The city of Dayton, located in the Miami Valley in Ohio, was nicknamed the "Gem City" during the early industrial era due to its attractiveness as a manufacturing center. Dayton is Ohio’s sixth largest city, with a population of 140,000. Looking beyond the city's borders, Dayton is at the center of the 4th largest metropolitan area in the state with a population of more than 840,000. As the home of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, it is no surprise that aerospace and defense are two of Dayton's major industries. The city is also the birthplace of numerous inventions, including the airplane, the artificial heart, and the cash register. Healthcare is a major economic driver, and Dayton was rated third in the nation for excellence in healthcare. Site Selection magazine named Dayton the top mid-sized city for economic development, and the city was also named one of the best places in the nation for job-seeking graduates.
Dayton was founded in 1796 and incorporated in 1805, two years after Ohio achieved statehood. The city was named after Jonathan Dayton, a Revolutionary War captain and area landowner. In 1797, a road built from Cincinnati followed by a canal built in 1827, connected Dayton to the Ohio River for transporting raw materials and manufactured goods and supporting Dayton’s factories. The Great Dayton Flood in 1913 led to the establishment of a system to control flooding that also created open spaces for the city, leading to the development of a park system with more than 16,000 acres of outdoor recreation facilities that Dayton benefits from today. During the early part of the 20th century, Dayton grew rapidly as a manufacturing center, building automobiles, refrigerators, and cash registers. During WWII, manufacturers in Dayton shifted to help the war effort, leading to more jobs and growth that continued through the 1970’s. The city has slipped in population since then, attributed to an outflow of overseas manufacturing that has affected many northern industrial cities. Today, Dayton is seen as a vital and attractive city with many cultural amenities, and a great place to live and work, with a demand for professionals in service industries and healthcare. Explore more of Dayton’s history with the following links.
Dayton is a four-season city with snow in winter, spring rain, summer heat and a dry, crisp autumn. Snowfall is limited, with an annual accumulation of less than 24". Summertime highs only occasionally reach 90 °F with an average temperature of 74 °F. Winter temperatures average just below freezing (28.5 °F) but temperatures rarely reach the frigid, sub-zero range. Rainfall occurs throughout the year, but the greatest accumulation is in May. Get local climate and current weather information using these links.
Dayton sits at the intersection of two interstate highways, I-70, running east-west and I-75, running north-south, making the city highly accessible by car. The Greater Dayton Regional Transportation Authority operates the public transit system with public bus routes and fixed-route electric trolley coaches. Dayton International Airport is the largest of several area airports and offers direct flights to sixteen cities.
Cost of Living in Dayton
The cost of living in Dayton, Ohio is an affordable 17% below the national average. Most notable is the low housing cost compared to other markets, with nice, older homes starting in the $50k neighborhood. Despite other savings, the cost of utilities is somewhat high, at 12% above the national average. See how far your budget will go in Dayton using these links.
Thirty schools make up the Dayton Public School District with 22 elementary schools and 8 high schools and specialty schools serving a student population of 14,000. Additionally, there are 35 private schools and 33 charter schools, including the top-rated Dayton Early College Academy.
Miami Valley Hospital is not only the number one hospital in Dayton, but also the number 10 hospital in the state of Ohio. Miami Valley is also nationally ranked for its pulmonology services. If you’re planning on relocating to Dayton, it’s a good idea to know the medical resources available to you:
Dayton Real Estate
Home prices in Dayton, Ohio saw a dramatic decrease during the national housing crisis of 2008, making homes at current prices a great value. Among the best neighborhoods in Dayton is Oakwood, where homes can range from $150k to more than $1.5M. Attractive and affordable homes can also be found in the neighborhoods near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Find homes currently on the market with the following links.
When planning your stay in Dayton, you can find several popular name brand hotels to the north of downtown near the airport, and to the south near the suburbs of Miamisburgh and West Carrolton. Two business-class hotels are situated downtown, The Dayton Grand Hotel and the Crown Plaza Dayton. If you prefer staying outside the city and away from highways, several B&B style accommodations can be found in the surrounding suburbs, or you might choose to stay at the Inn Port Guesthouse located on a quiet residential street in Dayton’s Oregon Historic District. Find the right accommodations for you using these links.
Dayton features many great dining choices, and the locals are passionate about their favorites! Roost is the highest-rated Italian restaurant according to locals, but many prefer the casual and fun atmosphere at The Spaghetti Warehouse in the heart of downtown. Rue Dumaine offers French countryside cooking with fresh, local ingredients, and Meadowlark is a chef-owned, independent restaurant that always includes vegetarian selections among their choices. The Winds Cafe & Bakery, just east of Dayton in Yellow Springs, is considered one of Dayton’s best-kept secrets, but you may need reservations because seating is limited. Find more great eats using the following links.
Things to Do in Dayton
Dayton has an arts culture that rivals that of much larger cities. The Schuster Performing Arts Center features year-round dance, music, and theatrical performances in a modern facility. The Dayton Art Institute brings world-class exhibits to the area as well as housing a personal collection that includes among the many artists, impressionists Monet and Degas, and American painters Georgia O’Keefe and Edward Hopper. The National Museum of the United States Air Force is the world’s largest and oldest museum dedicated to military aviation. The Wright Brothers bicycle shop, where they famously built their first flying machines can be found at The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park, one of more than 25 parks in the Dayton Parks system. If you want to get outside, the Little Miami Scenic River Trail is 69 miles of paved trail, the fourth longest in the country. If urban arts, culture, and shopping is more your thing, the Oregon District is a fun neighborhood to visit day or night. Explore more fun things to do in Dayton using these links.