15 Best Things to Do in Circleville, OH

Circleville, OH
JNix / Shutterstock.com

Bring the family on a great escapade to the city of Circleville, the county seat of Pickaway, Ohio.

In 1810, Daniel Dresbach founded this area along the Scioto River.

The place got its name from the circular earthworks, which the Hopewell culture of pre-contact Native Americans established.

True to its name, Circleville followed an unusual circular pattern that somehow tired out its residents.

In 1837, under the authority of the Ohio legislature, the Circleville Squaring Company redesigned the community into a traditional grid layout.

You can see how the city has kept its closeness to nature through its numerous recreational parks and preserves.

Its museums and historical spots also help visitors know Circleville better.

The city's winery is also a must-visit for locals and visitors alike.

However, if there's one thing that Circleville is known for, it's the Annual Pumpkin Show.

One of the major festivals in the country, it takes place from the 3rd Wednesday to Saturday of October, bringing together more than 400,000 visitors each year.

Don't be the last to visit the city.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Circleville, OH.

Know One of the Greatest Entertainers of All Time at the Ted Lewis Museum

Exterior of Ted Lewis Museum
Aesopposea, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

More popularly known as Ted Lewis, Theodore Leopold Friedman was among the greatest entertainers from Circleville.

He played the clarinet in the Circleville Cadet Band and earned the title ‘King of Jazz.’

Founded in 1977, the Ted Lewis Museum dedicates itself to the great entertainer, showing significant parts of his life.

You can see him learning to play the clarinet and attempting to skip work at his father’s store by joining carnivals and medicine shows.

Let the museum fascinate you with collections of the artist’s photographs, musical arrangements, essential papers, and personal belongings.

You can’t miss the centerpiece of these collections: Ted’s clarinet and his old, battered top hat.

The museum also contains copies of Ted Lewis' commercially released recordings from 1917 to 1954.

Experience Nature at the A W Marion State Park

Welcome sign of A W Marion State Park
Dan Keck from Ohio, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sounds of nature and quiet waters and the sight of prairie, woodlands, and wildflowers come together harmoniously in the A W Marion State Park.

This place offers seclusion and peace, making it the perfect getaway from the noise of the big city.

Scenic waters of AW Marion State Park
Dan Keck from Ohio, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Though a relatively small park, it boasts a plethora of exciting recreational families that the entire family can enjoy.

Go camping and take the kids hunting, fishing, and boating on Hargus Lake.

A picnic shed at AW Marion State Park
Dan Keck from Ohio, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The best part is that it’s not just for people but also for your furry friends, featuring dog-friendly swim areas.

You can choose from various biking trails, hiking trails, and running courses, with the park providing hand-curated trail maps.

A boardwalk at AW Marion State Park
Dan Keck from Ohio, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore the Mary Virginia Crites Hannan Park

Come to the Mary Virginia Crites Hannan Park to know why it’s such a popular place among locals and visitors.

Located at 1230 Pontius Road, this 72-acre park dazzles with its offerings for a natural park experience.

Experience the area’s only ‘Boundless Playground,’ fire pit, bird watching station, and butterfly garden.

If you love hiking, conquer the park’s 1.2-mile paved trail through the woods before cooling off on the splash pad.

Bring your furry friends along, and let them enjoy the Jeanine Leist McDowell Dog Park.

This dog park has two separate sections: one for large dogs and another for small dogs.

Enjoy Scenic Views and Interesting Stories at the Canal Park

Head southwest of Circleville, on the west bank of the Scioto River, to arrive at the lovely Canal Park.

This 16-acre park boasts scenic views of the Scioto River, a walking path, and historic canal features.

Many locals choose to hold family gatherings at this park, thanks to its amenities like the fire pit, access to the Scioto River, and ample flat green space.

This space lets you enjoy some outdoor games and activities.

It’s also one of the hikers’ favorites, as it features the 0.3-mile Scioto River Trail and the two-mile Towpath Trail.

Whether you want to go fishing, kayaking, or canoeing, you’ll definitely love the experience of seeing a historic part of the Ohio-Erie Canal.

Best of all, the park is pet-friendly!

Get a Glimpse of Ohio's Glacial Past at the Calamus Swamp

The Percy May family donated the Calamus Swamp to the Columbus Audubon.

You can find the swamp on OH-104, some 1.5 miles west of Circleville.

Its 19 acres boasts a beautiful and rare wetland that lets visitors glimpse the glacial past that shaped the landscape of Ohio.

Coming here shows a unique and diverse fauna composed of several unusual plants and animals.

See numerous marsh birds and waterfowls and spot some Yellow Rails, Least Bittern, Virginia, Sora, and Common Moorhen.

Enjoy Great Entertainment and Wines at the Manchester Hill Winery and Vineyard

Visit the Manchester Hill Winery and Vineyard, located on Tarlton Rd, for a day you will never forget.

Taste excellent wines and hard ciders and soak in the sun as you sit on one of the vineyard's picnic tables.

This family-owned winery, established in 2011, combines old-world techniques with modern scientific understanding and analysis to create award-winning wines.

A chemical-free farm, it only uses organic growing methods.

Witness the World-famous Circleville Pumpkin Show

Name sign of Circleville Pumpkin Show
Eric Glenn / Shutterstock.com

Join over 400,000 annual visitors who come to celebrate the Circleville Pumpkin Show.

This annual program started in 1903.

It remains alive today, making it one of the country’s most celebrated and popular festivals.

