As the summer heat begins to fade, it’s time to look forward to these fabulous fall things to do in Dublin, Ohio. Bite into an apple straight from the tree, enjoy the flavors of fall at local restaurants, then enjoy the crisp air while strolling through one of Dublin’s many parks.
Discovering all the fun activities to do in Dublin this fall only made me want to plan a return visit nearly immediately. This post will act as a guide through Dublin, Ohio, with kids to help plan the perfect family getaway.
Dublin is exceptionally kid-friendly; however, after you visit with kids, you will likely want to escape to Dublin without them for a night. The date night scene is incredible, with an array of patio restaurants, boutique shopping, and rooftop bars.
We want to thank our friends at Visit Dublin, Ohio, for hosting our visit. As always, opinions are my own. This site contains affiliate links.
Dublin is in Central Ohio
Dublin, Ohio, is located in central Ohio, about 20 minutes northwest of Columbus. It is easy to access by US 33/SR 161 and I-270
Dublin To Cincinnati: 1 hr and 46 minutes ~ 118.7 miles
Dublin To Cleveland: 2 hours ~141 miles
Toledo To Dublin: 2 hrs and 7 minutes ~122.1 miles
Dublin has a rich Irish history that still shows throughout the city in historic Dublin’s downtown. The 19th-century architecture, limestone fences, and brick sidewalks are reminders of the past. Many different aspects of the Emerald City can be found throughout Dublin, Ohio, such as neighborhood pubs, fairy doors, and hosting one of the largest Irish festivals in the nation.
Over the past few years, Dublin has been getting a glow-up. With the addition of Bridge Park, visitors can now easily access all the great things to do across the Scioto River. Whether it is visiting the historic downtown or spending time exploring the fun shops, restaurants, and bars on High Street, there is plenty to do.
Downtown Dublin now includes not only the historic district but the Bridge Park District as well. It has become a booming foodie town offering cuisine of all ethnicities, plenty of patios, coffee shops, and breweries.
Join the two-hour Olde Town Ghost Tour through historic Dublin to learn about the wandering spirits and local legends that haunt this small town during the fall. Ghost hunters will try to catch some paranormal frequencies with an EMF reader at the Indian Run Cemetary.
Top Things To Do In Dublin, Ohio With Kids
One of my favorite times to visit the Columbus Zoo is in the fall. The summer crowds have died down since Zoombezi Bay (the attached waterpark) is now closed for the season. Cooler weather makes walking the Zoo more enjoyable as the Zoo is quite spread out.
A typical visit to the Columbus Zoo usually takes us 3 hours or more, and we often choose to arrive early and eat lunch at the Zoo. A few not-to-miss experiences include Sea Lion Trainings, The Cheetah Runs, Sting Ray Bay, and Dinosaur Island during your visit. Keep in mind admission to the aquarium is included in your zoo admission.
The Columbus Zoo offers fun, family-friendly Halloween-themed weekends in October called Boo at the Zoo.
Budget Tip: If you have a zoo membership from your local zoo, check to see if it is a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Your zoo membership will give you a discount at other AZA zoos, including the Columbus Zoo. However, the only way to purchase the discounted reciprocal ticket is at the Zoo’s ticket windows at the main entrance.
As a Cincinnati Zoo member, I was able to get discounted tickets.
Zoombezi Bay Water Park
Attached to the Columbus Zoo is the Zoombezi Bay Waterpark. During the warm weather months, the waterpark offers a refreshing break from the heat. However, after Labor Day, Zoombezi Bay begins to transform into Zombiezi Bay, a haunted attraction geared at those 13 and older. Zombiezi Bay typically opens for business weekends from mid-September through October.
ZipZone: A Great Place To Bring The Whole Family
Soar through the treetops this fall with a zipline adventure from ZipZone Outdoor Adventures. Choose from a guided zipline tour, tackle the five-course adventure park, then let your little explorers loose in the Kids Adventure Park.
The Adventure Park gives visitors a two-hour, self-guided adventure. After an instructor reviews proper safety techniques, you go through a short practice course. Upon completion, you will venture out into the Adventure Park and up to the treehouse, where you will choose between 5 courses.
The five courses range from easy to complex. Each course offers a unique set of elements to conquer along with a zip line. Some courses even have two zip lines! I recommend starting with the yellow (easy) course to get an idea of what you are doing before tackling the more challenging courses. The easy course goes above the Kids Park!
Kids Adventure Park
The Kids Adventure Park is a great way to introduce younger climbers to the fun experiences in an adventure park. The park sits only a few feet off the ground, allowing parents to walk next to their children while tackling balance boards, tight ropes, rope climbs, and even a zip line!
Children must be ages 4-7 to experience the Kids Adventure Park; there is not a weight requirement. My daughter adored this experience. At four years old, she quickly learned the importance of properly harnessing herself, tackled both of the kid’s courses, and fell in love with the zip line. If you ask her, it was her favorite part.
Field Of Corn In Dublin Ohio
One of the unique things to do in Dublin, OH, is their art in public places tour. Scattered throughout the city are over 70 public art installations. Visitors can download the free mobile tour that will take them to 21 different art installations throughout the city and gives a description.
