Located in southwest Ohio, the charming Butler County is often over-shadowed by its large southern neighbor, Cincinnati (approximately 18 miles south of Butler County). With nine unique communities (Fairfield, Hamilton, Liberty Township, Middletown, Monroe, Okeana & Shandon, Oxford, Trenton and West Chester) Butler County welcomes visitors to stroll their charming downtowns, shop at locally owned small businesses, peruse local art galleries and exhibits, indulge in delicious locally crafted meals, sip on delightful Ohio wines, savor every sweet bite along their Donut Trail, learn and preserve Ohio’s history and enjoy the appeal of a laid-back Midwestern getaway! A visit to Butler County makes for a welcoming Ohio getaway. Keep reading this weekend getaway guide showcasing the best things to do in Butler County, Ohio!
Looking for more reasons to visit Butler County? Read 12 Reasons to Visit Butler County, Ohio.
Getting to Butler County:
Weekend getaways are also the perfect short road trips! What better way to see all of Ohio’s natural beauty than to drive to your Ohio destination?! Getting to Butler County from various Ohio cities is an easy drive from:
- Columbus ~ 102 Miles
- Cleveland ~ 247 Miles
- Cincinnati ~ 18 Miles
- Toledo ~ 191 Miles
- Athens ~ 156 Miles
Charming brick streets of Oxford
Where to Stay:
From chain hotels to cabins and bed and breakfasts, Butler County has plenty of options for your weekend getaway! We stayed at the AC Hotel Cincinnati at Liberty Center, conveniently located right off Interstate 75. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, free parking, fitness facilities, indoor pool and the AC Lounge is the perfect spot to relax after a long day of exploring Butler County. AC Hotel Cincinnati at Liberty Center room rates start at $126/night. *Read my review, A Stay at the AC Hotel Cincinnati at Liberty Center!*
AC Hotel Cincinnati at Liberty Center
Other popular accommodation options in Butler County include: Courtyard Marriott Hamilton, Holiday Inn Express & Suites- Liberty Way, numerous chain hotels throughout the county and campgrounds and cabins at Hueston Woods State Park. Visit www.gettothebc.com/where-to-stay for a complete listing.
Things to do in Butler County, Ohio:
There’s plenty of things to do in Butler County, Ohio during your weekend getaway. From strolling the historic downtown streets of Hamilton, exploring Oxford and Miami University’s campus, escaping a puzzle room, finding thrill seeking adventures or eating your body weight in donuts along the Butler County Donut Trail, you might find that you need more than one weekend to accomplish your “must-see & do list” in Butler County!
- Exploring Hamilton. Taking a stroll through Hamilton, visitors can see the revitalization that this historic Ohio city deserves. Walk across the bridge over the Great Miami River, explore the newly renovated German Village and the historic and charming Lane-Hooven House, take an interactive walking tour of Hamilton’s historic landmarks (download free brochure here), dine at local restaurants and shop at local charming boutiques.
Walking along the Great Miami River in Hamilton
- Exploring Oxford and Miami University’s beautiful campus. The charming streets of Oxford invite visitors to peruse the local restaurants and shops in this small college town. Established in 1809, Miami University welcomed its first students in 1824 since then more than 16,000 students per year attend the main campus. Known as the “mother of fraternities,” Miami University was the founding site of four national fraternities. With 188 buildings nestled upon 2,100 acres, the beautiful campus beckons visitors to take an hour or two to stroll along the historic buildings, Verlin L. Pulley Carillon and Clock Tower, Beta Bell Tower, the Slant Walk, the McGuffey Museum and find the Sundial.
Miami University Campus
- Family fun can be found throughout Butler County. Whether escaping a Puzzle Room, enjoying the world’s largest indoor train display with over 2 miles of model train tracks at EnterTRAINment Junction, racing a go-kart at The Web Extreme Entertainment, playing mini-golf at the Fairfield Fun Center, or bouncing and jumping for joy at Jump & Jack’s (12 and under), kids of every age will find amusement in Butler County!
