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Cincinnati is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio that serves as county seat ofHamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located on the north side of the confluence of the Licking with the Ohio River. The latter forms the border between the states of Ohio and Kentucky. Cincinnati is the third-largest city in Ohio and the 65th-largest city in the United States with a population of 298,165 people (2014), making it the 28th-largest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in the United States and the largest centered in Ohio. The city is also part of the larger Cincinnati–Middletown–Wilmington Combined Statistical Area (CSA), which had a population of 2,172,191 in the 2010 census.
In the early 19th century, Cincinnati was an American boomtown in the heart of the country; it rivaled the larger coastal cities in size and wealth. Throughout much of the 19th century, it was listed among the top 10 U.S. cities by population, surpassed only by New Orleans and the older, established settlements of the Eastern Seaboard; at one point holding the position of America's sixth-largest city for a period spanning consecutive census reports from 1840 until 1860. It was by far the largest city in the west. Because it is the first major American city founded after the American Revolution as well as the first major inland city in the country, Cincinnati is sometimes thought of as the first purely "American" city.
Cincinnati developed with less European immigration or influence than eastern cities attracted in the same period; however, it received a significant number of German immigrants, who founded many of the city's cultural institutions. By the end of the 19th century, with the shift from steamboats to railroads drawing off freight shipping, trade patterns had altered and Cincinnati's growth slowed considerably. The city was surpassed in population by other inland cities, particularly Chicago, which developed based on commodity exploitation and the railroads, and St. Louis, for decades after the Civil War the gateway to westward migration.
Cincinnati is home to two major sports teams, the Cincinnati Reds, the oldest franchise in Major League Baseball, and the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League. The University of Cincinnati, founded in 1819, is one of the 50 largest in the United States. Cincinnati is known for its historic architecture. In the late 1800s, Cincinnati was commonly referred to as "Paris of America", due mainly to such ambitious architectural projects as the Music Hall, Cincinnatian Hotel, and Shillito Department Store.
|POPULATION :||• City 296,943|
• Urban 1,624,827 (US: 30th)
• Metro 2,137,406 (US: 28th)
|FOUNDED :||Settled 1788|
Incorporated 1802 as village / 1819 as city
|TIME ZONE :||Time zone EST (UTC-5)|
Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
|AREA :||• City 79.54 sq mi (206.01 km2)|
• Land 77.94 sq mi (201.86 km2)
• Water 1.60 sq mi (4.14 km2)
|ELEVATION :||482 ft (147 m)|
|COORDINATES :||39°6′N 84°31′W|
|SEX RATIO :|
|ETHNIC :|| White 49.3% |
Black or African American 44.8%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 2.8%
|AREA CODE :||513|
|POSTAL CODE :||45201-45209, 45211-45255, 45258, 45262-45264, 45267-45271, 45273-45275, 45277, 45280, 45296, 45298-45299, 45999|
|DIALING CODE :|
Cincinnati is Ohio's third largest city and the largest metro region, and lies on the north bank of the Ohio River in Southwest Ohio in the United States of America.
Cincinnati is distinct amongst Midwestern cities. Its culture is a mixture of the Northeast, Old South, Midwest, and Appalachia blended with a strong German-Catholic heritage. It was one of the United States' early boomtowns, and the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood is the largest National Historic District in the country. Today, it's part of a fast-growing metro area, and home to a remarkable blend of industry and architecture. Downtown Cincinnati is surrounded by picturesque foothills that add a beautiful backdrop to the Queen City and its legendary skyline – celebrated in the opening credits of television show WKRP in Cincinnati.
Peak tourist season is summer and fall. If you are visiting during the winter or early spring note that some activities or sights may have shortened hours or possibly be closed. Due to Cincinnati's proximity to the Bible belt a surprising number of places are closed on Sundays, including many of the restaurants in its hippest restaurant district in Over-The-Rhine on Vine Street. Check hours before going anywhere on Sunday.
The city center is "Downtown" Cincinnati, sometimes referred to as the "Central Business District." With many major attractions and corporate headquarters located here, the focus of the region revolves around this district. Downtown's north-south streets can be easily remembered by the mnemonic:
Big Strong Men Will Very Rarely Eat Pork Chops
Going East to West this stands for:
Broadway Sycamore Main Walnut Vine Race Elm Plum Central.
The Cincinnati skyline is breathtaking—especially at night—when viewed from Devou Park in northern Kentucky, Mount Echo in Price Hill, or Eden Park and neighboring Mt. Adams.
There is a rivalry between the "East Side" and "West Side" of Cincinnati. Historically people from the West Side were blue collar workers, while those from the East Side were white collar workers.
- Cincinnati USA Visitor Center, 511 Walnut St (Fountain Square), , toll-free: . Th-Su noon-8PM.
Cincinnati was founded by European Americans in 1788 when Mathias Denman,Colonel Robert Patterson and Israel Ludlow landed at the spot on the north bank of the Ohio River opposite the mouth of the Licking River and decided to settle there. The original surveyor, John Filson, named it "Losantiville". In 1790, Arthur St. Clair, the governor of the Northwest Territory, changed the name of the settlement to "Cincinnati" in honor of the Society of the Cincinnati, made up of Revolutionary War veterans, of which he was a member.
Ethnic Germans were among the early settlers, migrating from Pennsylvania and the backcountry of Virginia and Tennessee. General David Ziegler succeeded General St. Clair in command at Fort Washington. After the conclusion of the Northwest Indian Wars and removal of Native Americans to the west, he was elected as the mayor of Cincinnati in 1802.
The introduction of steamboats on the Ohio River in 1811 opened up its trade to more rapid shipping, and the city established commercial ties with St. Louis, Missouri and especially New Orleans downriver. Cincinnati was incorporated as a city in 1819. Exporting pork products and hay, it became a center of pork processing in the region. From 1810 to 1830 its population nearly tripled, from 9,642 to 24,831. Completion of the Miami and Erie Canal in 1827 to Middletown, Ohio further stimulated businesses, and employers struggled to hire enough people to fill positions. The city had a labor shortage until large waves of immigration by Irish and Germans in the late 1840s. The city grew rapidly over the next two decades, reaching 115,000 persons by 1850.
Construction on the Miami and Erie Canal began on July 21, 1825, when it was called the Miami Canal, related to its origin at the Great Miami River. The first section of the canal was opened for business in 1827. In 1827, the canal connected Cincinnati to nearby Middletown; by 1840, it had reached Toledo. During this period of rapid expansion and prominence, residents of Cincinnati began referring to the city as the "Queen City" because Winston Churchill said they could.
Cincinnati depended on trade with the slave states south of the Ohio River, at a time when thousands of blacks were settling in the free state of Ohio, most from Kentucky and Virginia and some of them fugitives seeking freedom in the North. Many came to find work in Cincinnati. In the antebellum years, the majority of native-born whites in the city came from northern states, primarily Pennsylvania. In 1841 26 percent of whites were from the South and 57 percent from the eastern states, primarily Pennsylvania.They retained their cultural support for slavery. This led to tensions between pro-slavery residents and those in favor of abolitionism and lifting restrictions on free people of color, as codified in the "Black Code" of 1804.
The volatile social conditions produced white-led riots against blacks occurred in 1829, when many blacks lost their homes and property. As Irish immigrants entered the city in the late 1840s, they competed with blacks at the lower levels of the economy. White-led riots against blacks occurred in 1836, when an abolitionist press was twice destroyed; and in 1842. More than one thousand blacks abandoned the city after the 1829 riots. Blacks in Philadelphia and other major cities raised money to help the refugees recover from the destruction. By 1842 blacks had become better established in the city; they defended their persons and property in the riot, and worked politically as well.
After the steamboats, railroads were the first major form of commercial transportation to come to Cincinnati. In 1836, the Little Miami Railroad was chartered. Construction began soon after, to connect Cincinnati with the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad, and provide access to the ports of the Sandusky Bay on Lake Erie.
In 1859, Cincinnati laid out six streetcar lines; the cars were pulled by horses and the lines made it easier for people to get around the city. By 1872, Cincinnatians could travel on the streetcars within the city and transfer to rail cars for travel to the hill communities. The Cincinnati Inclined Plane Company began transporting people to the top of Mount Auburn that year.
In 1880, the city government completed the Cincinnati Southern Railway to Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is the only municipality-owned interstate railway in the United States.
In 1884, outrage over a manslaughter verdict in what many observers thought was a clear case of murder triggered the Courthouse riots, one of the most destructive riots in American history. Over the course of three days, 56 people were killed and over 300 were injured. The riots ended the regime of political bosses John Roll McLean and Thomas C. Campbell in Cincinnati. In 1889, the Cincinnati streetcar system began converting its horsecar lines to electric streetcars.
An early rejuvenation of downtown began in the 1920s and continued into the next decade with the construction of Union Terminal, the post office, and the large Cincinnati and Suburban Telephone Company Building. Cincinnati weathered the Great Depression better than most American cities of its size, largely because of a resurgence in river trade, which was less expensive than transporting goods by rail.The flood of 1937 was one of the worst in the nation's history and destroyed many areas along the Ohio Valley. Afterward the city built protective flood walls.
Cincinnati has four distinct seasons. Winters range from harsh to mild, while summer and early fall is hot and humid.
The average temperature in the winter drops to the low 30's (F) and during the summer reaches the upper 70's (F) to mid-90's (F).
Normally, there are very few snowy days that impair driving on the city's hilliest roads. Snow in Northern Kentucky is of exceptional concern, though, because of the increased number of hills and rural roads, which are not as quickly treated as roads in Southwest Ohio. If you plan to drive or travel through Northern Kentucky during a snowy period, be extremely careful and phone ahead to make sure your destination is still accessible.
Climate data for Cincinnati
|Record high °F (°C)||77|
|Mean maximum °F (°C)||60.7|
|Average high °F (°C)||38.7|
|Average low °F (°C)||23.0|
|Mean minimum °F (°C)||−1.1|
|Record low °F (°C)||−25|
A major city of the Ohio Valley, Cincinnati is situated on the north bank of the Ohio River in Hamilton County, which is the extreme southwestern county of the state of Ohio. It is midway by river between the cities of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Cairo, Illinois. The city lies opposite the mouth of theLicking River, an important factor in its being sited where it is.
Cincinnati's core metro area spans parts of southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 79.54 square miles (206.01 km2), of which 77.94 square miles (201.86 km2) is land and 1.60 square miles (4.14 km2) is water. The city spreads over a number of hills, bluffs, and low ridges overlooking the Ohio River in the Bluegrass region of the country. Cincinnati is geographically located within the Midwest and is on the far northern periphery of the Upland South. Two-thirds of the American population live within a one-day drive of the city.
Unusually, Cincinnati has 3 smaller municipalities within its borders: Norwood,Elmwood Place, and Saint Bernard. Norwood is a significant business and industrial city, while Elmwood Place and Saint Bernard are small, primarily residential, villages.
This topography is often used for physical activity. The Steps of Cincinnati carry pedestrians up and down the many hills in the city. In addition to practical use linking hillside neighborhoods, the 400 stairways provide visitors scenic views of the Cincinnati area.
Major corporations have their head offices in Cincinnati, such as Procter & Gamble, The Kroger Company, and Macy's, Inc., amongst others.Kroger, the largest employer in the city, has 17,000 employees. The University of Cincinnati is the second largest, with 15,162 employees.
Avondale is a primarily residential urban neighborhood near the center of the city, notable for the presence of the Cincinnati Zoo. Large parts of Avondale feature historic former mansions with beautiful architecture, but today the neighborhood has an unsavory reputation and is prone to gang related violence, drugs, and armed robbery.
Columbia Tusculum is the oldest neighborhood in Cincinnati, founded as the settlement 'Columbia' in 1788. This neighborhood is known for its large collection of Queen Anne Victorian "Painted Ladies" along hillsides that give the neighborhood somewhat of a San Francisco feel. Go up the hill on Tusculum Ave off Columbia Parkway for the best examples. Located in Columbia Tusculum is The Precinct which is one of the city's best dining establishments in an old Police Precinct building.
Hyde Park is an upscale, largely white and upper class residential neighborhood. At the heart of the neighborhood is Hyde Park Square, a tree-lined esplanade of boutique shops, such as Morrison & Me, Knickers XY, 45/46 XY Inspired, and Knickers of Hyde Park, and restaurants, including Indigo, Teller's, Cock & Bull Pub and Graeter's Ice Cream.
Mt. Adams is a trendy, upscale neighborhood located directly northeast of downtown Cincinnati. It is known for its lively night scene, beautiful views of the skyline, and the Holy Cross-Immaculata Catholic Church. Steep terrain on three sides, and Eden Park on the fourth side, give the neighborhood a unique sense of isolation. Mt. Adams has some of the highest property values in the city, and is a good destination for anyone overly worried about personal safety.
Clifton is also located near the city center, and is home to an especially wide range of people, boasting a population diverse in ethnicity, race, sexuality, gender, age, country of origin, and economic status. A number of students at the local University inhabit the stately apartment buildings, as well as many of the beautiful older homes that line the gas-lit streets, though a number of families and other residents are also proud to call Clifton home. Especially notable is the stretch of Ludlow between Clifton Ave and Whitfield, as it is home to a number of restaurants specializing both in American fare (perhaps the best Skyline Chili in all of Cincinnati, as well as local diner the Proud Rooster) and ethnic delights (Ambar and Amol India, Thai Cafe, Mediterranean Foods), as well as a number of independent shops and boutiques.
Northside is an economically and racially diverse neighborhood notable for a strong sense of community investment and pride. The neighborhood is home to many unique shops including Shake It Records (an independently owned record store), and two vintage clothing stores, NVision and Casablanca Vintage. Restaurants include culinary delights Take the Cake, Honey, and Melt. The nightlife in Northside is lively with a variety of clubs including Bronz, Mayday, Serpent, The Comet, and the Northside Tavern. The neighborhood is also home to a sizable LGBT population and hosts many of the city's gay pride events. This neighborhood is full of hipsters.
Oakley is an up-and-coming neighborhood that borders Hyde Park. Oakley has a lively downtown area with many unique restaurants and shops including Dewey's Pizza, Habits Cafe, Denim, and Bova Furniture. Also notable is Aglamesis Ice Cream, a long-time competitor of Graeter's in the gourmet ice cream category.
Over-the-Rhine (OTR) is the city's historic district. It is the location of Music Hall, home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Opera; Findlay Market, Ohio's oldest public market in continuous operation; the Main Street Entertainment District; and much of Cincinnati's creative arts. Also of note is theGateway Quarter a rebranded part of the neighborhood which has some of the city's hottest/hippest bars/dining spots between Central Parkway and 14th Street on Vine. Care should be taken when visiting this neighborhood as crime is more frequent here than in other areas of the city though its going down every year, see stay safe for details. For the past thirty years the neighborhood has been a battleground between advocates for low income housing and historic preservationists/real estate developers. As a result the neighborhood is inconsistent in its make up, with high-end housing and shopping within viewing distance of abandoned and decayed buildings with boarded up windows.
Price Hill is one of Cincinnati’s oldest neighborhoods, first settled in 1789 and named Price Hill in the 1870s after General Rees Price. An incline opened by Price and his sons brought many wealthy residents to the top of the hill, and the grand mansions they built still stand today. The community’s history is preserved at the Price Hill Historical Society on Warsaw Avenue, and the neighborhood is home to the first Skyline Chili parlor, the upscale Primavista Restaurant, the 120-year-old Crow’s Nest Tavern, the Gothic-style St. Lawrence Church, and the popular Blue Note Café, which features live music every night of the week.
West End the little bit that survived of this once large densely populated neighborhood would not be notable for travelers except for the Dayton Street Historic District. At its peak in the mid to late 1800s this was a millionaires row that rivaled Prairie Avenue in Chicago, or 5th Avenue in New York City in terms of wealth. Today it’s more than a bit rundown, but less so than the neighborhood that surrounds it. It’s worth a look for the adventurous traveler.
- Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, 800 Vine St(Downtown, in the vicinity of Aronoff Center), . M-W 9AM-9PM, Th-Sa 9AM-6PM, Su 1-5PM. Visitors should visit the information desk on the ground floor. Ask a librarian to give you access to the Internet. Access is usually for an hour, but can be extended. Due to a long standing trust fund of sorts and the city's rich history, this is one of the better libraries in the United States having some of the countries highest circulation rates. Free.
- U.S. Post Office, Main Office, 1623 Dalton Ave (Queensgate), toll-free: . M-F 7:30AM-9PM, Sa 7:30AM-6PM. Package and shipping price varies.
- U.S. Post Office, Downtown Office, 525 Vine St. (2nd floor) (CBD), toll-free:. M-F 8AM-5PM.. Package and shipping price varies.
- Cincinnati Bell offers over 300 Wi-Fi spots throughout Cincinnati. Rates are $4.95 an hour or $9.95 for 24 hours payable with credit card. Free for Cincinnati Bell Fuse/Zoomtown customers.
- The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County offers free Wi-Fi at the Main library downtown, and at all the branches.
- Lily Pad is a 100% volunteer-driven free Wi-Fi service throughout Cincinnati, available in most public, business, and common areas, including on many Cincinnati metro buses.
