaway for the whole family to enjoy. You can choose a hotel stay or become more in touch with the area by booking a cabin, cottage or treehouse. 

The cozy, above-ground treehouses are built with decks surrounding their edges and are often equipped with a hot tub.

Columbus, Ohio, is a well-known city and home to a number of urban breweries. Ohio Brewing Company Columbus, Seventh Son Brewing Co., Parsons North Brewing Company and others are all located in various parts of Columbus.

The Ohio beer scene has become more popular in recent years and is waiting to be explored by wheat lovers across the country. The area produces a wide variety of brews, and the culture is casual, though the nightlife is often busy and buzzing with young professionals.

If you’re navigating toward Columbus, the beer scene isn’t the only one worth taking advantage of. While Columbus isn’t home to any Michelin-star guided restaurants, the food is worth exploring.

Marcella’s, Forno Kitchen + Bar and Due Amici are each worth a detour if you’re in the Columbus area.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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