23 Best & Fun Things to Do in Bowling Green (Ohio)

Bowling Green was established in 1832 and is currently the county seat of Ohio’s Wood County. It was embodied as a town in 1855 and a city in 1901.

The city’s residents abbreviate the name to BG. The city’s population was 30,677 in 2021. The city’s national tractor pull event and public University, Bowling Green State University (BGSU), are its most prominent features.

This city, primarily surrounded by plain farmlands, has a lot of lush spots for outdoor enjoyment and offers miles of greenery. Bowling Green features historic museums, festivals, neighborhood restaurants, sports, shopping, and on-campus functions.

Here are the best and fun things to do in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Things to Do in Bowling Green, Ohio

1. Wood County Museum

Wood County Museum
Credits: Mbrickn [CC BY-SA 4.0], Wikimedia Commons
Wood County Museum
The Lyle Fletcher Arboretum and the Wood County History Museum are located on a 50-acre property. The museum has attracted history lovers from far and near.

A log cabin, an oil derrick, a hog barn, a pest house, a madman’s house, and other outbuildings can all be found here.

The main structure, constructed in 1868, served as housing for Wood County’s destitute, physically challenged, and mentally ill patients.

Bowling Green was chosen as the county seat rather than Perrysburg, Ohio, because of the infirmary’s existence there.

It relocated to a new site and kicked off again as the Wood County Museum in 1975. More than 30 historical exhibits concerning Wood County and the building are available at the museum.

For a more entertaining and insightful experience, you may tour the museum’s Animal Crossing Scavenger hunt with your kids and the museum’s paths.

Address: 13660 County Home Rd, Bowling Green, OH, USA

2. Carter Historic Farm

Carter Historic Farm
Credits: Carter Historic Farm / Facebook
Carter Historic Farm

A home that has been restored to illustrate Ohio’s story during the Great Depression is the Carter Historic Farm.

Taking an exciting look at a historical turning point that profoundly affected the lives of the residents is exciting, especially if you are enthusiastic about history.

The Carters were fortunate to finish paying off the farmhouse before the ten-year economic crisis when they purchased it in 1901.

The family got through that time with the help of the community and by depending on locally sourced food; hence, most of them became farmers.

For several generations, they were the farmhouse owners before they gave the land to the Wood County Park District.

The site currently serves as a living history museum that reenacts a farming family’s daily life in the 1930s and a running farmhouse.

You will discover a barn, short woodland paths, farm equipment, a schoolhouse from the 1890s, and 20 acres of wetland at the farm. You can book a free tour of the area from Friday to Sunday.

Address: 18331 Carter Rd, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

3. Black Swamp Preserve

Black Swamp Preserve
Credits: Mbrickn [CC BY-SA 4.0], Wikimedia Commons
Black Swamp Preserve
Black Swamp Preserve is a massive natural park facility with wildlife species and gorgeous woodlands. Wood County park district collaborated with Bowling Green City Parks to establish the facility.

Black Swamp Preserve has provided bicycle and wheelchair access for bikers, as well as safety signs and directions at strategic points to ensure you do not lose your way.

Some activities you will enjoy at this Preserve include cycling and hiking along the Slippery Elm Trail, which offers 13 miles of the bike trail from Bowling Green through North Baltimore. 

The Preserve’s pollinator gardens and bluebird nesting boxes create a conducive habitat for birds and beautiful butterflies.

The Preserve has restrooms ideally situated close to the parking lot, so feel free to visit in your vehicle if you like.

The attraction does not require any entrance fee. It is available to the public every day of the week from 8 am and closes half an hour after sunset.

Address: 1014 S Maple Street, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

4. Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums
Credits: David Wilson/ Flickr
Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

For people with limited time to spend on their vacation, Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library And Museum is one of the best places to visit in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The 3-in-1 attraction features the 31-room castle and presidential Library with President Rutherford B. Hayes’s diaries and papers, his tomb, and a museum.

All these are in the president’s 25-acre Fremont, Ohio, estate, Spiegel Grove. There are mile-long hard, finished walking trails present on the estate.

In 2016, the museum set up brand-new exhibits in its galleries. Additionally, it features shuffling displays all year round, such as its yearly holiday model train exhibit, the Hayes Train Special.

In 2012 the management renovated the house to its original appearance as when the president and his First Lady Lucy Webb.

This attraction does justice to its motto, ” come curious and leave amazed” in every sense. There are also adequate parking lots for people who visit in privately owned vehicles.