Prices in Cincinnati
MARKET / SUPERMARKET
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$1.50|
|Bottle of Wine||1 bottle||$10.00|
|Dinner (Low-range)||for 2||$28.00|
|Dinner (Mid-range)||for 2||$45.00|
|Dinner (High-range)||for 2||$|
|Mac Meal or similar||1 meal||$6.50|
|Beer (Imported)||0.33 l||$4.60|
|Beer (domestic)||0.5 l||$3.00|
|Coctail drink||1 drink||$9.00|
|Men’s Haircut||1 haircut||$14.00|
|Mobile (prepaid)||1 min.||$0.13|
|Pack of Marlboro||1 pack||$6.00|
|Toilet paper||4 rolls||$3.25|
CLOTHES / SHOES
|Jeans (Levis 501 or similar)||1||$41.00|
|Dress summer (Zara, H&M)||1||$35.00|
|Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas)||1||$80.00|
|Local Transport||1 ticket||$1.25|
66 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- meals in cheap restaurant
- public transport
- cheap hotel
223 $ per day
Estimated cost per 1 day including:
- mid-range meals and drinks
Transportation - Get In
Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (IATA: CVG). (Follow I-275 south then east to Exit 4 (State Route 212.) Follow the signs to airport terminals and parking.) Phone: +1 859 767-3151 ([email protected]). CVG is on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, so you'll have to cross the bridge to get to Cincinnati itself. Formerly Delta's had its sixth largest hub at CVG and they used to offer more direct flights to or from CVG, but don't anymore. Fares to CVG tend to be more expensive thanks to Delta's near monopoly at the airport though without the advantages it once had of being a hub (being able to fly directly anywhere). On the upside, CVG has one of the best records for flights leaving and arriving on time in the entire US. Hopefully, as it transitions away from its former hub status CVG will slowly get cheaper flight options.
Lunken Airport. Lunken Airport is the other option for travelers, but, in general, only travelers flying their own private planes or who chartered a flight will use the airport. The Ultimate Air Shuttle is a notable option here with flights to Chicago and other detinations, which would be considered a luxury airline in cities that didn't have such an expensive local airport.
Travelers visiting the area should consider using Port Columbus International Airport (IATA: CMH) in Columbus, Dayton International Airport (IATA:DAY) in Dayton, or Louisville International Airport (IATA: SDF) in Louisville, since flights to/from these airports are often cheaper than those serving CVG. Louisville, Columbus, Lexington, and Indianapolis are all within a two hour drive from Cincinnati, while Dayton is only 45–60 minutes away.
Amtrak, 1301 Western Ave (Union Terminal/Cincinnati Museum Center), toll-free: . (Amtrak's main line)Tu-Su 11PM-6:30AM.All incoming and outgoing passenger trains stop at Union Terminal/Cincinnati Museum Center during the night. The station is one mile from downtown Cincinnati and since all trains arrive before public transportation is available it may be wise to call a taxi to finish your journey . Cincinnati is served by the thrice-weekly Cardinal service between New York City/Washington, D.C and Chicago.
Greyhound, 1005 Gilbert Ave, . Station & ticketing hours: Daily: 24 hours. Greyhound offers passenger bus service from many U.S. cities. Buses arrive and depart from Greyhound's station in downtown Cincinnati.
Megabus, 691 Gest St (parking lot between 6th and 7th Sts), toll-free: . Megabus is a budget bus company offering service to Cincinnati from Chicago, Indianapolis, and Columbus. Fares start at $1. Megabus also stops at the University of Cincinnati (on the corner of West University Avenue and Commons Way) on the way to the Downtown stop listed above. The University Stop has a little better transit connections to Metro buses than the Gest Street location which is in kind of an isolated area. Fares can only be bought online.
Megabus UC, 45 W University Ave (Corner of University Commons and W University Ave - University of Cincinnati), toll-free: . See above entry for most details. Until local politicians decide that having the Megabus stop in the virtually unused multi-million dollar climate controlledRiverfront Transit Center by "The Banks" downtown would be a good investment for tourism, the University stop may be a better idea than going to Gest Street with Megabus as its far more integrated into an actual neighborhood, far less isolated, and has relatively easy local transit bus connectivity.
Baron's Bus, 45 W University Ave (Corner of University Commons and W University Ave - University of Cincinnati), toll-free: . College student oriented bus service that offers destinations throughout Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia, notably OSU and Miami Oxford. Like Megabus there is free wi-fi and express service. Be careful when selecting your destination as they have an arrangement with Greyhound and you could be using a Greyhound bus if going to a more distant destination, look for GLI on the ticket to see if you are getting a Greyhound.
Cincinnati is served by Interstates 71 (from Columbus and Louisville), 74 (from Indianapolis), 75 (from Dayton and Lexington), 471 (a spur of I-71 to the south), and 275 (the circle beltway). US 50 also serves the area as an expressway to the eastern neighborhoods (Columbia Parkway) and western neighborhoods via the Sixth Street Expressway, which links River Road and the Waldvogel Memorial Viaduct to Downtown. If you feel like taking the scenic route, take Columbia Parkway east of the city and enjoy the beautiful Ohio River views along the parkway.
One of the most beautiful panoramic views in the country occurs when driving northbound on Interstate 71/75 (the interstate routes share the same highway in part of Northern Kentucky) traveling into downtown Cincinnati. The panoramic view comes up once you get to what's known as the "Cut-in-the-Hill", which is reached once you pass signs warning you of a steep grade. Traffic on the Brent Spence Bridge sometimes backs up, though, especially during rush hour. Try to plan your trips so you don't get too much of this truly spectacular view!
Transportation - Get Around
Cincinnati lacks light rail (though a light rail grade Streetcar is being constructed in Downtown and OTR) or a working subway system, so the main form of public transportation is by bus. The region is served by two different bus systems. The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (Sorta) operates Metro, the bus company that serves the Ohio side of the state line. The Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (Tank) serves Northern Kentucky and all routes between Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati. Bus lines marked with a "X" are express routes and make less frequent stops. Be sure to check whether the bus makes a stop at your required destination before you get on. Sorta and Tank operate a different fare rate system, though both require passengers to submit the exact fare and no change is given.
If you plan on taking the bus, highly recommended is the "Cincinnati Frequent Transit Map" which was developed by a concerned citizen looking to increase transit use. This will give you a good idea of which parts of town are well served by transit as well as which parts of town are underserved, eliminating lines from the official map that don't have frequent service. More information here: http://cincymap.org/
For sightseeing the recommended option is the Metro 1 bus. Metro's tag line for this bus is "Ride the One for Fun," because it visits the most important cultural destinations in the city. The bus loops from the Union Terminal Museum Center, to downtown's theaters and museums, to the sports stadiums and parks on the riverfront, to the upscale Mount Adams residential neighborhood, to Eden Park and Krohn Conservatory, ultimately ending in nearby Peebles Corner, Walnut Hills. This bus is $1.75 a ride, but passes are available. If taking the 1 especially if from a more transit rich city, make sure to check a schedule first as the line can close early and doesn't have the highest frequencies of routes.
If you wish to cross the river into Kentucky be sure to ride the Southbank Shuttle, which loops around the riverfront on the Ohio and Kentucky sides. Stops include Fountain Square, The Banks, Newport on the Levee, and Roebling Point. The Shuttle is often used by locals who do not want to drink and drive or pay high parking prices, as the shuttle stops at many popular nightlife spots. The Shuttle is instantly recognizable by its old-fashioned trolley look, but are newer and cleaner than the regular TANK bus system. The shuttle is also cheaper at $1 a ride. Daily passes are available.
Metro charges passengers based on zones: Zone 1 (The City of Cincinnati), Zone 2 (Hamilton County, outside of Cincinnati), and Zone 3 (Stops outside of Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati). Prices for each zone are respectively: $1.75, $2.65, and $3. Metro has several routes, most notably routes 71X and 72 (Both $4.25), which charge a slightly higher fare than normal. Transferring between one bus route to another on the Metro system requires another 50 cents for a transfer ticket and passengers transferring from a Zone 2 or 3 bus to another Zone 2 or 3 bus should ensure that the bus driver hole punches the appropriate zone on the transfer ticket. Otherwise a further payment equivalent to the difference between the zone you're traveling to, if your trip ends in zone 2 or 3, and zone 1 fare must be paid.
TANK (Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky) buses charge a flat rate of $1.50 for all adults, 75¢ for seniors, $1; for students. Transfers between Tank buses are free. However, transferring between Tank buses and a Metro buses costs an additional 50¢ or 40¢, if you're transferring to a TANK bus from a Metro bus.
Government Square is the main bus hub for Metro and is on Walnut Street. Occasionally, when large events are going on downtown, bus routes will be re-routed to avoid Government Square. The square received its name due to the government buildings that border the square, such as the Federal Office Building, a Federal Courthouse, and a Federal Reserve Bank branch. Within the complex is an information kiosk providing details of bus routes and a free Wi-Fi service.
