Delaware County, Ohio covers a large area north of I-270 and includes towns like Powell, Lewis Center, and Sunbury. The city of Delaware serves as the county seat and is located just 30 minutes north of Columbus along US 23.
Delaware is the birthplace of Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th president of the United States, and home to Ohio Wesleyan University.
The thriving downtown is easily walkable and offers plenty of unique shops to explore, restaurants to satisfy any palette, and outdoor patios to enjoy a cool beverage.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing evening out or some all-day family fun, this charming college town has plenty to keep you busy.
Fueling Up for Fun
Delaware has no shortage of restaurant choices to keep you going all day. Most restaurants can be found along Sandusky Street in a 3 block stretch of downtown. With a wide variety of cuisines, a fantastic food adventure awaits everyone who visits.
Start your day with a fresh bakery selection from Ciao Cafe or Fresh Start Bakery, then head to Coffeeology for a hand crafted coffee, tea, or smoothie. If you’re craving a hand dipped doughnut, or desire gluten free options, the Dipped Donut and Gluten-Free from the Dipped is your hands down destination.
For a hearty breakfast, and the best cinnamon roll around, head straight to the Hamburger Inn. This old fashioned diner has been a favorite for locals since 1932.
Keep it Going
When you need a midday pick me up, there are plenty of choices around town. Of course, most of these are open for lunch and dinner, so choose freely.
If you’re craving ethnic cuisine, you’re in luck. Opa Grill & Tavern offers Mediterranean foods, and has one of the largest bourbon bars in the Midwest. Typhoon Asian Fusion Bistro delights with a blend of Chinese, Thai, and Japanese selections.
When your legs are weary, wrap up the day’s adventures at one of these relaxing restaurants.
If you want a casual atmosphere with great outdoor spaces, head to Blend of Seven Winery or Old Dog Alehouse. For a fun and unique farm brewery experience, make your way to Henmick Farm & Brewery for live music (food trucks on site).
Want to end the day in style? Plan ahead with a reservation at 1808 American Bistro. The menu provides creative choices, with a sophisticated style. The vintage ambiance provides a romantic backdrop for any occasion.
DORA in Delaware
D.O.R.A., or Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area, is available daily from 11am to Midnight. Individuals are permitted to enjoy downtown while consuming beer, wine, or liquor while within the DORA boundaries.
The DORA zone includes areas from Central Avenue to Spring Street and Union Street to Franklin Street. See map for further detail.
Participation is optional for all local liquor establishments and merchants.
Upcoming Festivals and Events
Check out this list of fun events happening in Delaware.
Main Street Delaware Farmers’ Market
Head to downtown Delaware for the Main Street Farmers’ Market. Choose from a selection of seasonal fresh produce, baked goods, honey, and live and cut flowers and plants. Check out craft items from local artisans, including homemade soap and pottery.
The Main Street Farmers’ Market is located in downtown Delaware along Sandusky Street, between Central Avenue and William Street. It is open every Saturday, May 28th through October 28th, from 9:00 a.m. – Noon.
Beer & Wine Festival
Quench your thirst this summer at the annual Beer & Wine Festival at the Boardman Art Park. Choose from a selection of beer and wine from several local vendors. Stroll through the art show and relax on the lawn for some lively music from Vinntage and The Sensational Soul Brothers Band.
The Beer & Wine Festival is scheduled for Saturday, July 15th from 3:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Tickets may be purchased in advance for $20 ($25 at the door), which includes 6 taste tickets and a commemorative glass. Food trucks are available.
Enjoy a fun family night out at Mainstreet Delaware’s First Friday. Each month’s event offers a different theme, plus free family fun activities. Stop by local businesses, grab a bite to eat, or catch a movie at the famous Strand Theater.
First Fridays are scheduled monthly (year-round) from 6:00 p.m – 9:00 p.m.
- July 7: Chalk it Up for Freedom
- August 4: Safety in Sandusky with Walk a Mile in Her Shoes
- September 1: Back to School Bash
- October 6: Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot
- November 3: Community Harvest
- December 1: Tree Lighting and more!
Looking for a unique gift or piece of art? The Mainstreet Delaware Makers’ Market might be just the place to find it. Local vendors showcase various handmade crafts, art, jewelry, etc.
The event will take place downtown on select Thursdays from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Upcoming dates are August 17, September 28, October 19, and December 14.
Delaware Art Walk
Take a self-guided tour to discover various types of art on display, or hidden, near downtown. The Delaware Art Walk is a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours walking around town and finding inspiration through art.
Summer on Winter Concert Series
Celebrate mid-week with a summer concert! Head to West Winter Street to enjoy a fun and relaxing evening with live music on select Wednesdays from 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Admission is FREE!
- June 21- Cow Town Inc
- July 19 – The Groove
- August 23 – Radio City
- September 13 – Mojoflo
Harmony in the Park
Bring a chair or blanket and enjoy a summer concert at Bicentennial Park (121 S Washington Street) on Sundays from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- July 9 – Buckeye Valley Alumni Band
- July 16 – The Deeptones
- July 23 – Ralph and the Not Forgotten
- July 30 – Swing Machine
- August 6 – Blue Limestone Project
- August 13 – The Harmonic Barbarians
- August 20 – Of Sound Minds
- August 27 – Delaware Community Concert Band
Delaware County Fair
September is all about the county fair, a multi-event celebration that promises fun for everyone. From parades to rides to a world-famous harness race, the Delaware County Fair has it all.
