A B-25 Mitchell bomber lands at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in April 2o10. DAYTON DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

BEST OF DAYTON: 3 destinations that are uniquely Dayton

When you think about Dayton, what images come to mind?

We turned to the people of Dayton to answer that question.

These are the top three vote-getters in Dayton.com’s Best of 2018 content in the Best Dayton landmark category. They also happen to be some of the most visited attractions in the Gem City.


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>> People & Places winners

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. BARRIE BARBER/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

🥇WINNER: National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

The museum is the world’s largest and oldest military aviation museum featuring more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles on display amid more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space. It underwent a major expansion in 2016, adding more than 70 aircraft in four new galleries exploring aircraft that touch on presidential, research and development, space and global reach. Last year, it opened an exhibition on the famed Memphis Belle. 

In addition to the exhibitions that have helped elevate this expansive museum to one of the top 10 most-visited attractions in the state, you can now board a space shuttle, walk through four presidential aircrafts, step inside cargo planes and enjoy new STEM educational opportunities that will help expand your mind. The best part is a visit comes with free admission and parking. 

The museum has four buildings that house numerous galleries. They include: The William E. Boeing Presidential Gallery, the Allan and Malcolm Lockheed and Glenn Martin Space Gallery, the Maj. Gen. Albert Boyd and Maj. Gen. Fred Ascani Research and Development Gallery and the Lt. Gen. William H. Tunner Global Reach Gallery. 

The indoor facility is more than 19 acres of exhibition space, while the entire campus holds around 400 acres of land. 

A recent hangar opened in 2016 and is 224,000 square feet.

Admission to the museum is free. There are charges for the theater and flight simulators. The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

Want to go?

1100 Spaatz St., Wright-Patterson Air Force Base | WebsiteFacebook

The Dayton Art Institute. LYNN HULSEY/STAFF

🥈SECOND PLACE: Dayton Art Institute

The Dayton Art Institute sits atop a hill on the edge of the Great Miami River overlooking downtown Dayton. This year, the art museum is celebrating 100 years. 

During its first decade in existence, The Dayton Art Institute outgrew its original home, a mansion located on Monument Avenue in downtown Dayton. Mrs. Julia Shaw Carnell, a prominent community leader, pledged to construct a new museum if the community would then endow and pay for its operations. What resulted was the landmark building that still houses the museum. Completed in 1930, the building was modeled after the Villa d’Este near Rome and the Villa Farnese at Caprarola in Italy, both examples of 16th century Italian Renaissance architecture. The museum facility was designed by prominent museum architect Edward B. Green of Buffalo. Today, The Dayton Art Institute's architecturally and historically significant facility is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Want to go?

456 Belmonte Park North, Dayton | WebsiteFacebook

Photo: Connie Post

🥉THIRD PLACE: Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum

Woodland Cemetery is one of the nation's five oldest rural garden cemeteries and a unique cultural, botanical and educational resource in the heart of Dayton. 

In addition to housing the graves of some of Dayton’s most famous and infamous, the cemetery grounds include more than 3,000 trees and 165 specimens of native Midwestern woody plants among 200 acres of rolling hills. Many of the trees are more than a century old and 9 have been designated "Ohio Champions" by the Ohio Forestry Association. 

The Romanesque gateway, chapel, and office, completed in 1889 are on the National Register of Historic Places with the chapel featuring one of the finest original Tiffany windows in the country. The Woodland Mausoleum adds a modern touch to this historic site while featuring 12 beautiful stained glass windows. 

Gravesites include Wilbur and Orville Wright, poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, Matilda and Levi Stanley, Queen and King of the Gypsies; Governor James Cox, writer Erma Bombeck, Jeraldyne Blunden, founder of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company; inventor Charles F. Kettering and entrepreneurs John H. Patterson (NCR), George P. Huffman (Huffy Bicycles) and George Mead (Mead Paper).

Want to go?

118 Woodland Ave., Dayton | WebsiteFacebook