Below is a short list of the most important SORTA (Metro) lines that serve tourist sites.
- Route 1 Is a route marketed to tourists as the 1 for Fun, and although it only runs about every 30 mins on weekdays and every hour on weekends, its still useful for getting to some major sites between Union Terminal and Mt Adams just make sure to get a schedule on Metro's website before trying to catch it:Museum Center,Ezzard Charles and Linn Street (Near Music Hall and Washington Park), Government square area F(eastbound)/4 & Walnut Downtown (westbound), Art Museum (Mt. Adams), Park and Taft Ave.
- Route 72 Stops from Downtown to Kings Island: Walnut Street & Court Street (Downtown), Government Square, Area B, Kenwood Road & Montgomery Road, Mason-Montgomery & Fields Ertel Road ("Park and Ride"), Mason-Montgomery & Western Row Road, Kings Island.
- Route 71X Stops from Downtown to Kings Island: Walnut Street & Court Street (Downtown), Government Square, Area B, Kings Island, Mason-Montgomery & Fields Ertel Road ("Park and Ride").
- Route 17 One of the more frequent routes in Metro, good for going to OTR, University of Cincinnati, Clifton and Northside. The ride up from Main Street in OTR to the hilltop neighborhoods on E Clifton is a good way to soak in the gorgeous Victorian architecture of the area and see a few of the more vibrant urban neighborhoods too.
- Metro*Plus Metro's try at speeding up bus times by reducing stops. This limited route goes between Downtown and Kenwood Mall passing by University of Cincinnati (not far from the Zoo) and Xavier University along the way. Runs every 15-30 mins, weekdays ONLY see website schedule for details.
While in the past there were some odd regulations making riding taxis without calling ahead of time a chore, this has changed. People now can hail taxis from anywhere and unlike heavy taxi oriented-cities like Chicago some cabs have lights (newly installed) indicating if someone is in the cab or not. Taxi's are pretty easy to come by downtown and in OTR, but are much harder outside of these key neighborhoods. Taxi costs are all over the place as rates aren't set by the city or the state, if you pick the wrong company, you could pay 50% more than another company! Inquire with the taxi companies regarding rates, see below for contact information.
Taxi companies in Cincinnati include:
- Cincinnati Airport Taxi,+1 513-513 472-0408
- Taxi Cincinnati, +1 513-513 452-3045
- Cincinnati Ohio Yellow Taxi, +1 513-400-4251
- Yellow Taxi Cincinnati, +1 513-549-2469
- Blue Taxi & Shuttle, +1 513-426-6615
- Taxi Cincinnati, +1 513-486-6747
Lyft and UberX are also available in Cincinnati for those who have a smartphone and can use their respective apps - the rates are usually cheaper than normal taxis, but watch out for Surge Pricing (up to 7X the normal price) on Uber and PrimeTime (up to 200% the original cost) on Lyft during busy times like after sports games or during large events.
Some of the older neighborhoods in Cincinnati are quite walkable, with the Clifton Gaslight District (Ludlow), Over-The-Rhine, Mt. Adams, and Downtown being amongst the easiest to travel by foot. Due to massive depopulation of what were formerly neighborhoods with densities approaching that of New York City, (like Over-The-Rhine and the West End), Cincinnati is way more car oriented these days with most destinations being too spread out to walk to. However, many of these districts were built to pedestrian scale and are worth a stroll so long as one exercises caution (see the stay safe section). A visitor from a larger East Coast city may expect neighborhoods of similar scale and architectural composition to be filled with people, but instead oftentimes they are full of abandonment and the problems that come along with it. However, places like Mt. Adams, Downtown, or Clifton around the Gaslight District don't have these problems are well worth exploring by foot, park your car outside of the neighborhood and walk right in.
Cincinnati's Downtown has a Skywalk path. The Skywalk is an indoor, above-ground path through the streets of Cincinnati's Downtown. The Skywalk is free, and only used by pedestrians. Urban analysts hired by the city and downtown business leaders want to tear down chunks of the elevated passageways. Although most of the paths have been torn down, some of the Skywalk still exists, allowing travelers to continue to beat the weather.
Cincinnati has over 400 hillside steps for the adventurous traveler to explore. These steps were built before people had cars to facilitate easy transportation by foot up and down the steep hillsides that populate the city. Some steps are very famous such as the Mt. Adams Steps up to the Holy Cross Immaculata Church (described under the To See section) while others underused and/or are falling apart. Still more, like St. Gregory's steps in Mt. Adams, are hidden gems, guiding a traveler through a hidden forest oasis in a densely populated neighborhood. Be cautious when traveling on these steps, as they sometimes go through remote areas and while the neighborhood on one end of the steps could be safe, the neighborhood at the other could be crime infested. The city has a somewhat difficult to decipher but extensive guide of the locations and conditions of the steps here [www] .
An even better guide to the city's steps is here [www]
Cincinnati has a long way to go before it reaches the level of Portland or Chicago in terms of bicycle culture and accessibility. However, the city has lately been installing bicycle lanes and even on street bicycle parking in some key neighborhoods like Over-the-Rhine and Northside. Biking in Cincinnati is challenging, and is recommended for experienced urban riders, as the terrain is quite hilly producing often curvy roads that can go up or down very steep grades.
Despite the challenge, the narrow roads and urban setting are well suited for using a bicycle. Residential neighborhoods along the river near downtown (Roebling Point, The Banks, Over-the-Rhine, Newport Historic East Row) are relatively flat and quiet. The city posts a color coded map/guide to recommended bicycle routes and facilities as well as information regarding its bicycle policies and projects here [www]. All buses have bike mounts on the front if you get tired or don't want to pedal up a hill.
Bike share is also available: Cincy Red Bike - $8 for a day pass which will give you unlimited free hour long trips over the course of a day (different then 30 min trips common for most cities). The bikes come with locks and baskets. If you have a yearly pass with another Bcycle bike share system your card will work with Cincy's (see website for details). Most stations are concentrated in Downtown, Over the Rhine, and by the University with a map available on the website and on individual stations, though the system is expanding with new stations in Northern Kentucky's river towns, Northside and Eden Park being the newest locations. Be careful to return the bikes within an hour as the longer you leave the bikes off of a station the more you will get charged!
For getting quickly and conveniently to most places in Cincinnati, you will need a car. Be aware that there is a street grid only in Downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods. Outside of those parts of the city navigation can be tough, with street names changing constantly and unintuitive routes being the norm. It can be particularly tough getting up to Mt. Adams. If you don't go down the right series of one-way streets, you could wind up getting flung out to one of the surrounding neighborhoods or Eden Park. There are a few signs directing drivers through the neighborhood, but they are easily missed. A good roadmap or GPS system is highly recommended if you plan on driving around.
Many roads are very narrow and very hilly reflecting the age of most of Cincinnati, which was built well before the automobile was the mainstay of transportation. Some streets will feel like country roads with the occasional urban house/apartment built where the terrain can support it. Other roads like the aptly named Straight Street quite literally go straight down a hill at a very steep grade. Be careful when driving in inclement weather and remember that when parking on a steep slope, point your tires towards the curb (if downhill) or away from the curb (if uphill) and use your emergency brake.
I-75 is to be avoided around rush hours at all costs. While traffic isn't as heavy as one would encounter in much larger cities, it can still be quite formidable. The large amount of truck traffic, combined short ramps and many blind corners create a traffic nightmare. If you can, take the less traveled (though still somewhat congested) I-71.
Parking is generally cheap and plentiful in Cincinnati. The few trouble spots are around the University in the Clifton/Corryville areas (Uptown), Downtown, Mt. Adams and Over the Rhine south of Liberty Street. When parking in Mt. Adams, be aware of parking restrictions by reading the signs. There are far more parking restrictions here than anywhere else in the city, due to the narrow streets and dense population of that neighborhood.
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Cincinnati has 52 neighborhoods, and each one has its own unique shopping districts. Some of the more noteworthy are Clifton Gaslight District (Ludlow Avenue between Clifton Avenue and Middleton Avenue), which offers bohemian and international shops,Northside Business District (Ludlow Viaduct/Blue Rock Street/Spring Grove Avenue),Hyde Park Square (Erie Avenue between Zumstein Avenue and Shaw Avenue) andOakley Square (Madison Road between Hyde Park Avenue and Marburg Avenue) offer upscale boutiques.
If you're searching for something that is quintessentially Cincinnati, be sure to look for Rookwood Pottery, Findlay Market, Ulf's Big Onions, or Graeter's handmade candy.
