15 Best Things to Do in Steubenville, OH

Steubenville, OH
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Steubenville, Ohio, is the "City of Murals."

It's also the seat of and largest city in Jefferson County.

According to legend, it's where they officially founded the state of Ohio.

The builders of Fort Steuben, a 1786 fort inside the city's present boundaries, named it after the Prussian military officer Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben.

A scale model of the fort is now open to the public.

The city's more than 25 downtown murals have earned it the moniker "City of Murals."

La Belle City, a French translation of "Beautiful City," was another common nickname.

Settlement began in the Seven Ranges area in 1786 when a fort was established along the Ohio River.

Steubenville built one of the first federal land offices in the United States and the neighboring Historic Fort Steuben in 1801.

Here are the best things to do in Steubenville, OH:

Take Photos at the Steubenville Murals

Steubenville Mural of Dean Martin
kinggrl from Columbus, Oh, United States., CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Today, Steubenville is the "City of Murals," but it wasn't always true.

In 1986, authorities in Steubenville came up with the notion of beautifying the city to attract visitors to the area.

The Steubenville Murals depict the city's history in large-scale murals on the city's exterior walls.

If you want to learn about history without reading a book, all you have to do is turn a corner down the street.

Check out all twenty-five murals in Hollywood Plaza and Downtown Steubenville, featuring a painting of Steubenville legend Dean Martin.

You may obtain maps for self-guided tours from Steubenville's visitor center.

Explore the Historic Fort Steuben

The 18th-century military fort has been rebuilt in its original position, providing a spectacular view of the Ohio River.

At the Ohio Frontier Experience, the eight buildings in the complex give visitors a sense of what life was like for the troops and surveyors on the frontier.

Remember that these frontiersmen didn't enjoy any modern luxuries we take for granted today.

Knowledgeable interpreters bring to life the fort's history and legends.

There are additional options for self-guided tours.

Since 1978, archaeologists have investigated Fort Steuben.

Every summer, archaeology field schools take place at the site.

Students get field experience in excavating artifacts and cataloging what they find.

Throughout the last 200 years, archaeologists have unearthed buttons, money, and tableware at the fort.

The Visitor Center's Exhibit Hall and Franciscan University of Steubenville house many artifacts.

Revisit History at Jefferson County Historical Museum

In 1973, a group of concerned people convened to establish a society to "preserve, safeguard, and promote the historical papers and archives of Jefferson County."

The organization bought the Sharpe Mansion in 1973, which they transformed into a museum and genealogy library.

The museum has 19 rooms devoted to preserving memories of a bygone era, including its favorite son, Dean Martin.

The secretary of war's desk and photographs of Ohio's presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, are in the President's Room.

You can find many old pictures and scale models of early steamboats in the Transportation Gallery, a time capsule of Ohio life.

Visits to other museum areas evoke warm feelings of nostalgia for a time long gone.

Rooms that date back to the 19th century include the dining room, kitchen, and butler's pantry.

Children's rooms have a variety of toys and games, while the Military Room showcases wartime memorabilia.

Catch a Performance at Berkman Amphitheater

This 30-by-40-foot amphitheater is in Fort Steubenville.

It honors the memory of longtime Steubenville philanthropist and entrepreneur Louis Berkman.

From late May to early August, the Berkman Amphitheater stages concerts as part of the Fort Steuben Summer Concert Series.

These concerts are open to the public.

You can rent the Berkman Amphitheater for non-profit events and activities that support the community's needs.

The amphitheater seats around 300 people on benches, while the grassy field overlooking the Ohio River may accommodate hundreds more.

Catch the City's Historical Markers

On the Ohio River Scenic Byway, you'll discover a plethora of historical markers.

You may find 1,500 markers all around the state.

Cast aluminum signposts commemorate notable individuals, locations, and events and their significance in history.

Historical monuments along the Ohio River, the Ohio River Lock, and Dam 10 honor Andrew Carnegie and Dean Martin.

Other markers commemorate Abraham Lincoln's visit to Steubenville and the First Federal Land Office.

Visit the Steubenville Nutcracker Village

The Steubenville Nutcracker Village is free and open to the public.

Nelson's offers this Steubenville attraction to the residents of the Ohio Valley.

This Nutcracker Village is the world's biggest and most complete collection of life-size nutcrackers, totaling 180.

Nelson's handcrafts each six-foot nutcracker, which they display around the Historic Business District from late November to early January.

The Steubenville Nutcracker Village and Advent Market stand against the Ohio River's stunning backdrop, the Market Street Bridge, and the West Virginia hills.

It is a spectacular event that provides joy to all who attend.

Meet a Local Icon at Dean Martin Hometown Celebration

Dino Crocetti, son of an Italian immigrant, began his singing career in Steubenville, Ohio.

Eventually, he changed his name to Dean Martin and went on to have a brilliant six-decade singing and acting career in New York, Hollywood, and Las Vegas.

Steubenville Mayor Domenick Mucci formed the Dean Martin Committee in 1996.