All Horse Parade
In Delaware, the county fair season kicks off with a grand parade that is unlike any other in Ohio. The All Horse Parade is a long standing tradition, and the largest annual horse parade east of the Mississippi.
Find a seat anywhere along the 2.3-mile-long parade route. It is sure to please with a long line of ponies, horses, wagons, and carriages, all dressed up and bedazzled for the event. The All Horse Parade is a clear winner for all who attend.
The parade starts at the Delaware County Fairgrounds on September 10, 2023, at 3 p.m. It heads east along Pennsylvania Avenue before turning south on Sandusky Street, through the heart of downtown Delaware.
Delaware County Fair
Who doesn’t like fair food? The city of Delaware is home to the annual Delaware County Fair. Bring your family, grab some deep-fried goodness, and spend the day enjoying rides, animals, and exhibits.
Head to the grandstand for a concert or check out the nightly entertainment on the dirt track. The kids will love watching tractor pulls, a demolition derby, school bus races, and more!
The Delaware County Fair is scheduled for September 16 – 23, 2023. General admission starts at $8 per person, and rides tickets are $2 each. Various multiday and all-day pass options are available, including free admission days for seniors and military.
Little Brown Jug
Perhaps the pride of the fair is the running of the Little Brown Jug. Founded in 1946, the “Jug” is known world-wide as the famous 3rd leg of the Triple Crown of Pacing.
More than 40,000 visitors come from across North America to watch the race each year, always held on Thursday during fair week. Special admission is required.
Ever drive through a small town and wonder what’s hiding on the upper floors of those old buildings? This annual event allows visitors to explore Delaware’s Hidden Spaces!
The event is scheduled for Saturday, September 16, 2023 from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Tickets may be purchased in advance online or in person at the Strand Theatre.
Trick or Treat Downtown Mainstreet
Grab your costume and dress up for the final Farmers’ Market of the season. Go trick or treating at each of the Farmers’ Market vendors and some participating businesses.
The last Farmers’ Market is scheduled for October 28, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. – Noon.
Home for the Holidays
In December, Delaware jingles its way into the holiday spirit with its annual Home for the Holidays. There are TONS of activities for all ages. Come enjoy a bit of Hallmark Christmas magic for yourself.
This year’s Home for the Holidays event is scheduled for December 1-3, 2023.
- December 1 @ 6:30 p.m.: Christmas tree lighting
- December 1-3, starting @ 6:00 p.m.: Horse drawn carriage rides
- December 2 @ 11:00 a.m.: Dash for Dasher
- December 1-16, dates & times vary: Photos with Santa
- December 3 @ 3:00 p.m.: Holiday Parade
- Misc Activities (tba): Ice Skating Rink and NW Neighborhood Historical Home Tours
Butch Bandos Fantasy of Lights
Over 300 displays and miles of lights wind visitors through the Fantasy of Lights at Alum Creek State Park Campground (3311 S Old State Rd). Mrs. Claus is on hand to help youngsters send letters to the North Pole and the big man himself, Santa, is located across the street at Cross Creek Campground.
November 17, 2023 – January 1, 2024: Sunday – Thursday 5:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., Friday – Saturday 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Cost is per vehicle (car/minivan/SUV). $20 Sunday-Thursday, $30 Friday-Saturday.
Attractions in Delaware
Plan a day trip or spend the weekend exploring a variety of attractions located in Delaware.
Alum Creek State Park – Nature trails, mountain biking, archery, beach, swimming, boating, and fishing
The Arts Castle – A Romanesque Revival style house with self-guided tour and art park. Also offers a wide range of art, dance, and theatre classes and camps.
The Bare Bowl – Paint your own pottery studio
Blackwing Shooting Center – Shooting center offering indoor/outdoor ranges, archery, and classes.
Delaware County Historical Society – Dedicated to the preservation of local history. Includes the Meeker Homestead Museum, Nash House Museum, Historic Jail, Millworker Cottage, the Barn at Stratford, and Cryder Research Library.
Delaware Lake State Park – Nature trails archery, swimming, boating, and fishing
Hawaii Fluid Art – Mix science with art! Get create with various fluid materials to create a one of a kind, 3D masterpiece.
Jungle Gym Adventure Center – Gym for youth 0-12 years old offering gymnastics, parkour, and outdoor adventure and survival skills. Classes and open gym times available weekly.
Mingo Park & Jack Florence Pool – Park with sports fields, large play structure, walking/exercise trail, kayak/canoe launch, indoor recreation center, and swimming pool.
Olentangy Indian Caverns – Cavern tours, miniature golf, playground, nature trails, gem mining, petting zoo, etc
Perkins Observatory – Observatory offering daytime and evening public programs, including night sky observation through telescopes.
Pickle Shack – Pickleball is all the rage. The Pickle Shack offers state of the art indoor pickleball courts, 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
Preservation Parks – Several parks with nature trails, creeking, and guided programs for families
Richard Ross Art Museum – Art Museum on the campus of Ohio Wesleyan University featuring work from both local and renowned artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Frank Stella, and Alfred Stieglitz
Strand Theatre – Catch a blockbuster movie at the Strand Theatre. Opened in 1916, thehistoric Strand is one of the ten oldest movie theatres in America.
Stratford Ecological Center – Working farm and education center with nature trails, farm animals, storybook trail, vernal pools, beehive observation, creeking, and guided programs for families
Veterans Park Spray & Play – Dinosaur themed playground and splash pad with concessions available
More to Explore
Check out these websites for more things to do in Delaware and throughout Delaware County.