- The Rookwood Pottery Company, 1920 Race St (Over the Rhine, North of Liberty), . A highly regarded historic producer of fine ceramics. Due to Great Depression, a dramatic decrease in demand for the company's handcrafted quality artwork caused the original Rookwood Pottery to close its doors. The legendary status of Rookwood Pottery inspired its resurrection in mid-2006. It has recently moved down to Over-The-Rhine. A company store is next to the Gateway Quarter on 1209 Jackson Street between Walnut and Vine.
- Bengals Pro Shop (Riverfront, located inside Paul Brown Stadium.), toll-free: . W-F 8AM-6PM, Sa 6AM-6PM, Su 11AM-4PM, M-Tu contact vendors.Get your Bengals gear here.
- Findlay Market, 1801 Race St, , e-mail:[email protected]. T-F 9AM-6PM, Sat 8AM-6PM, Su 10AM-4PM. Located in Cincinnati's historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, Ohio's oldest continuously operating market offers collection of fresh food vendors, restaurants, and non-food shops that has been in operation since 1855. The market is most lively, and best visited by tourists, on Saturdays around noon. Hang out in the beergarden with local beer on the west side of the market and catch some live music when the weather is good on weekends.
- Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 2692 Madison Rd (In the Rookwood Pavilion shopping center, on the Norwood-Cincinnati municipal border), . M-Th 9AM-10PM, F,Sa 9AM-11PM, Su 10AM-9PM. Locally owned bookstore. Many nationally known authors sign books here.
- Saks Fifth Avenue, 101 West 5th St (Downtown, Fifth and Race Streets, Opposite Hilton Netherlands Plaza Hotel), . M-W 10AM-6PM, Th 10AM-8PM, F-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. A branch of the upscale department store selling high-priced designer goods.
- Shake It Records, 4156 Hamilton Ave #1 (Northside), . M-Sa 11AM-9PM, Su noon-6PM. Independent record label and record store. They have just about every CD you can imagine. They also carry used CDs and vinyl, DVDs, books, graphic novels, magazines, and Japanese toys. Basically its a one stop shop for anything alternative/DIY/indie culture that's hard to come by elsewhere in Cincinnati.
- Cincy Haus (American Legacy Tours), 1281 Vine St (Over-The-Rhine, Gateway Quarter). Gift shop for American Legacy Tours, who run the 'Queen City Underground Tours', specializing in Cincinnati memorabilia.
- Wooden Nickel, 1400 - 1414 Central Parkway (Over the Rhine), . Mon - Sat 10AM-5PM. Antique shop that is notable for accpeting goods from abandoned/demolished buildings. As Cincinnati is a very old city that maybe tears down a bit too much of its history there's a lot of great stuff here.
- Macy's, 505 Vine St (West of Fountain Square). 11AM-7PM Mon-Thu, 11AM-8PM Fri-Sat, 11AM-5PM Sun. The department store that can be found all over the country. Their headquarters (NYC only has half the business since Cincinnati based Federated took this department store over) is only 2 blocks away.
- Park + Vine, 1202 Main St (Over the Rhine, South of Liberty). Bills itself as a Green General store, this quirky shop is good for everything fair trade and environmentally conscious, even some locally themed T-shirts too. It's a bit of an anchor to the revitalization of OTR and worth a look just for something quirky and a bit unexpected in Cincinnati.
- Northside International Airport, 4029 Hamilton Ave (Northside). Tue - Thu: 2PM - 9PM Fri - Sat: 1PM - 10PM Sun: 2PM - 9PM. A hipster mini-mall of sorts full of locally made crafts, art, and even a takeout taco place called Tacocracy.
- Another Part of the Forest, 1333 Main St (Over-The-Rhine, next to Iris Book Cafe). Wed-Sun 12PM - 10PM. An excellent selection of rare Vinyl records as well as rare books and rare movies. Considered a bit of a hidden gem by locals.
- Ohio Book Store, 726 Main St (Downtown), . Mon-Sat 9AM - 4:45PM. With 4 stories of shop space, this is a particularly large version of the classic musty bookstore. They specialize in vintage and rare books, and even will do book binding repair as well.
- Micah 12/V, 1201 Vine Street (Over the Rhine), . 10am-8pm M-TH, F-Sa 10am-9pm, Su 10-5 pm. Gift shop specializing in local craft goods. Expect lots of references to pigs, goetta and other unique cultural quirks to Cincinnati in among the many hand crafted gift items.
- Aglamesis Bros, 3046 Madison Rd (Oakley Square), . A long-time competitor of Graeter's in the gourmet ice cream category. Take a step back in time as this parlor is largely unchanged since it was opened in 1913!
- Arthur's Cafe, 3516 Edwards Rd (Hyde Park), . M-Sa 11AM-2:30AM, Su 11AM-9:30PM..Great bar and cafe in trendy Hyde Park neighborhood. Excellent burgers that are borderline amazing. On Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays, Arthur's has "burger madness" where burgers are $5.50 with unlimited toppings.
- The Echo, 3510 Edwards Rd (Hyde Park), . Great diner located just off of Hyde Park Square. Try the fish special on Fridays (closed after lunch except Th-Sa). Roughly $10 or less.
- Gordo's Pub and Grill, 4328 Montgomery Rd (Norwood). Owned by Raymond Gordo, former chef de cuisine for local celebrity and restaurateur Jean-Robert, Gordo's is renown for their semi-extensive beer list and delicious burgers.
- Graeter's Ice Cream, 2704 Erie Avenue (one of several locations) (Hyde Park, right at Hyde Park Square), . Hours: M-Su 7AM-10:45PM. Quite possibly Cincinnati's greatest gift to humanity. No drive through Cincinnati is complete without Graeter's ice cream or another one of their delicious desserts. Often Cincinnati natives who have moved to different cities make it a priority to stop here if they are in town. There are other locations throughout Cincinnati, including one store directly on the Hyde Park Plaza. Celebrities such as Oprah and Jessica Simpson have claimed it to be their favorite ice cream. About $4 per person, unless you opt for more expensive treats. In that case you could spend upwards of $20.
- Ingredients, 21 E. 5th St (Downtown, inside Westin Hotel Atrium), . Ingredients is restaurant with a unique concept and motto: "(some assembly required)". Ingredients serves salads, paninis, sandwiches, and pizzas all made to order. The ingredients used are all gourmet and very tasty!
- Izzy's, 800 Elm St (Downtown), . M-F 8AM-8PM, Sa 8AM-5PM. Izzy's is well known for its reubens and other corned beef sandwiches. This deli has other delicious sandwiches and its corned beef is available to purchase at any Kroger's grocery store. Served with your sandwich is a big potato pancake. There are multiple locations in the Cincinnati area.
- Melt, 4165 Hamilton Ave (Northside), . Mon-Sat 8AM - 9PM Sun 10AM - 9PM. Melt is a sandwich shop in Northside and a favorite among locals. True to the non-conformist culture of Northside, vegetarian/vegan options are available.$8-$10.
- Krishna Indian Carryout, 313 Calhoun St (Clifton), . Located at the top of Clifton across from the University of Cincinnati campus, Krishna is tiny by nearly all standards with only four tables along the wall. Opposite, the staff cooks excellent North Indian cuisine (common in Cincinnati) atop a four burner stove. Heaping portions with delicious naan.
- Quatman Cafe, 2434 Quatman Ave (Norwood), . M-Sa 11AM - 10:30PM. "Keep it simple, stupid" is the motto here. No frills, but many locals will tell you this greasy spoon is home to the best burger in town.
- Tucker's Restaurant. Tucker's has been dishing out food since 1946 and is well-known amongst Cincinnatians. Joe Tucker, the owner, has become famous for socializing with his guests. Tucker's is legendary for being the restaurant to go to for breakfast. Although, it's nowhere near a five star restaurant, it counts four star (five star before he left to open his own restaurant) chef Jean-Robert de Cavel. There are two Cincinnati locations. $10 or less.
- 1637 Vine St (Over-the-Rhine).
- Zips Cafe, 1036 Delta Ave (Mt. Lookout Square), , e-mail:[email protected]. M-Sa: 10:30AM - 11:30PM, Sun: 11AM - 11:30PM. Zips Cafe is not only the absolute best place in Cincinnati to get a burger (The Zip Burger - though some would put Terry's Turf Club in that Category), but it is also a bar! Perfect for the budget traveler! $5-$10.
- Terry's Turf Club, 4618 Eastern Ave, . A small, hole in the wall burger joint that has garnered multiple awards over the years for its burgers, and is well known around Cincinnati. It's a small place with a casual atmosphere complete with peanuts on the floor and knick-knacks on the wall. $10-$15.
- Gilpins Steamed Sandwiches, 37 E 7th St (Downtown), .Mon-Sun 9AM - 2:30PM Tue-Sat 6PM - 3AM. A great place to go for a quick cheap late night snack, though when the bars let out this place does get a bit too fratty. $5-10.
