Named after a French settlement in the 1790s, the chartered village of Gallipolis in Ohio is a bustling city known for farming, shipping, and coal farming.
The town, located in Ohio’s southeast portion, teems with museums, parks, historical landmarks, and venues for workshops.
The Ohio River runs through Gallipolis, giving the village a scenic landscape.
Historically, the river became an essential part of Gallipolis’ development as settlers and traders entered the village through there.
This small yet captivating village is home to over 3,600 residents.
Tourists frequent the place because of its stunning nature views and rich history.
If you are looking for a peaceful and quiet destination for your next trip, here are the best things to do in Gallipolis, Ohio:
Go Fishing and Paddling in the Ohio River
Another must-try activity in Gallipolis is fishing in the Ohio River.
The 1,579-kilometer stretch of the river is home to hundreds of fish species, including smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish, and rock bass.
Public fishing areas are open for fishermen who can choose if they like to catch on the lake, stream, or river.
Bring your family and friends here, and do not forget your fishing equipment to enjoy the fresh fish catch.
Some fishermen even catch record-breaking fish species in the Ohio River without meaning.
Stroll around the Gallipolis City Park
Sprawling along Second Avenue, the Gallipolis City Park is a go-to place for events and celebrations.
Visitors usually gather on the park’s picnic grounds, which operate for 24 hours.
In 1876, they built the bandstand or the kiosk inside the park.
Two years later, they completed Gallipolis City Park.
Fundraisers and weddings were among the first events there.
Since it opens at night, you can stroll around the well-lit park areas and witness the empty space.
You can also take your kids here for playtime or walk your dogs around.
Learn about the Village’s History at Our House Tavern
Its centuries-old history makes Our House Tavern an exciting place to visit during your trip to Gallipolis, Ohio.
The bar also became a resting place for travelers during the 1800s.
Now, the three-story structure houses a museum with a rehabilitated tavern complete with a dining room, ballroom, kitchen, and an attic filled with historical memorabilia.
Volunteers also take visitors around for a museum tour.
Discover Various Bird Species at the Elizabeth L. Evans Waterfowl & Bird Sanctuary
If you are interested in bird species, head to Hedgewood Drive, where you can find the 66-acre Elizabeth L. Evans Waterfowl & Bird Sanctuary.
Watchers have reported various bird sightings in the area, including the great blue heron, belted kingfisher, and the northern flicker.
Geese, ducks, and beavers also live in the wetlands of the Elizabeth L. Evans Waterfowl & Bird Sanctuary.
The rich wildlife in the area makes it an exciting place for watching wildlife, research, and other studies.
Kids and adults should enjoy these animal sightings while visiting the protected sanctuary.
Secure your binoculars and cameras to enjoy the beauty of the wild in this sanctuary.
Explore Nature at the Raccoon Creek County Park
The Racoon Creek County Park is an excellent venue for big family gatherings or a get-together with friends.
Located along Dan Jones Road, the more than 3,000-hectare park draws frequent visitors for picnics, reunions, and other events.
The Raccoon Creek County Park is not only an events place but also a venue where you can relax and enjoy the picturesque views of nature.
If you are looking to do other activities, check out the sports facilities like a field, tennis court, basketball/volleyball court, and playgrounds.
Trails for hikes are also open to the public.
Admission to the park is free, and you can rent shelter houses with tables and outdoor grills for events.
Visit the Gallia County Genealogical Society
Formed to preserve and continue research on Gallia County, the Gallia County Genealogical Society has remained true to its mission since its inception in the early 1980s.
You can stop by the non-profit organization’s office along 2nd Avenue to observe and learn how they transcribe manuscripts and notes to preserve the county’s historical records.
They also keep and study photo albums and other important family documents.
The Gallia County Genealogical Society will offer you more learning during your visit if you are interested in history and the safekeeping of old records.
Hike and Bike the Gallia County Trail
Adventure seekers can try hiking or biking on the 13-kilometer Gallia County Trail, which connects the township of Bidwell to Gallipolis.
A typical hike on this path will take around two and a half hours.
While taking the Gallia County Trail, you will see lush greenery from the trees to the grass.
You can also spot old establishments and landmarks along this trail.
Make sure to bring your camera or phone to capture Instagram-worthy photos.
Most visitors also try running and biking on this trail.
Mountain bikers can access 17 routes, while 24 paths can be taken while hiking.
Watch a Play at the Ariel Opera House
The century-old Ariel Opera House is the main attraction in Gallipolis for lovers of arts, music, and theater.
Built in December 1895 along Second Avenue, the theater has a seating capacity of 180.
Famous artists held shows here, but the opera house deteriorated and decayed over the years.
Efforts to restore the magnificent structure of the Ariel Opera House began in the 1980s, opening again to the public in 1990.
The transfer of ownership renamed the opera house to Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre in 2006.
Today, it hosts shows, recitals, fashion shows, concerts, and music classes.
It is also home to the well-known Ohio Valley Symphony.
The Ariel Opera House also hosts Christmas shows and other significant performances.
Take Theater Workshops at the French Art Colony
Stop by The French Art Colony on 1st Avenue if you love the arts.
The 50-year-old arts center traces its roots to oil painting classes overlooking the river in the 1960s.
Now, it serves as the home of the local performers, the Riverby Theatre Guild, which holds community theater and puppet performances.
You can also bring your kids here for theater and dance workshops.
Classes usually have 13 sessions on weekdays.
Apart from the theater, the French Art Colony is a repository of paintings and written documents from a hundred years ago.
You can also check these historical pieces during your visit.
Celebrate a Sparkling Christmas with Gallipolis in Lights
Gallipolis is a popular destination for many who love to witness yuletide lights brighten a community.
An annual “Gallipolis in Lights” event occurs from late November to early January.
The Gallipolis City Park transforms into a Christmas village with brightly colored lights and ornaments wrapping the area.
When the celebration begins in November, live bands, reindeer shows, and fireworks display welcome visitors.
Likewise, a Miss Gallipolis in Lights pageant happens a month before the event’s official start.
Check Out Historical Collections at the Gallipolis Railroad Freight Station Museum
Constructed in 1901, the Gallipolis Railroad Freight Station was the center of commerce and trade in Gallipolis, delivering and storing cargo.
Eighty years later, it closed, but the original railroads and some rail cars remained.
In 2016, the Gallipolis Railroad Freight Station Museum opened to showcase the restored memorabilia of the old freight station.
The museum along 3rd Avenue displays a model train, railroad collections from the early 1900s, and old vehicles, including an old-fashioned fire truck.
A learning center is also open to teaching visitors, especially kids, the history of Gallipolis village and the railroad freight station.
Kids can also make train crafts and join story sessions while visiting the Gallipolis Railroad Freight Station Museum.
Add a Toy to Your Collection at Next Level Gaming Center
If you like collecting gaming stuff, the Next Level Gaming Center is worth a visit when you head to Gallipolis, Ohio.
The store along Vine Street features almost all games, including GURPS, Dungeons and Dragon, Gundam, Pokemon, and many others.
Buying, selling, and trading video games are also possible in the Next Level Gaming Center.
Next Level Gaming Center holds Dungeons and Dragons games on Wednesdays, where you can participate and join their roster.
The gaming center is open daily except on Mondays and Sundays.
Grab the opportunity to visit their store and add a game or two to your collection.
Dress Up at the Mothman Festival
Since the Mothman is such an iconic figure in Gallipolis, the community also holds an annual festival named after the mythical creature.
The Mothman Festival remembers the legend of the Mothman’s sighting in the village in the 1960s.
The celebration includes live performances, food fairs, paranormal sessions, and cosplay.
Drop by the festival along the main street and dress like your favorite movie, cartoon, or game character.
After all, admission is free to the festival.
See a Movie at the Colony Gallipolis
Previously called the Colony Theater, The Colony Gallipolis is a movie house inside one of the village’s oldest structures.
The theater began operation in the 1930s then semi-operated as a club but still showed movies.
Likewise, the Colony Gallipolis opens for movie screenings, music, and food fairs.
Visit the Colony Gallipolis if you like rewatching movies like I Can Only Imagine from a few years back.
Events like Halloween parties and other celebrations are also held in the venue.
Take a Photo with the Mothman Statue
You won’t miss the 12-foot Mothman Statue when you pass by Upper River Road.
It stood where people supposedly saw the creature from village folklore, especially during World War II.
Likewise, people believe that the Mothman has links to the tragedy of the Silver Bridge Collapse that claimed the lives of 46 individuals.
The statue has become a landmark in Gallipolis, red-eyed and chromed, so do not forget to capture a photo with this iconic statue.
Records and memorabilia of the so-called sightings of the Mothman are also inside the Mothman Museum, located just across from the figure.
If you are looking for props and other documents relating to the legend of the Mothman, this museum is the go-to place.
Buy Mothman merchandise, books, and clothing at the Mothman Statue in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, 11 minutes from Gallipolis.
A rich history and outstanding location make Gallipolis, Ohio, a must-visit destination for your next trip.
It promises an adventure with nature while taking you on tour back to the past.
Plan your trip today and discover the best things to do in Gallipolis, Ohio!