Follow the elephants down Tembo Trail at the Toledo Zoo. Watch the playful pachyderms wiggle and stretch to reach treats and toys suspended in their renovated habitat.
Next, head downtown to fuel up on fresh salads, soups and sandwiches at Pam’s Corner, the cheerful luncheonette in the historic Davis Building.
After lunch, you’ll be perfectly positioned to do a little boutique hopping. Two of Toledo’s best designer destinations, Sophia Lustig and Sophie’s Sister, are next door. And The Paula Brown Shop — part gallery, part gift shop — is just across the parking lot.
Head a half-mile south to the historic warehouse district to score deals on the glass that made this city famous at the Libbey Glass Factory Outlet (next to Erie Street Market). Or choose from dozens of scents to match your mood at the Swan Creek Candle Company.
For your overnight stay, the Grand Room in the 1870 Casey-Pomeroy House offers one of the best views of downtown (and one of the swankiest bathrooms!). History and ultramodern amenities blend seamlessly at this B&B.
Or try the Mansion View Inn, a classic Victorian B&B that reigns over the Old West End. Check in early and unwind with fresh lemonade on the huge front porch. Ask the innkeeper for a copy of the self-guided sidewalk tour to bone up on turn-of-the-century architecture in this neighborhood known for having one of the largest collections of Victorian homes.
All that walking should work up an appetite big enough to take on any of the huge (and delicious) entrees at The Beirut Restaurant. This favorite serves traditional Lebanese fare; start with creamy hummus or tangy fattoush, and don’t skip the pita.
If you’re visiting during the summer, plan to spend an evening at Fifth Third Field and take in a Toledo Mud Hens AAA game.
The Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral actually dazzles, especially when midmorning sunlight hits the rose window. Call the parish office to arrange a peek at the shimmering interior of the plateresque cathedral.
The Toledo Museum of Art proves there’s more to the city’s art pedigree than just glass. The collection includes masterworks from some of the biggest names (Monet, van Gogh, Picasso and Hopper). TMA’s themed My Guides put a curator in your pocket.
For lunch, try San Marcos Taqueria, hidden in the back of a corner grocer; turn right at the meat case to find taco heaven.
Then explore Wildwood Preserve Metropark, the former estate of the Stranahan family. Wander more than 12 miles of trails through upland forest, ravine, tallgrass prairie and the Ottawa River floodplain. Come out of the wild to see the Manor House's formal gardens or to catch a tour (Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays).
The Maumee Bay Brew Pub serves hometown brews and yummy wood-fire pizzas in the former ballroom of the historic Oliver House. Take a sip of Toledo’s past with their signature brew, Buckeye Beer, a distinctly dry lager brewed from the 1838 recipe.
For information: Destination Toledo Inc., (800) 243-4667; dotoledo.org