Life in South Central Ohio

Explore and Discover
All That Makes
This Region Special






About South Central Ohio

South Central Ohio is an area rich in history, culture and natural scenic beauty. 

The city of Chillicothe stands as the region's cultural hub and is the largest city in South Central Ohio.

Less than one hour from Columbus, Chillicothe is an evolving micropolitan community that attracts young entrepreneurs as well as seasoned professionals.

Stroll through the city’s historic downtown district and enjoy the  variety of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, microbreweries and specialty stores in a charming retro atmosphere.

Less than an hour from the state capital of Columbus and less than two hours from Cincinnati, Chillicothe is gaining recognition as a great place for cultivating and maintaining a skilled workforce. Many local industries are experiencing tremendous growth thanks largely to the region's proximity to business resources, universities, large municipalities and transportation.


A Rich History

The Shawnee people called it Cha-la-gaw-tha, which literally means "principal town."

They and their ancestors lived and flourished in the region for thousands of years prior to European contact. This can be traced back to the ancient Hopewell peoples, who lived in the region from 200 BC until 500 AD. Their earthen mounds for ceremonial and burial purposes are still visible to this day. 

During the establishment of the United States, the region remained heavily populated by the Shawnee and other tribes while France "claimed" the territory. However, after the "French and Indian War" ended in 1763, the French ceded the Ohio Valley and the region west of the Ohio River became an "Indian" territory not open to European settlement. 

After the American Revolution and incorporation of the Northwest Territory, what is now South Central Ohio started receiving significant numbers of European settlers. In 1796, settler Nathaniel Massie laid 456 lots on his own land to establish Chillicothe. Eventually Chillicothe became the center of political life in the Northwest Territory and in 1800, it became the capital of the Northwest Territory. In 1803, it became the first capital of Ohio.

If you’re interested in our area’s rich history, visit “Tecumseh” – an outdoor dramatization of the legendary Shawnee leader as he struggles to defend his sacred homelands in the Ohio country during the late 1700s.

The region’s history is also on display at the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, which features mounds dating back to 200 B.C. These earthen mounds – built more than 2,000 years ago -- grace the area landscape and are living remnants of the Hopewell culture.

A Vibrant Culture

Chillicothe and the surrounding communities offer a variety of activities to pique the interests of everyone. From fine dining and engaging nightlife to museums and live shows, the region has something for everyone.

The region hosts dozens of festivals and events throughout the year, including the Circleville Pumpkin Festival; the Feast of the Flowering Moon, which celebrates the Native American Culture that is so rich to our area’s history; the Southern Ohio Storytelling Festival; and Frankfort’s annual International Sunflower Festival.

Helpful Resources

Chillicothe boasts a vibrant culture with areas of interest and things to do for people from all walks of life.

20 Fun Things to do in Chillicothe
Art, Music & Theater

Recreation Chillicothe Visitors Bureau
Chillicothe-Ross Chamber of Commerce



Natural Scenic Beauty

South Central Ohio is home to some of the nation's most beautiful landscapes as well as one of the country's premier hiking and camping destinations. 

The natural history of South Central Ohio features rolling fields, hilly terrains and winding trails, forests and a beautiful network of caves that display the sandstone and shale that's so prevalent throughout the region. From the blooming and promise of Spring to the rich colors of autumn's foliage, you can enjoy nature's beauty year round.

Hocking Hills State Park features seven hiking trails -- Ash CaveOld Man's CaveRock House, Conkle's HollowCedar FallsCantwell Cliffs, and Whispering Cave Trail. These park areas offer a unique experience 12 months a year for seasoned and novice hikers.