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Chances are, if you’re aware of Cedar Point, you’ve heard of Sandusky, Ohio. While hundreds of thousands of people annually flock to the amusement park that is packed with roller coasters and thrill rides, the waterfront community of historic downtown Sandusky has been overlooked.
And maybe, several years ago, that was for good reason. But things have changed. Sandusky has changed.
Once fairly run down and full of empty buildings, historic downtown Sandusky is experiencing a renaissance with new restaurants, attractions, and nightlife. This once fledgling community has made an epic comeback and is ready to impress the fussiest critic. Read on to learn why you should visit downtown Sandusky now.
9 Reasons to Visit Downtown Sandusky Now
- Location, Location, Location!
Located between Toledo and Cleveland, the natural gem of the city is Sandusky Bay. Downtown Sandusky boasts amazing dining options, quality entertainment, luxurious boutique hotels, and easy access to ferries that regularly run to several islands on Lake Erie. If that’s not enough, the icing on the cake is the gorgeous lake views you’ll find along the bay.
- Ease of Getting Around
For those that prefer to explore on foot, you’ll be thrilled to find downtown Sandusky a very walkable destination. Once you arrive, you can park your car and walk to your restaurant or coffee house. You can also embark on the walking tour, and there are options if you prefer to ride while remaining active. Visitors can now rent a bike from Vogontz Bike Share in several spots around town using a smartphone app.
- Proximity to Island Transportation
Once in Sandusky, you have access to Jet Express which runs ferry service to South Bass Island, Middle Bass Island, and Kelleys Island. Goodtime I also offer trips to the islands; some include evening dancing and wine cruises. If you’re feeling adventurous and have time to do a bit more planning, you can also hop on board the Pelee Islander, which transports riders to Pelee Island, Canada. My advice? Be mindful of the ferry schedule as this vessel only makes one stop in Sandusky a day.
- The History
Sandusky is a town rich in history which you’ll find reflected in its architecture, museums, and even some of the names of the properties. Take a stroll along the streets of Sandusky armed with your smartphone and the Erie County Walking Tours Online website. You can enjoy three free walking tours of Sandusky: a downtown history tour, Underground Railroad Tour, or a tour of Washington Park. If you prefer, ride along as history comes to life with a guided Segway tour with Sandusky Segwave.
- Amazing Food
Meal options run the gamut from wood-fired pizza to French-inspired cuisine at Zinc Brasserie. Try a creative spin on classic American fare at J Bistro, or sushi and Asian dishes at Small City Taphouse. You’ll even find Mr. Smith’s Coffee House, a locally owned and operated coffee house serving breakfast, lunch, and fresh pastries. Sandusky has many meal options to satisfy your palate.
It doesn’t matter if your drink of choice is a cocktail, craft beer, or a glass of wine, you’ll find what you’re looking for in downtown Sandusky.
If craft beer is your thing, look no further than Small City Taphouse. Currently offering 66 beers on tap, you’re sure to find something that appeals to your taste buds.
Crush Wine Bar offers ambiance, good food, and great wine, while The Volstead Bar transports you back in time to the Prohibition days, offering an intimate atmosphere of nostalgia and mystique in a quaint speakeasy setting. If you’re looking for a place to meet up and hang out with friends, try the lively Moseley’s Public House and rooftop bar located in Hotel Kilbourne.
- Boutique Hotels
The Hotel Kilbourne was the first boutique hotel in the city and guests couldn’t ask for better accommodations or location. Located directly across from the Sandusky Bay, the patio of the hotel offers guests an amazing front-row seat to the colorful sunsets locals love and appreciate. The hotel is within walking distance, or a short drive to restaurants, museums, and entertainment at the historic Sandusky State Theater, which leads to my next point.
One of Sandusky’s newest boutique hotels, The Cedar Stables Inn & Suites offers a unique boutique experience within the Cedar Corner Hotel & Entertainment Complex. The Stables promised rustic charm with modern comfort. Room options range from a cozy King suite for two to an expansive Elite Stable Suite that sleeps up to six guests. Entertainment options abound, with nearby Cedar Downs, Cedar Lanes, and the Thirsty Pony.
- Quality Entertainment
Take in a comedy show, listen to a jazz ensemble, or get dressed up for the orchestra at the Sandusky State Theater. You can also plan to attend one of the area’s festivals. You can visit this website to view a calendar of events for Sandusky and the surrounding area.
It doesn’t matter if you love thrill rides and the busyness of Cedar Point, or if you’re more apt to choose a stroll along the quiet Sandusky waterfront. You’ll find Sandusky has offerings to entice families, couples, and solo travelers of all ages to the area. Once you’ve visited, you’ll have a difficult time staying away. Go ahead, ask me how I know.
Want to learn more about Sandusky? These posts will help:
A Walk through Sheldon Marsh Nature Preserve
An Early Morning Photo Walk at Cedar Point
19 Things to do in Sandusky for the Whole Family
The Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky