Visit Bowling Green, OH

Big fun awaits in BG

By Kim Krieger

There’s fun for all ages in Bowling Green. All photos by Kevin Kopanski unless otherwise noted.

Nestled between the cornfields of northwest Ohio and Interstate 75, Bowling Green beckons visitors with its promise of welcoming hospitality and small-town charm. This picturesque community is a great spot to get away from the hustle and bustle and relax for a few days. With many hotels just minutes from the interstate, Bowling Green is also a perfect place to lay your head before enjoying memorable excursions to Lake Erie’s recreation and birding sites or other amazing attractions in the Toledo area.

Like so many small towns throughout the Midwest, Bowling Green offers many opportunities to have fun while making special memories with family and friends. Spend a weekend walking around the historic downtown, exploring spectacular gardens, finding treasures at unique boutiques or enjoying delicious food and drink. You won’t find yourself short of things to do in this quaint community that is always buzzing with history, creativity, special events and lots of fun!

Explore Downtown BG

With its historical architecture and quaint shops, this college town offers a postcard-perfect peek at the Midwest. The scenic downtown features many places to poke around in specialty shops. With plenty of coffee bars, brew pubs, locally owned restaurants, ice cream parlors and college-town pizzerias, guests will find a variety of places to grab a delicious bite to eat.

Oodles of boutiques line the streets of BG offering an opportunity to shop for everything from clothing, unique gifts and jewelry to books, games and vinyl records. While browsing downtown, a must-see shop is Ben’s – a former Ben Franklin store. Reminiscent of a five-and-dime store of days gone by, Ben’s is a perfect place to find toys, party goods, candy in glass jars, art supplies and even homemade fudge!

Art and Architecture

The beauty of Bowling Green can be appreciated in the preserved architecture and amazing art found throughout town. Taking center stage is the Wood County Courthouse, a prominent structure that has been long admired by both residents and visitors. At the time of its completion in 1897, the clock would have been the second largest in America with hands spanning 16 feet in diameter! The interior is equally impressive with a stained-glass ceiling and murals that share the history of the area.

Throughout town, visitors can celebrate creativity through community murals and other public art. Beautiful murals across town showcase the community’s story with a nod to local history and culture. Public art can also be found around the sprawling Bowling Green State University campus. Perhaps the most famous is Richard Roth’s “Recumbent Thinker” sculpture found near Olscamp Hall. This piece along with two other cast aluminum sculptures speak to the thoughts and reflections of college students.

Meet the Chef

While restaurants across town serve hearty and delicious fare loved by locals and folks passing through, one Bowling Green establishment takes the dining experience a step further! At The Clay Pot in downtown BG, food is prepared with love and care using locally sourced ingredients. On Wednesday nights, guests can make reservations for the “Dinner with the Chef” event focused on enjoying good food together! The chef prepares a three-course meal and then visits with guests to highlight the unique ingredients, flavors and traditions of the meal.

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane

The history museums in Bowling Green offer an astonishing variety of experiences for guests of all ages. Guests can explore a depression-era living-history site at the Carter Historic Farm, visit a Little Red Schoolhouse on the BGSU campus and explore the Wood County Museum, the site of the former county infirmary.

At Snook’s Dream Cars, antique car lovers can “travel in the past lane” while exploring this spectacular car museum. An antique lover’s dream, this museum features a recreated 1940s-era Texaco gas station, a showroom of car memorabilia and an automobile collection displayed with scenes ranging from a 1930s general store to a racetrack from the 1960s. The memorabilia collection includes model cars, signs, auto accessories, oil cans, pedal cars, advertising items and much more. Owner Jeff Snook loves keeping the history of automobiles alive at his popular museum. He recently added a 1964 Porsche 356C Coupe to the collection, but his personal favorite is the 1963 Jaguar XKE Roadster. Snook shared that the car has a powerful 6-cylinder engine, the exhaust sounds great, it cruises at over 70 mph on the highway and is simply beautiful to look at!

See antique cars and more at Snook’s Dream Cars.

Walk in the Park

Families can also choose from a variety of outdoor ventures while visiting Bowling Green. Simpson Garden Park features 11 acres of rolling gardens amid an urban landscape. Park guests can enjoy a leisurely walk along the trails to explore the willow walk, peace garden, sensory and sculpture gardens, and a children’s discovery garden featuring many hands-on gardening activities. Created by glassworker Adam Goldberg, who got his Bachelor of Fine Arts at BGSU, the Judy Knox Memorial Sundial stands nine feet tall and is a popular photo spot for couples or families in this breathtaking garden.

Rest among the flowers at Simpson Garden Park.