Address: Spiegel Grove, Fremont, OH 43420, USA

5. The Black Swamp Preserve’s Slippery Elm Trail

Black Swamp Preserve's Slippery Elm Trail
Credits: Mbrickn [CC BY-SA 4.0], Wikimedia Commons
Black Swamp Preserve’s Slippery Elm Trail
Among the fun things to do in Bowling Green, Ohio, is biking the Slippery Elm Trail, especially if you are a biker, thrill seeker, or generally an outdoor enthusiast.

The BG City Parks, seated along South Maple Street, formed the Black Swamp Preserve, a wildlife reserve where you will find the Slippery Elm Trail.

The Slippery Elm Trail in Northwest Ohio, launched in 1995, is a well-liked multi-use route. It is loved by cyclers, hikers, and skaters in due season.

Wood County Parks district handles slippery Elm Trail upkeep. This environmental reserve has bluebird nesting boxes, pollinator gardens, and grass walkways.

The 13-mile Slippery Elm Trail, which connects Bowling Green and North Baltimore, Ohio, is also accessible by paved roads from here.

Beginning at the Black Swamp Preserve in Bowling Green, the path travels through Rudolph and Portage before arriving in North Baltimore.

Address: 1014 S Maple St, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

6. BGSU Planetarium

BGSU Planetarium
Credits: Bgsu Planetarium / Facebook
BGSU Planetarium

The Planetarium is a scientific theater classroom used for the University’s astronomy classes. It is situated within the Bowling Green State University (BGSU) campus.

The Planetarium provides services to the community of northwest Ohio as well as the students of the University.

A 40-foot dome housing the 114-seat Planetarium features a cutting-edge SciDome video mechanism. After the Planetarium debuted in 1984, the management made major modifications between 2013 and 2014.

Observers can view the sky and the cosmos. Public Planetarium events, such as Planetarium and a star talk presentation, are open to everyone.

After weekend programs, the public is invited to use the observatory’s 0.5-meter telescope to view the night sky and learn about it.

Visiting the Planetarium is worth adding to your list of the best things to do in Bowling Green, Ohio, if you are fascinated by the cosmos.

Address: 217 Physical Science Building, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

7. BGSU Fine Arts Center

BGSU Fine Arts Center
Credits: Mbrickn [CC BY-SA 4.0], Wikimedia Commons
BGSU Fine Arts Center
If you are an art lover, it would be a good idea to include going to the BGSU Fine Arts Center in your list of top things to do in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The Bowling Green State University campus Fine Arts Center has three galleries that feature exhibits chosen by the University’s faculty of Art.

The exhibitions feature modern-day art from regional masters and works by students, teachers, and well-known national artists.

You may participate in inclusive and cooperative activities that use dialogue and fresh perspectives to bring cultural, social, and political issues to the spotlight.

The public is free to access the displays without an entrance fee. You might see something that inspires your next art piece.

Address: Fine Arts Center, Bowling Green, OH 43403, USA

8. Wood County Fair

Wood County Fair
Credits: Benny Mazur / Flickr
Wood County Fair

Each summer, the Wood County Fair draws up to 100,000 visitors. It has been an annual celebration in Wood County for over a century.

This tradition has helped the county and many of its youngsters by offering entertainment, education, and exhibitions.

The Wood County Fair has assisted many people in having life-changing experiences. Everyone in the neighborhood, as well as the county and the state, feels proud of it.

The Wood County Agricultural Society puts on this yearly occasion, which starts in late June or late July, at the Wood County Fairgrounds.

The fair’s attractions include a king and queen competition, concerts, harness raising, tractor and truck pulls, and a youth procession.

In addition, there will be cheerleading competitions, a kiddie pedal pull, an antique tractor show, a water ball competition, a catch-a-pig competition, and many other events. So try not to miss it!

Address: 13800 W Poe Rd, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

Ohio have some cool cities to explore, do check out Perrysburg and Findlay for a fun exploration of this state.

9. Snook’s Dream Cars

Snook's Dream Cars
Credits: Snook’s Dream Cars / Facebook
Snook’s Dream Cars

Snook’s Dream Cars, located on County Home Road, gives life to the history of automobiles. The museum features Bill Snook, a late auto enthusiast’s extensive collection.

In 1963, the Snooks repaired a 1929 Model A Ford, sparking a lifelong love of automobiles. At age 16, Bill’s son Jeff operated the vehicle.

