Lanterman’s Mill at Mill Creek MetroParks in Youngstown, Ohio.

8 Fun Things to Do: Plan the Perfect Weekend in Youngstown, Ohio

Travel Writer Brandy Gleason shares her visit to Youngstown.

If you’re looking for a weekend getaway, consider Youngstown, Ohio – a hidden gem of a city that often flies under the radar. Tucked in the heart of the picturesque Mahoning Valley, Youngstown offers a rich industrial history, vibrant culture and diverse outdoor offerings, making it an ideal destination for an unforgettable weekend escape.

Explore the charm of Youngstown just like I did, and enjoy a perfect weekend in this surprising city hiding between Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

Experience Youngstown’s Historical Center of Industry and Labor

An exhibit at Youngstown’s Historical Center of Industry and Labor.

Start the day off with a delicious breakfast at The Mocha House, a local favorite known for its gourmet coffee and mouthwatering pastries. After fueling up for the day, head to the Youngstown Historical Center of Industry and Labor to delve into the city’s rich industrial heritage.

The center’s exhibits showcase machinery, photographs and firsthand accounts of Youngstown’s steel industry heyday. Visitors can learn about the city’s labor movement and its impact on the region’s economy. The center also offers guided tours and educational programs, making it an excellent resource for history buffs.

Discover Masterpieces: A Visit to The Butler Institute of American Art

While exploring the area around the Youngstown State University campus, be sure to make a stop at The Butler Institute of American Art. With its extensive collection of American artwork, the Butler Institute immerses visitors in the world of renowned artists like Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt and Norman Rockwell. Homer’s famous “Snap the Whip” painting is the heart and soul of the Butler’s art collection.

*Tips on More Youngstown Museums

But, wait. It doesn’t stop there! You can also take a step back in time at the Arms Family Museum, where history comes to life in a beautifully preserved mansion. Wander through its elegant rooms filled with period furnishings and artifacts, providing a glimpse into early 20th-century life in the Youngstown area. Exquisite architecture, and intriguing exhibits: the Arms Family Museum offers a captivating journey through the region’s history.

Explore the Natural Beauty of Mill Creek MetroParks

 The Cinderella Bridge in Mill Creek MetroParks.

Venture out to explore the natural beauty of Mill Creek MetroParks, known as “The Jewel of Youngstown.” This expansive urban park offers hiking and biking trails, beautiful gardens, the historic Lanterman’s Mill and several gorgeous lakes.

Rent a kayak or bring your own and enjoy a day on Lake Glacier or Lake Newport. Then afterward, make a pit stop in a designated picnic area to grill and relax. The park is also home to Fellows Riverside Gardens, which offers themed gardens and seasonal floral displays

Looking to dine with a view? Try the Garden Cafe by Kravitz at Fellows Riverside Gardens. Pick from the soup of the day or the heavenly chicken salad sandwich and pair it with a cup of coffee.

*Tips on Youngstown’s Great Outdoors

During your visit to Youngtown, take advantage of the area’s golf courses, public recreation areas and sports fields. Youngstown’s many parks and green spaces (places like Boardman Park or even the Austintown Township Park) are perfect for outdoor adventures and are ready for you to explore. Find a complete list of parks in Mahoning County here.

Scenic Sips: Discover the Wineries of Mahoning Valley

Inside look at a local Mahoning Valley winery.

Why not fill an evening with local wine tastings? Mahoning County wineries offer a delightful escape into the world of wine. All conveniently located in the heart of Ohio’s Mahoning Valley, these wineries are a testament to the region’s dedication to producing high-quality wines. With colorful vineyards, charming tasting rooms and a warm, welcoming ambiance, visitors can indulge in tastings of a wide variety of wines, from robust reds to crisp whites. Each winery in Mahoning County has its unique character, reflecting the passion and craftsmanship of local vintners.

Known as Mahoning County’s first winery, Mastropietro Winery and Sports Bar overlooks their vineyard and estate. Halliday’s Winery provides delightful spirits with a dose of history. L’uva Bella, a nationally recognized brand, makes its home in Mahoning County and offers an artisan-crafted bistro menu paired with their famous wines. And, let’s not forget The Vineyards at Pine Lake, which overlooks the beauty of Pine Lake, creating a fairytale-esque landscape as you enjoy your tasting.

A Haven of Hope: Noah’s Lost Ark Exotic Animal Sanctuary

Some of the animals at Noah’s Lost Ark Exotic Animal Sanctuary.

If you love animals, visit Noah’s Lost Ark Exotic Animal Sanctuary. It’s more than just a haven; it’s a forever home for exotic animals and a few farm friends, too. Owners Ellen and Doug White provide a safe and nurturing environment for over 100 rescued animals. Located in Berlin Center, Ohio, this sanctuary houses a wide array of species, including big cats, bears, primates and many others, all of which had been saved from neglect, abuse or abandonment.

Visitors to Noah’s Lost Ark have the unique opportunity to learn about these beautiful creatures, their stories of survival and the importance of wildlife conservation. With compassion and dedication, this sanctuary offers a heartwarming experience for animal lovers and a vital sanctuary for the animals themselves.

*Tips on the Mahoning Valley’s Animal Sanctuary

Tip: Plan on visiting in the summer when they are open for longer hours; they are closed from November 1 through May 15.

Unleash Curiosity at OH WOW!

Child playing at OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children's Center for Science & Technology.

Prepare to be wowed by OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology, an immersive and engaging destination in downtown Youngstown. Known affectionately as OH WOW!, this interactive science center is designed to inspire children of all ages to explore the worlds of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

With hands-on exhibits and immersive experiences, OH WOW! encourages visitors to learn through play and experimentation. It’s a place where kids can discover the magic of STEM in a fun and accessible way, fostering a sense of wonder and curiosity.

OH WOW! is not just a children’s museum; it’s a space where young minds can flourish, nurturing the innovators and problem-solvers of tomorrow in an exciting and educational environment. Kids love every inch of this interactive destination, where they are learning while they play. Water spaces, music and building areas create opportunities for children to explore for hours.

Make Treasured Memories at White House Fruit Farm

White House Fruit Farm in Canfield, Ohio.

No weekend in the Mahoning Valley is complete without a visit to White House Fruit Farm, found in scenic Canfield, Ohio. It’s a cherished destination that offers much more than just fresh fruits. With a history dating back over a century, this family-owned farm has evolved into a vibrant countryside destination. The farm is renowned for its luscious orchards, where visitors can pick their own apples, berries and pumpkins, creating a genuine farm-to-table experience.

Beyond the fresh produce, White House Fruit Farm features a charming market offering a wide array of homemade goods, from apple cider to artisanal jams. Don’t forget to order one of their world-famous blueberry donuts; they make your mouth pop with flavor! A visit here is not only an opportunity to indulge in the flavors of the season but also a chance to embrace the spirit of the local community.

*Tips on White House Fruit Farm

White House Fruit Farm hosts seasonal events, making it a cherished tradition for families and a delightful escape for all who appreciate the beauty of the farmland and the taste of fresh, locally grown produce.

Be sure to take a look at their calendar before your trip for any special events they might be hosting.

Fantastic Dining (and Comfortable Accommodations)

 A hotel room at one of Youngstown’s comfortable accommodations.

I enjoyed my stay at The Courtyard by Marriott in Canfield. Offering modern rooms with beautiful views of the Kennsington Golf Course, the hotel’s amenities include an indoor pool and state-of-the-art fitness center. A brand new SpringHill Suites and TownePlace Suites have just opened adjacent to the Courtyard, offering suite-style accommodations for your overnight stay.

I started my morning with a full-service hot breakfast in the Courtyard’s Bistro – yum!

You can embark on a culinary adventure through Mahoning County with the area’s diverse array of dining experiences! At Nicolinni’s Chophouse, you can get a sophisticated dining experience, where the aroma of sizzling steaks and the elegance of fine wines combine for an unforgettable evening. Aqua Pazzo beckons with its charming ambiance, serving up delectable Italian cuisine that tantalizes the taste buds; dine in the enchanting enclosed patio and enjoy all the ambiance. Das Dutch Haus Restaurant offers scrumptious Amish-style meals. For a more family-friendly atmosphere, Inner Circle Pizza is the go-to spot with its delicious pizzas and a warm, welcoming environment perfect for sharing laughter and great food.

*Tips on the Area’s Favorite Sweet Treat

Sweeten your stay with a stop at Handel’s Ice Cream. It’s a must! They rival any great ice cream shop across the USA, giving you the perfect opportunity to indulge in their creamy, handcrafted flavors.

Whether you seek elegance, family fun or simply a sweet treat, you’ll see why the Mahoning Valley’s restaurants (and ice creams) put northeast Ohio’s dining experiences on the map.

Experience All Youngstown Has to Offer

Unwrap the charm of Youngstown, a captivating weekend escape brimming with delightful surprises at every turn. Unveil its rich industrial past, immerse yourself in its vibrant culture and explore the diverse outdoor wonders of Mahoning County. You can even plan your trip around some of the great shows at one of the area’s amazing venues: Stambaugh Auditorium, Covelli Centre or The Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre in Wean Park, to name just a few.

Whether you seek history, culture, performing arts or outdoor adventures, there are plenty of special things to do in Youngstown, Ohio. Embrace the unexpected and make Youngstown your next weekend getaway—you’re in for an unforgettable experience!