- Thrill seeking adventures. Thrill seekers will find plenty of adrenaline pumping adventures throughout Butler County. Try sky-diving at Start Skydiving, learn how to wakeboard, kneeboard or wakeskate at Wake Nation or participate in a friendly game of paintball at Paintball Country and Cabin Creek Paintball.
- Enjoy being gluttonous along the Butler County Donut Trail. If you love the deliciousness of donuts, then you will fall in love with the first and only donut trail in the state of Ohio! Highlighting small, family-run donut shops throughout the county, visitors can grab a donut trail passport (available at participating donut shops) to have stamped along the way, then return the finished passport to the Butler County Visitors Bureau to receive a cool t-shirt! From ordinary donuts such as glazed and cream-filled to unique creations like S’mores, Fruity Pebbles, Reese’s, Maple Bacon and many more await to entice your taste buds! Please visit www.gettothebc/donut-trail for more information!
*I would recommend starting early (6-8 am), some bakeries will close early if they sell out prior to closing time! Most of the bakeries close at noon.
Yummy Donuts along the Butler County Donut Trail
Arts, Culture and History:
Arts & Culture: With the influence from community members, talented local artists and Miami University, the importance of arts and culture in Butler County can be found throughout the entire county! Here are a few places where you can enjoy arts and culture in Butler County.
- Miami University Art Museum. Set on three acres of sculpture park grounds in Oxford, the Miami University Art Museum houses more than 17,000 pieces of art. Famous artwork from Rembrandt, Hockney, Millais and Nevelson and historic artifacts from the around the globe are displayed in the galleries and one of the best collections of Leica cameras I have ever seen can be found within the Charles M. Messer Leica Camera Collection. Admission is FREE!
Miami University Art Museum
- BeauVerre Riordan Stained Glass Studio. Located in Middletown, the BeauVerre Riordan Stained Glass Studio is the oldest, continually operating stained glass studio in the United States! Handcrafted traditional stained glass has been crafted here for over 100 years!
- Pendleton Art Center. Showcasing over 40 local artists, Pendleton Art Center in Middletown displays local creations on diverse mediums. The arts center also offers various art exhibitions, educational classes and art events to raise art appreciation within the community.
- Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum. Located just outside of Hamilton, the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park has over 50 outdoor sculptures scattered about the nearly 300-acre park. Visitors can enjoy hiking and driving trails to view the sculptures, an amphitheater, picnic areas, and the Ancient Sculpture Museum featuring Greek, Roman, Etruscan, and Egyptian sculptures dating back to 1550 B.C. Admission is $8.00/adult and $3.00/child.
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum
- Fitton Center for Creative Arts. Located in Hamilton, the Fitton Center for Creative Arts houses several galleries with unique art exhibitions. Visitors can peruse the art exhibits, buy local artwork, take a class or watch a performance at one of their theater productions.
- Performing Arts and Orchestras. Community theater and performing arts can be seen at Fairfield Footlighters, Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre and the Middletown Lyric Theatre. Classical music lovers will delight in a performance at the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra or at the West Chester Symphony Orchestra.
History: Established in 1803, Butler County holds many historical treasures. With over 200 years of history in southwest Ohio, Butler County will delight history buffs. Visitors will find pioneer homesteads and farmsteads dating back to the early 1800’s, historic neighborhoods, the Miami-Erie Canal, Fort Hamilton and many other historical spots awaiting to be explored.
- 1910 Museum. The historic building has housed a general store, soda fountain, dress shop and now serves as a museum to preserve the local history of Monroe. Visit www.monroeohhistoricalsociety.org to learn more about the 1910 Museum and other historical spots in Monroe.
- Black Covered Bridge. The Black Covered Bridge is the only covered bridge in Butler County remaining in its original location. Built in 1869 the bridge spans the Four Mile (Tallawanda) Creek and originally was named the Pugh’s Mill Bridge.
