Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Hamilton, OH

  • Published 2023/03/24

Visit Hamilton to see a mural and sculpture right in the heart of its downtown, honoring its namesake Alexander Hamilton.

In 1791, it was founded as Fort Hamilton.

However, the city will always be known for its unique history, art, and innovation.

Speaking of arts, this city is the City of Sculpture, where you can discover more than 40 sculptures scattered all over the place.

You can find many curated pieces in various art shops in the city, including Sara’s House, The Studio, and Petals & Wicks.

Plus, there are vibrant murals to admire across downtown, so you’ll never run out of artsy sights to enjoy.

Interestingly, Hamilton also has a place where you can find thousands of CDs, cassettes, and even old and new vinyl records.

After going around and enjoying the offerings of Hamilton, don’t say no to some delicious treats from Luke’s or a heart-warming latte from True West Coffee.

There are also some excellent brews from the Municipal Brew Works that will awaken your senses.

Here are the 15 best things to do in Hamilton, OH:

Explore the Benninghofen House

Exterior of the Benninghofen House

Amy Bolinder, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit Dayton Lane and see the impressive Benninghofen House, built in 1892 by Anna and Christian Benninghofen.

Though a century-old house, it still impresses many visitors.

See its beautiful fireplaces that feature Hamilton tiles and intricate woodwork, a majestic front porch, Lincrusta wall coverings, and superb stained glass windows.

It has a spacious backyard, which features an outdoor kitchen with a pizza oven, a fire pit, and a tree fort.

After changing hands from one owner to another, the Bennighofen House was finally sold to Bekki and Michael Rennick.

They transformed the place into a boutique hotel and events space.

Aside from weddings and events, it also features therapeutic massage and yoga classes.

Best of all, the place is close to other worthwhile stops like the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill and the Butler County Donut Trail.

Visit the Ancient Sculpture Museum at the Pyramid Hill

The Ancient Sculpture Museum is on Pyramid Hill, featuring a 10,000-square-foot museum with four galleries.

Check out Greek, Egyptian, Etruscan, Syrian, and Roman sculptures that go back to 1550 BC.

Admire changing exhibitions that display local, regional, and even national artists.

Before leaving the place, check out the Founder’s Library, which features a visual representation of the park’s history.

Get Your Christmas Tree at Bartels Farm

One of the most memorable holiday traditions is picking out our Christmas tree.

In Hamilton, go where the locals pick their Christmas trees, Bartels Farm.

Witness the locals going around the ten-acre pine tree farm as they search for the tree that resonates with them.

Families can cut down their own trees, a memorable experience for everyone.

This Christmas tree farm is within the 124-acre land between Oxford and Trenton, Ohio.

Afterward, you can see their live animals or sip some delicious hot chocolate while doing your Christmas shopping.

Enjoy a Unique Musical Experience with the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra

A unique musical experience awaits you at the Butler Philharmonic.

It has entertained audiences for more than 60 years, growing tremendously with the county.

Today, the orchestra plays to more than 400,000 people in the region.

The Butler Philharmonic has performed in outdoor and indoor venues across Ohio.

Interestingly, its American Masters Series invites a distinguished composer for a residency and a special concert featuring his works.

Exercise Creativity at the Fitton Center for Creative Arts

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts goes beyond just galleries and displays.

For a quarter of a century, Fitton Center has offered art workshops and classes for various ages, featuring dancers and actors as well as live performances.

Explore its art galleries and realize how the arts are an excellent tool for addressing social problems and improving health and awareness.

Enjoy Local Craft Brews at the Municipal Brew Works

Spend one or two nights at the Municipal Brew Works to experience Hamilton’s local craft beer scene.

Located on High Street, this establishment is in a beautifully restored building that now features a brewery and a tap room.

This place is unique because it is full of history, not only because it’s in an old building but also in the names of their brews.

You can dine inside or enjoy the summer air on the patio.

There’s a food truck where you can order delectable dishes to match your beer.

There are also tons of other local restaurants nearby that deliver food to the Municipal Brew Works.

See Antique Cars at the Hamilton Annual Antique and Classic Car Parade

How often do you see beautiful antique and classic cars?

Join the Hamilton Annual Antique and Classic Car Parade on High Street.

Every summer, this parade will amaze antique car lovers as it features almost 300 classic cars.

The parade leader changes every year, which already included a 1954 Packard Caribbean Convertible, one of only 400 models made.

Only 24 still exist today, so you can imagine how rare these automobiles are.

Beginning at the Butler Courthouse, the parade goes to the Fairfield Crossing and heads back to the Courthouse.

The starting point is full of life, accompanied by live music, plus awards for classic and antique cars.

Join the Butler County Fair

Summers are always way more fun in Hamilton with the Butler County Fair on Fairgrove Avenue.

The largest fair in the country attracts more than 100,000 guests each year and features many games, rides, and livestock exhibits.

There are also tons of food featuring local dishes of Hamilton.

You can go around and watch a flower show, some livestock auctions, and cake and pie judging.

Your kids will also love getting up close and personal with farm animals, including bunnies, pigs, chickens, and cattle.

Don’t miss the demolition derby, tug-a-truck, tractor and truck pull, and antique tractor pull.

Check Out the Hamilton Flea

This market lets visitors and locals experience the unique atmosphere of the city and its revitalization.

Enjoy shopping and dining, including a walk of shops and eateries on the High Street.

You can visit the farmer’s market, have a drink at one or two breweries, dine at restaurants, and find some unique handcrafted trinkets.

You can spend an entire day here, but you won’t get tired because of the endless opportunities for a new experience.

Relax at Hanover Winery

Visiting the Hanover Winery feels like entering a secluded rural area with acres of vines, lakes, and greenery.

Bring your friends over to enjoy the relaxing ambiance with a glass or bottle of wine.

Likewise, enjoy its many events with live music.

Choose from 26 wines, all produced onsite.

Many of these wines have won international wine competitions.

Join wine tastings either in the tasting room or during the events.

Hanover Winery also has one of the best sunsets you’ve ever seen.

Grab Old Vinyl Records at the Main Street Vinyl

Main Street Vinyl features thousands of both old and new vinyl, making it a unique shop on Main Street.

You’ll find not just vinyl records but also classic music gadgets such as cassettes, CDs, and turntables.

Your grandparents will love for you to get them a copy of their favorite classics in the form they’re most familiar with.

Join the Nook Brew Fest

The Nook Brew Fest lets you enjoy three hours of beer tastings, plus entertainment and lots of food!

With more than 40 breweries and food trucks, you’re guaranteed to have fun as you’ve never had before.

Discover Scented Candles at Petals & Wicks

Petals & Wicks is your slice of heaven if you’re into scented candles.

This cozy shop entices you to make your scented candle.

They will help you develop the scent you want by asking you what specific type you’re looking for.

Choose five to 15 scents from 70 candles, and you’ll mix them yourself.

The owners will put this blend into soy-based wax and place it in a container.

The wax takes about 30 minutes to settle.

In the meantime, go around and shop or eat at a nearby local restaurant.

Best of all, you can name your own signature scented candle.

Catch the Big Game at the Drink Tavern

Catch the big game at the Drink Tavern.

Located near the German Village, the tavern serves hoagie, pizza, and brat, which you can pair with your beer.

They also serve cocktails if you prefer to sit down and pass the time.

However, it’s best to come here and enjoy a game of tiki toss, darts, or corn hole with the other patrons.

Afterward, you can sit down at either the covered patio or the sun-kissed one and enjoy the moment with a drink in hand.

Join a Guided Tour with the Walking Tour Company

Exploring a new town or city by yourself and getting lost can be fun and exciting.

However, you might miss seeing certain stops that only locals know.

Join a tour with the Walking Tour Company and spend two hours exploring Hamilton on foot.

Depending on your preference, choose from their eat and drink tours, art and architecture tours, and historical tours.

An expert local guide will show you everything that you need to see in Hamilton and explain its historical or cultural significance.

Enjoy Family Movies at Holiday Auto Theatre

Drive in, relax, and enjoy family-friendly movies featured by Holiday Auto Theatre.

You’ll find this 1950s drive-in theater on Old Oxford Road at State Route 130.

This single-screen outdoor venue has been showing mainstream movies for over 60 years.

The season runs from April to October, mostly during the weekends; you can also check their website for featured movies, time slots, and drive-in guidelines.

Watch with the whole family and tune in your radio to 90.7 FM for the stereo sound.

While enjoying the show, you can have tasty snack treats and drinks from the Snack Bar; try the Family Combo with pizza, steak burgers, snacks, and fountain drinks to share with everyone.

They have Great Eats like Steakburger with Cheese and Nathan’s All-Beef Hot Dog both served with chips and pickle spears.