An iconic installation is the Field of Corn, which consists of a field of 109 human size concrete ear of corn sculptures. There are also Osage Orange Trees planted around the sculptures. The Field Of Corn symbolizes the history of the community’s farming legacy and serves as a memorial to rural landscapes.
Locals affectionately call this Cornhenge. Guests can visit from sunrise to sunset for free.
More Public Art
Another famous Public Art is Leather Lips, a 12-foot sculpture of the Native American Chief. The Dancing Hares, aka Bunny Hill, is another fun spot to see larger-than-life hares! Ballantrae Park has a fun splash area during the hot summer days but plenty of gorgeous walking paths to enjoy when the weather cools off.
A great park to visit in Dublin is Coffman Park. In addition to being home to a variety of public art pieces, such as injection, it is also the grounds for the Dublin Irish Festival.
City Hall and the Coffman Homestead, one of Dublin’s oldest homes, can be found within the park. There is also a variety of walking trails, bike trails, and playgrounds.
Cherry Hawk Farms
Grab a bushel to start picking a variety of your favorite apples. Cherry Hark Farms is right outside of Dublin, roughly 15 minutes, and offers U-Pick Apples. Check their schedule online for U-Pick times and which apples are currently available for picking.
They even offer apple pickers to reach that perfect apple at the tippy top of the tree. I enjoy this farm because they are not a pumpkin farm, and you come only for the apples, which keeps large crowds at bay.
Cherry Hawk Farms has a gorgeous sunflower field that guests can visit with the purchase of apple-picking. Sunflower stems are available for sale.
Note: The Sunflower Fields at Cherry Hawk Farm was in full bloom around Labor Day.
Fairy Door Trail
Enchanted Fairy Doors can be found throughout downtown Dublin. If you find all the fairy doors, you will get a free t-shirt! Tackling the Fairy Door Trail is a great way to see the city, along with visiting the local shops.
Start your fairy door hunt at the Visitor’s Center, where you will pick up your Fairy Door Passport. Hint: There is a fairy door right in the Visitor’s Center!
The Fairy Door Passport will indicate which businesses have a fairy door. Venture into each business to capture the names of their resident fairy. The passport will have spots where you will need to write the name of the fairies down.
Once you have gotten all the fairy names, simply place your complete Irish Fairy Door Passport in the mail. A few weeks later you will get a T-Shirt!
Sophie got all excited about finding the resident fairies. A highlight was visiting the unique toy store, Dublin Toy Emporium, and they even had a whole fairy garden area that the kids could play in.
Bridge Park: One Of The Best Things To Do In Dublin
In Dublin, a must-do experience is crossing over The Dublin Link, the bridge that connects Dublin’s historic district and downtown on the west bank with the Bridge Street District. The bridge crosses over the Scioto River, yielding beautiful views.
Bridge Park features a variety of unique dining experiences, shopping, and the new North Market Bridge. The North Market bridge is a modern-day mall and food hall featuring various shops, vendors, and restaurants.
DORA In Dublin
Bridge Park is also a part of Dublin’s Dora district, meaning you can stroll the streets with your favorite beverage! DORA stands for Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, and Dublin has two different designated Dora areas, one on each side of the Dublin Link.
Cheer On Ohio State University
Catch at a football game at the Ohio State University. Dublin makes the ideal spot to stay for catching the big game or enjoy watching the game at one of the local restaurants are bars. It is a Buckeye State staple!
The Dublin Market is held at Bridge Park every Saturday from May 1st through September 25th. The market runs from 9 am to 12 pm, offering a wide variety of vendors and live music.
Pick up fresh produce, a beautifully cut bouquet, or a new T-shirt! If you are on the hunt for something, chances are you can find it at the Dublin Market. Pets are also welcome at the market, with many vendors having an array of specialty pet items.
Best Places To See Waterfalls
Dublin has a waterfall tour that takes guests to see the various waterfall in town. Two of the most popular waterfalls are Hayden Fall and Indian Run Falls. The falls are best seen after rain, but the fiery fall colors of the trees make them a must-do in Dublin during the fall.
Hayden Falls can be easy to miss as it sits in between a busy street and subdivision. However, tucked away in this 2-acre preserve is the most photographed waterfall in Dublin. Park in the small parking lot, take the stairs down to the wooden boardwalk. There take the boardwalk to the waterfall overlook. Don’t forget your camera!
Indian Run Falls
Indian Run Falls is located right next to downtown Dublin in a city park. Trails take guests around the waterfall with a bridge that overlooks the waterfall.
Great Dublin Ohio Restaurants With Patios
The cooler weather means patio season is back in full force. The good news is that Dublin, Ohio, was plenty of great restaurants with patios.
Cafe Istanbul Dublin Ohio
One of our favorite spots to grab a bite to eat during our visit was at Cafe Istanbul. Delicious Turkish classics such as kebobs, hummus, and pides are all made according to family recipes. Try the whole fish, sip on a Turkish coffee, or indulge in a classic Turkish dessert like Kenafe.
In addition to having an authentic Mediterranean dining experience, Cafe Istanbul has a gorgeous patio overlooking the Scioto River. The retractable roof makes the view even accessible in the colder months.
