25 Cheap or Free Things to do in Cincinnati & Dayton

We looked around and found a whole lot of cheap (or free!) family-fun options for Southwest Ohio parents! Get out and explore these local places without breaking the bank.

Here are 25 Cheap or Free Things to do in Southwest Ohio:
  1. Go downtown and check out the murals around Washington Park! The playground is free and one of the best– check the calendar before you go- there’s always something happening in OTR! Bring the kid’s scooters or pack a swimsuit to splash.
  2. The Main Library’s Children’s Learning Center Check out one of their free events here! (free, except for parking)
  3. Go mall walking at Kenwood Towne Center. Hit up the Lego Store, Disney Store and Food Court! (free, except for that $4 you spent at Starbucks).
  4. Pins Mechanical in OTR offers free bowling for kids on Sundays! While downtown, visit Washington Park’s playground to burn off more energy (kids free on Sundays)
  5. Do an art project at Happen, Inc. (Free; donations accepted)
  6. Visit the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (Free admission and parking!).
  7. Go to story time at Joseph Beth, Blue Manatee or your local library branch. (Free)
  8. Eat + Play at Graeter’s Lil Pints playroom! (free to play– but don’t skip the ice cream!)
  9. Look at toys and play in the Dungeon at King Arthur’s Court (free — unless you buy something. But, “like” them on Facebook and you’ll get access to coupons and promotions!)
  10. Check out the Cincinnati Play Library. (Free to browse and play; monthly memberships start at $15)
  11. Schedule a Facility Tour at Rumpke. (Free – but you’ll need to schedule ahead of time.)
  12. Cincinnati Art Museum (free always! Parking is $4 per vehicle). Be sure to check out their free family programs.
  13. Peruse the Cardboard Boat Museum (Free; hours vary)
  14. Zip around the Beechmont Rollarena on Friday nights for a special deal: $40.00 for 4 admission, 4 regular skate rental, 1 large pizza, and 1 pitcher of soda.
  15. Be a firefighter for the day at The Fire Museum of Greater Cincinnati. (Kids 6 and under are free with a paying adult)
  16. Take the kids to the Humane Society or League for Animal Welfare to interact with the animals (Free; call ahead of time to coordinate)
  17. Visit the Newport Aquarium’s new Hatchling Harbor exhibit or visit a real life mermaid!
  18. Check out the seasonal show Flowers ft. Dinosaurs at Krohn Conservatory! (Youth $7, Adults $10)
  19. Go to the Taft Museum of Art (free every Sunday)
  20. Spend a morning playing indoors at Recreations Outlet. Their Charitable Hours Special lets kids play on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings for a donation of just $2/child!
  21. Take a few rides on Carol Ann’s Carousel, Cincinnati’s fantastic, indoor merry-go-round! ($2/ride, plus parking)
  22. Wander around Jungle Jim’s. Free – except for that cart full of goodies you found!
  23. Take the kids to Parky’s Playbarn at Winton Woods –the grounds are open for exploring and playing everyday ($2.50 per child with your $10 annual Hamilton County motor vehicle permit)
  24. Play within art at the Creativity Center in the Contemporary Arts Center.  (free)
  25. Check out the MakerSpace at the downtown branch of the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Libraries. Featuring all kinds of hands-on equipment, this place has it all: 3D printers, a sound recording studio, a big green screen, button makers, die cut and much more!

Next time you’re at a loss for what to do, revisit this list! Pin it, share it and save it for the next (metaphorical or real) rainy, too-hot, too-cold or too-anything day!

Similar Articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


From our Sponsors