Attenders of the Circleville Pumpkin Show
, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

On the 3rd Wednesday to Saturday of October each year, the Pumpkin Show provides an opportunity for Ohio farmers to showcase their products.

Today, the Pumpkin show occupies eight city blocks; it took up just three blocks in the past.

Each block features stores selling farm products, games, parades, music entertainment, and two to three dozen rides.

There are also several food vendors scattered throughout the area.

In 2006, for example, event organizers estimated 23,000 pumpkin pies and over 100,000 pumpkin doughnuts sold.

Large pumpkins during the Circleville Pumpkin Show
, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Get Sugar-High at the Wittich’s Candy Shop

Why should you visit a candy shop while in Circleville?

The Wittich’s Candy Shop is the country’s oldest family-owned and operated candy shop, established in 1840.

It celebrates almost 200 years of business and prides itself in its candies, chocolates, make-your-own candy supplies, and soda fountains.

Give in to your sweet cravings and take home some of the best candies you’ve ever tasted.

If want to gift anyone with these sweets, Wittich’s Candy Shop also customizes gifts for any occasion.

Really, though, you don’t need to give a gift to someone to purchase these candies.

Visit a Hidden Gem of Circleville—Mount Oval

Visit Mount Oval, a house hidden behind gigantic cornstalks that have overlooked this pasture for more than 200 years.

The cattle farmer William Renick built the house on an oval knot and brims with history.

This history includes connections with the Native Americans who lived in the Pickaway Plains in the 18th century.

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Challenge Yourself to a Game of Golf at the Pickaway Golf Course

Head to Stoutsville Pike and experience the Pickaway Golf Course, an 18-hole course with excellent amenities and outstanding service.

The place features excellent greens and well-defined roughs and fairways, maintained to consistently meet USGA standards.

Besides its amenities, you will enjoy every game thanks to its staff's superb support and customer service.

The course wants you to have everything you need to make every game a great experience.

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Indulge in More History by Visiting the Clarke-May Museum

The Clarke-May Museum operates from a 1840's-era home. Circleville dentist Edward C. Clarke built the museum, which tells the city's history today.

Clarke's daughter took over the house. She lived there with her close friend, Alice Ada May. Hence, the museum's name.

The Pickaway County Historical Society manages the museum.

Likewise, the museum features numerous artifacts and exhibits, donations from the Clarkes and Mays and many other families in Circleville.

You can also see collections of military uniforms, Native American items, and even women's dresses.

Check out the meeting room, which is considered unique because of its numerous drawings of bird's nests and eggs from the successful ornithologist Genevieve Jones.

Feed Your Love for Books at the Keystone Books and Gifts (NOTE: This place is permanently closed)

If you are a book lover, the Keystone Books and Gifts is one stop you shouldn’t miss.

This bookstore was founded by Lauren, Jim, and Christine Esteph in 2016, offering books of various types and subjects.

Be fascinated by the story of how the owners started their shop, which was with their passion for reading books and the desire to bring to Circleville not just a bookstore but a community center.

Their location on W. Main St makes it easy for visitors and locals to visit them.

One of the interesting things about Keystone Books and Gifts is that it doesn’t only feature books from abroad but also those that are authored by local residents of Ohio.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Watch How Glass is Made at the Ohio Glass Museum

Entrance doors of Ohio Glass Museum
Eric Glenn / Shutterstock.com

The Ohio Glass Museum shows the importance of the glassmaking industry in Lancaster County and Fairfield County.

If you love history, then the Ohio Glass Museum should be at the top of your list.

Located on W. Main St, the museum explains why the area is the perfect place for the glassmaking industry.

The abundance of gas and sandstone in the area sparked the boom of glassmaking there.

Discover exciting displays of collector glassware in the local and surrounding areas.

Colorful glass ball displayed in Ohio Glass Museum
rchat / Shutterstock.com

Check out the collections from the most popular glass producers in the country.

Many of the items in these collections are no longer produced.

One of the things you should also see is the glass-blowing demonstration, which is done either virtually or in the studio.

Also, you can join glass-blowing classes in the Hot Glass Studio.

Before leaving the museum, shop at the gift store for some of the most beautiful glassworks you can find.

(How many minutes is this place from Circleville?)

Blown glass samples in Ohio Glass Museum
rchat / Shutterstock.com

Be Close to Nature by Exploring the Stage’s Pond State Natural Preserve

Travel about 9 minutes from Circleville to the Stage’s Pond State Natural Preserve, a 4-kilometer loop trail near Ashville.

It’s relatively an easy route, which you can complete in around 53 minutes.

Breathe in the cool breeze as you hike or run and enjoy the sight of various species of birds that hover around you.

The best part is that you won’t find many people around, so you can enjoy the solitude and peace.

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Explore the Beautiful Hargus Lake Trail

Just about 11 minutes from Circleville is the beautiful Hargus Lake Trail, a 6.1-kilometer loop trail considered a moderate route.

You can finish it in 1 hour and 29 minutes, but you will feel the time breezing through because of the fantastic scenery.

It’s not just for hiking or running, but you can also go fishing with the family.

If you want to experience solitude, come during the quieter times. You will surely enjoy the calm and serene surroundings.

You can bring your furry friend with you as they are welcome in the park.

In fact, some areas allow dogs to be leash-free.

Final Thoughts

It’s always a great idea to bring the family far away from the hectic pace of the metropolis.

Circleville is an excellent choice, mainly because of its historical and cultural offerings and everything in between.

It offers an activity for every age group, allowing all family members to have their slice of heaven in this fantastic city.

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