16 Most Fun Things To Do In Nelsonville, Ohio

Nelsonville is a charming city that beckons travelers with its rich history, natural beauty, and vibrant cultural scene. The city is located in the scenic foothills of southeastern Ohio.

Nelsonville originally settled in the early 19th century and thrived as a center for coal mining and brick manufacturing, contributing significantly to the region’s industrial growth. Today, remnants of this industrial heritage are visible in the town’s architecture and museums.

Nelsonville has charming Public Square, historic Stuart’s Opera House, and proximity to the stunning Hocking Hills State Park that attracts thousands of visitors each year. 

The town’s Hocking Valley Scenic Railway offers a nostalgic journey through the picturesque Hocking Valley, while the annual Nelsonville Music Festival draws music enthusiasts from far and wide.

Nelsonville’s moderate climate makes it an ideal year-round destination. Summers are warm and pleasant, perfect for outdoor adventures in nearby parks and forests, while autumn brings vibrant foliage that enhances the beauty of the surrounding landscape. 

Winter offers a peaceful retreat, with opportunities for cozy indoor activities and scenic snow-covered vistas. Spring brings renewed vitality, with blooming wildflowers and refreshing temperatures ideal for exploring the town’s historic sites and cultural attractions.

For travelers seeking a unique blend of history, culture, and outdoor adventure, Nelsonville, Ohio, offers an unforgettable experience. 

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or art lover, Nelsonville has something for everyone. Here’s a curated list of the 16 most fun things to do in this charming Ohio town.

1. Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

Experience a journey back in time aboard the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the Hocking Valley while riding in vintage train cars, complete with informative narration about the region’s history.

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway

The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway was established in 1972 and offers a nostalgic train ride through the scenic Hocking Valley. It began as a way to preserve the region’s railroad history and has since become a popular tourist attraction. 

The railway operates vintage train cars, some dating back to the early 20th century and provides an authentic experience for passengers. It follows a route that showcases the area’s natural beauty, including forests, rivers, and rock formations. 

The railway’s volunteers play a vital role in its operation, from maintaining the tracks to staffing the train cars. Special events, like themed train rides and holiday excursions, add to the railway’s charm and appeal. 

The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway has a rich history and picturesque setting and offers a unique journey back in time for visitors of all ages.


33 W Canal St, Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

2. Stuart’s Opera House

Immerse yourself in the cultural heart of Nelsonville at Stuart’s Opera House. This historic venue hosts a variety of events, including live performances, concerts, and film screenings. Check the schedule for an entertaining night out.

Stuart's Opera House

Stuart’s Opera House was established in 1879. It is a historic performing arts venue located in Nelsonville, Ohio. It was originally built as an opera house and has since evolved into a cultural hub for the region. 

The opera house was named after its founder, George Stuart, who envisioned it as a center for entertainment and community gatherings. Over the years, it has hosted a variety of events, including live performances, concerts, and film screenings. 

The building itself is a testament to Victorian-era architecture, featuring ornate details and a grand facade. Despite facing periods of decline, Stuart’s Opera House underwent extensive renovations in the late 20th century that restored it to its former glory. 

Today, it continues to serve as a beloved venue for both local and touring artists and preserves its legacy as a beacon of culture in Nelsonville.


52 Public Square, Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

3. Rocky Outdoor Gear Store

Gear up for outdoor adventures at the Rocky Outdoor Gear Store and Factory Outlet. Explore their extensive selection of outdoor apparel, footwear, and accessories, all at discounted prices.

Rocky Outdoor Gear Store

Rocky Outdoor Gear Store was founded in 1932. It is a renowned retailer of outdoor apparel and equipment, headquartered in Nelsonville, Ohio. It started as a small family-owned business, specializing in rugged footwear for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Over the decades, the store expanded its product range to include a wide variety of outdoor gear, from clothing and accessories to camping and hunting equipment. 

Rocky Outdoor Gear Store has earned a reputation for its high-quality products and commitment to customer satisfaction. 

It operates multiple retail locations across the United States and also sells its products online and caters to a diverse clientele of outdoor enthusiasts. 

