My family + I recently visited Lebanon, Ohio, a delightful small town located in the southwest region of the state. From stopping in on the way home from Cincinnati, to passing through on my way to undergrad at Miami University, to going antiquing with my parents, I’ve been visiting Lebanon for years and have consistently found this Midwestern town to be quite charismatic and inviting. Although I recommend visiting to see for yourself, my hope is that today’s list can help show that history is remarkably both very much preserved and alive in Lebanon.
So, here we go… these are our recommendations of what to do while in Lebanon:
1.) Explore historic Fort Ancient.
Visit Ohio’s first state park, located 6 miles outside of Lebanon. Tour North America’s largest ancient hilltop enclosure, built 2,000 years ago by the Hopewell culture. A National Historic Landmark, this site is thought to have served as a social and ceremonial gathering place. Enjoy the on-site museum as well as three miles of hiking trails with scenic overlooks, including the beautiful North Overlook, pictured, below. Marvel at the ancient earthworks and embankments through which the Hopewell Indians watched the sun rise on summer solstice and winter solstice. Learn how the earthen walls were used as a fascinating calendar system, aligned with the phases of the sun and the moon.
2.) Visit the legendary Golden Lamb.
Since 1803, the Golden Lamb has been a gathering spot for the Lebanon community and visitors, including 12 U.S. Presidents, as well as Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Neil Armstrong, just to name a few. Consisting of four floors, seventeen guest rooms, a restaurant, a tavern, lobby, and gift shop, you can eat, visit, and/or stay at The Golden Lamb. While there, be sure to enjoy a meal sourced from their nearby farm in Oregonia. If you park in the adjacent parking lot, know that it was once the location of their old stables. The Golden Lamb has been and continues to be an absolute gem of Lebanon, operating as Ohio’s oldest inn.
3.) Eat at the nostalgic Village Ice Cream Parlor.
Since 1969, the Village Ice Cream Parlor has been serving up tasty sandwiches, burgers, sundaes, sodas, and more! I actually remember going to this old fashioned soda fountain with my parents years ago. Fun fact: Harper Valley PTA was actually filmed here. Located on South Broadway, this spot is located in the heart of downtown. President George W. Bush, Neil Armstrong and Woody Harrelson have all visited as well.
4.) Discover Lebanon’s lovely downtown shops.
Park your car and walk to a plethora of shops, all conveniently located downtown. Blume Home, Green Country Market, and Burlap & Birch are all very much worth your perusing for unique home items and gifts. Shop for antiques at Ambassador’s Antiques & Fine Linens and Broadway Antique Mall. Mulberry St. Books is a charming book store. Looking for women’s clothes? You can’t miss Rose & Remington.
5.) Dine al fresco at Greenhouse Cafe.
The Greenhouse Cafe is worthy of its own mentioning on this list due to its charm, location, and its almost entirely locally-sourced, organic menu. I recommend grabbing a spot on their inviting Mulberry Street patio, filled with French bistro chairs, green ferns, and colorful flowers. Want to pop in for a drink? Enjoy a Strawberry Fields smoothie, Avocado Margarita, or my personal fave, Cashew Coffee, made with raw local honey and raw cashews. For food, you can’t go wrong with their Avocado Toast, Buffalo Tempeh Bowl, or Chicken Apple Brie sandwich.
6.) Appreciate history at the Harmon Museum & Art Gallery.
Housed in historic Harmon Hall, the commonly referred to “Lebanon Museum,” is the place to go to explore the rich history of Southwest Ohio. Browse four floors featuring four art galleries, prehistoric artifacts, the Shaker Gallery, Archeological/Native American Exhibit, and more. For children under 5, admission is free.
7.) Take a quintessential train ride on the Lebanon Mason Monroe (LM&M) Railroad.
Have a little fun and hop on the Lebanon Mason Monroe Railroad (LM&M Railroad) for a historic train ride! Operated by the Cincinnati Scenic Railway, the LM&M offers outstanding train rides in Warren County, departing from downtown Lebanon. This is your chance to ride in a vintage passenger car hauled behind a historic diesel locomotive. LM&M Railroad offers themed events year-round for passengers of all ages – follow their Facebook page for all of the updates.
8.) Imbibe at a local tavern.
9.) Instagram the darling pink houses.
You likely won’t find this on another Lebanon list, but you sure will find it here! 🙂 First up, the oh-so-charming pink painted brick home on Main Street. Secondly, the Goldsmith Coffeen House, a beautiful pink hexagon house located on Cincinnati Avenue. This home is known as the “Hexagon House” to the locals. Please note these are both private residences so please exercise respect. 🙂
10.) Experience farm life.
Visit Iron’s Fruit Farm, located just a few miles outside of Lebanon, for fresh fruit, vegetables, animals, and more. Follow their Facebook page for all of the info on what’s in season and upcoming events. Additionally, Hidden Valley Orchards offers a culinary experience, including an ice cream barn, taproom, U-pick crops, a restaurant, treats, events, and more.
But, wait! That’s not it – we have a few more places to recommend! First, nosh on some popcorn from Anna’s Gourmet Popcorn. Grab some fresh blooms from Flowers from the Rafters or the Lil’ Bloom Truck, which can be found around town on Fridays and Saturdays.
Also worth mentioning is exploring the beautiful Glendower Historic Mansion, walking across the swinging bridge at Colonial Park, as well as shopping the Lebanon Farmer’s Market, which takes place downtown May-October every Thursday 3-7PM.
There you have it! That’s our list– but I’m sure we left out more!
What did we miss? What do you love to do while in Lebanon? Leave a comment, below!
PIN these images for future reference: