The central business district of Dayton is a story of industry and renewal throughout the growth of this unique urban area. While the city enjoyed a population boom and economic heyday during the early part of the 20th century, the second half of the century saw a mass exodus to the suburbs. Therefore, the city began a strategic effort to reinvest in the downtown area. The results have been impressive to say the least.
Today, the downtown area has seen a significant increase in both population and economic growth. One of the areas of major economic growth has been within the technology and high-tech arenas. In order to produce the workers that draw these high tech companies, the neighborhood is home to Sinclair Community College and the University of Dayton.
Within this neighborhood, there are several diverse entertainment opportunities. The Dayton Art Institute, for example, is a museum of fine arts that owns collections that span over 5,000 years of art and archaeological history. This museum has been rated as one of the best art museums for children within the United States. However, there are also plenty of other artistic endeavors, including performing arts centers, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, Dayton Opera and the Dayton Ballet. Throughout the downtown area, there are a variety of venues for concerts, lectures and even Broadway shows on tour. The historic Victoria Theatre, for example, offer a venue for ballet, concerts and even classic film series. Theatric productions are also hosted at the Loft Theatre.
For those who enjoy wandering through art galleries, within the southeast side of downtown, the Oregon District provides a historical flair to its residential and commercial areas. Within this district, there are art galleries, pubs, coffee houses and nightclubs. There are also plenty of places to shop, as well as a variety of dining experiences.
Still, if one wants to enjoy a busy social life, then Downtown Dayton provides one of the best nightlife districts. It is home to over 130 restaurants and bars, in addition to over 70 different nightclubs. There is also an eclectic choice of raves, lounges, musical bars and even a few holes in the wall dive bars. The result is a diverse mix of social opportunities.
But for those who enjoy more outdoor and sporty activities, downtown also hosts the Dayton Dragons baseball team and the Dayton Flyers (NCAA division one basketball team). These teams give both visitors and residents an opportunity to enjoy the fun of sports within the beautiful outdoors. Throughout the downtown area, there are also plenty of green spaces for the residents to enjoy. Combined with the various historical examples, the downtown provides a slice of its history and embraces the exciting future.
As we have seen, Dayton has grown throughout the 20th century, and the downtown neighborhood has also had its own ups and downs. Yet, today the city’s renewal efforts have brought the downtown back to a vibrant and exciting home.