The company prides itself on its durable and innovative gear, designed to withstand the rigors of outdoor adventures in all types of terrain and weather conditions. 

Rocky Outdoor Gear Store has a rich history spanning nearly a century and remains a trusted name in the outdoor retail industry.


45 E Canal St, Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

4. Nelsonville Emporium

The Nelsonville Emporium is a charming retail destination located in Nelsonville, Ohio. It was established in 1995 with the vision of creating a marketplace for local artisans and entrepreneurs to showcase their crafts and products. 

Nelsonville Emporium

The emporium features a diverse array of items, including handmade jewelry, artwork, home decor, and specialty foods. It serves as a vibrant hub for the community that hosts events such as craft fairs, workshops, and live music performances. 

The emporium’s cozy atmosphere and friendly staff make it a favorite shopping destination for both locals and visitors alike. Over the years, it has become known for its unique selection of goods that highlight the creativity and talent of artisans from the region. 

Nelsonville Emporium is committed to supporting local businesses and fostering a sense of community and continues to thrive as a beloved retail establishment in the heart of Nelsonville. Visit the emporium to experience some unique things to do in Nelsonville.


31 Public Sq. Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

5. Hocking Hills Jellystone Park

Just a short drive away, Hocking Hills State Park offers breathtaking natural wonders. Hike through lush forests, discover waterfalls, and marvel at the striking rock formations that make this park a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Hocking Hills Jellystone Park

Hocking Hills Jellystone Park was established in 1995. It is a family-friendly campground near the scenic Hocking Hills region. 

It offers a range of accommodation options, including campsites, cabins, and RV hookups that make it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. 

The park is part of the Jellystone Park franchise, known for its themed camping experiences inspired by the Yogi Bear cartoon series. Guests can enjoy a variety of amenities and activities, such as swimming pools, playgrounds, mini-golf, and organized family-friendly events. 

Hocking Hills Jellystone Park provides a fun and affordable getaway for families, with opportunities for hiking, fishing, and exploring the natural beauty of the surrounding area. 

It has a convenient location and welcoming atmosphere and has become a favorite vacation spot for visitors looking to enjoy the great outdoors while creating lasting memories with loved ones.


22245 OH-278, Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

6. The Fun Barn

The Fun Barn is an indoor entertainment center located in Nelsonville, Ohio. It was established in 1993 and offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. 

The Fun Barn

The center features an arcade with classic and modern games, bumper cars, mini-golf, and a climbing wall. It also includes a snack bar serving a variety of treats and refreshments. 

The Fun Barn is a popular destination for birthday parties, family outings, and group events that provide a fun and safe environment for guests to enjoy. Over the years, it has become a beloved local attraction, known for its friendly staff and affordable prices. 

The center continues to expand and update its offerings to provide new and exciting experiences for visitors. Whether it’s a rainy day or a special occasion, The Fun Barn offers hours of entertainment for families and friends to enjoy together.


13700 US-33, Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

7. Wayne National Forest

Wayne National Forest is a vast expanse of natural beauty spanning over 240,000 acres in southeastern Ohio. It was established in 1934 and was named after General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, a Revolutionary War hero. 

Wayne National Forest

The forest offers diverse landscapes that include rugged hills, lush forests, and meandering rivers. It provides habitat for various wildlife species, including deer, wild turkey, and bald eagles. 

Wayne National Forest is a popular destination for outdoor recreation, offering opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. It also features over 300 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. 

The forest is managed by the United States Forest Service and is divided into three administrative units: Athens, Marietta, and Ironton. 

Wayne National Forest is a cherished natural resource that provides a scenic retreat for visitors to explore and enjoy charming things to do in Nelsonville.


13700 US Highway 33. Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

8. A Handmade Home

A Handmade Home is a charming establishment that began its journey over two centuries ago. It was established in 1814 and originally built as a general store.

A Handmade Home

Over time, it transformed into a haven for artisans and craftsmen. With its rustic charm and quaint atmosphere, it attracts visitors from near and far. The building itself tells a story of craftsmanship and dedication. 

Today, it stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of handmade craftsmanship. Visitors can explore the unique handmade items and experience the warmth of small-town hospitality. 