Jeff and Bill have grown their collection of vehicles and auto-related items to honor the grace and style of the past ever since.

A recreation of a 1940s Texaco petrol station is housed at the museum. All automobiles are still operable and regarded as a living museum as Jeff frequently drives them about town.

The Museum is a must-see, especially if you love cars. Discover a spectacular showroom featuring dream vehicle collections from a 1930s general store to a 1960s racetrack displayed in different locations,

These cars also serve as brand ambassadors for Alfa Romeo, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Datsun, Ford, Jaguar, Kaiser, MG, Packard, Pontiac, Triumph, and Willys.

Address: 13920 County Home Rd, Bowling Green, OH 43402-8670, USA

10. Stone Ridge Golf Course

Stone Ridge Golf Course
Credits: amenic181 / Shutterstock

Stone Ridge Golf Club is one of Bowling Green’s outdoor attractions that you shouldn’t miss out on if you love golf. The course is guarded by 159 acres of stunning rolling hills and moderate slopes.

Boasting a grass course with 18 holes and 72-Par, it is renowned as Northwest Ohio’s best public golf course. Asides from being aesthetically pleasing, it poses a worthy challenge, even for professional golfers.

It was listed as one of the “Top 10 Best Public Courses” in the state and has maintained that ranking by providing tourists with exceptional service in a top-notch facility.

The clubhouse of Stone Ridge Golf Club serves food and hosts several events, such as weddings and parties; all you need to do is contact the management and book a spot.

Address: 1553 Muirfield Dr, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

11. Ohio’s First Utility Wind Farm

You may spot Ohio’s First Utility Wind Farm in Bowling Green when traveling along State Route 6 west of Bowling Green.

The Utility Wind Farm began operating in 2003. Due to the enormous size of the wind turbines, you may also be able to see them while standing on an old landfill.

Each machine had three whirling blades 132 feet long and a tower 257 feet tall, summing up to over 400 ft above the cornfields at its highest point.

One thousand five hundred dwellings can be powered by the 14,000 megawatts the turbines can produce. Today, windmills of different sizes are in other parts of the state.

The area has become a popular tourist destination as the massive turbines make for an excellent backdrop for memorable photographs.

Aside from being a magnificent sight to behold, the wind farm provides a platform to learn about the efficient means of power supply.

Address: Route 6 West of Bowling Green, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

12. National Tractor Pulling Championships

Check out the National Tractor Pulling Championship, the world’s most significant known outdoor truck and tractor-pulling competition. It is one of the fun things to do in Bowling Green, Ohio.

People travel from all over the world to watch and compete in the National Tractor Pulling Championships, which have been taking place for more than 50 years.

This event, which takes place in the latter part of August, showcases several tractor and truck pulling techniques, including Mini Rods, Two-Wheel Drive Trucks, Super Semis, and Super Farm.

The three-day gathering offers five exhilarating pull sessions, delicious food vendors, live music, yurts, tents, merchandise yurt, and a campground.

For over 20 years, the group has worked in tandem with the Make-A-Wish Foundation for fundraising through the help of volunteers who reach out to the public, creating awareness.

It is the perfect way to end the summer because the weekend-long festival attracts 65,000 people and includes over 2,000 campsites.

Address: 13800 W Poe Road, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

13. Construction Equipment Museum

Construction Equipment Museum
Credits: Erica Minton / Flickr
Construction Equipment Museum

The National Construction Equipment Museum is an organization dedicated to safeguarding the past of massive machinery principally utilized in surface mining, construction, and dredging,

Running the Museum is the Historical Construction Equipment Association (HCEA). The Museum also highlights the growth of technology over the years in contrast with present-day equipment.

In 1992, the HCEA possessed over 90 machines dating back to the 19th century through the mid-20th century(1960). They featured in the rented spot they used to run the equipment museum.

It houses different building equipment like cranes, concrete mixers, bulldozers, drills, scrapers, dump trucks, shovels, rollers, and other large machinery.

Aside from being a popular tourist destination, this Museum has been the venue for several HCEA international conferences.

A sizable collection of storied items kept in the National Construction Equipment Museum’s archives is also accessed by researchers globally.

Photographs, slides, and mutation pictures/films of over 2,600 firms are some of the relics you will find at the museum. You will enjoy visiting the museum if you have a flair for engineering.

