Dayton, Ohio is known as the “Gem City” because it’s considered a hidden gem. Prior to moving here, I had done little to no research, which left me to explore the area and find the hidden gems of Dayton. Below is a list of places that the locals, and now myself, can be found in. There are also things that support the culture of Dayton and the University of Dayton that I have come to know and love.
- The Oregon District is the newly revitalized part of Dayton that’s on the other side of campus. The best way to describe this cute, new area is “artsy.” There are so many fun-colored buildings with tattoo shops and hair salons occupying the interiors. Many brunch places and nice, up-scale restaurants can be found hiding in this part of town, too. The brick roads and historic buildings with modern updates make me want to spend all day exploring every part of the neighborhood. I drove through the area by accident one day trying to find the interstate and I’ve been obsessed ever since!
- Bill’s Donuts: One of the first things I was asked by almost everyone I met was “Have you had Bill’s Donuts yet?” Bill’s Donuts has been a staple in the Dayton area since the 60s. They are most well-known for their sour cream cake donut. While I’m not a huge fan of cake donuts, I do have to give props to Bill for these amazing treats! These donuts can almost always be found at a Dayton campus event. We even had them for breakfast before the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
- Graeter’s Ice Cream wasn’t founded in Dayton, but this great shop is the only place to go when you have a craving for ice cream. They’re known for their famous Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip which is what I ordered, of course. Just a few blocks from campus there is a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop, but any local will tell you to drive right on past and head to Graeter’s. (Really though, that’s what I was told by the local in my front seat when I was driving to Ben & Jerry’s!)
- Sheet Signs: The University of Dayton’s campus culture is very different from my personal experience on a college campus. The word “community” can be heard multiple times a day from many different types of students at UD. They all live together in a neighborhood and share houses, porches, and yards no matter who they are. It’s hard not to make a friend on this campus. One of my favorite things to see when I drive through campus is the creative sheet signs that are hung from most of the houses. This is a fun way to show school spirit and there are always new ones to read.
- Yellow Springs: Moving from Alabama where I was surrounded by mountains and always outdoors in nature was a tough part of the transition to Ohio. The sisters of Kappa Gamma had many suggestions for my weekend adventures, though. Yellow Springs was at the top of everyone’s list when I asked them about fun things to do outdoors here. I haven’t been able to make it there yet but when I do, I was told to go to the sunflower fields for some cute pictures.
Some of these great local places I stumbled upon and others I’ve been able to share the experience with sisters. Moving to a new place is hard because you have to start the whole process of finding your favorite restaurants, grocery stores, coffee shops, recreation places, etc. I’m finding my favorite places in the Gem City, and I’m now well on my way to becoming a Dayton local!