Ohio is a state known for many things. Cedar Point and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are two tourist destinations worth visiting. And what’s a visit to a fun and exciting place without taking home a souvenir or two?
Ohio also has many tasty foods that originated in the state and are hard to find anywhere else. From buckeyes to beer, you’ll most certainly want to snag a few treats.
If you need ideas on souvenirs from Ohio to bring home with you, here’s a list of items that may be just what you’re searching for!
1. Candy Buckeyes
Candy Buckeyes are an Ohio staple. This is a souvenir must for any chocolate and peanut butter lover. This creamy treat can be found in candy shops and Ohio-themed gift shops around the state. So what is a candy buckeye, and what makes them so good?
These delectable treats are a peanut butter base creamed together with powdered sugar, some butter, and vanilla. The mixture is then rolled into small balls, then dipped into chocolate, and left to set until the chocolate is firm. Just a little bit of the peanut butter is left exposed, creating the look of a buckeye.
Candy Buckeyes are usually sold in boxes of twelve or eighteen. One of my personal favorites is made by Anthony Thomas. They are so creamy and perfect, basically melting in your mouth. They’re also super easy to make on your own should you not purchase enough to take home with you!
2. Rock Hall Memorabilia
A trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, also known as Rock Hall, is a must for rock and roll lovers. Taking home a piece of memorabilia from the souvenir shop also tops that list.
There is no shortage of items to choose from to remember your trip. There’s apparel that is both artist branded or Rock Hall branded. You can get shirts, pants, hats, scarves, socks, and jewelry.
For the cook, there are kitchen utensils, any drinking glass you can think of, drink coasters, and more. Then there are the novelties: puzzles, magnets, keyrings, stationery, models, and posters.
Whatever rock and roll souvenir you’re looking for, there’s bound to be something for everyone. Long Live Rock!
3. Amish Cheese
Amish cheese is the perfect souvenir to take home with you. Known for its creaminess, Amish cheese is wonderful for fondues, melting, or just snacking on. The Amish in Holmes County, Ohio, have shops where you can browse and purchase over two-dozen varieties of cheeses made right there in their community.
For the most part, the Amish community in Ohio still makes their cheese the old-fashioned way. The cows that the milk comes from are hormone-free and eat grasses that are natural to the area. The grass has never been sprayed with insecticides. Amish cheeses are made with a higher cream content, making them full of flavor and giving them a smooth and creamy texture.
The Amish way is that they are not overly concerned about profit. They are, however, masters at their craft. Perfection is important to them, and cheese making is no exception.
My favorite Amish cheese is Guggisberg Baby Swiss, made in Holmes County, Ohio. Alfred Guggisberg settled in Holmes County from Switzerland in 1947 and followed his dream of making cheese. The Baby Swiss lives up to its reputation of being milder than regular Swiss cheese. Guggisberg is so good, it has been rated the #1 cheese in the United States. I definitely agree that it deserves this award.
4. Ohio State Gear
This may sound crazy, especially if you’re not an Ohio State fan. But, Ohio State gear is something to take home with you if you’re not super into sports. Or, maybe you’re a die-hard Ohio State fan living outside of Ohio.
From t-shirts to hats, the scarlet and grey apparel is a great souvenir that is easy to travel with and can be used for years to come.
Ohio State gear can be found nearly anywhere within a 50-mile radius of Columbus. Even grocery stores have a rack or two of items to choose from. But, if you want to find some really neat stuff, hit up Conrads. They have a vast selection of unique Ohio State merchandise to browse to find that perfect item.
I, personally, am not that into sports. But, one of the things I do, whenever I travel, is to get a shirt from wherever I have been. Sometimes it is sports-related, sometimes it isn’t. But, since I don’t have a favorite team, it’s just considered a cool new shirt to add to my rotation.
Since I am originally from Ohio, though, several Ohio State shirts reside in my dresser drawers. Go Bucks!
5. Cocktail Mixers
If you enjoy a good cocktail, don’t forget to bring home a variety of cocktail mixers. Simple Times Mixers is a Columbus-based company specializing in unique mixer flavors. They can be combined with both alcohol and soda water, so everybody can enjoy them.
All mixers have six ingredients or less and are made with no artificial flavors. The base of each mixer is always whole fruit that is juiced on site.
Some of the flavors available are Maple Chai Apple Mule, Pear Rosemary Mule, and Cranberry Margarita. If you can’t decide on a flavor, bundles are available.
6. Ohio Beer
Ohio has several breweries that have gained recognition amongst beer lovers. When visiting the Buckeye State, taking a trip to taste some of the popular lagers and ales is a must.
What’s the difference between ale and lager?
Ales are fermented at room temperature and are made using top-fermented yeast. The yeast ferments at the top of the tank and is skimmed off. The fermentation time for ales is typically less than five weeks. As a result, ales are sweeter and fuller-bodied when it comes to taste.
Lagers are fermented at cooler temperatures. They are made using bottom-fermented yeast. Because of the warmer temperatures, fermentation for lagers takes four to eight weeks. Taste-wise, lagers are smoother and crisper.
Columbus Bodhi has been rated the number one beer from the state. It is an IPA that is brewed by the Columbus Brewing Company. Some other notable mentions that have been rated highly are:
- Fat Heads’ – Hop JuJu (Imperial IPA)
- Jackie O’s – Bourbon Barrel Champion Ground (Imperial Stout)
- Thirsty Dog Brewing Company – Wulver (Scotch Ale)
- Great Lakes Brewing Co. – Barrel-Aged Blackout Stout (Imperial Stout)
No matter your preference, Ohio has a specialty beer for you to fall in love with. When you find that special brew, grab a can, a 4-pack, or a case as a souvenir to enjoy once you return home.
What’s a trip without taking home some postcards? One good thing about this souvenir is that they are light, small, and easy to travel with. Suppose you’re visiting several places around Ohio. In that case, you can grab a few from each destination as a memory of where you’ve been.
Postcards are sold nearly everywhere. So no matter where you go throughout Ohio, you’re to find them with beautiful photos just asking to be added to your picture album. Postcards are also inexpensive, meaning if you’ve maxed out on your travel budget, you can still take home something without breaking the bank.
Another idea with postcards is to write the experiences you had in that location on the back of it. It’s almost like writing a letter to yourself, a reminder of the things you did.
The Small Batch Candle Company, in Columbus, Ohio, puts a unique spin on candle-making. All of their candles are made and sold in repurposed glass containers and bottles. They get their bottles from working in a bar. Once bottles are emptied, they are cleaned and given a new life to bring interesting and beautiful candles to your home.
Some of the scents offered are Mimosa, Apple Mango, Leather, Earl Grey, and Bourbon & Butterscotch. There is definitely something for everyone, whether it be floral, earthy, baked goods, or fruity.
I’m personally always drawn to the baked goods scents. It always gives the home the aroma as if something delicious has just come out of the oven. Yum!
You can browse their candles in a handful of shops across Ohio. If you’re lucky, you may stumble upon them at a farmer’s market. Be sure to smell them all, find a jar you like, and take a few candle souvenirs home with you!
9. Skyline Chili
Cincinnati, Ohio, is known for Skyline Chili. Known affectionately as Cincinnati-style chili, people tend to either love it or hate it. Skyline Chili has been around since 1949. They still use the same secret family recipe that originated in Greece before the founder’s family relocated to America.
Made with hints of cocoa and cinnamon, fans of the chili flock to Skyline when the craving hits. Their two most popular items are the coney dog and the 3-Way Chili. Both are topped with a mound of shredded cheddar cheese. It’s kind of their thing.
When visiting a Skyline location, should you fall in love (and you will), they have cans of their famous chili for sale. You can purchase a single can, a 4-pack, or more. While it isn’t quite the same as having it made-to-order in a restaurant, it’s close enough to bring back the nostalgia of taking that first mouth-watering bite.
My favorite is the 5-Way Chili, which adds beans and onion. Whenever I go back to Ohio, a visit to Skyline is a must to get me through until the next trip back.
10. Buckeyes or Buckeye Keychain
You can’t visit Ohio without taking home an actual buckeye. Legend has it that buckeyes are lucky, similar to a horseshoe or a rabbit’s foot. While the actual buckeye nut is poisonous, carrying one with you is considered a good luck charm.
One of the most popular ways to carry a buckeye around is on a keychain. Some keychains are decorated with red and grey beads, while others adorn the buckeye nut all by themselves. Of course, if having items dangling from your keyring isn’t your thing, you can always carry your buckeye around in your pocket.
Since the buckeye tree is the state tree, it wouldn’t be too difficult to find one lying around. However, if you don’t feel up to a scavenger hunt, Conrads in Columbus sells them individually for a small price.
11. Cedar Point Memorabilia
You can’t visit Ohio without a trip to Cedar Point. The two basically go hand in hand. And, if you’re going to go to the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, you need something to remember the trip by.
If you’re a fan of Snoopy, he’s kind of Cedar Point’s mascot. Stop by one of the gift shops to snag a Snoopy stuffed animal wearing a Cedar Point t-shirt.
Throughout the park, you’ll find a wide selection of t-shirts, sweatshirts, roller coaster figurines, shot glasses, and postcards. Whatever you choose, it will be branding the Cedar Point logo.
Another fun souvenir is a picture of you on one of the roller coasters. Photos are usually taken on the largest hill or just after an upside-down loop. They capture the excitement (or fear) on your face as you take on the thrill of the coaster. Some of the pictures turn out pretty hilarious and are great mementos of the fun you had.
I still have photos from some of my roller coaster rides. My absolute favorite is from the first time I rode Top Thrill Dragster. I was having so much fun, but the guy in the seat behind me wore a look of pure terror. It makes me chuckle every time I see it.
12. Potato Chips
Ohio is the second leading producer of potato chips in the United States. There are at least 10 companies that produce the salty treat throughout Ohio. And boy, do you have to try them all! With each having a distinct flavor and crunch factor, how else will you find your favorite Ohio chip?
Each brand across the state has its own set of fans that swear by it. The Cleveland area is partial to Shearer’s, while Dayton is particularly fond of Mike-sell’s. Then there’s Central Ohio’s Conn’s. From classic to kettle chips, each brand is unique in its own way.
Once you find the one you simply can’t go home without, stock up on all the flavors to get you through until your next trip to the Buckeye State.
There you go! A list of Ohio souvenirs to ensure you’re taking home the best that the Buckeye State has to offer! If I am leaving anything out, feel free to comment and let me know what your favorite Ohio souvenir is.