My family and I recently spent the weekend exploring Chillicothe, Ohio. Located just about an hour from Columbus, Chillicothe is the perfect spot for a weekend getaway! Whether you’re looking for unique shopping experiences, 2000-year old earth works, delicious food, a chance to learn about our nation’s history, or to experience a renowned outdoor drama, Chillicothe has it.
Here are 10 reasons to put Chillicothe, Ohio on your list
I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I’ve lived in nearby Columbus for so long and this was my first visit to Chillicothe. My whole family had so much fun exploring, learning, eating and shopping our way through that we have already made plans to return with some friends.
1. Historic District
History buffs will love to learn that Chillicothe was the FIRST capital of Ohio at statehood in 1803 until 1810! If you love learning about American history as much as I do, I suggest taking a self-guided mural walk through downtown Chillicothe to look at the lovely artwork and learn about the rich history of Chillicothe. My husband loves historic architecture, so we enjoyed walking around historic Paint Street and looking at the buildings. Here’s a helpful map if you’d like to do the same thing!
2. Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks was built between A.D. 1 and A. D. 400 by Native Americans and were used for ceremonial gatherings and sacred events. Recently nominated to to be considered as a UNESCO world heritage site (joining the ranks of other amazing spaces like Stonehenge, Grand Canyon, and the Pyramids of Giza), the earthworks are stunning. Their precise shapes align with both the sun’s cycles and the complex patterns of the moon.
It’s a neat experience for kids, too because they have some great interactive exhibits and Junior Ranger activities.
To learn more about the Earthworks and plan your visit (it’s FREE) check out this website.
3. Antique Shopping
If you love hunting for vintage treasures, Chillicothe has to be on your list! There are so many antique shops but my favorite was the Chillicothe Antique Emporium. Besides 3 floors of antiques, the Antique Emporium features a working arcade and a 1950’s ice cream and soda fountain.
Whether you’re digging for vintage clothing, cookware, collectibles, or home decor, you’ll find it at the Antique Emporium. With three full floors to explore, make sure you give yourself plenty of time here.
We also loved exploring Julie’s Shop on Paint, because in addition to cool vintage finds, she also had an entire area dedicated to plants! Another great spot to check out is Old Canal Antiques & Primitives right across the street.
For a list of all the antique shops nearby, check out this link.
4. Delicious Local Eats
You’ve probably worked up an appetite by now, and you’re in luck – Chillicothe has some amazing local restaurants.
Check out Rost Coffee for pastries, sandwiches, salads, and some seriously delicious coffee!
We also enjoyed Bell Farms for their homestyle eats and bbq. Our little one loved broccoli salad and their yummy cheesecake.
Another great stop was at The Pour House. We loved the vibe and kids meals are served on the cutest lunch trays! I recommend one of their burgers and a cold draft.
5. The Trolley
Did you know that Chillicothe features a FREE trackless trolley that runs downtown? You can’t help but smile when you see this delightful red and gold trolley pull up. The route runs downtown, will stops at the Main Library, at various shops and boutiques, the pool, the fire house and coffee shop. Kids and adults alike will enjoy a ride on this adorable trolley.
6. Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop
No visit to Chillicothe is complete without a stop at Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop! This whimsical shop is packed floor to ceiling and wall to wall with candy, gifts, and all sorts of sweets. If it’s candy, you’ll find it here!
If you love soda pop, you’ll be delighted to see the MASSIVE selection of sodas on display.
One of the highlights of the store is their $5 candy buffet! They will hand you a small box, and let you select as many candies as you can cram into the box – all for just FIVE dollars!
7. Unique Shopping
After filling up on candy, stroll along the beautiful downtown area and pop into some of the unique shops.
There were so many whimsical boutiques along Paint Street that you could spend an entire day just browsing and looking for gems.
8. Hiking and More
If you love to be enjoy the great outdoors and get out and move, you’ll love all the hiking trails and parks in Chillicothe.
Check out Great Seal State Park for some challenging hiking trails and mountain biking, Millennium Grove for light strolling while you check out over 40 species of trees, or Scioto Trail State Park for some breathtaking views, and time spent canoeing or boating.
9. Adena Mansion
We LOVED exploring Adena Mansion. Home of Thomas Worthington, one of Ohio’s first Senators and the 6th Governor of the State.
The mansion was completed in 1807 and has been painstakingly restored to its original glory. I highly recommend taking a guided tour of the mansion – we learned so much about the history of the family, as well as the house.
After the guided tour, you can explore the beautiful grounds and gardens.
There is also a museum that you can wander through on your own time. My little one especially loved the interactive features of the museum and learning about the Worthington Family and all their children.
10. Tecumseh! Outdoor Drama
And finally, saving our favorite for last, you HAVE to check out Tecumseh! This outdoor drama depicting legendary Shawnee Leader, Tecumseh and his fight to defend his people has been running for over FIFTY years! Located on Sugar Loaf Mountain, this drama is immersive, engaging and totally unique.
I highly recommend getting there early, especially if you are visiting with little ones. There is a “behind-the-scenes” experience each day at 4pm, 4:45, and 5:30 and it was one of my favorite things. The actors will take you through the theatrical magic – they’ll show you how the simulate fighting, show you how the prop guns fire, and even how they can depict “bleeding” during the action.
I think it’s especially good to go on this if you have little ones who might otherwise be a little alarmed during the show. I know my daughter loved learning about all the little tricks they use to make things look realistic.
In addition the tour, you can also grab some food and drink before the show, pop into the shops, or let your kids go prospecting for gems!
We had such an amazing time spending our weekend exploring Chillicothe, and have already made plans to come back with our friends! Whether you’re looking for vintage treasures, eager to learn about Ohio history, love local eats, or want to watch some seriously good outdoor theatre, Chillicothe has something for everyone.
This trip was sponsored by Ohio,The Heart of it All. All thoughts and opinions are my own.