A Handmade Home embodies the essence of Nelsonville’s heritage and continues to be a cherished landmark in the heart of Ohio.


665 Pleasantview Ave Apt. B2, Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

9. Robbins Crossing Historical Village

Step back in time at Robbins Crossing Historical Village, an authentic 19th-century village. Wander through log cabins, a blacksmith shop, and other historical structures that provide a glimpse into Ohio’s past.

Robbins Crossing Historical Village

Robbins Crossing Historical Village in Nelsonville, Ohio, is a living testament to the region’s past. This historical village was established in 1972 and showcases a collection of authentic 19th-century buildings.

It offers visitors a glimpse into life during that era. Visitors can step back in time as they stroll through the cobbled streets and explore the carefully preserved structures, including a general store, blacksmith shop, and schoolhouse. 

The village serves as an educational experience, allowing visitors to engage with costumed interpreters who bring history to life through demonstrations and activities. 

Robbins Crossing is not just a static display but a lively portrayal of Ohio’s heritage. Each building has its own story to tell, contributing to the immersive historical atmosphere. 

This charming village is a must-visit for those seeking a hands-on understanding of the past and provides a unique and educational experience for visitors of all ages.


3301 Hocking Pkwy Southeast Intersection by Loop Rd, Hocking Pkwy, Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

10. Starbrick Cooperative Gallery

Discover the vibrant arts scene of Nelsonville at the Starbrick Cooperative Gallery. This gallery features works by local artists and showcases a diverse range of paintings, sculptures, and crafts.

Starbrick Cooperative Gallery

The Starbrick Cooperative Gallery is a vibrant hub for local artists that was established in 2002. The gallery aims to showcase and support the work of talented artisans in the region. 

It provides a platform for artists to exhibit and sell their creations, ranging from paintings and sculptures to ceramics and jewelry. The gallery’s cooperative structure fosters a sense of community among its members, who collaborate to manage and operate the space. 

Visitors can explore a diverse array of artworks while supporting the local arts scene. Beyond its role as an exhibition space, Starbrick also hosts workshops, events, and outreach programs to engage with the community. 

The Starbrick Cooperative Gallery has a welcoming atmosphere and ever-changing displays and is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts to experience new things to do in Nelsonville.


21 W Columbus St, Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

11. Nelsonville Music Festival

If your visit aligns with the Nelsonville Music Festival, you’re in for a treat. Enjoy live performances by a variety of artists, spanning different genres, against the backdrop of the scenic Hocking Hills.

Nelsonville Music Festival

The Nelsonville Music Festival in Ohio is an annual celebration of music and community. It began in 2005 as a small gathering but has grown into a renowned event, drawing thousands of attendees each year. 

The festival features a diverse lineup of musical acts spanning various genres, from indie rock and folk to blues and bluegrass. The festival is held at the Historic Village of Robbins Crossing and offers a picturesque backdrop for performances. 

Beyond the music, attendees can enjoy local food vendors, artisanal crafts, and interactive activities for all ages. The festival’s commitment to sustainability is evident through initiatives like waste reduction and eco-friendly practices. 

It also serves as a platform to showcase emerging talent alongside established artists. The Nelsonville Music Festival has become a beloved tradition for music lovers across the region.


3301 Hocking Parkway Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

12. Rhapsody Restaurant

Savor delicious local cuisine at Rhapsody Restaurant. Known for its farm-to-table approach, this eatery offers a menu that highlights the flavors of the region.

Rhapsody Restaurant

Rhapsody Restaurant was established in 2009 and has quickly become a culinary landmark in the area. It offers a diverse menu featuring a fusion of American and international cuisine. 

The restaurant’s ambiance is cozy and inviting which makes it a popular choice for both locals and visitors alike. Rhapsody is known for its commitment to using locally sourced ingredients, supporting the community and promoting sustainability. 

The menu boasts a variety of dishes, from gourmet burgers to handcrafted pizzas and pasta dishes. The restaurant also features a full bar with a selection of craft beers, wines, and cocktails. 

