Ever consider a trip to Medina, Ohio?
“What is it and what is there to do?” You ask?
Medina is a hidden Midwest gem with some fascinating things to do like gorgeous antique shops, an abandoned amusement park, and unique dining experiences.
Let me explain…
I’m currently working on a trip recap of my first time visiting Medina in the fall of 2020. This will likely be a multi part series fully detailing my experience and more of the history behind the area.
This post will cover my more recent getaway over Spring Break, great places to experience while visiting Medina, and things to do in the nearby northern Ohio area.
But let me start with, if you’re looking for a quaint, vintage escape from the modern day bustle of life, Medina is what you’re looking for. Want to add local culture, once in a lifetime experiences, and the social media beloved cottagecore element? Look no further!
Where is Medina?
Medina is a 1/2 hour drive away from Akron and Cleveland in northern Ohio as well as Lake Erie. This charming historic county is home to an array of villages including Gloria Glens, Chippewa Lake, and Briarwood Beach. Each adds to the cumulative personality of this sleepy corner of the US.
Fun fact: It is named after the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Things To Do In Medina, Ohio
There are quite a few lovely things to do in Medina! Here are my recommendations and musts that you have to experience when you’re there. Some of these are things that I sought out going to Medina for, recommendations from the lovely locals of the area, and happy surprises I stumbled upon during my visit. Let’s jump into it!
Chippewa Lake Park
Personally, this is my crown jewel of the area. This is also that once in a lifetime opportunity that you can’t pass up.
Chippewa Lake Park is an old amusement park that opened back in 1875 and… closed in 1978. But it’s still there! In part–or parts, should I say?
Located in its namesake village of Chippewa Lake, the park sits abandoned along the lakeshore. A museum dedicated to it sits at the park’s front gate. Several ride vehicles, pieces of track, and gears to the main roller coaster lay out front so you definitely won’t miss it.
The homes on either side of the park are the park’s cottages that were built as summer rentals in the early 1900s. Today, as implied, they are now residential homes although you may find a few available for rent.
During my stay in Medina, I rented one of these park cottages, got to explore the park, learn more of the history of my cabin and the park from the other cottage owners, and search (+ find!) old buttons, pressed pennies, and marbles washed ashore from the lake. All of which are remnants from the park itself.
I highly recommend seeing this piece of history, respectfully, before it’s lost to time. If you ever dive into amusement park history or any of my other posts, you’ll learn that Chippewa Lake Park was at the top of its industry in its heyday, along the likes of Cedar Point.
Related Reading: The History Of Chippewa Lake Park
As you’d imagine, Medina Square is the heart of the county. If you visit it, you’ll also agree that its the soul of the county as well.
Medina Square is essentially the real life equivalent of Main Street USA at Disney without being Marceline. It’s got such an amazing charm about it, I’m sad my hometown isn’t old enough to have a counterpart.
It continues a theme that I absolutely adore about Medina, local love and pride.
You’re going to find small business out of every shop, restaurant, museum, confectionary, theater, parlor, the list goes on. You’ll also find a great deal of handmade goods in those boutiques and small shops. Taking the time to explore each is worth it!
Fun fact: Medina folk know how to present.
I couldn’t tell you of any times before my Spring Break visit that I felt compelled to take pictures of the inside of a shop or store. So many of the shops I visited here were decorated so beautifully that I couldn’t help it. My favorite two were The Gardener’s Cottage and Perfectly Charming. In the way of trinkets, The Raspberry & The Rose and Simply Charlotte had the best eclectic merchandise.
Castle Noel is the most widely known hallmark of Medina. For Christmas fanatics, it’s paradise.
It’s America’s largest indoor, year round Christmas attraction; part museum, part playground, and features light shows, Mr. Klaus, and an alien themed mini golf course. Yes, you read that last part right.
Christmas and aliens collide at Castle Noel.
It’s an odd mix, unconventional. But, what else is Carousel of Chaos about if not the unique and unconventional? So, it fits my bill. And with how renowned the attraction is amongst northern Ohio, I’d say it fits a lot of people’s bills as well. It’s another once in a lifetime experience of Medina!
So, Thyme was an unexpected surprise after some of the Chippewa cottage residents recommended heading there for dinner. And, they did not steer wrong!
Serving New American and pub cuisine, if you ever go to northern Ohio and don’t go to Thyme then honestly, you might as well had stayed home. The restaurant was so great! The kraut balls appetizer is a must! Pretty please, go to Thyme.
This is going to be a staple for me on every trip back.
Yours Truly Medina
This restaurant is a much beloved spot in the county. It’s not rocket science as to why.
Yours Truly serves American comfort food and knocks it out the park while its at it. Add the budget friendly prices and generous portion sizes? It’s the perfect recipe for a winner.
You can’t go wrong with this one.
H2 Huth & Harris
H2 is an eatery and, happily, winery serving more fine dining types of meals alongside charcuterie boards, salads, and appetizers.
This was another recommendation by the cottage folk who suggested stopping by for wine before heading down the street to Thyme. But, the food at H2 is great as well if you’re open to splurging.
If you’re like me, crab cakes. Sold?
Things To Do Near Medina
Kindly having Cleveland and Akron nearby, Medina lends well to having even more attractions and restaurants close to its finger tips. Here’s a few…
You’re not dragging me out of Ohio alive if I haven’t been to a Skyline yet.
Yes, they sell the chili in stores. But, it’s like beer. It’s always better on tap. It’s always better straight from the restaurant. And sadly, Virginia does not have any Skylines.
Despite Skyline Chili originating from my dad’s hometown of Cincinnati, there are Skylines in northern Ohio. Say hello to Cuyahoga Falls. There’s a Skyline a 1/2 hour drive from Medina near Cuyahoga and you’d better believe the chili dogs are worth that extra drive!
I’ll never pass up the opportunity to go to a zoo or aquarium! It’s always so fascinating to see, appreciate, and learn about the various animals we share our globe with.
The Akron Zoo is located in the heart of the downtown, still a 1/2 hour drive from Medina. It consists of 50 acres of over 1,000 animals and 100 different species. Bonus, it has a carousel and train attraction for families to enjoy!
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Getting to the R&R Hall of Fame takes about a 1/2 hour to an hour drive north from Medina. But, it is totally worth it!
If you’re a fan of the 80s like I am, it’s a must do while you’re up north. It features a number of rotating exhibits in addition to the staples, basically guaranteeing a different experience with each visit.
Fun fact: It sits right on the shores of Lake Erie, so you’ll get to knock seeing one of the Great Lakes off your bucket list too.
Even though this trip was longer than my first, I still felt like it wasn’t long enough still.
I’m already in Medina, and Chippewa Lake Park, withdrawal and look forward to the next time that I can go back. Hopefully, that’ll be sooner than later.
And hopefully, you’ll make that trip too!
It is amazing getting to experience a change of pace and quirky things to do that can only be done there.
It’s not often or everywhere that you will be able to explore an old amusement park or even play alien mini-golf after catching up with Santa mid-July.
But ultimately, it’s the local charm of the area that proves Medina is a hidden gem within America!
Have you explored Medina? Let me know about your experiences below!
For more trip ideas, you can also check out:
- Best Donut Shops In Cincinnati Ohio
- Top Breakfast In Cincinnati Ohio
- 30 Things To Do in Virginia Beach
- Raleigh for Foodies, Fun, and Free
- Most Unique Richmond VA Attractions
Thanks for reading!