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11 Things to Do in Findlay, Ohio + Where to Eat and Stay

Find a few favorite things to do during a weekend getaway to Findlay.

By Jason Barnette | Travel writer and photographer with 15+ years of road tripping experience

Located on these road trip routes:

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Findlay, Ohio, is a cultural and foodie hub in northwest Ohio. It’s a surprisingly large city in an otherwise rural area of the state, a city built on railroads and oil production. It’s a great weekend getaway destination with a luxurious downtown hotel, regional museums and performance venues, and savory food at local restaurants.

I visited Findlay during an epic road trip through Ohio along the I-75 corridor between Toledo and Cincinnati. After visiting the nearby small towns of Perrysburg and Bowling Green, I was surprised by the “big city” when I turned onto Main Street. But my time in Findlay was limited – I was heading into the National Aviation Heritage Area and excited to visit Neil Armstrong’s hometown.

Findlay is about 40 miles from Toledo and less than 100 miles from Columbus and Dayton. It’s a great place to escape for a weekend, enjoy a show at the Marathon Center, shop for wine, and enjoy the local flavors of craft beer and food.

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Map of Things to Do in Findlay

How to use this map | Click the icon in the top-left corner to open the Map Legend, then click on any of the legend items to display more information. If you have a Google account, click the (very faint) star at the end of the map’s name to save this map to your account, then access the map from your smartphone during your trip.

The towering Hancock County Courthouse in downtown Findlay.

Brief History of Findlay

During the War of 1812, Colonel James Findlay built a stockade fort along the Blanchard River in a remote region of northwest Ohio. After the war, the fort was dismantled, and a town developed in its place. The fort and subsequent town were named in honor of Findlay.

Findlay experienced a population boom in the 1880s as the center of a bustling oil and natural gas industry. In 1905, the Marathon Oil Corporation was founded in Findlay. The headquarters remained in the city until 1990, when it moved to Houston, Texas.

Although Marathon Oil Corporation and Cooper Tires eventually left Findlay, the population continues to grow. Findlay is the second-largest city in northwest Ohio after Toledo, with a population of 40,000.

Traffic moves along Main Street through downtown Findlay.

No. 1

Downtown Findlay

Downtown Findlay is a short drive from Interstate 75. It’s a surprisingly large city, a fact that took me by surprise during my epic road trip from Toledo to Cincinnati. Fortunately, it’s one of those cities large enough to have plenty to do and still offers free parking on almost every block.

Begin your downtown exploration at the stunning Hancock County Courthouse. Completed in 1888, the towering building features a few bronze statues. A statue of John Hancock is fixed on the highest point. Guided courthouse tours are offered throughout the week but must be booked in advance.

Findlay is an easily walkable city with wide sidewalks, plenty of crosswalks, and everything within a ten-minute walk. Park anywhere and plan to spend about two hours shopping, eating, and sightseeing.


No. 2

Elida Candle Company

Elida Candle Company was started in Elida, a small town near Lima, about half an hour from Findlay. The main street shop is great for searching for homemade candles with over 300 fragrances. Check their website for upcoming candle-making workshops if you’re spending the weekend in town.

No. 3

Axe Ventura

Axe throwing has become popular as people have discovered the thrill of chucking an axe at a wooden target. Axe Ventura does one thing different from most axe-throwing venues: They provide each group with an Axe Master to teach how to throw an axe and keep score of a game.

No. 4

The Wine Market

The Wine Market features fine wine, craft beer, and gourmet food – perfect items to take home after spending a weekend in town. At the wine bar, you can also enjoy a glass of wine, craft beer, or charcuterie board. It’s the perfect shop and sip environment in downtown Findlay.

No. 5

Smarty Pants

Smarty Pants is an anachronism – it’s a local toy store filled with games, stuffed animals, and crafts. The kids will enjoy the craft tables and toys on display in the small gift shop. It’s within walking distance of downtown.


No. 6

Marathon Center for the Performing Arts

When the original 1925 Findlay High School building was slated for demolition, a group of locals quickly formed an organization to save the building. After an extensive renovation of the school’s old auditorium, the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts opened its doors.

The performing arts venue hosts over 300 events throughout the year. Concerts, plays, and movies captivate audiences in the gorgeous modern theater. Order tickets on their website for a weekend show and choose if you want to sit on the main floor or mezzanine for the best view.

No. 7

Fort Findlay Playhouse

Contrasting the larger performing arts center, the Fort Findlay Playhouse is a small venue run by a non-profit organization. The playhouse produces 5-7 shows each year. Shows are organized by volunteers dedicated to the performing arts and providing an entertaining evening.

Check their website for information on the current show and buy tickets for your weekend visit to Findlay.

No. 8

Hancock Historical Museum

The Hancock Historical Museum was founded in 1970, shortly before purchasing the 1881 Hill-Flater House. But the museum is more than just one house – it’s a small campus. Visitors can explore the Crawford Log House, Agricultural Barn, Dewald-Funk House, and the Little Red Schoolhouse.

The Exhibit Center features permanent and rotating exhibits about the region’s history. See antique farm equipment, learn about oil and gas production, and explore local artifacts.

Pro Travel Tip

The historical museum is only open by appointment on Saturday and from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday. The best time to visit is Friday before 5 p.m.


No. 9

Mazza Museum

The University of Findlay is a private Christian university established in 1882. It’s a small university with about 300 staff and 5,000 full-time students. The university’s small campus is on Main Street, about five minutes from downtown.

The Mazza Museum boasts the “world’s largest collection of original artwork by children’s book illustrators.” The impressive collection includes over 18,000 pieces of artwork from picture books. Exhibits explore the history of picture books and the artists behind the beautiful literary creations.

Admission is free. The best time to visit is Sunday afternoon, although you can also visit any weekday.

No. 10

Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation

The Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation was established in 1998 to interpret the region’s long history with railroads. The preservation’s campus is about fifteen minutes north of Findlay, an easy afternoon drive.

The museum features HO and N scale model trains chugging through custom scenery. A few exhibits interpret the history of railroads through Ohio and their national importance as a means of cargo and personal travel.

The most interesting part of the campus is the quarter-scale track behind the museum. Visitors can ride in the small cars on a circular track around the outdoor exhibits. The full-size exhibits include a diesel engine, boxcar, and caboose.

Pro Travel Tip

The Northwest Ohio Railroad Preservation closes each winter. Check their website for the spring opening date and autumn closing date.

No. 11

Black Heritage Library & Multicultural Center

The Black Heritage Library & Multicultural Center was founded in 1982 to preserve and interpret local African American history. Visitors can schedule a tour to explore the center’s impressive collection of antiques and cultural artifacts or attend one of the programs offered throughout the year.

Check their website for upcoming events and celebrations, especially during Black History Month throughout February.

National Park Week 2024

Learn about the annual celebration of the National Park System and read my travel guides to national park units across the country.

No. 12

Children’s Museum of Findlay

The Children’s Museum of Findlay is a hands-on museum for children aged 10 and under. Exhibits and interactive displays explore STEAM – science, technology, engineering, art, and math. It’s a great way for children to play while learning valuable core lessons.

The museum is interestingly located inside the Findlay Village Mall. Like many modern shopping malls, all the anchor department stores are gone. But there are a few notable retail stores to visit, like the Books-A-Million, where you should always browse the local travel section.

No. 13

Findlay Brewing Company

Steven and Susan Treece learned how to brew beer with a pot on their stove. Eventually, they upgraded to a more permanent – and professional – brewing system and opened the Findlay Brewing Company. Along with co-owner Josh Heitkamp and head brewer Aaron Osborne, the brewery has become a staple of downtown Findlay.

Upwards of two dozen craft beers are typically on tap. The beers include IPA, Porter, Kōlsch, and a German-style Hefeweizen. Findlay Brewing Company is my favorite kind of brewery – a full-service kitchen that offers savory food paired with beer. The menu includes burgers, flatbreads, appetizers, and kid’s portions.

No. 14

False Chord Brewing Co.

After rebranding in 2022, False Chord Brewing Company gained a reputation for being a cozy hole-in-the-wall for enjoying craft beer in downtown Findlay. The wooden high-top tables, metal chairs, and exposed ceiling create an industrial vibe that works well with their metal-inspired name.

And you really have to check out the giant gears repurposed for their beer flights.

Although False Chord Brewing Company doesn’t offer any food, they welcome outside food from the local restaurants. A few restaurants less than a block away offer take-out, so you can bring something to eat when you enjoy their craft beer.

A frozen mocha latte on an outdoor table at Coffee Amici.

No. 15

Coffee Amici

Coffee Amici is more than just a local coffee shop. It’s a meeting place, a community hub, and a live music venue. It was also one of my favorite things to do in Findlay. I sat outside with a frozen café mocha, watching the traffic trudge along Main Street.

The coffee shop is spacious, with many tables and chairs for remote workers or casual coffee drinkers. The shop serves Crimson Cup coffee, a coffee roaster based in Columbus, Ohio.

The menu includes espresso, smoothies, tea, and savory things to eat with your favorite beverage.


No. 16

We Serve. Coffee

The business name is not a typo. This local coffee shop was founded to serve the community as a charity fundraising endeavor. We Serve. Coffee has donated over $150,000 to charities, according to their website.

The menu includes various espresso drinks, tea, and a few food options for breakfast and lunch. A recent update included a new workspace with ample outlets for charging devices and some comfortable chairs. It’s a great place to recharge your smartphone while enjoying coffee and food a block from Main Street.

No. 17

Swan House Tea Room

The Swan House Tea Room is in the gorgeous two-story brick 1864 McConnell-Butler House. The house has a long history of tea rooms, dating back to the first one in 1929. The tea room has changed hands a few times since opening in the 2010s and is currently operated by Julie Bishop.

Proper tea at the Swan House Tea Room includes a hot, aromatic pot of tea from over twenty loose-leaf options, a flaky scone, and three tiers of treats. It’s an interesting experience for Fridays and Saturdays in Findlay, especially if you’ve never had proper tea served. Reservations are required, so plan ahead for this experience.

No. 18

The Bourbon Affair

When Ryan and Staci Leonard opened The Bourbon Affair, they went all-in on the Prohibition theme for the bourbon bar. Concrete floors and dark wood-paneled walls set the scene. Bartenders dress like docents playing characters at a 1930s museum. If you keep your smartphone in your pocket, you’ll feel like you’ve walked back in time.

The Bourbon Affair features hundreds of bourbon whiskey brands from around the world. If you’ve ever wanted to explore the bourbon world, one of their flights and the expert advice of the bartenders will introduce you to the flavors.

And if you’re a bourbon drinker like me, The Bourbon Affair might help you discover a new favorite.

No. 19


The term to remember about Alexandria’s is “multi-level.” It’s a one-stop venue for food, craft beer, and entertainment that will consume your evening in Findlay.

The Tap Room on the first floor has dozens of local craft beers on tap and pub-style food. The Upper Deck on the second floor is the heart of the business, with live music, a bar, and duckpin bowling – classic bowling with smaller, handheld bowls and shorter pins. The Rooftop Tiki Bar is the only rooftop venue in Findlay.

Plan to spend 2-3 hours at Alexandria’s and experience the oddly satisfying duckpin bowling.


No. 20

The Gathering

While Alexandria’s spreads upward, The Gathering spreads outward. In 2010, Michael and Robin Gardner purchased two buildings and began transforming them into a complex for casual fine dining and entertainment.

The chef-driven menu features homemade entrees and desserts. Meals are complimented by an impressive wine list personally selected by the manager.

The Anvil Whiskey Bar is a comfortable lounge and a great place to end a day exploring Findlay. The bar features a large selection of bourbon, craft beers, and cigars.

Outdoor metal tables and red umbrellas at Dougie John's Pizza.

Where to Eat

One of the reasons Findlay is a great weekend destination is the local food scene. Over a dozen restaurants offer lunch, dinner, baked goods, and snacks to get you through the day.

Here’s a list of great local restaurants in Findlay:

  • The Baker’s Café uses locally roasted beans in the espresso bar and a few food options in a convenient Main Street location.
  • Circle of Friends Restaurant is an opportunity to try dishes from around the world, including Greece, India, and Vietnam.
  • Dougie John’s Pizza crafts savory pizza from scratch and serves them on “The Porch,” a small patio on Main Street at the north edge of downtown.
  • Joey Fratello’s Pizzeria uses fresh ingredients in their New York-style pizza one block from Main Street.
  • Logan’s Irish Pub offers authentic fare like shepherd’s pie, Guinness chicken, and the interesting Irish Nachos.
  • Main Street Deli offers deli sandwiches and salads, but you can also play classic arcade games or get a drink in the full-service bar.
  • Fricker’s is a Midwest chain of sports restaurants with giant televisions playing whatever games they can find, along with savory food and drinks.
  • Rossilli’s is a downtown restaurant featuring authentic Italian cuisine in a casual, upscale atmosphere.

Where to Stay

Fortunately, Findlay is a business town. That means several nice hotels between downtown and Interstate 75 are about ten minutes away. Staying downtown will cost more, but the added convenience of walking to drinks and dinner might be worth it.

The Hancock Hotel is an upscale hotel with luxury bedding, large bathrooms, and an on-site restaurant. You must pay extra to park a vehicle at this downtown hotel. Book now with or

Hampton Inn is a wonderful hotel with an indoor swimming pool and complimentary hot breakfast. Although it’s located beside the interstate, the guest rooms are quiet throughout the night. Book now with or

Holiday Inn Express has an indoor swimming pool and suites with a sleeper sofa perfect for traveling families. Book now with or

SureStay Hotel by Best Western is a decent, budget-friendly option. The guest rooms are comfortable, but there are few other amenities. Book now with or

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