Dayton Skyline from Deeds Point
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

223 things to love about Dayton

The Gem City is 223 years old. 

There is much to love about the Gem City.

Dayton was founded on April 1, 1796, by settlers from Cincinnati led by Samuel Thompson up the Miami River.

Two other parties led by George Newcom and William Hamer arrived four days later by land.

>> Newcom Tavern: Dayton's oldest standing structure

And so it began.

That year, Dayton Township — an area containing what is now in parts of current Montgomery, Greene, Miami, Clark, Champaign, Logan and Shelby counties — was formed, according to the National Park Service.

>> BEST OF DAYTON: What YOU love most about the Gem City

Every year, we add to our list of things to love about life in Dayton. We are up to 223.

This list serves as a good reminder any day of the year why this town is special.

Here are 223 things the Dayton area should be proud of, compiled by our staff at and our Facebook followers.

Here’s that list in no particular order (we could have gone on and on): 

David Hurwitz has given away hundreds of books with his decorated white pickup truck. (Photo by Amelia Robinson)
Photo: Amelia Robinson

1) 2nd Street Market

>> 3 things you should know about 2nd Street Market

2) An abundance of talented local artists

3) David Hurwitz and the book mobile truck

4) We brought the nation flight.

>> What to know about Dayton’s aviation history

5) The 1.5 trillion gallons of water known as the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer

>> 7 reasons why Dayton water is so awesome

6) 20 years of fun thanks to the Dayton Dragons

7 ) Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is one of the state’s largest employers.

8) We have some of the best festivals in the Midwest.

>> Your 2019 Dayton Bucket List: 100 ideas for fun

9) The cash register was invented here.

10) Collaboration among Dayton’s performing arts and visual arts groups.

11) Zoot Theatre Company puppets

12) Roller-skating Elvis

>> RELATED: Who is Skating Elvis

Who is Dayton's roller skating Elvis? (Video by Amelia Robinson)

13) Famed poet Paul L. Dunbar and his house

14) Brunch in the Oregon District

15) Great historic neighborhoods

16) Cheez-it brand crackers were born here

>> Were Cheez-Its really invented in Dayton? Yes, and here’s the story

17) So many incredible independent restaurants

18) The Century bar downtown is nationally known

19) We are the land of funk thanks to acts like The Ohio Players, Zapp, Heatwave, Faze-O and more

>> More: 8 Dayton acts you should give a funk about

The Ohio Players are lead by "James "Diamond" Williams. Founded in Dayton, the band is working on a new album.
Photo: Hand-out/Ohio Players

20) Dayton Literary Peace Prize

21) Dayton History comes to life at Carillon Park

22) Dayton Flyers basketball

The Dayton Flyers women's basketball team reacts to earning a NCAA tournament berth on Monday, March 12, 2018, in a viewing party at UD Arena.
Photo: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

23) Erma Bombeck and the writing workshop named for her

24) Brainiac and the new documentary about the band putting Dayton in the spotlight

25) The number of patents by capita (so many patents)

>> MORE: 5 geeky facts you may not know about Dayton

26) Bill’s Donuts in Centerville

Bill's Donut Shop order ready in the box on Wednesday, February 27, 2013 in Centerville. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Photo: Ty Greenlees/Ty Greenlees

27) Did we mention Orville and Wilbur Wright?

>> #TBT: 15 lesser-known Wright Brothers facts

28) Dayton Wiener Dog Races are a thing

29) The Miami Conservancy District protects, preserves and promotes quality and quantity of our water.

30) We thrived after the Great Flood of 1913.

>> A look back at the Great Dayton Flood of 1913

31) The Contemporary Dayton’s great Art Auction

32) You can get nearly anywhere in the Miami Valley within 20 minutes.

33) Truly good people live here

>> Meet our Daytonians of the Week

34) The Breeders

>> RELATED: Iconic band dishes about sloe gin fizzes, playing Dayton truck stops and Buffy

35) Wonderful, charming suburbs

36) The Root Beer Stande keeps going.

Paddling near the fountains at RiverScape Metropark. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

37) Five Rivers MetroParks offers more than 16,000 acres of beauty.

38) White Allen has been around since 1935.

39) The Dayton Art Institute is celebrating 100 years.

40) The Dayton International Peace Museum

>> Bucket List: Visit the Dayton International Peace Museum

41) Dorothy Lane Market

42) Esther Price Candies

43) The Pine Club’s bone-in ribeye

>> MORE: Top 10 picks for amazing steak in the Dayton area

44) Link Dayton Bike Share

45) Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is fabulous.

On the brink of its 50th anniversary season, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company is producing a one night only celebration of former dancers and current artists in its winter concert fittingly titled Reunited, which is slated Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Victoria Theatre. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

46) Smales Pretzel Bakery

47) Dayton Sewing Collaborative
>>MORE:  Big and small ways you can help Dayton Sewing Collaborative

48) SunWatch Indian Village/Archaeological Park

49) Lower costs of living

50) Scene 75

51) Dayton solves problems and completes projects

>> MORE: These 10 projects reshaped downtown Dayton in 2017

Construction crews were back to the work at the new CareSource building in downtown Dayton Friday a day after a fire on the roof Thursday.

52) The Dayton Peace Accords, the general framework for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was reached at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

>> Dayton — Where peace was chosen over war

53) Beer is ALWAYS brewing

54) The Miamisburg Mound, one of two largest conical mounds in eastern North America.

>> Must-see views of the Miamisburg Mound, the area’s unique, historic burial ground

55) Stivers School for the Arts

56) Dorothy Lane Market’s Killer Brownie

A DLM Killer Brownie. FILE PHOTO

57) Dayton Celtic Festival

58) Murals, murals everywhere!

59) Guided by Voices

>> What’s new with two of Dayton’s most legendary rock bands?

60) Hawthorne Heights

61) Did we mention all of the breweries?

>> Dayton's craft beer walking trail is growing

62) Wu Tang is forever at Barrel House

63) Downtown Dayton is alive, well and booming

64) Dayton’s fantastic chefs

The Ohio premiere of “The Spongebob Musical,” nominated for 12 2018 Tony Awards including Best Musical, is slated Nov. 19-24, 2019 at the Schuster Center. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

65) Schuster Performing Arts Center and the incredible Broadway shows that come to town.

66) Dayton is within an 8 hour or less drive of at least 10 “major cities.”

67) Belle of Dayton Vodka

68) Square-cut pizza

69) Ducks at RiverScape MetroPark

70) The historic Victoria Theatre

71) Dayton Pride Parade

72) Buckeyes from Winan’s

73) St. Patrick’s Day traditions at The Dublin Pub and Flanagan’s Pub

74) Ice skating at RiverScape

75) Fantastic food trucks

>> Your guide to Dayton-area food truck events this spring

76) Dayton Children’s Hospital

77) The work of upDayton

78) Huffy bike company

>> Huffy brand started in Dayton in 1800s: What you need to know

79) Small businesses can make it.

80) The Dayton Air Show

81) The Little Exchange

82) Dayton Ballet

83) The Neon movie theater

>> RELATED:  What you need to know about the Neon movie 

The Neon movie theater in downtown Dayton's new marquee was installed on Feb. 19, 2018. Photo: Amelia Robinson
Photo: Photo: Amelia Robinson

84) 4 Paws service dogs

85) Marion’s Piazza

>> Marion’s Piazza named ‘Best Pizza Place in Ohio’ 

86) Voltzy’s Rootbeer Stand

87) The Boonshoft Musuem of Discovery

88) WDAO

89) The Human Race Theatre

90) Welcome Dayton and all of our diversity

>> Dayton ranks among fastest-growing cities for immigrants

91) The Dayton LGBT Center

92) A World A’Fair

93) Dayton Philharmonic

A fusion of design and color illuminates the K12 Gallery & TEJAS building, 341 S. Jefferson St. in Dayton. LISA POWELL / STAFF

94) K12 Gallery and TEJAS

95) Neal Gittleman

96) Oktoberfest at the Dayton Art Institute

>> PHOTOS: Dayton Art Institute’s Oktoberfest 2018 

97) The Deweese Ridgecrest neighborhood

98) Dayton Greek Festival at Annunciation Greek Orthodox

99) TedxDayton spreads ideas worth sharing

100) The Troy Strawberry Festival and its famous donuts

101) Italian Fall Festa at Bella Villa Hall

>> PHOTOS: Italian Fall Festa 2017

102) The Funk Music Hall of Fame & Exhibition Center. We hope it finds a new home soon!

