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Calling Toledo Home

Calling Toledo Home

Shana Lee finds fun and community in Northwest Ohio.

Downtown Toledo

Calling Toledo Home

By Shana Lee

Posted On: Sep 26, 2022

I live in Toledo's Old West End neighborhood, which is also where I grew up. My street is quiet, with most neighbors having lived here for over 20 years (some even longer than that). Go a few blocks up the street and you'll find the Historic Old West End - 25 city blocks of late Victorian houses that are the largest collection left standing in the US.

street view of houses in old west end neighborhood of toledo ohio

These houses are over 100 years old and still have rich architecture to show. It's my favorite neighborhood in Toledo because you can feel its rich history.

two women walking between vendor stalls at Old West End Festival in toledo ohio

There's so much to experience in this neighborhood. Like in late June, the Old West End Festival is held. Thousands of Toledo residents and beyond attended this year's 49th festival. Activities included an artist market, live entertainment, and neighborhood yard sales. Growing up in Toledo, this festival was – and still is - my favorite.

woman standing at counter inside Grindhrs coffee shop in toledo ohio holding iced coffee
Grindhrs Coffee & Community

The Old West End is just a couple of minutes from downtown. I enjoy being this close because quite a few of my favorite places are downtown. I love grabbing a cup of coffee at Black Kite, Maddie & Bella, The Onyx Cafe, Grindhrs, or Rustbelt. You can't go wrong when you get coffee from any of them.

woman sipping glass of lemonade from lemonade flight at Fowl and Fodder restaurant in toledo ohio
Lemonade flights at Fowl & Fodder

There are plenty of great restaurants and eateries to choose from too. Like Fowl & Fodder, Souk, Focaccia, The Original Sub, and Brim House. You can also grab a local craft beer flight from Heavy Beer Co, Earnest Brew Works, or Maumee Bay Brewing. And you definitely can't forget cocktails at Bellwether's at Toledo Spirits!

The downtown area also has amazing shopping options. I love Handmade Toledo! The whole shop is filled with items made by local makers, making it a great place to find a gift. And if you're a local maker, the support here in Toledo is off the charts. There are multiple opportunities to be a vendor throughout the year and people always come out to support. I appreciate how Toledo is huge on supporting small businesses.

Every summer, one of our favorite things to do is participate in the 419 Coffee Quest. This local challenge takes you to every coffee shop in the 419 area code. It's a great way to support small businesses and discover new places. And if didn't know already, Toledo has the best coffee shops!

flight of beers from patron saints brewing in toledo ohio
Patron Saints Brewing, part of 419 Ale Trail 

Another fun challenge is the 419 Ale Trail. In this challenge, you visit over 30 craft breweries and distilleries in the 419 area. It's also a great way to support local businesses while sipping on a cold brew.

young girl looking at book standing behind stack of library books at toledo public library in ohio
Toledo Lucas County Public Library

I homeschool my daughter, so finding educational activities was a daily priority. So we took advantage of all the amazing programming at Toledo Public Library, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Toledo Zoo, and Metroparks Toledo. Our first year back in Ohio was filled with so much adventure! And every year the adventures just keep getting better!

young woman in kayak at Secor Metropark in toledo ohio
Outdoor Expo at Secor Metropark 

One summer, my daughter and I visited every park in the Metropark Toledo system. Now that was fun! The Toledo Metroparks are so great, they were named the #1 Park System in the country (a well-deserved award). Metroparks Toledo is continuously making park improvements like transforming the riverfront with more trails and greenspace, which creates even more opportunities to connect with the community.

hand holding blown galss from glass blowing class at toledo museum of art in ohio

Because of all the resources available in Toledo, learning something new is always on my agenda. One year, I booked a glassblowing class at the Toledo Museum of Art. It was one of the coolest classes I've ever taken. My daughter also took several art classes also through TMA. There are so many opportunities for people of all ages to learn a new skill or hobby in Toledo.

mom and daughter standing inside art gallery in toledo ohio

There's so much to explore in Ohio. From its beautiful parks and its world-renowned museums, to its craft beer and culinary scene. You'll find everything you need right here in Ohio, just as I have.

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