You might think that tourism and Ohio go together like chocolate and chili. Well if you do, the joke's on you. Twice. Because there are a ton of things for visitors to do in Ohio, and, it turns out, chocolate and chili is actually pretty good.
While we're on the subject, let's start in Cincinnati, the fabulous Queen City. You might not know much about it, aside from that old television show about the radio station - WKRP - but back in the day (the mid-1800s, to be exact), Cincinnati was considered the largest city in the West. Of course, the West has moved more to the west since then, and there are bigger cities to be found along the way, but Cincinnati still is home to many unique charms. Did someone mention chili?
Head for Blue Ash Chili on Kenwood road - it's a local favorite - and prepare to be amazed.
Word of warning - if you've never had Cincinnati chili before, you may be a bit surprised. There are few, if any, beans in this version. Often, it's served over spaghetti noodles with a great heaping pile of cheddar cheese.
This is the chili of chili dogs. The chili of firefighters. The chili of champions. Take a couple of napkins. Then take a couple more. You'll need them, and you'll be glad for it. Don't forget a big glass of the local beer, and to toast the city's German heritage and hipster enclaves that have brought us all to this point.
Speaking of firefighters, you might not have realized that Cincinnati is home to the country's first full-time professional fire department, way back in 1853. Two local inventors deserve the credit of developing the first steam fire pumper, which is why Cincinnati and firefighting are so closely linked to this day. Learn about all of that and more at the city's Fire Museum, located in an historic firehouse.
Once your curiosity is quenched, follow your nose to explore more of the city's famous architecture. The Contemporary Arts Center, built in 1939 and moved to its current location in 2003 is as much an exhibit as the art contained within its walls. It was the first U.S. museum to be designed by a woman - Zaha Hadid. A few blocks away and a few decades back into the past is the Ingalls Building - the world's first reinforced concrete skyscraper, built back in 1903.
Another first - the American Sign Museum - the world's only museum dedicated to the history of American signs. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is an in-depth and bracing study of the history of slavery and slavery today, and the work of people who have worked and continue to work to eliminate this terrible practice.
The Cincinnati Observatory is a must-see, as are the murals that are the centerpiece of street art downtown. You'd be remiss not to say hi to Sweet Pea, the shark ray at the Newport Aquarium. There are a few dozen other attractions to see.
And that's only one city in a state that's full of adventure. Check it out. Take a trip. Ohio!