The US state of Ohio in the Midwest is famous for its idyllic nature, American football, and the big cold Lake Erie. But in Canada's culturally rich neighbor, you'll also find vibrant metropolises like Cleveland and Cincinnati. Join us on a journey through the beautiful Buckeye State!

Ohio facts

Capital: Columbus
Area: 116,096 km²
Population: about 12 million
Location: Midwest USA
Nickname: The Buckeye State
State animal: Cardinal
Time zone: Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Ohio: location & population

Although the US state of Ohio is assigned to the Midwest of the USA, it is located on the border to Canada, which runs through the middle of the 25,667 square kilometers of Lake Erie. In addition, Ohio borders the US states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, and Michigan and is part of the Great Lakes region, which also includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, among others.

Approximately 7.5% of Ohio residents were born outside the state, well below the US average of 13.7%. The most common foreign languages among "Ohioans" are Spanish, Yiddish, Pennsylvania Dutch, and Chinese, including Mandarin and Cantonese.

The largest ancestry groups in Ohio are German, Irish, English, and Polish. The large German-descended population has strongly influenced Ohio's culture. For example, a district in the capital city of Columbus is called "German Village."

After Pennsylvania, Ohio has the second-largest concentration of Amish in the United States. The rural area of Holmes County is therefore also called "Amish Country" by Ohioans and is a popular tourist destination.

The biggest cities in Ohio

About 20% of Ohio's people live in rural areas. The rest is spread across the diverse metropolitan areas. The largest cities in Ohio, based on population, are:

City Population
Columbus 900,000
Cleveland 380,000
Cincinnati 303,000
Toledo 277,000
Akron 198,000
Dayton 141,000

Climate and nature in Ohio

In Ohio, cold, dry weather fronts from Canada meet warm, wet weather from the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in frequent precipitation (including lots of snowfall) and occasional tornadoes.

Ohio's humid continental climate is unexpectedly cold for many visitors, with its average daily high temperature of 17 °C. The weather also shows great variety, with harsh winters around -30 °C and snowstorms, and warm, humid summers around +30 °C.

Ohio's widespread buckeye trees have given the US state its nickname "The Buckeye State." When out and about in the diverse natural environment of forests, waterfalls, beaches, and islands, you may encounter raccoons, turkeys, coyotes, and even bears.

Best time to visit Ohio

The best time to visit Ohio is between May and September when temperatures are pleasantly warm and remain rather dry. The winters are snowy and attractive for winter sports, but the ski resorts are not comparable to those in Colorado or Utah.

Ohio in summer

A long warm summer day in Ohio is best spent in a beach cabin on Lake Erie, or a boat, or one of the beautiful islands, such as Kelleys or South Bass.

A cottage in Toledo is also a good idea because from there, you can be at Lake Erie in a flash for swimming, paddling, picnicking, and camping in the beautiful nature.

Also, city trips or hiking tours, biking, climbing, and wildlife watching in one of the nature reserves are simply wonderful in summer!

Ohio in winter

If you head to Ohio during the winter months, you won't meet many tourists. And yet, there's plenty to do in Ohio during the winter.

From indoor water parks to magical winter festivals, there's something for both winter fans and winter grouches in Ohio. Honestly, though, a winter hater is unlikely to venture outside during one of Ohio's harsher winters. It's just darn cold. Several layers of winter clothing can help.

Many Ohioans take it in stride and arrange to play golf on frozen Lake Erie.

How to get to Ohio

If you fly to Ohio from Europe, you will be traveling between 16 and 19 hours and will make at least two stops. The cheapest flights are usually to the airports in Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. However, there are more airports in Ohio. Among the most important are:

  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport
  • John Glenn Columbus International Airport
  • James M. Cox Dayton International Airport
  • Akron-Canton Airport

Normally, you pay between €630 and €900 for a flight to Ohio from Europe. You can get a bargain if you fly with Air France and Delta from Moscow to Columbus. Here, you pay at best only €550 for your Ohio flight.

Air travelers from Asia or Africa fly 30 hours or more and pay well over €1,000 for a flight to Ohio.

Ohio travel authorization

Don't forget: If you are not a US citizen or Green Card holder, then you will need a US visa or ESTA to enter the US.

ESTA – visa-free to the USA

With an ESTA, you can stay 90 days visa-free in the USA. Apply online now!

Ohio airport transfer

After taking one of the affordable flights to Columbus, Cleveland, or Cincinnati, there are several transfer options available to you at the airport:


Cleveland: The cab queue is located at the south end of the baggage claim. Columbus: A number of cab services offer transportation in the cab lane. Cincinnati: The cab stand is located outside the arrivals hall next to baggage claim 5.

Shuttle bus

Cleveland: There are numerous hotels in Cleveland that offer their own shuttle services. Pickup is at the east end of the terminal.
Columbus: A number of private shuttle services are available by phone and can be booked prior to your arrival.
Cincinnati: There are many hotels in Cincinnati that offer their own shuttle services. Just make a quick call to your hotel to find out if a shuttle is available to you.

Public Transportation

Cleveland: The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) waits on the lower level of the main terminal with convenient connections to downtown in less than 30 minutes.
Columbus: The Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) offers two bus routes between the airport and downtown Columbus.
Cincinnati: The Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) offers service between Cincinnati Airport (CVG) and downtown.

Other options

Several rental car companies are waiting for you to become a customer at all airports. Conveniently, shuttle buses will take you from your terminal to off-airport car rental locations in a matter of minutes.

National parks and natural wonders in Ohio

An excursion into nature in the US state of Ohio is a varied and often humid experience. Rushing waterfalls and deserted islands await you. Here are the most beautiful natural wonders in Ohio:

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

In this beautiful nature preserve near Cleveland, you'll find plenty of serenity, spectacular hiking trails, and stunning waterfalls. In the Cuyahoga Valley, you can enjoy yourself by bike or on foot. The national park is the perfect size for a day trip. After a long hike or bike ride, you can take the train back to your starting point.

Our tip: The signage on the trails can be confusing. To avoid ending up ankle-deep in mud, find out about the accessible routes with the help of a park map or from one of the rangers.

Hocking Hills State Park

In southeast Ohio, bizarre cliffs, beautiful waterfalls, and mysterious caves await you at Hocking Hills State Park. Take a whirlwind zipline ride, rent a canoe, rock climb, or rent a cabin in the woods to admire the breathtaking starry skies at night.

Our tip: This park is also a gem in winter because you won't ever forget the stunning hike to the frozen waterfalls!

Maumee Bay State Park

A camping trip in nature, a rustic hike through the marshes, or a campfire at beautiful Inland Lake will make you the most relaxed person in all of Ohio.

Tip: Maumee Bay State Park has two white powder-sugar beaches, so don't forget your swimsuit.

Kelleys Island State Park

In the immediate vicinity of Maumee Bay State Park, you can find a group of islands in Lake Erie. The Lake Erie Islands include Pelee Island, South Bass Island with the picturesque vacation village Put-in-Bay, and Kelleys Island. Here, you can expect great beaches, surprising rock formations, and the beautiful blue waters of Lake Erie. All of this is topped off with great hiking trails through the wetlands, campgrounds, and recreational opportunities like kayaking or shopping in the lively downtown area.

Glen Helen Nature Preserve and John Bryan State Park

At Glen Helen Nature Preserve, between Dayton and Springfield, you'll find rushing waterfalls, exciting rock formations, a visitor center, and a raptor center with owls and other birds. Next door, John Bryan State Park has opened its gates and invites you to hike to the beautiful green Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve in an equally scenic setting.

Top 10 sightseeing highlights in Ohio

The following places in Ohio are must-sees and should absolutely be on your travel list:

  • Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Cedar Point (amusement park)
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • Kings Island (amusement park)
  • Hocking Hills State Park
  • Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
  • National Museum of the United
  • Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial
  • Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
  • National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

City highlights in Ohio

We must admit, this isn't New York City or Los Angeles. But you'll be impressed by the diversity and vast array of arts, culture, and historic sites in Ohio's cities. Here are our Ohio city highlights:

City highlights Columbus

Ohio's capital, Columbus, is at the center of the Buckeye State and has great architecture and art, as well as a musical highlight: the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Hints of the many Ohioans of German descent can be found in the historic "German Village" district. It may not look much like Germany, but you'll get good food, good beer, and a cozy village atmosphere.

These are the places you shouldn't miss in Columbus:

  • Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
  • Easton Town Center
  • North Market
  • Columbus Museum of Art
  • German Village

City highlights Cleveland

Cleveland, on the shores of Lake Erie, is the city of fine arts and rock music, but it's also big on sports. If you have the opportunity to see the Cleveland Indians baseball team play at Progressive Field Stadium, don't miss it!

Be sure to also take an afternoon to chow down through the ice cream menu at Mitchell's Ice Cream. The homemade treats attract hordes of tourists for a reason.

These are the places you should see in Cleveland:

  • Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
  • Cleveland Museum of Art
  • West Side Market
  • A Christmas Story House
  • Cleveland Museum of Natural History

City highlights Cincinnati

Cincinnati, on the Ohio River in the South, is an exceptionally beautiful city, even if you don't worship the Cincinnati Reds baseball team like most people here. Downtown, you'll find a vibrant city atmosphere with bars, theaters, and great restaurants. Your love of art, culture, and history won't be forgotten either.

These are the places you should see in Cincinnati:

  • Great American Ball Park
  • Cincinnati Art Museum
  • American Sign Museum
  • National Underground Railroad
  • Freedom Center
  • Coney Island Park

City highlights Toledo

Excellent food, great concerts, festivals, and the nearness of Lake Erie make Toledo a perfect place for an Ohio vacation. The lively city is also known as "Glass City" because its history is closely tied to the manufacturing of glass, as evidenced by many works of glass art. Toledo is also an ideal base for day trips to Maumee State Park.

These are the places you should see in Toledo:

  • Toledo Museum of Art
  • National Museum of the Great Lakes
  • Hollywood Casino Toledo
  • Imagination Station (interactive science museum)
  • Toledo Botanical Garden

Ohio road trip

A road trip through Ohio is like a roller coaster ride of emotions because the Buckeye State is extremely diverse.

Stop for a few hours at Cedar Point, the largest and oldest amusement park in the USA. Discover the hidden castles and treehouses in the Mohican Memorial State Forest, drive along the shores of Lake Erie, or pay a visit to Amish Country and nibble homemade cheese and bread of the Amish people.

We promise you won't get bored with Ohio's many roadside attractions. So keep your eyes wide open on your Ohio road trip because, along the roadsides, sculptures, "cornhenge," rock temples, castle ruins, walk-in shopping baskets, miniature churches, ghost towns, and absurdly creepy private museums await your discovery.

Instagram hotspots in Ohio

Ohio is full of stunning photo opportunities! Who wouldn't instantly think of their Instagram account? Here are our top 5 Instagram hotspots in Ohio:

  1. Umbrella Alley in Louisville
  2. Upper Falls in Old Man's Cave
  3. Bartley Lofts in Toledo
  4. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
  5. The headquarters of the Longaberger Basket Company

Ohio food highlights

If you get the munchies in Ohio, you'll have to choose between meat, meat, and meat. Well, it's not quite that bad, but the large percentage of German- and Polish-born residents is evident in culinary Ohio: sausages and ground beef abound.

Try the following treats when you're in Ohio:

  • Goetta — German recipe black pudding
  • Cheese Coney Hot Dog — Hot dog with chili, onions, and lots of cheese
  • Cleveland Polish Boy — Sandwich made with Polish kielbasa sausage, BBQ sauce, and coleslaw
  • Shaker Lemon Pie — Cake made with lemons, flour, eggs, butter, and plenty of sugar
  • Cincinnati Chili Spaghetti — Spicy meat sauce served with cinnamon and chocolate on a portion of spaghetti
  • Buckeye Candy — Chocolate peanut butter candy, visually reminiscent of chestnuts

By the way, the "Paw Paw" growing here is the largest tree fruit in the USA and is honored annually at the Ohio Paw Paw Festival. The fruits taste terrific - like a hybrid of melon and banana!

Ohio fun facts

You probably haven't heard these exciting facts about the US state of Ohio:

  • Ohio is home to the world's largest cuckoo clock. You can visit the massive bird in the village of Sugarcreek, nicknamed the "Little Switzerland of Ohio" for its alpine look.
  • The Cuyahoga River is nicknamed "The River That Caught Fire" because it has burst into flames more than ten times. Each time, the reason for the burning floodwaters was heavy pollution that lasted into the 1960s. Oil-slicked debris was ignited by sparks from passing trains.
  • As many as seven US presidents were born in Ohio, which is why the state is known as the "Mother of Modern Presidents."
  • Ohio's flag is the only non-rectangular state flag in the United States.
  • 50% of the population of Ohio lives within 500 miles of Columbus.
  • Ohio is the US #1 in the production of Swiss cheese.
  • "Toward the lake" means "north" in Ohio, and "toward the river" means "south."
  • Ohioans speak different dialects in the southern and northern parts of the state.

Moving to Ohio

Are you as much in love with Ohio as we are? Then you'll probably want to stay right there. Our tips for working and living in Ohio can help:

Working in Ohio

The largest industries in the Corn Belt state of Ohio are agriculture, with its nearly 75,000 farms and 14 million acres of land, and manufacturing.

The fast-growing tourism industry, the financial industry, the manufacturing of tires, engines, and machinery, and auto assembly are also home to some of the state's top employers.

In terms of the number of employees, the most common occupations in Ohio are nurses, managers, drivers, and salespeople. Compared to other states, Ohio has an unusually high number of appliance manufacturers, metalsmiths, and soap, detergent, and cosmetic manufacturers.

Among the most prominent employers are Verizon, Tecta America, CentiMark, Holder Construction, Scotts Miracle-Gro.

Living in Ohio

Ohio is known for its low cost of living, good schools, and diverse recreational opportunities such as popular amusement parks.

But if you live here, you'll also have to deal with harsh winters, lots of snow, and spontaneous weather changes. In return, you can soak up the sun in the hot summers by motorboat or jet ski on Lake Erie.

If you're looking to live in Ohio, it doesn't hurt to get a little involved with American football, baseball, and basketball, as US sports will be an integral part of your life here.

One tip that veteran Ohioans like to give to new immigrants: don't move to the big cities but to the suburbs. Popular areas include Oakwood near Dayton, Ottawa Hills near Toledo, and Shaker Heights near Cleveland.

Moving to Ohio with a Green Card

A Green Card is the only visa that allows you to live and work in the US indefinitely. The easiest way to get the coveted US immigrant visa is through the Green Card Lottery, where the US government gives away 55,000 Green Cards every year.

You can apply for the lottery in parallel, even if you are already trying to get a Green Card through a job. Applying for the Green Card Lottery only takes a few minutes and, if you're lucky, will save you years of struggling with US authorities and potential employers.

Apply today! We have our fingers crossed for you!

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