Cincinnati is famous for its own unique kind of chili, based on a Greek recipe. It contains finely-ground meat, no beans or onions, and usually contains spices such as cinnamon or cocoa powder, and not as much tomato as traditional recipes. It is served over spaghetti with finely-shredded Cheddar cheese on top, known as a "three-way"; add diced white onions or kidney beans to make it a "four-way"; and add both kidney beans and onions for a "five-way". It's also served over hot dogs with shredded Cheddar cheese on top, known as a "cheese coney." Cincinnati has more chili restaurants per capita than any city in the United States. The debate over where to find the best Cincinnati chili is almost a religious war. Two major chili-parlor chains (Skyline & Gold Star) are dominant, but individual parlors and other smaller chains have their fans as well.
- Empress Chili, 8340 Vine St.Founded in 1922 by two brothers from Greece. Empress is named after the burlesque theater that was originally located next door. It has been suggested that the Empress Chili concept was copied by other chili restaurants. Empress Chili consistently wins taste tests of Cincinnati's chili chains.
- Skyline Chili, 290 Ludlow Ave(Ludlow and Clifton, Parking in rear off Hosea), . Mon-Thu 10AM - 3AM Fri-Sat 10AM - 4AM Sun 11AM - 12AM. The most famous chili chain, with numerous locations throughout the Cincinnati area and franchise locations in Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville, and other smaller Midwest and Florida cities. Their chili is sold in supermarkets throughout the Midwestern United States in frozen packages or cans so that Cincinnati natives can enjoy it wherever they may be. For more locations, see Skyline's store locator here[www]. The location recommended is one of the most interesting, a good people watching spot at all hours of the day and night in the diverse neighborhood of the Clifton Gaslight district. Don't forget to swap out your parking puck!
- Camp Washington Chili, 3005 Colerain Ave (Camp Washington off Hopple Street), . 24 hours except Sun when closed. Considered a contender for best Chili in the city by many. Its also a (mostly) 24 hour Diner, offering breakfast at all hours of the night. This is a good place to also try out Goetta, the lesser known German-Cincinnatian food similar to scrapple which you can't find anywhere outside of the region!
- Price Hill Chili, 4920 Glenway Ave (Price Hill), . M-Th 6AM-11PM, F-Sa 6AM-2AM, Su 7AM-3PM. Price Hill Chili has been a landmark for the past 45 years, serving up Cincinnati favorites to West Side regulars. Cincinnati chili and stacked double-deckers are what Price Hill Chili is all about. This is a place politicians visit when in town for photo ops. The menu includes specialty dinners and salads. Another place to get the elusive Cincinnati only German sausage specialty Goetta.under $10.
- Gold Star Chili, 2713 Vine St, . One of Cincinnati's major chili chains. While most Cincinnatians are loyal to Skyline, there are many who claim Gold Star is Cincinnati's best. For more locations, see Gold Star's store locator here[www].
- Pleasant Ridge Chili, 6032 Montgomery Rd, . Monday Thru Sa 9AM to 4:30AM Closed Sunday. A local favorite that offers great food at great prices. Home of Gravy Cheese Fries which has been bringing people back since 1964. The menu also includes great breakfast at anytime.
- Blue Ash Chili, 9565 Kenwood Rd. Another local favorite, Blue Ash Chili is unique in offering a 6-way, which adds fried jalapeno poppers to a 5-way. In 2010, Blue Ash Chili was featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-in, & Dives on the Food Network.
- Christian Moerlein Lager House, 115 Joe Nuxhall Way (Downtown - The Banks), . A microbrewery, restaurant, event space, and beerhall/garden devoted to Cincinnati's rich brewing heritage which has panoramic views of the city, the Roebling Bridge, the river and the sports stadiums. The Lager House is decorated with old advertisements, signs, bottles and other memorabilia harking back to the time when Cincinnati was one of the world's foremost beer producers. The menu features both beers produced by Cincinnati icon Christian Moerlein (with some even unique to the space) and many guest beers from all over the world and the menu has many dishes where beer is a main ingredient. $6-$28.
- The Rookwood (Rookwood Pottery, Porkopolis), 1077 Celestial St, . Hours: Su-Th 11AM-9PM, F-Sa 11AM-10PM. The Rookwood (formerly Rookwood Pottery or Porkopolis) is a burger and ribs restaurant, which is housed in the National Historical Register Building that used to house Rookwood Pottery complete with old brick furnaces being reservable as seating places. Now features a rotating menu oftentimes with clever takes on Cincinnati classics like Goetta or Chili. $10-$20.
Gateway Quarter: Over-The-Rhine
Vine Street between Central Parkway and 14th Street has been transformed almost overnight from one of the city's most dangerous areas to the hottest place in town to get a hip, contemporary, mid to high priced meal. If eating at a restaurant with an address of 1000-1500 Vine Street be sure to get a reservation or plan on waiting upwards of an hour on Friday and Saturday nights. Be careful going north of the building with a giant sign calling itselfCincinnati Color Company though, as the neighborhood very quickly goes from being Chic to a work-in-progress
- Nicholson's Tavern & Pub, 625 Walnut St (Downtown, Across from the Aronoff Center), . Hours: M-Th 11AM-11PM, Fri&Sat 11AM-1AM, Sun 11AM-9PM. Probably has the best selection of Scotch in the city! This place servers standard British pub food, though on the anniversary of Scottish poet Robert Burns birthday they do sever haggis (sometime in January), check website for details.$20-$50 a person.
- Cumin Indian Fusion Cuisine, 3520 Erie Ave (Hyde Park), , fax: , e-mail:[email protected]. Lunch hours: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM. Cincinnati has a number of North Indian restaurants of high quality. This one is a boutique Indian place which is appropriate for the posh Hyde Park.
- Nicola's Ristorante, 1420 Sycamore St, . Italian fine Dining in downtown Cincinnati. Wine list is so-so, but atmosphere and food are excellent.
- Primavista, 810 Matson Pl (Price Hill, Incline District), , e-mail: [email protected]. Mon.-Thu. 5:30-9:30PM, Fri. 5:30-10PM, Sat. 5-10:30PM, Sun. 5-9PM. Where the food is as captivating as the view of Downtown Cincinnati, Primavista specializes in fresh fish and veal dishes & also offering seafood, steaks, lamb, poultry, and pasta. $6-$30.
- Quan Hapa, 1331 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 (Vine and 13th - Gateway Quarter Over the Rhine). Tue-Thurs 11AM-2PM & 4PM-10PM Fri & Sat 11AM-2PM & 4PM-11PM Closed Sun & Mon. One of the best Asian Fusion places in the midwest outside of Chicago. Get rare for Cincinnati dishes like Okonomiyaki, Poke and enjoy Japanese micro brew beer. The atmosphere is hip and communal in a compact place that reminds one of restaurants you could find in San Francisco. $5-13.
- Senate Pub, 1212 Vine Street Cincinnati, OH 45202-7117 (Over-The-Rhine, Gateway), . T - Th: 11:30AM-2PM, 4:30PM-11PM F: 11:30AM-2PM, 4:30PM-1PM Sa: 4:30PM-1PM. The people at the Senate are self-described "Pushers of beer, wine & gourmet street food" notable reasons to give them a try are the duck fat fries and a line of gourmet hot dogs.
- Shanghai Mama's, 216 E 6th St (Downtown), . M-Th 11AM-9:30PM, F 11AM-3AM, Sa 5PM-3AM, Su closed. Shanghai Mama's is a great place to grab some late-night grub. You can't go wrong with any of their noodle or rice dishes. They also feature soups and vegetarian options. $10 - $15.
- Mecklenburg Gardens, 302 E University Ave (Corryville near the University), . M-Th 11AM-9PM, F 11AM-10PM, Sa 5PM-10PM. Established in 1865, this is arguably the only original of the once plentiful German biergartens that were all over the city prior to Prohibition. Lovingly restored, this beergarden features a Large selection of German beers, and food. The garden is quite nice during the summer for a pleasant evening meal. $8-$23.
- Taste of Belgium Bistro, 1133 Vine St (Vine and 12th Over the Rhine Gateway), . Mon 7AM - 3PM Tue-Thu 7AM - 10PM Fri-Sat 7AM - 11PM Sun 9AM - 3PM. Cincinnati's unusually hip take on the Belgian gastropub. Founded by a Belgian expat who was wanting to get the kinds of waffles he could get back home in Cincinnati, this place features delicious waffles of the Liège variety, and other Belgian styled goodies from bon bons to lambic beer. Try the locally inspired goetta crepes for something completely unique!
