Imagination takes flight in a midsize city where aviation history rules. Check out the Dayton Aviation Heritage National historical Park, the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and the Wright Cycle Company Complex, among other attractions.

By By the editors of MidwestLiving.com
Wright Flyer III.

What to do

Carillon Historical Park An indoor-outdoor museum covers Dayton history. See the original Wright Flyer III and a circa 1924 Sun Oil Station. (937) 293-2841; daytonhistory.org

Dayton Art Institute Immerse yourself in art from ancient China to modern Wyeths. (937) 223-5277; daytonartinstitute.org

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park Sites with an overview of the Wright brothers' lives kick off an exploration of Dayton's role in aviation history; nps.gov/daav

National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Acres of airplane hangars await, housing items outlining the early history of military flight through World War II. (937) 255-3286; nationalmuseum.af.mil

Wright Cycle Company Complex Rangers and displays answer questions about Dayton's aviation history. And you'll find an overview of the Wright brothers' lives and the quirky Parachute Museum on the second floor. (937) 225-7705; nps.gov/daav

Wright Flyer III.

Where to eat

Butter Cafe Breakfast on free-range eggs and French toast kabobs at this adorable spot near the University of Dayton. (937) 985-9917; buttercafedayton.com

El Meson A lunch of (pricey) Mexican food is a fiesta when eaten on the colorful glass-roofed patio. (937) 859-8229; elmeson.net

Roost Dine on modern Italian fare such as braised lamb shank and puttanesca. (937) 222-3100; roostdayton.com

Rue Dumaine Their passion is a fusion of French and American cuisine. (937) 610-1061; ruedumainerestaurant.com

Where to stay

Crowne Plaza Dayton This downtown hotel, across from the convention center, promises a solid stay; cpdayton.com

For more information: Dayton/Montgomery County Convention and Visitors Bureau. (800) 221-8235; daytoncvb.com

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