Join us in Dayton, Ohio May 7-10, 2017
“Outdoor Adventure Capital of the Midwest”
National and International Draw
As humble as this mid-sized Midwestern city is, Dayton has a great deal to interest national and international travelers. Welcome Dayton is the city’s immigrant-friendly initiative promoting the belief that people with diverse backgrounds, skills, and experiences fuel our nation’s success. Adopted in 2011, Welcome Dayton was featured in the New York Times and on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as an innovative economic development and quality of life strategy. As a result, Dayton has among its many immigrant community’s rich African, Ahiska Turkish, and Arab neighborhoods. In addition, the Dayton Convention Center hosts the annual World A’Fair, showcasing Dayton’s international community to nearly 30,000 attendees. Since 1952, Dayton has hosted the world’s largest amateur ham radio convention, Dayton Hamvention, attended by more than 25,000 people annually from throughout the world. The city also hosts the annual Winter Guard International, attended by 40,000 people.
Dayton is most striking in its innovation heritage and for the quality of its arts scene. For decades before the Wright Brothers invented the airplane from their bicycle shop in Dayton, the town had more inventions per capita than any city in the United States. The search engine, the cash register, the pop-top can, the parachute, and the ice cube tray are a few items from the very long list of items invented in Dayton. From the international center of aviation development sprung Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, which has continued to drive innovation in the region and hosts the National Museum of the United States Air Force. In 2012, Dayton was voted the No. 2 mid-sized city in the nation for arts. Dayton stands out due to its broad array of arts — performing, visual and literary. This heritage, of course, has left Dayton with a distinct history to share.
Attractions and Places to Visit in Dayton and Ohio
- The National Museum of the United States Air Force, the oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world, displays the nation’s military heritage in aviation at its birthplace. Features include an IMAX theater and more than 360 aircraft and missiles, including Wright Brothers artifacts, stealth aircraft, and the plane where Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as president after the Kennedy assassination. The museum draws more than 1.3 million visitors a year. Attendees will have the chance to visit the museum prior to the Trails Rock Party (more details to come). While transportation will be provided to the museum, it is located along a bike trail, a beautiful four-mile ride along the Mad River from downtown Dayton.
- Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park celebrates that arts and innovation in Dayton began together with the Wright Brothers and their high school pal and business partner, Paul Laurence Dunbar. Dunbar rose from being the son of former slaves to the first African American welcomed into the American literary canon. The park offers five National Historic Landmarks and a National Register Historic District, all within a few miles of the convention center and easily accessible via the bike trails, including a pastoral trail experience through the Huffman Prairie Flying Field where the Wright Brothers learned to fly in 1904 and 1905.
- The Schuster Performing Arts Center headlines Dayton’s performing arts scene centered just three blocks from the convention center. This world-class theater features stunning architecture, including a domed ceiling where concentric circles of fiber optic lights depict the Dayton sky as it appeared on the eve of the Wright Brothers’ first flight on Dec. 16, 1903. Across the street are the Victoria Theatre and the Loft Theatre, featuring Dayton’s home-grown company, the Human Race. Two local theater companies also are easily accessible: the Dayton Theatre Guild is a five-block walk from the convention center and the Dayton Playhouse is a four mile ride on the bike trails along the Great Miami and Stillwater rivers.
- A striking example of 16th century Italian Renaissance architecture, the Dayton Art Institute sits above the Great Miami River overlooking downtown Dayton. The Art Institute has been touted as the third best art museum in the country for children by Child Magazine. The museum’s collection spans 5,000 years of art history and features important oceanic art, Asian art, and American fine and decorative art collections. The Art Institute also hosts concerts and social events, and the Gothic Cloister. Like so many of Dayton’s attractions, the Art Institute is a short Link Bike Share bicycle ride or walk across the river from the convention center.
- In 1995, Dayton and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base hosted the Bosnian Peace Accords, which resulted in the treaty that ended the four-year war that came about from the breakup of the former Yugoslavia. From that legacy has sprung the Dayton Peace Museum in downtown, a short walk or bike ride to the convention center. The Peace Accords legacy also has fostered a strong, active relationship with one of five of Dayton’s sister cities, Sarajevo, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Dayton Literary Peace Prize is an international prize awarded annually to the world’s top writers as the only annual U.S. literary award recognizing the power of the written word to promote peace.
- Carillon Historical Park, also on the bike trail just three miles from downtown along the Great Miami River, is a 65-acre campus featuring 30 buildings, hundreds of artifacts (including the first practical airplane, the 1905 Wright Flyer) and The Carillon Brewing Co. Carillon Park displays the stories of Dayton’s rich heritage from its founding in 1796 through two centuries of industrialism and innovation. Carillon Historical Park also houses the 1835 B&O (Grasshopper) steam locomotive, the first automobile self-starter, and the Deeds Carillon, the largest carillon in Ohio. Exhibits also include Dayton’s 1913 flood, which defined the city’s resolve and its innovative flood control system. This system led to engineering innovations still applied today and a river-based open space network based on levees, dry dams and preserved floodplains throughout the region. Thanks to these connected river corridor lands, the Great Miami River Bikeway and adjacent riverfront trails are possible.
- Just a block east of the convention center is the Oregon District, Dayton’s oldest neighborhood and its entertainment district, full of restaurants, bars, retail shops, art galleries and the little bites of weird that give Oregon its urban cool. In early October, the American Planning Association selected Fifth Street in Oregon as one of five Great Streets in the country for its “exceptional character, quality, and planning — attributes that enrich communities, facilitate economic growth and inspire others around the country.” The Oregon District includes a comedy club, an independent movie theater, a climbing gym, a bookstore, a brewery, and a distillery, along with specialty shops, street music, and often a tattooed man giving away books from the back of his pickup covered in plastic figurines. Fifth Street will invigorate the most cosmopolitan and international Symposium attendees and give everyone a little something to do when it’s time to relax.
View the Dayton Area Trails page for more trails within Dayton and the surrounding area. (coming soon)
View the Top Ten Reasons to join us in Dayton May 7-10, 2017.
Read the announcement of Dayton, Ohio being chosen to host the 2017 International Trails Symposium in the Spring 2016 American Trails Magazine: