1. Toledo People Are Friendly People
Super, genuinely friendly. It’s a large metropolitan area, but most of Toledo still maintains a community vibe where people help out their neighbors, start conversations with strangers and welcome in outsiders. It’s pretty much a traditional American throwback. Because of the city’s blue collar history, the phrase “salt of the earth” is occasionally tossed around to describe Toledoans.
2. This Is Mud Hens’ Territory
There are very few minor league baseball teams in the country you could call famous, but the Toledo Mud Hens are one of them. Now a Triple-A Detroit Tigers affiliate, the Mud Hens have been around since 1896, when the team played outside city limits to avoid being subject to Toledo’s strict Sunday “blue laws.” These days the team plays downtown at Fifth Third Field, regularly called one of the best minor league parks in America, where they draw major crowds.
3. Tony Packo’s Makes Everyone’s Favorite Hungarian Hotdog
It’s hard to find a single dissenting soul in Toledo when it comes to Tony Packo’s, a cafe and hot-doggery that’s been around since 1932, and became widely known following recurring mentions on “M*A*S*H” during the ‘70s. These days there are five Packo’s locations, and the restaurant has held up as a Toledo fast food favorite for its Hungarian dogs with mustard and onions, and chicken sandwiches topped off with shredded bacon and cheddar.
4. Maumee Bay Brewing Is The Best Spot For Beer
A local favorite for good reason, the Maumee Bay Brewing Company has everything you could want from such an institution. Housed in a hotel that dates back to 1859, the brewery features countless craft beers brewed in tanks on-site. The building is also home to several restaurants that serve anything you could possibly want paired with a cold one, including quality beef cuts served at Rockwell’s Steakhouse, and pub classics like wings and pizza at the The Maumee Bay Brew Pub.
5. And Shorty's Has The Smokiest, Juiciest BBQ
The meaning of the words “rib-sticking bbq” are thoroughly and deliciously explored at Shorty’s, which serves up smoked pig so good that even Kansas City and Memphis folks show it due respect. Ribs. Brisket. Mac and cheese. Beans. Slaw. Sweet tea. Oh, yes. It’s all good.
6. The Warehouse District Is Swinging Upward
There was a time when Toledo’s downtown Warehouse District was a pretty barren place, but recently the area has reinvented itself as an entertainment hotspot with a revitalized modern-industrial look. The Warehouse District’s renaissance was partially set in motion by the Toledo Mud Hens’ move there in 2002. The next plan for the area is Hensville, a shopping, eating, and entertainment center adjacent to Fifth Third Field that preserves the neighborhood’s industrial look.
7. All The Cultural Festivals Give Toledoans A Taste Of All Corners Of The World
Just because you aren’t of a certain nationality or ethnicity doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attend their festival. On the contrary, hitting up one of Toledo’s many cultural heritage festivals will expose you to new traditions, and perhaps most importantly, awesome new food. The city is home to major German, Greek, Italian, Hungarian, Latino, and Polish fests. Bon appetit!
8. Toledo Is One Big Melting Pot
There’s a reason Toledo is home to so many great ethnic festivals: the population is hugely diverse. In addition to a varied European population, the city is home to large African American and Hispanic communities. At the turn of the 20th century the city was pretty uniformly white European, but the Great Migration found African American populations settling in Ohio in huge numbers to find industrial jobs in the city.
9. The Toledo Museum Of Art Is The City’s Cultural Heartbeat
Perhaps Toledo’s most beloved cultural institution, the Toledo Museum of Art has been around since the turn of the 20th century, and has since seen some major developments since, including a Frank Gehry-designed Center for the Visual Arts and the Glass Pavillion, an acclaimed piece of architecture, plus gallery space, classes, and artist studios.
10. The Peristyle Concert Hall Is The Toledo Symphony’s Beautiful Home
Another notch in the Toledo Museum of Art’s considerable belt is the Peristyle Concert Hall. The 1,750-seat Grecian-style columned theater is home to the Toledo Symphony Orchestra, one of the oldest and most prominent cultural forces in the region. The Peristyle also hosts the museum’s Masters Series, where all sorts of brilliant folks drop knowledge on audiences, usually for free.
11. Valentine Theatre Downtown Is Toledo’s Highbrow Arts Center
The Toledo Opera has its own home at the historic Valentine Theatre Downtown, which dates back to 1895. The theatre is pretty much a catch-all for the local high art scene, also hosting performances from the Toledo Ballet, Toledo Jazz Orchestra and the Toledo Repertoire Theatre.
12. The Huntington Center Is Brand Spanking New And Packed With Entertainment
Formerly known as Lucas County Arena, Toledo’s Huntington Center is a new multi-purpose $100 million venue which opened its doors in 2009. In addition to serving as the new home of the Toledo Walleye of the East Coast Hockey League and the new home of the all-female Toledo Crush football team, the arena brings in national entertainment acts like WWE events, and concerts from the likes of Miranda Lambert and Elton John.