- Canal Museum. The Canal Museum lies on the former route of the Miami-Erie Canal which operated from 1825-1929. The museum is a replica of the lock tenders house and features artifacts, photographs and videos depicting the importance of Middletown’s past industry and history.
- Walking tour of historic Hamilton. The historic town of Hamilton holds many treasures. From the Benninghofen House, Lane-Hooven House, Hughes Schoolhouse, Dayton Lane Historic District, German Village Historic District, Butler County Veterans Memorial, Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers Monument, Butler County Court House, Fort Hamilton and the High-Main Street Bridge history buffs will love their visit to Hamilton. Download the Walking Tour of Historic Hamilton, Ohio map here.
Lane-Hooven House in Hamilton
- Homesteads and Historic Farmsteads. As the U.S. population began to grow in the early 1800’s, more pioneers moved west and settled in Butler County. Numerous historic homesteads and farmsteads include: Chrisholm MetroPark/Chrisholm Historic Farmstead, Dewitt Log Homestead, Elisha Morgan Farm Mansion, Hueston Woods State Park Pioneer Farm Museum, Monroe Pioneer Log Cabin, and Monument Cabin have all been restored to preserve Butler County’s rich pioneer and farming history.
Where to Eat:
Butler County has an abundance of delicious restaurants to entice and satisfy your palate. From local flavors, farm-to-table dining, ethnic foods, coffee shops, bakeries and so much more, I spent the weekend eating my way through Butler County. With lots of great food choices, I would suggest trying them all! The best way I have found to try everything is by sharing a variety of small plates at numerous restaurants to get the true taste of the local area. Let the list of awesome foodie options commence…
- Coffee Shops (the best places to keep you caffeinated for exploring Butler County!): Cappuccino Depot (located in Hamilton and West Chester), Cavu Coffee (West Chester), Java Johnny’s Café (Middletown), Koffenya (Oxford), Oxford Coffee Company (Oxford), Triple Moon Coffee Company (Middletown) and True West Coffee (Hamilton)
- Donut Shops: Jupiter Coffee & Donuts (Fairfield), Kelly’s Bakery (Hamilton), Martin’s Donuts (Trenton), Milton’s Donuts (Middletown), Mimi’s Donuts & Bakery (Hamilton), Oxford Doughnut Shoppe (Oxford), Ross Bakery (two locations in Hamilton), Stan the Donut Man (West Chester) and The Donut Spot (Fairfield)
Yummy Donuts at Mimi’s Donuts & Bakery
Restaurants (by location):
- Hamilton: High Street Café, Hyde’s Restaurant, Plaza One Grille, The Avenue Tavern & Grille
- Liberty Township: Cozy’s Cottage, Greek Isles Restaurant and Indian Spice Train
- Oxford: 45 East Bar & Grill, Bagel & Deli Shop, Mac & Joe’s, Paesano’s Pasta House, Patterson’s Café, Quarter Barrel Brewery & Pub, Steinkeller German Eatery & Pub
- West Chester: Sultan’s Mediterranean Cuisine, The Cone
Delicious Dining Options
Whenever I’m traveling I like to eat at local restaurants and tend to skip the chain restaurants. If you have a favorite chain restaurant, no problem, Butler County has just about every restaurant you can imagine!
*Full disclosure, I didn’t eat at all of the restaurants listed, but I sure as heck gave it my best shot! ?
Refreshing Libations and Nightlife:
Sometimes the best way to unwind after a long day exploring a new place is by sipping on a drink at a local bar, brewery or winery. Butler County has plenty of options for nightlife and great places to savor a cocktail, local beer or a glass of local Ohio wine! Drink your favorite cocktail or beer and sample Ohio-made micro brews and wines, just remember to always drink responsibly and never drink and drive! Cheers!
- Bars: Froggy’s (Monroe), Brick Street Bar & Grill (Oxford), Back Porch Saloon (West Chester), AC Lounge at the AC Hotel Cincinnati and numerous bars & restaurants at Liberty Center
Craft Cocktail at the AC Hotel Cincinnati at Liberty Center
- Breweries: DogBerry Brewing and Municipal Brew Works
- Wine Bars: Wise Owl Wine Bar (West Chester)
- Winery: Hanover Winery (Hamilton) *Read about my visit to Hanover Winery!*
Enjoying the views and wine at Hanover Winery
- Beer, Wine and Whiskey: Jungle Jim’s International Market (Fairfield)
Where to Shop:
Whether you are looking for accessories, antiques, a unique gift, jewelry, home décor, a new outfit or specialty food items, Butler County has a wide selection of local shops to choose from:
- Antique Shops and Flea Markets: Bird House Antiques (Oxford), Ohio Valley Antique Mall (Fairfield), Pleasant Treasures Flea Market (Hamilton) and Trader’s World Flea Market (Monroe)
- Accessories and Gifts: BeauVerre Riordan Stained Glass Studio (Middletown), Celebrate Local (Liberty Township), Flores Leather Works (Middletown), InsideOut Studio (Hamilton), Miss Selby’s Soap (Middletown)
- Clothing Boutiques: Bluetique (Oxford), Juniper (Oxford), The Apple Tree (Oxford), and Uptown Country Boutique (Middletown)
- Farm Markets: Barn-n-Bunk Farm Market (Trenton), Brown’s Family Farm Market (Hamilton)
- Home Décor: Front Room on 7th (Hamilton), Sara’s House (Hamilton), Secretly Shabby (Hamilton) and Treasures on Main (Hamilton)
- Handmade Jewelry: Made to Love (Hamilton) and Lane & Kate (Oxford)
- Popular Chains Stores: IKEA (West Chester), Cincinnati Premium Outlets (Monroe) and the new Liberty Center shopping center
- International and Specialty Food, Beers, Wines and Whiskey: Jungle Jim’s International Market (Fairfield) and The Spicy Olive (West Chester)
Southwestern Ohio has beautiful and lush scenery waiting for you to explore it by foot, bike, or boat. With over 40 county, city and township parks and one state park, outdoor enthusiasts are sure to feel the invigorating spirit of the great outdoors! Whether hiking, camping, cycling, kayaking or canoeing, getting back to nature and exploring Ohio’s natural beauty is easy to do in Butler County!
- Cycling and Hiking: American Discovery Trail (Oxford), Harbin Park (Fairfield), Hueston Woods State Park (College Corner), Presidential Pathways Scenic Byway (Oxford), Rentschler Forest MetroPark (Fairfield Township) and Wetlands Park (Hamilton)
- Fishing: Dudley Woods MetroPark (Liberty Township), Hueston Woods State Park (College Corner), Riverside Natural Area (Hamilton), Sebald Park (Middletown), Thomas O. Marsh Park Fishing Lake and Bait House (Fairfield), Voice of America MetroPark (West Chester)
- Parks: Bull’s Run Arboretum (Middletown), Governor Bebb MetroPark (Okeana), Hueston Woods State Park (College Corner), Rentschler Forest MetroPark (Fairfield Township), Sebald MetroPark (Middletown), Silvoor Biological Sanctuary and many more local parks
Izzy and I wading in Lake Acton at Hueston Woods State Park
With beautiful scenery, vibrant nightlife, a thriving local art scene, historical tours, a wonderful Ohio winery and great local restaurants, Butler County will delight your senses, entice your taste buds and share its laid-back Midwestern spirit with you, luring you back to explore more of its Ohio charms.
Who doesn’t need a weekend getaway every once in a while? Start planning your Ohio weekend getaway with this guide showcasing the best things to do in Butler County. An Ohio weekend getaway is the perfect escape to drink, eat, explore and shop local! Need more ideas for your weekend escape to Butler County? Visit www.gettothebc.com
A special thanks to Butler County Visitors Bureau and the AC Hotel Cincinnati at Liberty Center. I was an invited guest of Butler County Visitors Bureau and AC Hotel Cincinnati at Liberty Center. As always on Ohio Girl Travels, all opinions are my own!
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