This Hidden Gem Midwest City Has Thriving Golf, Food, And Art Scenes Ideal For A Weekend Trip

Ohio is on the map for its professional sports teams — including both the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals football teams — and college sports thanks to the massive Ohio State University in Columbus. The Buckeye State also borders Lake Erie, with Cleveland's iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame right on the shores. However, outside these major cities, you will find the hidden gem of Youngstown.

Youngstown, Ohio's proximity to Cleveland and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania makes it a perfect, albeit unexpected, Midwest getaway or even just a fun place to stop on a road trip between New England and Chicago. The city offers exciting activities for indoorsy and outdoorsy people alike. Get a bit of both at Lanterman's Mill in Mill Creek Park, dating back to the mid-1800s. This mill actually still operates, creating meal and flour from corn, wheat, and buckwheat all available for purchase along with gift shop souvenirs. Visitors can stop by over the summer from May through October every day except Mondays. The Gorge Trail Loop begins here as well and takes hikers along the wooded creek with a boardwalk and sandstone formations for about 2 miles.

Play golf and visit local restaurants

Golf is a notable attraction for Youngstown given that there are multiple options. Head south along the creek from Lanterman's Mill to find the Mill Creek Golf Course. This facility includes an indoor practice building and two outdoor courses. Book spots online for $26 per person (for all 18 holes) ahead of your visit to ensure availability. For a cheaper golfing option, head to Youngstown's north side for the Henry Stambaugh Golf Course, which is just $10 per adult. If you stay at the Courtyard by Marriott, in the neighboring town of Canfield, you can bundle your stay with a golf session at the Kennsington Golf Club next to the hotel. This hotel and golf club is just 20 minutes from downtown Youngstown.

Speaking of downtown Youngstown, this part of town is the place to go if you are a foodie. The Federal offers quintessential pub foods like battered cod, burgers, and French fries with varied seasonings. For Italian food, try Cassese's MVR, a mainstay of the town since 1927. While The Mocha House has breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it also serves sweet treats like ice cream, milkshakes, and hot chocolate made with real chocolate.

Visit unique museums

Among the popular family activities in downtown Youngstown is the OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children's Center for Science & Technology. With exhibits exploring sound, weather, aviation, and engineering, there is something for every curious mind. Admission is also just $10 per person, but advance purchase online is recommended to avoid disappointment. Note this museum is only open from Wednesday to Sunday.

Slightly north of downtown Youngstown is The Butler Institute of American Art, which has free admission. Built in 1919, this was the first museum in the United States created to house just American artwork. This massive collection ranges from 18th-century works to Americana to contemporary art. Notable pieces include a Georgia O'Keefe painting and another by Mary Cassatt. There is also an entire exhibit just for sports-related art.

Step into Ohio's industrial history with Youngstown Steel Heritage and the J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad. Get close to steel and rail industry artifacts from the 1800s such as steam engines and electric cranes. You can even learn how to run a steam train engine by registering online for the organization's Engineer for a Day experience.