We live in an area that people come to visit. That’s right, people actually travel to the western shores of Lake Erie because, well, their tourists. There are things to see and do here that are different and interesting. Our downtown Toledo region is, to paint with a broad brush, a tourist destination.
Stranger in a Familiar Land
It is an immutable fact that residents of an area forget how wonderful their community seems to
outsiders. Parisians walk by the Eifel Tower every day without glancing, let alone gawking at the steel wonder. To a Londoner, Big Ben is just another noisy reminder of how late they are.
The truth is, most residents of the downtown Toledo region rarely think about how many special places and interesting adventures await them in their own back yard. It takes a tourist, a visitor, or a recent arrival to a region to truly remind us of how special our community is and how many wonders await exploration.
Traveling the Maumee
Starting with Maumee Bay and dotted along the Maumee river are destinations and towns that are worth visiting. We drive by their exits, pass through their downtowns, and blitz around their entrances without any thought. Like the Rocky Mountains in Denver, our fantastic places to visit are just one of the sites.
In a time when long-distance travel is problematic and investing locally is paramount, spending time traveling the Maumee is not only a good option but a frugal one as well. It spreads some money right here in our community and gives us great options to fill our lazy summer days.
We start our trip down the Maumee with Downtown Toledo. See you around town!
Downtown Toledo Destinations
Sandpiper Boat: Sure, Sandpiper isn’t cruising the Fjords of Norway, but who cares. Taking a couple of hours to coast up and down the Maumee with friends and take a look at all of the local attractions along the Maumee is a pretty good getaway. It is affordable, they serve pizza, you can bring along a bottle of wine if you like, and it gets you out on the water without much fuss. Couple the experience with a trip to the Docks or a restaurant inside of the Warehouse District or Adams Street and it makes for a relaxing and quick getaway.
Middlegrounds Metropark: One of the newer Metroparks, Midlands is the epitome of urban greenspace. First, it is right along the Maumee and is, in a word, beautiful. Second, it is a hub for Toledo Bike Share. So, it is an excellent place to start a downtown excursion. Finally, there is an off the leash dog area. In other words, Midlands is a small, compact urban park with big things to do. If you haven’t visited it is worth the trip downtown all by itself.
Toledo Farmers Market: Now open both Saturday and Sunday, the Erie Street Market facility has been a downtown fixture for almost two decades. The outdoor market now has an excellent overhead structure that easily houses the farmers and merchants. Like all markets, every weekend sports new discoveries both organic and crafted. Check the website for specific times and special events.
Libbey Glass Outlet: Another downtown fixture at the Erie Street Market facility, Libbey glass outlet is a wonderland of glasses, barware, cookware, silverware, and other dining and culinary necessities. As long as you are at the Farmers’ Market you might as well stop by.
Toledo Museum of Art: A fixture of the Greater Toledo community and yes, we consider it fairly close to downtown. Located just off the downtown corridor on Monroe Street TMA is free. Yes, that is correct, TMA is one of the few art museums in the world that is free to the public. They are back open and, with the same precautions that everyone is requiring, a wonder and lazy summer day’s (or week’s) worth of entertainment.
Toledo Glass Pavilion: Sure, it is still TMA but the Glass Pavillion should really be considered a separate trip. Obviously focused on glass art and the region’s glass heritage, the Pavillion holds at least a full day of exhibits to explore.
The Village on Adams: A certified and licensed entertainment district in the downtown area, The Village on Adams is worth a day or so of exploration. Besides its active pub and restaurant scene (including Manhattan’s, The Adam’s Street Cafe, Fowl and Fodder, Carlos Poco Loco, and Manos. Shopping includes Handmade in Toledo and The Truth Art Gallery, to name a few.
ToleGo Bike Share: You will see people around downtown cruising around on these bright yellow 2 wheelers. And why not? It is a great way to explore the downtown area and lets you skip the parking problems associated with downtown. Plus, with all the maintenance on Summit street, wheeling around downtown on a bike makes navigating the yellow cones a breeze.
Coffee Shops – Rustbelt, Maddie and Bellas, Plate One and Black Kite: Our coffee culture around the region is rich and vibrant, so it is no wonder that downtown has some great coffee houses as well. Any or all are worth a stop.
All Crumbs Bakery: This bakery on Adams takes planning, as you need to order for next day pickup. So, if you are planning a trip downtown why not “plan” a day ahead and order from this scratch bakery. Don’t be sidetracked by cookies, their savory selections are excellent. You can also find them at the Farmers’ Market.
San Marcos Restaurant and Grocery: Located right downtown near Middlegrounds, what makes San Marcos isn’t necessarily the restaurant, which is excellent, but attached to the eatery is a unique grocery. This hidden gem is worth a stop regardless if you are getting lunch. Picking up a couple of new products from their highly focussed selection feels like a perfect “tourist” thing to do. Don’t stop there, however. Put this market permanently on your shopping map.