A Hip Weekend in Dayton
The origin of Dayton’s moniker as “The Gem City” was lost long ago, but its ability to stand out as a diamond in the rough is still evident. Even in the midst of a starchy business-oriented downtown, there is a lively energy that permeates the air.
This perfectly sewn patchwork makes it a cinch to stop for a celebratory Friday night drink in the lounge at Stars, high atop the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Dayton. Along with those killer views of the Miami Valley, enjoy sparkling cocktails, delectable food and live music.
For late-night action, walk over to J-Alans, a friendly blues-themed bar where attitude is more important than attire. Folks cram in here to shoot pool, toss darts and listen to live local bands. For the young or young at heart, pop into Club Masque. This high-energy, gay-friendly dance club keeps the party jumping until the wee hours of the morning. Here, the hip crowd settle into wrap-around leather couches for drag shows, all-male revues and tongue-in-cheek beauty pageants.
Breakfast at 5th Street Wine & Deli (416 E. 5th St., 937-220-9333) is the prescription after a long night out. Located in the Historic Oregon District, this friendly neighborhood cafe serves up hot coffee and bacon-and-egg breakfast sandwiches on fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits.
Pry yourself away from the chair and make the short trip to Feathers Vintage Clothing to rummage through the wares. Like any good second-hand shop, this one is bursting at the seams with men’s and women’s fashions, antique furniture, vintage costume jewelry and artsy home decor. For a great selection of used and rare books, stroll over to Bonnett’s Book Store (502 E. 5th St., 937-228-1222).
Located a short drive away is the majestic Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark for a nature walk through the lush grounds.
Spend a few days in Dayton and at least one resident is bound to ask if you’ve had a chance to visit Tank’s Bar & Grill (2033 Wayne Ave., 937-252-2249). Regulars come weekly for the killer breakfasts, while others can’t go a day without a juicy Tank’s burger smothered in grilled onions.
For pleasures of a different sort, peek into the attractive Cannery Art and Design Center. This tastefully curated gallery features more than 800 pieces of traditional and contemporary paintings, metal and wood sculptures, fine jewelry and stunning photography.
To pay homage to Ohio’s rightful claim as “the birthplace of aviation,” visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Situated on the very grounds where Wilbur and Orville Wright first tinkered with flight, the massive museum is home to hundreds of significant military aerospace vehicles.
During the day, the Historic Oregon District’s bustling shops, cafes and markets make the area feel like a quaint small town. At night, however, the Oregon transforms from peaceful burg to party central.
Hit up Wiley’s Comedy Niteclub for more than a few laughs courtesy of a full roster of stand-up comedians. After the last punch line, head over to historic Jay’s Seafood, widely touted as the city’s best fish place. The “in crowd” may prefer the trendy Therapy Cafe, a white-on-white lounge that combines stellar cocktails and small plates.
Remember when Sundays were all about sleeping in and pigging out at a late brunch? Revive the trend with a visit to Butter Cafe. This bustling diner serves up breakfast all day (’til 3 p.m.), made from scratch using sustainably sourced ingredients.
To sweat away a few of those calories, walk to Urban Krag, an indoor climbing center in the Oregon. Built within the walls of a 150-year-old church, the breathtaking facility provides climbers with heavenly views of stained-glass windows, cathedral ceilings and an impressive bell tower.
What are you favorite Dayton destinations?