>> Museum is raising money for a new, permanent home

103) Some of the best county fairs in Ohio!

104) The pop top

Slyder's Swiss bacon cheeseburger with fries. (Photo by Amelia Robinson)
Photo: Amelia Robinson

105) The burgers at Slyder’s Tavern and Tank’s

>> RELATED: Your ultimate guide to the best burgers in Dayton

106) The National Museum of the United States Air Force

107) Rev. Cool brought punk to Dayton

>> What you need to know about about The Rev. Cool Carter 

Jim “Rev Cool” Carter, the host of “Around the Fringe,” who celebrates 35 years on the air on WYSO. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Contributing Writer

108) The RiverScape River Run

109) Dot’s Supermarket has all the meat

110) Miles and miles to hike

>> 12 top hiking trails in Dayton and nearby

111) Our inventions have changed the world

>> Giant mural shows off the stepladder and 14 other things you didn’t know were invented in Dayton

112) Food that rivals grub found in much larger cities

>> RELATED: The 12 best restaurants in Dayton

113) The Longest Table brings people together

>> PHOTOS: The Longest Table Dayton

114) Our code-breakers helped defeat the Nazis in World War II

115) The NCAA First Four tournament games

116) Sauerkraut Festival

117) Warped Wing Brewery is around the state

118) The Renaissance Festival

119) Famous celebrities with ties here including Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, Allison Janney and more

120) Woodland Cemetery’s famous gravesites and breathtaking view

>> MORE: 17 things to see at Woodland Cemetery

121) Kayaking on the Great Miami Valley River

122) A new guilty pleasure: Giordano’s deep dish

123) Plenty of amazing boutiques and stores to help you shop local

Downtown Yellow Springs is receiving some last-minute upgrades meant to be in place before the busy summer tourist season. Crowds shown here in the 2016 Yellow Springs Street Fair and Music & Beer Festival filled downtown Yellow Springs. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Staff Writer

124) Yellow Springs Street Fair twice a year!

125) Scrumptious pies from Partial to Pie

126) The downtown Dayton Metro Library is amazing

127) Yellow Cab Tavern is keeping local music alive

128) New entertainment venues including Brightside and PNC Arts Annex

129) Dayton Music Festival

130) “The Old Man and the Gun” was filmed here

131) Front Street is an experience like none other

>> What are the Front Street galleries like 

132) Summer concerts at the Rose and Fraze with some of our favorite acts from yesterday and today.

133) FREE summer concerts at Levitt Pavilion downtown

134) Oregon Express

The Rubi Girls perform at Masquerage 2006, Saturday night. The Rubi Girls have helped raise over $200,000 for AIDS research.
Photo: Stringer/Peter Wine

135) Rubi Girls

136) Press coffee shop

>> Dayton coffee shop named ‘Best in Ohio’ by Food & Wine magazine

137) The National Packard Museum

138) The Dayton Art Institute’s hard-working associates board throws a great party

139) Wayne Avenue coffee trail

>> RELATED:  What to know about the coffee trail

140) Young’s Jersey Dairy

141) The Gem City Cat Cafe’

142) Dayton Daily News has been covering local news for 120 years and WHIO has been doing the same for 70 years.

143) Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow

Here is what you should know about the Stoddard Ave. Pumpkin Glow. Video by Amelia Robinson

144) Trolley Stop patio

>> What are the oldest bars in downtown Dayton?

145) Masquerage

146) Dayton Regional Walk of Fame

147) Dayton’s Engineer Club

148) Zombie Dogz famous dogs including the mac and cheese covered Calling in Dead.

>> Zombie Dogz to add new — and welcome — twist to beverage options

149) The League of Women Voters

150) Wright State University’s ArtsGala raises money and showcases young talent.
>> PHOTOS: Did we spot you at the Wright State ArtsGala 2018?

151) King’s Island is just a short drive away

152) Dayton Woman’s Club

153) So many fish fries

154) John Henry Patterson statue at Hills and Dales Park

155) Carillon Tree of Light Illumination

156) Little Art in Yellow Springs

157) You might just see Dave Chappelle walk down the street

158) Dayton Junior League

159) Ashley’s Pastry Shop

>> These cookies from a local bakery are SO good that Allison Janney gets them specially delivered to set

160) Great shopping at The Greene, Austin Landing, Dayton Mall and the Mall of Fairfield Commons

161) Oscar winners from here include Allison Janney and Hannah Beachler!!

>> Daytonians who have made us proud at the big award shows

162) Bike trails

163) Wright State has the Tom Hanks Center of Motion Pictures

Actor Tom Hanks holds up a piece of cut ribbon after participating in a ribbon cutting for the new Tom Hanks Center for Motion Pictures at Wright State University Tuesday. LISA POWELL / STAFF
Photo: Lisa Powell

164) Wegerzyn MetroPark’s children’s garden is fabulous

>> Hidden Gem: You’ve been overlooking this secret garden

165) Jazz Central

166) Dayton’s pedal pub wagon

167) Hauntfest on Fifth

>> PHOTOS: Hauntfest on Fifth 2018

168) Golf cart tours

169) Food trucks events at Yellow Cab, Courthouse Square

170) First Fridays in downtown Dayton

171) Ghostlight coffee and pies

172) Legendary Christmas Lights at Historic Clifton Mill.

173) Dublin Pub fries

174) The Dayton Rotary Club

We take you inside of North Dayton Garden Center with center co-owner Rick Kossoudji . Photo by Amelia Robinson
Photo: Photo by Amelia Robinson

175) North Dayton Garden Center

>> The story behind North Dayton Garden Center’s legendary jingle

176) The Pink Ribbon Girls

177) Artemis Domestic Violence Center and the YWCA Dayton

178) Equitas Health was founded here

>> Dayton’s party of all parties gets a new date, new venue 

179) Dayton Inspires cleanups

180) Mikesell’s Snack Food Company

181) Heart Mercantile’s snarky signs

182) Dayton’s Inventors Riverwalk

>> City of Invention: Dayton remains a cradle of creativity

183) PechaKucha Dayton has the 20x20 thing down

184) Walking through Glen Helen on a sunny summer day

185) Fireworks along the Great Miami River downtown

186) The Best of Dayton contest

187) Antiquing in Waynesville

188) All the things in Yellow Springs

>> 5 things you must do in Yellow Springs

189) Local wineries and wine shops are budding

190) Mamma DiSalvo’s

191) New development at the Fire Blocks district

192) Arcade bars are talking us back

193) All of our fantastic international markets

194) Black Box Theatre

195) We have great golf courses and bowling alleys

196) Oakwood “kids” came up with Fusian

197) Elsa’s Bad Juans

Elsa’s famous margaritas, including the ubiquitous “Bad Juan.” Clockwise from the Blue Juan are: Gringo, Bad Juan, Skinny Juan, Watermelon Bad Juan, Strawberry Bad Juan and Raspberry Bad Juan. TY GREENLEES/STAFF FILE PHOTO

198) Urban Krag

199) Femme Fatale Fitness keeps it sassy and classy

200) Wiley’s Comedy Joint keeps us laughing

201) Daytonian Nancy Cartwright is Bart Simpson

202) Edwin C. Moses brought home gold

>> International organization honors Edwin C. Moses with lifetime achievement award

203) The annual “Limp Bikzkit show” at the Wayne Avenue Sunoco

204) Boston Stoker keeps us awake.

205) The Arcade’s past and future

206) Dayton is there for Dayton

207) Phil Donahue made it big here

Phil Donahue at a charity auction with Erma Bombeck. Donahue and Bombeck were neighbors in Centerville. DAYTON DAILY NEWS ARCHIVE
Photo: Contributing Writer

208) The Masonic Temple is gorgeous

209) All of the churches and synagogue

210) The Dayton Foundation

211) Fifth Street BrewPub is a co-op

212) Gem City Market is coming

213) East Dayton Arts District is happening

214) Tech Town

215) Dayton Collaboratory has big plans

>> Photos: The Collaboratory welcomes 'dreamers and doers' at the to Idea Exchange

216) The Mural Machine

217) Deeds Point Dog Park

218) The kids at Dayton STEM School

219) Every four years presidential candidates care about us, a lot

220) You can get in and out of the Dayton International Airport in a breeze

221) Cox Arboretum is awesome

222) Foy’s keeps us in costumes

223) Dayton is resilient

What would you add to this list? Let us know at

The whimsical “Inventors Tree house,” created by the Mural Machine, climbs up the side of a brick building that houses the Clash boutique and gallery, 521 E. Fifth St. LISA POWELL / STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer