Sitting 30 miles west of downtown Cleveland, Ohio, is the small yet thriving city of Elyria.
Forming a part of the greater Cleveland Metropolitan Area, the city has a population of over 52,000 per the 2020 census.
Moreover, the city has been the county seat of Lorain County since the latter’s founding in 1822.
Heman Ely, who arrived in 1817 with his band of early settlers, founded the city.
Consequently, the settlement’s name is also a combination of Heman’s last name and the ancient Mediterranean region of Illyria.
One major event in the city’s history is its denouncement of slavery, which was further reinforced when it filed a resolution opposing the Fugitive Slave Act in 1852.
As such, the city prides itself on a highly diverse community, with many residents of African-American descent playing important roles in the city over the course of its long history.
Elyria continued to progress well beyond the end of World War II and into the 21st century, serving as home to several manufacturing and technology companies.
Moreover, the attractive city offers plenty of recreational activities for everyone.
Here are the best things to do in Elyria, Ohio:
See the Gorgeous Waterfalls at Cascade Park
Owing to its natural beauty, Cascade Park is one of the most famous attractions in Elyria.
The park covers an area of 145 acres right at the heart of the city.
Its most notable features are its two beautiful waterfalls, the East Falls and West Falls, both of which are located in the southern part of the park.
As such, the park offers convenient access for visitors to enjoy the breathtaking views and take snaps of the majestic natural wonders.
For those who are seeking more challenge, they can embark on an outdoor adventure with the park’s network of trails stretching nearly four miles.
During winter, the park becomes a popular skiing spot in Elyria thanks to its sledding hill.
The park’s picnic areas, along with its two playgrounds, also make it the ideal place for a relaxing family get-together.
It may only have basic amenities, but Cascade Park’s unmatched natural features earn its spot as a must-visit in the city.
Go for an Outdoor Adventure at Bridgeway Trail
The Bridgeway Trail stretches 4.5 miles between Elyria and the neighboring city of Lorain in the north.
Running parallel with the Black River, the trail forms a part of the Black River Reservation, operated by the Lorain County Metro Parks.
Popular among hikers and outdoor adventurers, the trail takes you to scenic views of the river, lush woodlands, and open meadows.
It also has a section where you can experience walking over treetops as you cross the 1,000-foot river bridge.
With its pristine environment serving as home to animals like deer and water birds, the trail is also perfect for wildlife watching.
The trail also crosses along two parks in Elyria, High Meadows, and Bur Oak, which make for a perfect stopover.
Along with picnic tables, these parks are equipped with playgrounds and wide open spaces for playing.
Whether you’re an avid outdoor adventurer or a casual hiker, Bridgeway Trail’s picturesque scenery makes every hike worthwhile.
Take a Glimpse of the Past at The Hickories Museum
A haven for antique enthusiasts, The Hickories Museum takes you to the life and times of a prominent Elyria family right at the turn of the 20th century.
Built for the Garford Family between 1894 and 1896, the house features a distinct Victorian-style architecture.
Moreover, the house got its name from the numerous hickory trees planted around the property.
Most notably, it earned a place in the city’s history as the first house to have electricity, central heating, and plumbing.
Aiming to preserve the house in its full glory for future generations, the Lorain County Historical Society transformed it into a museum, becoming a local attraction in Elyria.
Along with the original wood furnishings, the house retains many household items used by the family, including silverware and décor.
However, one of the most interesting items in the museum is the bicycle that the family patriarch, Arthur Garford, rode to work.
You can also find many personal items like clothes and shoes which date back to the early 1900s.
There are also volumes of old books, photographs, and other memorabilia from the past.
With its well-preserved architecture and fascinating antiques, entering The Hickories Museum on Washington Avenue will make you feel like you’ve been transported back in time.
Jump around at Altitude Trampoline Park
Altitude Trampoline Park is a fully featured indoor recreation center in the central part of the city.
Along with its main court filled with bouncy trampolines, the amusement center houses several other attractions within its 25,000 square feet of floor space.
You can play with friends at the extreme dodgeball, show off some hoop skills at the trampoline basketball, or simply swim at the large foam pit.
There’s also a dedicated kid’s court complete with child-friendly features.
Together with their tumble track, they also have performance trampolines that feature landing zone reaching up to 8 feet.
Additionally, the trampoline park also hosts special events like Pizza Nights, Junior Jumpers Jam, and Glo in the Park, to name a few.
With plenty of fun features for everyone, you’ll find yourself jumping with joy at Altitude Trampoline Park on Market Drive.
Enjoy a Hearty Meal at Midway Oh Boy Restaurant
Midway Oh Boy Restaurant is a classic American diner located in the northwestern part of the city.
Since its opening in 1953, the diner has retained its vintage vibe and even boasts a classic jukebox.
Best known for its sandwiches, burgers, and daily specials, the servings also come in generous portions.
You can also enjoy delicious appetizers like fries, onion rings, and cheese puffs.
You can then pair these up with their overflowing milkshakes or beverages like coffee, juices, and soda.
The cozy dining area also evokes a warm, friendly atmosphere which allows for an enjoyable gastronomic experience.
The restaurant also offers delivery and takeout meals, so you can enjoy the delicious specialties anywhere you want.
Offering sumptuous meals for everyone, Midway Oh Boy Restaurant provides a dining experience that is just as memorable as its quirky name.
Dine and Chill at Wolfey’s Bistro & Pub
Located at E. Broad Street in the western part of Elyria, Wolfey’s Bistro & Pub ranks not only as one of the most popular restaurants in the city but also among the best spots to hang out.
For starters, the restaurant boasts an extensive menu, from its soups and salads to its subs and sandwiches.
Its freshly made pizza and juicy burgers are also among its specialties, along with its main course of steaks, chicken, and pasta.
You can then pair them up with non-alcoholic drinks like sodas and juices.
However, you can also try its wide range of alcoholic beverages, like signature cocktails, draft beers, and wines.
On top of its accommodating and spacious dining area, the restaurant also features a patio for an alfresco dining experience.
With its great food and drink offerings, Wolfey’s Bistro & Pub guarantees a great time for everyone.
Play Bowling and Hang Out at Cookies’ 10 Pin
Cookies’ 10 Pin is a small bowling alley located in the eastern part of Elyria.
The alley may only feature eight bowling lanes, but all these are packed with modern features such as scoring computers and underground running balls.
Moreover, despite its small size, there is a nice dining area with phenomenal food.
Along with its meat gyro and pretzel sticks, many locals swear by its famous wings, often calling them the best in the city.
Additionally, it also has a bar where you can hang out and drink with friends after a few rounds of bowling.
The friendly small-town vibe and fantastic food choices make bowling at Cookies’ 10 Pin an exceptionally enjoyable experience.
Relax and Enjoy the Activities at Ely Square Park
Sitting at the heart of the city is a one-acre patch of green space known as Ely Square Park.
Small yet beautifully landscaped, the park offers a quick escape from the bustle of city life.
Forming the park’s centerpiece is a beautiful Victorian-style water fountain that was built in the early 1900s.
Other notable landmarks of the park are a veterans memorial, as well as a gorgeous gazebo which can be leased for private use.
Of course, the park is dotted with benches where you can spend a relaxing time alone.
Thanks to its location, the park is also the go-to venue for many of Elyria’s public events and activities like concerts and annual festivals, among others.
The nice environment and exciting activities are more than enough reasons for anyone to drop by and stay at Ely Square Park.
Grab Delicious Donuts at Expresso Bakery
One of Elyria’s hidden gems, Expresso Bakery on 4th Street, may be small, but it boasts some of the best donuts in the city.
With over 20 flavors to choose from, you can find timeless classics like glazed and strawberry.
The bakery also takes pride in its freshly made donuts and use of premium ingredients.
On top of the signature donuts, Expresso Bakery also offers other tasty treats like apple fritters and cinnamon rolls.
Moreover, you can try their equally tasty baked goodies like cookies, muffins, and cakes.
Of course, these are best paired with hot and cold beverages such as coffee, milk, and chai.
Guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings, Expresso Bakery has plenty of delicious treats to keep you coming back for more.
Try Wall Climbing at On The Rocks Climbing Gym
On The Rocks Climbing Gym, which is situated on the western outskirts of the city, is your go-to place for a fun and thrilling wall climbing experience.
The premier rock climbing gym boasts over 8,000 square feet of climbing wall space of varying heights, with some even designed with colorful graffiti.
There’s also no need for you to bring your own gear, as they offer gear rentals like harnesses and climbing shoes.
More importantly, with safety as their top-most priority, you are ensured of a worry-free climb with each attempt.
Little ones can also join in the fun, with children as young as four years old allowed to climb on their special themed climbing walls.
On the other hand, they also host special events like Ropes League, as well as classes on wall climbing, yoga, and fitness.
As a bonus, they also offer free Wi-Fi internet access so you can live stream your climb on social media.
Offering both advanced and beginner-friendly features, On The Rocks Climbing Gym is the perfect place to test your strength while having fun.
Buy Fresh Produce at Grobe Fruit Farm
Grobe Fruit Farm, located along Telegraph Road in the western part of the city, is Elyria’s go-to place for fresh produce.
The family-owned farm’s history dates back to 1905, when it started as a dairy and potato farm, with apple orchards added later in the 1920s.
Open from July to March, the farm offers a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, even during winter.
You can find fruits such as apples, peaches, and plums, among others.
They also have vegetables like eggplant, cucumbers, and cabbage, just to name a few.
Along with their famous sweet corn, you can also find peppers, onions, and fresh herbs for your flavorful and aromatic fresh salad.
On the other hand, the farm also offers other food products like salsa, maple syrup, and pickles.
If you want fresh fruits and vegetables in Elyria, head to Grobe Fruit Farm.
Play Golf at the Valley of the Eagles
If you are itching to hit the greens, then Valley of the Eagles is the perfect place.
Located near the heart of Elyria, the award-winning golf course boasts smooth fairways and perfectly trimmed greens, not to mention majestic views of the Black River.
The course also features several challenging holes, which pose a serious challenge even to seasoned golfers.
If you can’t play on the actual golf course due to bad weather, you can still enjoy the game thanks to their state-of-the-art golf simulators.
On the other hand, you can also enjoy a delicious meal in their in-house restaurant, Black River Tavern.
Considered one of the best in the city, the restaurant boasts an impressive menu, ranging from sandwiches, salads, and pasta to tender steaks and chicken.
A beautiful course with a fantastic restaurant, Valley of the Eagles offers an amazing tee time for everyone.
Swim and Play at East Park
With an area of over 25 acres, Elyria’s East Park houses a plethora of recreation facilities for everyone to enjoy.
You can choose to play at any of the park’s baseball, football, and soccer fields or simply watch local teams engage in friendly matches.
Additionally, it houses a recreation center, which is also equipped with a full-sized indoor basketball court.
You can also take a quick hike along the short but well-paved fitness trail that weaves through the park.
Another standout feature of the park is its outdoor swimming pool, where you can take a dip to cool off during a particularly hot day.
There’s also a playground for children to play on, as well as benches where you can relax and enjoy the park’s refreshing environment.
Moreover, the park also has a gazebo that can be rented out for special private events.
Whether you want to burn some calories or are simply looking for a nice breather, East Park is one of the best places in Elyria to enjoy both.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Relax and Swim at Lakeview Park
A quick 20-minute drive north in the city of Lorain will take you to the scenic Lakeview Park.
It covers an area of 20 acres along the shores of Lake Erie.
It features a nice and clean sandy beach, which is perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
Moreover, you can enjoy other water activities like paddle-boarding and kayaking on the clear lake waters.
Another noteworthy feature of Lakeview Park is its gorgeous rose garden filled with roses of different colors.
On top of beach volleyball, you can also play lawn bowling right at the park.
After all those fun lakeside activities, you can then enjoy a nice meal at the park’s Sunset Café.
However, you can also choose to simply relax, maybe go for a picnic with the family, and enjoy the picturesque views of the lakeside.
A fantastic beach, a beautiful rose garden, and an in-park restaurant are just among the many reasons why Lakeview Park is the perfect place for a much-deserved breather.
Ride on Bumper Boats at Swings-N-Things Fun Park
Swings-N-Things Fun Park can be reached via a 20-minute drive to the east in Olmstead Falls.
As its name suggests, the fully-featured amusement park hosts a plethora of attractions that everyone can enjoy.
One of its most popular attractions is its bumper boats, where you can splash around with friends and family.
Each bumper boat is also equipped with its own squirt gun, taking the water action to a whole new level.
On the other hand, if you feel the need for speed, you can hop onto one of their go-karts and run a few laps on the race track.
If you want extra action, you can play laser tag and paintball matches with your peers.
You can also try their other fun features like batting cages, mini golf, and mini bowling lanes.
Along with their arcade, they also have a specially designed playground where little toddlers can safely play.
After a fun yet tiring bumper boat battle, you can then cool off with delicious homemade ice cream and refreshments at the ice creamery.
Grown-ups can also relax and order a drink at the aptly named The Inside the Park Taproom & Wine Bar.
With tons of features for kids and adults, Swings-N-Things Fun Park is the ultimate destination for family recreation.
Elyria strikes the right balance of a thriving urban center and a dynamic community with a deeply rooted history.
Replete with beautiful attractions and fun activities, the city offers plenty of recreation opportunities to everyone.
Plan your vacation to the city today and make this your official list of the best things to do in Elyria, Ohio.