Address: 16623 Liberty Hi Rd, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

14. Side Cut Metropark

Side Cut Metropark
Credits: MyraMyra / Shutterstock

Situated on the outskirts of Bowling Green in the town of Maumee, Ohio, is the regional Park known as Side Cut Metropark. It was the starting point of the Metropark system over 90 years ago.

The site is a sidecut of the Erie Canal and Miami, hence the name. Side Cut served as the first Metropark.

During the 1920s, the State of Ohio established this park featuring a Bluegrass Island and is renowned for being a fishing hot spot.

Aside from fishing spots, other fabulous attractions at this location include a sledding hill, canal access, picnic shades, a playground, and more.

The area is endowed with history and traditional values.

Address: 1025 W River Rd, Maumee, OH 43537, USA

15. For Keeps

For Keeps
Credits: For Keeps / Facebook
For Keeps

If you are a shopaholic, one of the top things to do in Bowling Green, Ohio, would be to go on a shopping spree at For Keeps.

The locally owned and run store is the go-to place if you want to shop for gift items and lots more.

This well-known store is renowned for selling items peculiar to what you find in other stores in the area in terms of quality and uniqueness.

For Keeps has thrived so well in serving the town since its establishment in 1997. With its 4000 sq ft display area on three levels containing various items, you might lose sight of what you want, so go prepared.

Even with so many gift items, it is so frequented by customers that it needs to be restocked regularly to meet the demand.

The staff is amicable, so feel free to ask them for directions to reduce your search time for particular items.

Address: 144 S Main St, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

Planning a road trip to Ohio, here is a list of Wooster attractions, and things to do in Medina for a fun Iowa road trip.

16. Gallery Salon & Spa

Gallery Salon & Spa
Credits: joysugarplum / Shutterstock

Gallery Salon & Spa is a well-known Spa that has thrived to build a reputation as the Spa in the area with the help of its excellent staff in Bowling Green, Ohio.

The family-owned and run salon and Spa opened its doors to the public in 2002, becoming a hub for beauty and relaxation.

This Salon and Spa is the go-to place if you want to be pampered just the way you want, you can personalize your treatment, and the staff will follow suit, as long as it is healthy.

Some salon services offered at this establishment include Cuts & Styles, Text, Perm & Waves, Conditioning, and Color Services.

After the establishment expanded in 2009, it started offering skin care therapy, waxing, complete body massage services, and more. Treat your partner to a relaxing manicure and pedicure at Gallery Salon & Spa.

Address: 165 N Main Street #2, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

17. Big Fab Lab

BiG Fab Lab
Credits: BiG Fab Lab / Facebook
BiG Fab Lab

If you are a budding scientist, creator, or artist, you can express your technical and artistic side with the help of Big Fab Lab through experimentation.

You can meet like minds and work together to achieve better results in a shorter time in this Northwest Ohio community-operated public facility.

The lab gives people, businesses, and schools access to practical knowledge in manufacturing, design, and inventing.

The facility has tools and machines for 3D scanning and printing, welding, laser engraving, pottery, programming, metals, electronics, and other utilities.

Regular sessions at Big Fab Lab are led by knowledgeable teachers who show participants how to safely utilize the tools and equipment.

However, you have to become a member and undergo specific safety training before you can access the devices, as they can be dangerous when misused.

Address: 1234 N Main St d, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

18. The Wintergarden/St.John’s Nature Preserve

Wintergarden/St.John’s Nature Preserve
Credits: Diego Cervo / Shutterstock

Wintergarden/St. John’s Natural Preserve encompasses woodlands, wetlands, and hills.

Before Bowling Green was mapped out of the Black Swamp, which covered almost all of Northwestern Ohio, it was overrun by vast woodlands, animals, and savannas under lush greenery.

The city purchased the forest after the Second World War, and it became a hub for leisure and recreational activities.

St. John Woods, Twyman Woods, Bordner Meadow, Twyman Woods, and St. John Woods are some other properties reportedly purchased by Bowling Green.

The Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve currently features over three miles of hiking paths with several loops that cut through acres of forest and prairie pastures.

The Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve’s naturalists host various activities to inform the public about the local flora and fauna.

Address: 615 S Wintergarden Rd, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

19. Simpson Garden Park

Simpson Garden Park
Credits: Rosamar / Shutterstock
Simpson Garden Park

Simpson Garden Park is a free flora and sculpture park that boasts various conceptual areas that offer fun activities in Bowling Green.

This park features a Japanese Garden, a Hosta Garden, and a Children’s Discovery & Sensory Garden, all of which are available to the public for daily walks.

This park highlights plants that thrive in this region while providing programs to inform visitors about the significance of plants in the natural world. It is a beautiful location for group picnics, free time strolls, and meditation.

Check out the lovely rental facility that is ideal for special gatherings while you are at the park. There is no complete list of what to do in Bowling Green, Ohio, without relaxing and unwinding at Simpson Garden Park.

Address: 1292 Conneanut Ave, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

20. Slater Family Ice Arena

Slater Family Ice Arena
Credits: Greenstrat / Public Domain
Slater Family Ice Arena

If you enjoy skating or wish to hone your skills, you should stop by the Slater Family Ice Arena. The Slater Family Ice Arena has been a resource for the University and the community for over 50 years, starting in 1967.

The Bowling Green Falcons of the (CCHA) Central Collegiate Hockey Association play their home games at the Slater Family Ice Arena.

The Bowling Green Youth Hockey Association, many high school hockey teams, and the Bowling Green Skating Club all use this rink.

Recreational hockey and figure skating are just a few of the many functions held at the Slater Family Ice Arena. It is open to participants of all ages and skating abilities.

For a casual outing with the family or your significant other, visiting Slater Family Ice Arena is worth a spot on your itinerary of what to do in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Address: 417 N Mercer Rd, Bowling Green, OH 43402, USA

21. Fort Meigs, Ohio’s War of 1812 Battlefield

Fort Meigs, Ohio's War of 1812 Battlefield
Credits: Tito Slack / Shutterstock
Fort Meigs, Ohio’s War of 1812 Battlefield

Fort Meigs is the most enormous restored Fort with wooden walls in the country. It is a 10-acre fort situated on the Maumee River in its original site.

The Fort Meigs earthwork, several block structures, and five artillery batteries have been maintained to look the same as they were in the 1823 summer season.

Learn soldier lifestyle; when you step into the block homes, you will also acquire insight into the two attacks on the Fort in 1813.

The Fort has a Visitors’ Center featuring a museum, store, and classrooms. Themes of Conflict, Remembrance, Era, and Understanding are the Visitors Center’s Primary Focus.

The exhibits at the Fort highlight the learning procedures adopted by archaeologists and historians on events that occurred there, some of which were obtained from the 1812 war.

This attraction offers events that lighten the United States military history. However, one of the most entertaining things about this attraction is the reenactment of the 1812 war.

Address: 29100 W River Rd, Perrysburg, OH 43551, USA

22. The BGSU Student Recreation Center

BGSU Student Recreation Center
Credits: Duet PandG / Shutterstock

The BGSU Student Recreation Center, which opened in 1979, has enhanced the University’s and the neighborhood’s quality of life.

A weight/strength room, slam wall area, an ab/stretching area, and sporting courts for volleyball, badminton, and basketball are just a few of the center’s cutting-edge facilities.

Additionally, a 35-ft climbing wall, swimming pools, an indoor track, and other activities are available.

You must have a membership card or a day pass to enter the facility. The BGSU Student Recreation Center is now classified as an “Official Hammer Strength Training Center.”

Address: 1411 Ridge St, Bowling Green, OH 43403, USA

23. Otsego Park

Credits: Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock

Otsego Park is a large outdoor recreation area featuring a wildlife preserve and other necessary park amenities. It is one of the best places to visit in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Otsego Park is home to two playgrounds, a pollinator garden, a river walk, a fenced see-through wildlife preserve, and Thompson Stone Hall, which you can use for events such as weddings.

The Park’s boat launch is another of its well-liked elements; it is where the park’s central town canoe livery is located.

Additionally, many events are provided here, including luncheons for Friends of the Parks members, photography tours, the Going Green Home & Garden series, and archery.

You can visit Otsego Park at any time of the year because it is available to the public every day from 8:00 am to half an hour after sunset throughout the year.

Address: 20000 W River Rd, Bowling Green, OH 43402-8692, USA

For more fun in Ohio, check out our guides on things to do in Springfieldthings to do in Cleveland and things to do in Columbus 

Plan Your Trip to Bowling Green

Aside from permanent attractions and annual festivities, this small “college town” has seasonal activities, not to mention the bustling downtown.

Bowling Green is a city of character and charm that will satisfy your thirst for a vacation. It’s a must-visit during your trip to beautiful Ohio.​