Dean's daughter, Deana, and her husband, John Griffeth, headed the committee and established an annual celebration in honor of the performer.

It has benefited local high school students studying music and the arts through money raised for the Dean Martin Scholarship Funds.

Many of the festival's activities occur at sites across Steubenville.

Both parking and entry are free.

Take in a variety of entertainment options at Mountaineer Racetrack and Gaming Resort.

These shows include live music, karaoke, film festivals, Dino's Father's Day Buffet, and the Dean Martin Horserace.

Check out memorabilia in the Dean Martin Room at the Jefferson County Historical Museum and Library.

Check Out the First Federal Land Office

Exterior of the First Federal Land Office
Upstateherd, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Across Historic Fort Steuben, you will find the First Federal Land Office.

David Hoge, the Registrar, and his family lived and worked in this log house built in 1801.

For 40 years, the office recorded property grants and transactions.

In today's historic site, you will see antique furnishings and décor from the late 19th century, such as herbs, books, and a corner cabinet.

The horsehair trunk of former US President William Henry Harrison is also part of the collection.

Documents such as deeds and property records cover the walls of the Land Office, along with flax-spun wool and linen napkins.

Apothecary scales, pipes, tintypes, and other common artifacts from the early nineteenth century are also on display.

You can find the original Court House Bell, cast in 1873, on the grounds of the Land Office.

Travel Back in Time at Ohio Valley Frontier Days

Historic Fort Steuben welcomes reenactors, protesters, musicians, storytellers, artists, artisans, and visitors to its family-friendly festival for two days each year.

Troops set up camp within the fort, where they demonstrated the loading and firing of muskets and life for enlisted soldiers in 1787.

As part of their survey of the Ohio frontier, surveyors reuse their equipment and methods.

Native American artifacts and talents are also on display.

Visitors create crafts and participate in historical reenactments.

Members of the 1st American Regiment teach military exercises to young volunteers.

The regiment also opens their buildings to visitors.

These early American craftsmen are on hand to show you how they did it back then.

Musicians from Ohio, including Steve Free, perform on stage in front of a crowd.

There are also food stalls to satisfy your hunger.

Cool Off at Belleview Park

Belleview Park offers an important leisure option.

Besides lap swimming and open swimming, the Belleview Park Swimming Pool also provides swimming instruction and other aquatics activities for the community.

Swim teams are allowed to practice there, following a schedule of swim times and other special events.

In addition to changing rooms, the Swimming Pool offers various additional services.

You can also try wall-climbing at the park.

The park also hosts free concerts and other special events.

Enjoy Retail Therapy at Fort Steuben Mall

Visiting Fort Steuben Mall is a terrific way to get the most out of your money.

It opened in 1974.

Its retailers always give excellent bargains.

Fort Steuben Mall, the region's most popular retail center, combines accessibility with various options.

The Wal-Mart Supercenter has more than 50 shops, including JCPenney, Dick's Sporting Goods, etc.

The friendly staff enhances your purchasing experience.

You may find everything from shoe and furniture businesses to local mom n' pop shops here.

Grab a Page-Turner at BookMarx

If you're a reader or want a location to pick up a book while on vacation, go to BookMarx in downtown Steubenville.

You'll find out-of-print or difficult-to-find books at Bookmarx, a general topic secondhand book shop.

It has over 15,000 new and used books, and you may browse them online or visit them in person.

Buy quality secondhand books are sold at bargain prices.

Play Disc Golf at Beatty Park

Beatty Park is an 18-hole disc golf course that opened in 2007.

It is open all year long so that you can play any time.

Many different shots are available on the course, which has a lot of entertaining elevation changes.

Thanks to the efforts of local volunteers, the park has seen a lot of attention during the last year.

Buy Souvenirs at Something Special by Sheila

Shopping for a loved one and need a present that's out of the ordinary?

Buy everything from baby apparel to bath goods to seasonal décor to jewelry at Something Special by Sheila.

Its shelves are usually packed with fresh and unique products, so you can always uncover a hidden gem.

Check out its holiday area to stock up on cute Christmas decor and Halloween installations.

Then, indulge yourself with the store's many luxurious bath and jewelry options.

It also has a section in the kitchen where you can get delicious chocolates and unique jams.

Meanwhile, you can update your little one's wardrobe with its baby clothing and gift area.

Chill at the Ville Restaurant & Bar

Ville Restaurant and Bar is a family-owned establishment that opened in 1996.

Throughout the years, it has received several recognitions.

The homegrown restaurant gets its name from the city itself.

It offers a variety of cuisines, including American and Italian options.

You may eat it or take it home.

Throughout the day, lunch and supper options are available.

Try the excellent appetizers, handmade soups, steaks and hamburgers, large salads, and more than 30 mouthwatering sandwiches.

There's also excellent veal, chicken, seafood, spaghetti, and prime rib.

You may find this restaurant at Fort Steuben Mall.

Final Thoughts

The town of Steubenville, Ohio, is a fantastic place to visit whether you're a history buff or if you want to get away from it all.