Coolest Places You’ve Never Been: Dublin, Ohio

Top Things to Do

While larger cities tend to grab the attention of out-of-towners, Dublin is a hidden gem in Ohio where the grass is always greener. Just a few minutes’ drive from Columbus with a wealth of fun Irish-themed attractions, Dublin provides a nice change of scenery and a small-town pace. Here are some of the top things to do in Dublin—one of the coolest places you’ve never been.

Irish Attractions

 

Green Irish Fairy door in the Dublin Visitor & Information Center

Irish Fairy Door Trail

When visiting our local shops, you can begin your journey on the ever-popular Irish Fairy Door Trail. The trail leads you and your group on a scavenger hunt throughout downtown to look for hidden, arch-shaped miniature doors, each housing a fairy. Groups can pick up a passport before following a path to find the magical doors. Once you’ve found all the doors and recorded the names of each fairy, you’ll be given a complimentary Fairy Doors of Dublin shirt! The doors can be found in locations like a cupcakery, coffee houses and boutique shops.

All that scavenging will surely build up your appetite. In Dublin, there’s no better way to reward yourself than with a delicious plate of authentic Irish food. Stop by the Dublin Village Tavern (downtown) to enjoy Irish favorites like shepherd’s pie, bangers and mash and fish and chips while relaxing in the cozy space full of vintage beer signs and rustic wood beams.

If you’re planning to travel to the Dublin/Columbus area in August, you’ll want to catch the long-awaited Dublin Irish Festival, celebrating its 33rd anniversary in 2020. This three-day event features performances by Irish bands, beer and whiskey tastings, Celtic sports and plenty of dancing. You can even trace your Irish genealogy with the help of an Irish and Scots-Irish genealogical research expert as you learn about the culture and traditions of Ireland.

A troupe of Irish Dancers performing on stage at the Dublin Irish Festival.

Dublin Irish Festival

Hidden Gems

Get your nature fix at some of the area’s pristine parks including Glacier Ridge Metro Park, home to glacial debris left behind 12,000 to 17,000 years ago. While there, climb up the 25-ft. observation tower to take in views of the 1,037-acre-wide park. Another excellent way to be one with nature is at Riverway Kiwanis Park, located on the eastern shore of the Scioto River. Walk along the man-made boardwalk through the wetlands by the river to see a variety of birds and wildlife.

 

Find a little spot of utopia at The Morgan House. If you love history and scenic gardens, this will be right up your alley. Built in 1985, the house is modeled after a Civil War-era log cabin owned by John Hunt Morgan, a famous war veteran. The house is on a 5-acre lot and functions as a restaurant, gift shop, furniture store and grocery store. Expect gourmet dishes in its restaurant (open for lunch only) like seafood salad, roast beef, and lobster macaroni and cheese. If fresh produce is your thing, visit Jacquemin Farms in Plain City, where you can stock up on in-season veggies and canned jams, then admire the lush scenery surrounding the farm. Don’t miss out on Jacquemin’s fresh handmade doughnuts too.

If you like Halloween, you’ll love the popular Historic Dublin Ghost Tours, which run May through October. Follow a guide through various haunted locations around the historic district, including a cemetery rumored to have paranormal activities. Keep your eyes peeled for a ghost named Pete, a local legend who is said to wander the district.

 

Public Art

 

Three giant rabbit sculptures at the top of a grassy hill.

The Dancing Hares

Dublin takes pride in its impressive public art displays throughout the city. Take a quick stroll through any area in Dublin and you’ll notice several sculptures and art installments. The sculptures have received praise from several publications, including The New York Times and Landscape Architecture Magazine. Start the Art in Public Places Cell Phone Tour by calling from anywhere phone service can be accessed, then go on an adventure to see all the installments with the comprehensive and interactive guide to the collection. Some of the fascinating sculptures you’ll come across on the tour include Leatherlips (a 12-ft.-high portrait of a Native American chief), Field of Corn (a monument to commemorate the community’s farming history) and Exuvia (a golden child attached to a tree branch). For something unusual, visit the Dancing Hares, a statue of three 24-ft.-high rabbits prancing around in a circle. Below them, a splash pad welcomes children to its water fountains to cool off on a hot summer day.

 

Hidden Waterfalls

 

Did you know you can chase waterfalls right here in Dublin? There are two majestic waterfalls worth checking out during your visit to the area. Grab your camera and head to Indian Run Falls, where you can hike across a bridge above the 20-ft. waterfall for spectacular views (and prime Instagram shots!). Afterward, explore hiking trails to see more of the natural surroundings. Nearby, Hayden Run Falls is a slightly larger waterfall (25 feet high) on the west side of the Scioto River. Several picnic tables are scattered nearby for nature enthusiasts to enjoy the view during lunch or snack time.

 

Family-Friendly Dublin Activities

 

A mother and two daughters croutching near a kangaroo at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

Cancel the babysitter and bring your kids along on your next trip to Dublin. The city has plenty of kid-friendly activities to keep your family entertained. First up, check out Columbus Zoo, only a few minutes’ drive outside of Dublin. There are 9,000 animals on the premises, including lions, monkeys, zebras, kangaroos, polar bears and many more. The zoo’s water attraction, Zoombezi Bay, is a waterpark where families can play on 17 water slides, a gigantic wave pool, lazy rivers and more. Or, stay in Dublin and go Riverboxing, the city’s own geocaching tour where families can put their map-reading skills to the test. Parents and kids will find several “riverboxes” near the Scioto River to find clues and stamp their map to document all their finds.