Eight things new college students need to do in Dayton

Welcome to Dayton, new collegians!

If you’re new to the area, get ready to fall in love with Dayton over the next few years, whether you’re starting up at University of Dayton, Wright State University, Sinclair Community College, Kettering College or even further into the Miami Valley.

Dayton often gets a bad rap, but sticking to the student unions and the dining halls of your new institution of higher learning because you've heard only the negative points means you will miss out on a lot of delicious meals, awesome entertainment and fascinating conversations.

To get you started, we put together a little list of what you’ll want to have checked off your bucket list before you order your cap and gown. We’ll have you loving the Gem City in no time!

  1. Dayton food is getting national recognition of late: The Pine Club's signature steaks definitely helped it make the Food Network's "Top 5 Restaurants," and the network also proclaimed the deliciously creamy Graeter's Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip the fifth best ice cream flavor in America. Make up your own mind, but we think you'll agree with their assessment. Get to know all of the best Dayton-based food that will make you proud to rep the 937.
  2. Go shopping at some truly unique — and cheap! — establishments, including Mendelsons Liquidation Outlet, where you can find anything from dry goods to old Flyers hockey jerseys to furniture. Great steals abound at the Valley Thrift Store, Eclectic Essentials in the Oregon District, and so many other under-the-radar stores.
  3. For those of you who are over 21, downtown Dayton offers an impressive Tour de Brew: We have five breweries or beer houses within a mile radius of each other, and each has their own style, flavor and ambiance. Get to know your favorite, then branch out to the amazing breweries outside of downtown.
  4. Enjoy all of the delicious food we have! UD and Sinclair are less than a five-minute drive to great restaurants along Main Street and in the Oregon District and Walnut Hills neighborhoods. We suggest stopping in at the Trolley Stop, Jimmie's Ladder 11, or Lily's Bistro for quality grub. For Wright State, you're going to be spending more time than you realize at the Wright Wing. Kettering students: Meet Voltzy's Rootbeer Stand and Elsa's "Bad Juan" margaritas.
  5. Get to know the history: Dayton has been Ground Zero for some pretty important inventions over the past few centuries — have you heard of the cash register, perhaps? Or used a search engine to get an idea of what Dayton's all about before you start classes? Get a sense of the history at Carillon Park, or just take a stroll down the RiverScape Inventors River Walk to get a glimpse.
  6. Get out to the Five Rivers MetroParks: You've got your choice of the joyous environment of the Children's Discovery Garden at Wegerzyn Gardens, or the great walks among the towering trees at the Cox Arboretum. Go for a great run or bike ride and stop by the band shells at Riverscape or Island, and visit the farm at Carriage Hill.
  7. Support the city's thriving art and music scene: If you're into music, check out the bands playing nightly at Blind Bob's Bar, the Canal Public House, or any more of the other many live music venues in the city. If you're interested in art, explore the eclectic offerings ranging from the excellent galleries at the Dayton Art Institute and the Dayton Visual Arts Center, to the homey environment of the Blue House Art Gallery, to the exhibitions at the Rosewood Arts Centre in Kettering. Keep an eye on the "Old" Yellow Cab Tavern for music shows and art shows; you won't want to miss the annual Sideshow when it returns in the spring.
  8. Volunteer and support the great organizations that work every day to support Dayton's less fortunate. Every school has many opportunities to get involved with your community, and you can take a look at our volunteer guide to find an organization that suits you.

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