Plus, you can have different pizza flavors, nachos, pretzels, and popcorn, along with Kids’ Combo snacks, Great Sweets and Cool Treats, sodas, and beverages.

The theater is a Wi-Fi Hotspot giving you internet access and is also pet-friendly, so you can bring along your leashed dogs to enjoy with you.

You’ll surely have a great movie night at Holiday Auto Theatre.

Catch Amazing Productions at the Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre

If you love stage plays, be sure to drop by the Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre to catch these amazing local talents.

The theater group has been entertaining the Hamilton community for over 60 years since its founding in 1958.

In their first 10 years, they have produced 76 productions and featured many stage performances for decades.

The Creative Center at the Palace on South Third Street, which serves as the theater community’s home, is where they host meetings, rehearsals, and auditions; likewise, it also has a workshop and storage for costumes and set pieces.

Get your tickets at the Palace and on their website or sponsor a show to support the theatre community.

You can see the Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre group performances at the Miami University Hamilton’s Parrish Auditorium.

Tour the Historic Lane Hooven House

Exterior of the Historic Lane Hooven House

Isaac and Alex Singleton, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Another historic site to visit downtown is the Lane Hooven House right on North 3rd Street.

This 1863 residence was built for Clark Lane, a local industrialist who was known to be the first philanthropist in Hamilton.

This Gothic Revival-style home was regarded as the most unique structure in the area back then and was sometimes referred to as “Lane’s Folly.”

It took 11 months to complete the structure and Lane made sure that its doors were always open for charity to aid the community.

After several decades, the Hamilton Community Foundation took ownership of the historic home in 1951, and became the institution’s home; it was also listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Today, you can go on self-guided tours from Monday to Friday and know more about the community’s rich history.

Enter the rooms and browse through antique furnishings and vintage items.

You’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you tour the Lane Hooven House.

Have Rounds of Golf at the Twin Run Golf Course

Book a tee time and play rounds of golf game at the Twin Run Golf Course.

This full-service golf course is located at Eaton Avenue and offers excellent 18-hole fairways and a breathtaking view of the property.

They have Weekday, Weekend, and Holiday rates along with unlimited golf Season Passes including Adult, Senior, and Junior Memberships valid from January to December; likewise, they also have Summer Weekday Memberships you can enjoy from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Want to practice your swings and hone your golfing skills? The course has some of the best practice facilities to help improve your game.

They have a driving range, putting green, and a short game fairway with green and bunker to give you enough challenge and level up your shots.

After your rounds and practice sessions, you can relax and get your food and drinks at the full-service bar and concession stand.

Twin Run Golf Course also offers indoor golf and outing packages for large groups.

Spot the Downtown Arts in the Parks

Wander around downtown and you’ll surely spot the city’s popular Arts in the Parks.

Headed by the Hamilton Parks Conservancy, the program aims to promote arts and entertainment to locals and visitors with over 30 art sculptures, murals, and monuments scattered in Hamilton’s local parks.

Start your art walk at North 2nd Street to see the Birdhouse and Bird Bike Rack, then head off to Rotary Park to see the Forest Treasure, a sculpture by Douglas Gruizenga.

Drop by Armstead Park and you’ll find Miles Metzger’s When it Rains, it Pours bronze sculpture, along with a mural of Alexander Hamilton.

You’ll be delighted to see more bronze sculptures called Park Place by Glenna Goodacre along with Stephen Marcum’s Marcum Heart in the Park both placed at Marcum Park.

Take pictures of other sculptures like Jerry Hawkins’ Pioneer Family or the Firefighter Memorial located at Monument Park and others dotted around different parks.

Check out the colorful and artistic murals like the Great Blue Heron, Dragonfly, and Nature Center Mural at Joyce Park, the Praying Mantis Trio, Great Horned Owl, and Totem Pole at Millikin Woods.

Likewise, you’ll be fascinated with the Jefferson Mural, the Bald Eagle right on Veteran’s Park, the Luna Moth located in Benninghofen Park, Jim Grimm Park’s American Robin Family, and the Cardinal Pair at LJ Smith Park.

Take a stroll at these parks and admire the Arts in the Parks.

Final Thoughts

Hamilton is a great place to explore with its blend of history, culture, fun, and relaxation.

You can always choose your ‘happy pill’ from its wide array of activities, depending on what you feel like doing for the day.

With its laidback atmosphere, you can certainly relax in the chill vibe of Hamilton, OH.

Book your trip today!

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