13. Imagination Station Is Science Made Kid-Friendly And Generally Awesome
Imagination Station is one of those mostly-aimed-at-kids attractions that adults tend to go nuts for too, because who doesn’t love Bill Nye-style science experiments? The non-profit museum for "children of all ages" has 300 exhibits like the “Mind Zone” with life-sized physical and optical illusions and—a dream come true for anyone who’s ever seen “Back to the Future”—a bonafide, air-powered hovercraft.
14. The Toledo Zoo Has Spoiled Toledoans On All Other Zoos
Most big cities have zoos, but almost no place in the country has one as huge and impressive as the Toledo Zoo, named the “Best U.S. Zoo” by U.S.A Today earlier this year. It started in 1900 with a woodchuck donation, and has since expanded to include 9,000 animals of 800 species, including bald eagles, polar bears, and hippos. It’s also home to the the Lights Before Christmas, a winter light display event that helps drive cold-month traffic.
15. Toledo Has One Seriously Fancy Cathedral
One of Toledo’s most famous landmarks, the immense Rosary Cathedral in the Old West End, is the center of the Catholic Church in the greater Toledo area. However, godly and godless alike can appreciate the building’s incredible Spanish cathedral look inspired by the architecture of Toledo, Spain, and oak and marble interior. Another draw is Rosary’s massive organ, containing 4,916 pipes, which get as long as 34 feet.
16. Everyone And Their Cousin Works For Jeep
Toledo is proof that, yes, we do actually still make cars in America. Jeep Wranglers and Cherokees get pumped out at Chrysler’s Toledo Complex, which has been open since 1910, and General Motors’ Toledo facility produces transmissions for GM products. If you move to Toledo, chances are, you’ll end up knowing someone who’s in the business of piecing automobiles together.
17. Public Art Is Around Every Corner
When walking around downtown Toledo, don’t be surprised if you stumble on some public outdoor art oddities. In 1977, Toledo became the first U.S. city to devote one percent of its capital improvement budget to public art, and the results, overseen by Toledo’s Arts Commission, have been so successful that many cities across the country have started similar beautification programs.
18. Locals Are Proud Of Their Top Notch Library System
Not only is it Ohio’s first public library, dating back to 1838, but the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library has been rated one of the best in America by Library Journal for its extensive collection, interior beauty, and status as a major lifecenter of the Toledo-area community. The library regularly features talks from major authors, rooftop concerts, and other events.
19. There Are Two Big-Time Local Universities
Toledo is home to two major four-year college spots. The University of Toledo is located in the Ottawa neighborhood, and is known for research, medicine and engineering. Bowling Green State University, in the city of Bowling Green, is known for psychology and green energy research. Both are fairly large, with around 20,000 students, and have D1 sports teams that go head-to-head in the Mid American Conference.
20. The Citywide Metroparks System Is Locally Beloved
One of Toledo’s most unique and beloved features is its Metropark system, that gives residents incredible outdoor and nature access within city limits. There are twelve total parks, and they range from University/Parks Trail, a popular spot for bikers and joggers, to the Oak Openings Preserve, a massive preserve known for being home to eclectic plant and bird life.
21. The Old West End Is An Architecture Buffs Dream
If massive, Victorian, turn-of-the-century homes are your thing, you might want to check out, or possibly even live in, Toledo’s Old West End District. The area was built up when Toledo was at its booming-est, between roughly 1880 and 1910, and is characterized by huge, colorful houses with tall roofs and gardens. Today, the Old West End is known as a diverse, artsy community. It’s also home to the Old West End Festival each June.
22. Glass Is A Big Part Of The City’s History
Along with auto, glass is one of Toledo’s most historically important industries, to the point that it’s adopted nickname the Glass City. While the industry isn’t at large as it once was, glass manufacturing is still a significant part of local industry and the economy: glass manufacturers Libbey, Inc. and Owens-Coming are two of the areas largest employers.
23. Toledo Is Linked To Some Major Links
If golf is your favorite lazy Sunday pastime, you’re in good hands in Toledo. At least between the months of May and September. Inverness Club and Highland Meadows have hosted U.S.GA and LPGA events, and Ottawa Park is the second oldest golf course in the United States, with its origins dating back to 1899.
24. The Collingwood Arts Center Keeps Toledo Cultured
One of Toledo’s coolest arts assets, the Collingwood Arts Center hosts the 600-seat Collingwood Arts Center, arts education programs for kids and adults, exhibitions and studio spaces. Plus(!), it’s thought to be haunted, so you can ghost hunt there, if you’re into that kind of thing.
25. Toledo Speedway Is A Major Motor Attraction
To enjoy the thrill of all of watching cars travel in a rounded off, oblong shape, you’ll want to hit Toledo Speedway. The track features Automobile Racing Club of America events, National Midget and Sprint tour events and more throughout the year. They even host a school bus race called Night of Destruction School Bus Figure 8, which is as incredible and completely ludicrous as it sounds.
26. Toledo Is Blessed With Four Distinct Seasons
If you’re a lover of predictable-yet-constant change, Toledo’s climate is ideal, since you’ll get to experience all four seasons in all of their distinctive beauty. Summers are hot and humid, fall is pretty and moderate, winters frost the area over, and spring is sunny. Overall, the city’s proximity to Lake Erie prevents weather from getting too extreme during any season.
What do you love about living in Toledo? Leave a comment and let us know