In addition to its delicious food, Rhapsody is praised for its excellent customer service and welcoming atmosphere for visitors to experience some relaxing things to do in Nelsonville. 

Whether you’re looking for a casual dining experience or a special night out, Rhapsody Restaurant offers something for everyone to enjoy.


18 Public Square, Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

13. Nelsonville Water Park

The Nelsonville Water Park in Ohio provides a refreshing escape for locals and tourists alike. This family-friendly destination offers a range of aquatic attractions, including water slides, splash pads, and swimming pools. 

Nelsonville Water Park

The water park was established in 2003 to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for individuals of all ages to cool off during the hot summer months. 

The water park has colorful slides and interactive water features and has become a popular spot for families and friends seeking a fun day out. 

The park’s commitment to safety is evident through trained lifeguards and well-maintained facilities. Nelsonville Water Park also hosts various events and activities which makes it a hub of community engagement.

As a prominent fixture in Nelsonville’s recreational landscape, the water park continues to be a go-to destination for summertime enjoyment since its establishment.


40 W Canal St, Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

14. Hocking College Nature Center

Explore the wonders of nature at the Hocking College Nature Center. Engage in educational programs, hike the trails, and learn about the diverse flora and fauna native to the region.

Hocking College Nature Center

The Hocking College Nature Center in Nelsonville is a haven for nature enthusiasts. This center was founded in 1975 with the mission to educate visitors about the local flora and fauna while promoting environmental conservation. 

The Nature Center boasts a diverse range of habitats that includes forests, wetlands, and meadows, providing ample opportunities for outdoor exploration and wildlife observation. 

It offers educational programs and guided tours led by knowledgeable staff members which makes it an ideal destination for school groups and families. 

The center’s facilities include hiking trails, wildlife exhibits, and interactive learning stations and caters to visitors of all ages. 

Additionally, the Nature Center hosts special events and workshops throughout the year, fostering a sense of community engagement and environmental stewardship. 

The Hocking College Nature Center is dedicated to provide environmental education and immersive outdoor experiences and continues to inspire visitors to appreciate and protect the natural world. The center offers numerous charming things to do in Nelsonville.


3377 Hocking Pkwy, Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

15. The Makers Loft

The Makers Loft in Nelsonville was established in 2017. It’s a vibrant hub for artisans and crafters. People come here to create, learn, and connect. 

The Makers Loft

The space is filled with workshops and studios where creativity flourishes. The history of The Makers Loft is rooted in the rich tradition of craftsmanship in Nelsonville. 

It’s a place where locals and visitors alike come together to celebrate handmade goods. The loft hosts regular events like craft fairs and workshops, drawing in crowds from the community. 

It’s not just a space for creating; it’s a community center where friendships are made and skills are shared. The Makers Loft is a testament to the enduring spirit of craftsmanship in Nelsonville and offers a place for artisans to thrive and for the community to come together.


72 W Washington St, Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States

16. Wayne National Forest

Visitors can end their journey to Nelsonville with an outdoor adventure in Wayne National Forest. Whether you prefer hiking, biking, or horseback riding, the forest offers a vast network of trails and scenic spots to explore.

Wayne National Forest

Wayne National Forest was established in 1934. It was named after General “Mad” Anthony Wayne, a Revolutionary War hero. 

The forest covers over 240,000 acres of Appalachian foothills. It offers various recreational activities like hiking, camping, and fishing. The forest’s history is tied to the Civilian Conservation Corps, which worked on its development during the Great Depression. 

Wayne National Forest is home to diverse wildlife, including deer, wild turkey, and various bird species. It’s also rich in plant life, with oak and hickory forests dotting the landscape. 

The forest is managed by the United States Forest Service and provides opportunities for education and research. Visitors can explore its numerous trails and scenic overlooks and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. 

Wayne National Forest stands as a testament to conservation efforts and the preservation of natural landscapes for future generations. 


13700 US-33, Nelsonville, OH 45764, United States


Nelsonville, Ohio, may be a small town, but its array of activities ensures that visitors will find something enjoyable around every corner. From historic sites to outdoor adventures and cultural experiences, there are numerous fun things to do in Nelsonville.