Don’t forget to check out the incredible selection of international cocktails, Turkish beers, and wines from the bar.
North High Brewing
Another great place to grab a drink or a bite to eat is at North High Brewing. Located in the historic district, North High Brewing serves a variety of beers and plenty of good eats.
Try one of their signature burgers or the North High Chicken Sandwich; we also recommend the Brussel sprouts and sweet potato tots! Snag a table outdoors to enjoy the hustle and bustle going on downtown. North High is also in the historic DORA District so that you can grab a walking beer!
Sunny Street Cafe for Breakfast In Dublin, Ohio
A great brunch spot in Dublin is Sunny Street Cafe. With dinosaur pancakes, it was an automatic win for Sophie. They also offer dinosaur french toast, and it is pretty popular among other young diners.
While chocolate chip dinosaur pancakes are always a good choice, we opted for a more traditional brunch with eggs benedict and avocado toast.
Sunny Street Cafe does get busy. We were able to get a patio seat with only a short wait as tables were turning over quickly.
One of the most iconic patios in Dublin is at VASO. This rooftop bar offers incredible views of the Scioto River while serving tasty Spanish Tapas. VASO is not recommended for children, but I would add this beautiful bar into a date night or night out any day!
Johnson’s Ice Cream
End your evening with a scoop of ice cream from Johnson’s Real Ice Cream. In the heart of the historic district, Johnson’s has everything from sundaes to scoops of seasonal favorites like pumpkin. They have a great outdoor patio with a good amount of seating available.
The Morgan House In Dublin, Ohio
Another great place to visit for a fall-inspired lunch is The Morgan House. The Morgan house was erected from the original log cabin named after famed Civil War Veteran John Hunt Morgan. Shortly after the Civil War, the log cabin was dismantled and reassembled in its current location.
Guests can enjoy a cozy meal inside the log cabin next to the fireplace. Enjoy a seasonal menu that includes an array of homemade sandwiches, salads, and even a skillet chocolate chip cookie.
After your meal, venture to the attached gift shop that offers four stories of shopping, grab a few new additions for your fall decor, pick up any gifts, in addition snagging a new piece of fall attire for your wardrobe.
There are endless rows of seasonal decor, which can make picking out a few things quite tricky. You may find yourself leaving with more than you intended. Especially as you find hidden gems throughout the store.
Where To Stay At In Dublin, Ohio
During our recent visit, we stayed at the Home 2 Suites In Dublin, Ohio. Traveling with a little one, we look for extended stay hotels because they typically offer more space, a full kitchen, and great amenities.
Home 2 Suites by Hilton is conveniently located only minutes from historic downtown Dublin and the highway. Making this the ideal spot for a home base.
The rooms are incredible, offering plenty of space for us to spread out. We had a two queen bed studio, and the couch folds out into a bed, giving larger families the option of staying in one room instead of two. Larger two-room suites are available.
Two things we look for when selecting a hotel include an indoor pool and a breakfast option. Home 2 Suites fit the bill perfectly with their complimentary breakfast, indoor pool, and fitness studio. For those traveling with pets, they are also pet-friendly.
Check out all Home 2 Suites has to offer!
Things Do Do In Columbus, Ohio And The Surrounding Around
Franklin Park Conservatory And Botanical Gardens
Explore the beautiful gardens of Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus this fall. These gardens are home to a stunning collection of Chihuly glass found throughout the Conservatory. With a fun children’s garden and plenty of arts on display, this is a place for all ages.
The Bookloft In The German Village
Deemed as the best book store in Ohio by many Ohioans, the Book Loft of German Village offers an unmatched selection of books. Thirty-two rooms make up this labyrinth bookstore offering more books than a local library. Shoppers love to browse all the rooms looking for the perfect book to take home.
The Ohio History Center
This signature museum explores all things Ohio! A variety of exhibits, displays, and programs highlight various aspects of Ohio’s history. From ancient Native American artifacts to documenting the industrial process, the museum is full of intriguing facts. Many programs are offered online as well.
Catch A Movie And Go Shopping At Easton Town Center
Easton is one of Ohio’s premier shopping, dining, and entertainment destinations, with nearly 300 retailers. Easton Town Center is an indoor and outdoor shopping complex that is full of endless opportunities to play. Visit the movie theater, laugh out loud during a show at the Funny Bone or bring out your inner child at Legoland.
Explore Downtown Columbus
Downtown Columbus offers are a variety of fun things to do. Get hands-on with science at COSI, stroll through the topiary park, or admire the new exhibits at the Columbus Museum of Art. Bike along the Scioto Mile for a fun outdoor adventure or try one of the latest restaurants to hit the downtown scene.
It is hard to describe this immersive art experience other than that it is truly otherworldly. Envision an alien planet mixed with a haunted house meets an art museum. However, no one is popping out to scare you, but there are plenty of bizarre interactive displays.
It might be one of the unique things you will do in Ohio.
Dublin is one Ohio getaway that you will want to start planning right away.
If you are looking for more Ohio getaway inspiration, check out these other great Ohio destinations.