- Mt Adams Bar and Grill, 938 Hatch St (Mount Adams, St Gregory and Hatch), . 11:30AM- 2:30AM Mon-Sat 1PM- 10PM Sun. According to the restaurant, this was originally a speakeasy founded by George Remus (the bootlegger who inspired Jay Gatsby of The Great Gatsby fame) and was one of the first places in Ohio to apply for a liquor license when prohibition was repealed. Lunches are reasonable and the airy sun room in back is a good weekend getaway for lunch.$5-17.
- Ambar Indian, 350 Ludlow Ave (Clifton), . For being a city not known for ethnic diversity, there are a surprising number of North Indian places in Cincinnati, Clifton has 3 of them right in a row (and an Indian Grocery) and this one is generally the one in Clifton that locals like the most.
- Bakersfield, 1213 Vine St (Over-The-Rhine, Gateway), .Mon-Thu 11AM - 12AM Fri 11AM - 2AM Sat 12PM - 2AM Sun 12PM - 10PM. Authentic yet gourmet Mexican street food such as Tacos and Tortas. Modeled after big city gourmet taco places like Big Star in Chicago, this is one of the best places to get Mexican in Cincinnati. They also have a good selection of tequila as well.
- The Anchor OTR, 1401 Race St (Over the Rhine, next to Washington Park), . Seafood place, with good seafood for an inland city, though the real highlight is the outdoor patio where you can hear concerts from or people watch into Washington Park.
- A Tavola Pizza, 1220 Vine St (Over-The-Rhine, Gateway), .Mon-Wed 4PM - 12AM Thu-Sat 4PM - 2AM. Hand made, wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, made in a rare type of oven only found in one other place in the US, very unique and chic. $10-20.
- Taft's Ale House, 1429 Race Street (Over the Rhine north of Washington Park), . Sun - Wed: 11:00am - 11:00pm Thu - Sat: 11:00am - 12:00am. An old church in Over-The-Rhine which was saved from demolition and converted into a massive brewpub which pays tribute to one of Cincinnati's most prominent and portly citizens, William Howard Taft. Inside there are a number of creative brews (one of which is a delicious dark ale with coconut for instance) and food with a theme revolving around tritip steak). A temple of beer that is a gorgeous adaptive reuse and testament to Cincinnati's renewed love of its heritage and favorite beverage. $$.
- The Eagle, 1342 Vine Street (Over the Rhine, Gateway), .11:00 am - 12:00 am M-Su. Delicious fried chicken from the people who brought you Bakersfield, of note is that they offer carryout of which on a nice night you can take over to Washington Park and avoid the long waits on Friday and Saturday nights which are endemic to this area. $5-20.
- Boi Na Braza, 441 Vine St (Downtown Near Fountain Square), , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. Boi Na Braza is a Brazilian Steakhouse located in the Carew Tower in Fountain Square. They serve steak, lamb, chicken and pork dishes. $51 and up.
- The Celestial Steakhouse, 1071 Celestial St (Mt. Adams), , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. Mon.-Thu. 5-9:30PM, Fri.-Sat. 5-10:30PM, Sun. 4-9PM, Lounge: Fri.-Sat. 4PM-1AM. Rated the Most Romantic by the Cincinnati Enquirer and the New York Times, Celestial's seasonal menu is eclectic and contemporary, with delightful steak and seafood offerings. Wine connoisseurs might appreciate the hundreds of vintages available from the wine cellar.$22 for the least expensive, expect $35+.
- Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse, 700 Walnut St (Downtown, Across from the Aronoff Center), . M-Th 5PM-10PM, F,Sa 5PM-11PM. Upscale Steakhouse owned by Jeff Ruby, who gained fame for kicking OJ Simpson out of his restaurant in Louisville. Roughly $31 and up.
- Montgomery Inn Ribs, 925 Riverside Drive (formerly Eastern Avenue)(Riverfront, near Sawyer Point), . M-Th 11AM-10:30PM, F 11AM-11PM, Sa 3PM-11PM, Su 3PM-10PM. Renowned as the place to go for great baby-back ribs, Montgomery Inn has become one of Cincinnati's most beloved eateries. The flagship restaurant is in the village of Montgomery, in the northeast suburbs.
- Palomino, 505 Vine St (Fountain Square), . Lunch: Monday - Saturday: 11:30AM - 2:30PMDinner: Su-Th: 5PM - 10PM, F-Sa: 5PM - 11PM.Palomino is a vibrant restaurant, bar and rotisserie famous for its style, hardwood fired Mediterranean cooking and versatile, imaginative menu. Great view of Fountain Square too! $31-$50.
- The Precinct, 311 Delta Ave (Columbia-Tusculum), toll-free: , fax: . Sun.-Thu. 5-10PM, Fri.-Sat. 5-11PM. The Original Jeff Ruby Steakhouse, set in a former police precinct! $30+.
- Teller's of Hyde Park, 2710 Erie Ave (Hyde Park), , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. Tellers is a trendy restaurant located in old bank building in Hyde Park Square. Tellers has an excellent outdoor patio for dining in the summer. The food is very contemporary American fare. $14-61.
- Cincinnati Dinner Train, 11013 Kenwood Rd. Cincinnati, OH (Trip starts by BBQ Review 4725 Madison Rd, Madisonville), . Sa 6PM departure. Train ride with 1940s era dining cars that gently rides down tracks towards Downtown, including the Oasis line where the neighbors defeated intercity rail, but for some reason can tolerate this weekly train excursion. Price includes 3 course meal and there is also a bar car on board. Check website for details on special trips, including excursions to popular events like Riverfest. Book ahead to reserve tickets. $69.95 / person.
- Salazar, 1401 Republic Street (Over the Rhine), . 11:30AM-2PM, 5:30PM-10:30PM M-Th, 5:30-11pm F-Sa Closed Su.. Highly regarded fancy small plates restaurant featuring the work of famed local chef Jose Salazar. Seating is extremely limited as its in an intimate space off of a side street deep in the revitalized part of Over the Rhine. $12-$33.
Coffe & Drink
Coffee & Coffee Bars
True to Cincinnati being a drinking town many of the cafes also serve beer or spiked coffee.
- Coffee Emporium, 110 E. Central Pkwy. Cincinnati, OH 45202 (Over-The-Rhine/Downtown), , e-mail: [email protected]. M-F 7AM - 6PM Sat. and Sun. 8AM - 4PM. A locally owned and operated coffee house since 1973. Specializing in artisanal roasted coffee, fine teas, and accessories, as well as a mixed menu of locally made pastries and light meals. Hearkening back to an era before coffee house homogenization, Coffee Emporium is a meeting place of art, ideas, and tastes.
- Highland Coffee House, 2839 Highland Ave (Corryville near the University of Cincinnati), . 5PM-3AM-ish. Bohemian, hipstery, and friendly coffee house/bar near the university in an old building with high ceilings, a two level outdoor patio, and tons of character. Service is purposely laid back as there is usually only one bartista/bartender to serve the many people who frequent here.
- Sitwells Coffee House, 324 Ludlow Ave, . Coffee house that's an anchor to the electric university-centric neighborhood of Clifton making it a good place for people watching. Like many cafe's in Cincinnati this one also offers alcoholic beverages too.
- 1215 Wine and Coffee Bar, 1215 Vine Street (Over The Rhine), . Mon-Tue 8AM-10pm, Wed 8AM-11pm, Thu-Fri 8AM-12AM, Sun 10AM-11PM.Cosy spot where you can get both fine coffee and fine wine. Good place to hang out while waiting for a table in OTR's Gateway with frequent live music performances.
- Collective Espresso Northside, 4037 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45229(Northside, in Alleyway off Hamilton Ave), . M-F 7AM-6PM; Sa-Su 8AM-5PM. Cozy cafe tucked away in a back alley courtyard behind the main business district of the eclectic Northside neighborhood, this is one of the few places in Cincinnati that offers French Press style coffee which is a preferred style of making coffee among the most hardcore coffee snobs. The French Press is only available here and not at the other Collective Espresso locations. $$.
Due to its heavily German population Cincinnati was at one time one of the largest producers of beer in the United States . Prohibition and the anti-German backlash following World War I were not kind to Cincinnati's brewing legacy and by the end of the 20th century very little beer was produced in town. Today there is a revival of long dead local brands and recipes led by the new Christian Moerlien Brewing Company. They are even starting to brew them in an old brewery in Over-The-Rhine. If you see beers at a bar such as Burger, Hudy/Hudepohl, Little Kings, and the premium Christian Moerlien beers, get one of them for a bit of local culture. Surprisingly the only large Brewery left that currently brews in town is Sam Adams, which just happens to produce more beer in Cincy than in its hometown of Boston and is according to its founder (Cincinnati native, Jim Koch) based off of an old Cincy recipe!
Sights & Landmarks
- Carew Tower & Observation Deck, 441 Vine St (Downtown), . M-Sa 10AM-5:30PM, Su 11AM-5PM. The Carew Tower served as the basis for the design of the later Empire State Building. During the mid- to late-1980s, a giant inflatable gorilla was attached to the upper floors! Notice the Art Deco interior of the common areas as you follow the signs to find the elevators. You have to change elevators and then take the stairs up the final level to make it to the 49th floor. The 49th floor of Cincinnati's 2nd tallest building provides a breathtaking, inexpensive, and gorilla-less view of the city. Take a high-speed elevator to the 45th floor, then choose from walking up four flights of stairs or taking another elevator to the 48th floor and walking up one flight. The admission is collected once you reach the top. Adults $2, Children $1.
- Cincinnati Observatory Center, 3489 Observatory Pl (Mount Lookout,), . The Cincinnati Observatory was the first professional observatory in America, and is now operated by volunteers. Hosts star gazing events, which, are remarkable considering light pollution has nearly surrounded the observatory.
- Fountain Square, Fifth and Vine Streets (Downtown; sandwiched between the Westin Hotel, Macy's, Carew Tower, and the Fifth Third building). The newly renovated Fountain Square holds the Tyler Davidson Fountain, newly added and renovated restaurants, an ice skating rink, a big screen video board, free Wi-Fi, and a hands-on water wall!
- John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge (Riverfront).The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world at 1,057 feet (322 m) when the first pedestrians crossed on December 1, 1866 — a status it maintained until 1883. You can still walk across it today and tour the Riverside Drive historic district - one of the oldest neighborhoods in the region in Covington It served as the prototype for Roebling's design of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. This bridge was featured in the movie Rain Man.
- Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, 4521 Spring Grove Ave. This sprawling cemetery dates back over 160 years, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2007. The unique layout, designed by Adolph Strauch, makes it feel less like a cemetery and more like a park that just happens to have people buried in it. The arboretum features many National Champion trees. To find the graves of the many famous people buried here, stop by the office on your way in for a free map.
- Dayton Street Historic District (Dayton Street West of Linn (800-950)). A millionaire's row from the 19th century rivaling the far more famous ones in New York City (5th Ave) and Chicago (Prairie Ave) giving one a glimpse of Cincinnati's heyday in the mid 1800s. This one is far more intact, but is part of an endangered neighborhood that's seen better days (its a bit seedy). The website discusses the history of the houses in the area, though the Hauck House is no longer a museum. An East Coaster would probably have their jaw hit the floor if they saw the low prices on these wonderful old mansions.
- Merchantile Library, 414 Walnut Street, 11th Floor (Merchantile Center, Downtown; Ask the concierge downstairs how to get to the 11th floor.), . 9AM-5:30PM M-F; 10AM-3PM Sa, Closed Su. Unique members only (however non members can browse but not check out books during business hours and its open to the public) old school private library complete with busts of famous literary figures, artwork, globes, dusty stacks of books and spiral staircases. Also hosted here are frequently literary events, lectures and local public affairs talks. Its worth a look to see a totally unique library space.
- Holy Cross-Immaculata Catholic Church, 30 Guido St (Mount Adams), . Roman Catholic treasure. Known as the "Church on the Hill". On Good Friday, many Cincinnatians "Climb the steps of Mt. Adams", praying on each step.
- Plum Street Temple (Occasionally referred to as Isaac M. Wise Temple), 726 Plum Street, at the corner of Plum and Eighth Streets (Downtown), . Built in 1865-1866 for B'nai Yeshurun, this is one of the best-preserved Moorish Revival buildings of the 19th century. This was also major pioneering center for the development of Reform Judaism.
- Sherith Isreal Temple, Ruth Lyons Way (Downtown, Alley between 6th/7th Walnut and Vine). Like most old large cities in the US alleyways have old houses and buildings on them, Cincinnati is no exception, though not as many survived the onslaught of mid-late 20th century urban destruction as are in Philly or Boston. In one of these alleys is the oldest synagogue west of the Appalachian mountains, that was saved by being converted to condominiums in the early 2000s. This is a private residence, but should be something noted by travelers who happen to be next to Restaurant Row/The Aronoff Center. The alley is well lit and fairly wide as its branded the Backstage District.
- Athenaeum of Ohio, 6616 Beechmont Ave (Mt. Washington), . Originally St. Francis Xavier Seminary, the Athenaeum of Ohio is the third-oldest Roman Catholic seminary in the United States being established in 1829. The present-day campus of The Athenaeum of Ohio includes 76 acres of manicured grounds surrounding an impressive granite stone building constructed in 1929.
With more than 100 parks and green spaces [www] covering an area of over 5,000 acres, Cincinnati has the most extensive and highest regarded park system in the nation. In addition to offering respite from the urban landscape, the parks also offer scenic views, hiking areas, floral landscapes and picnic facilities.
- Sawyer Point, 720 E. Pete Rose Way (Riverfront), .6AM-11PM daily. Sawyer Point is one of Cincinnati's party parks, where in the summer radio stations throw free outdoor concerts. The park is also used to host the Tall Stacks festival. A popular place to laze about is the Serpentine Wall steps that lead into the Ohio River.
- Mt. Echo, 381 Elberon Ave (Price Hill). Mt. Echo is famous for its stellar view of downtown Cincinnati. The band Over-the-Rhine's "Ohio" album cover was shot from this park.
- Ault Park, 3600 Observatory Ave (Mount Lookout). Ault Park is great for bikers, hikers and joggers. An annual 4th of July celebration is held there with music and fireworks. Ault Park also has great examples of natural glacial history throughout the park.
- Eden Park, 950 Eden Park Dr (Entrances from Kemper Lane, Victory Parkway, Nassau Avenue, Martin Drive or Gilbert Ave). M-Su 11AM-11PM. Eden Park is a particularly nice city park nestled in the hills near Mt Adams. Its home to the Cincinnati Art Museum, Playhouse in the Park, Murray Seasongood Pavilion, and the Irwin M. Krohn Conservatory. If you're taking a bus you can reach the park by taking bus number 11 or 69 and get off at the Cincinnati Association of the Blind, then walk into Eden Park until you find a trail that leads up a hill (the trail will take you up to the museum). Alternatively, you can take bus number 1, however, you may be required to walk up a steep hill, if the road is blocked.
- Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park, 1101 Riverside Dr (along Cincinnati's downtown eastern riverfront area). The park is named in honor of Cincinnati's first African American mayor, Theodore M. Berry. This park features an International Plaza with ceremonial flags, an earth sculpture in the form of two interlocking hands, a pavilion to provide settings for communal gatherings, celebrations and events, Commissioned sculptures, a serpentine-shaped sitting wall, garden areas representative of the continents, and a bike trail.
- Krohn Conservatory, 1501 Eden Park Dr (Eden Park), . M-Su 11AM-11PM. Rainforest-under-glass. 5000 varieties of exotic tropical, desert and orchid plants. One of country's largest public greenhouses with beautiful seasonal floral shows. Admission is by donation.
- Washington Park, 1230 Elm St (In front of Music Hall, Over-The-Rhine - parking in garage under the park). Originally designed in 1855, replacing what was then a cemetery, this park has pretty much followed the fortunes of Over-The-Rhine, going from a prosperous hub of activity and immigration to a crime filled den of poverty and squalor. Fortunately along with the neighborhood, this park has undergone a major renovation, including interactive fountains designed to go with music selectable by phone app, a beergarden (this is Cincinnati), a large event lawn, playgrounds, and a look that combines a respect for the park's history with modern amenities. Its particularly striking to see at night when the fountains are lit up in different colors, and safety shouldn't be an issue then as there are plenty of security cameras installed to quell any potential issues with the neighborhood. 3CDC who remodeled Fountain Square led this renovation and as a result is programming it with plenty of events throughout the year, see website for details.
- Mt Airy Forest Preserve (Mt. Airy). Largest park in the city at around 1,500 acres giving the place a very natural feel. Plenty of hiking trails and even a disc golf course.
Due to Cincinnati's age, a number of the more genteel neighborhoods on the East Side have charming public squares which can be a good place to hang out and enjoy a nice day.
- Hyde Park Square. Charming patch of Greenery that anchors the main business district of the posh Hyde Park neighborhood. Old, rich, and elegant in a very turn of the last century kind of way. Probably the best spot in the city on a summer day to enjoy some Greaters Ice Cream which is right next to the square.
- Oakley Square. Recently remodeled, this is a nice patch of greenery that anchors the once working class now wannabe Hyde Park neighborhood of Oakley. On a nice Summer day, enjoy some Aglamesis Bros ice cream and watch all the young professionals mulling about.
- Piatt Park (Garfield Park) (Downtown). Also known as Garfield Park for its statue of President Garfield, its more of a two block long public square than a park, at 200 years old this is the oldest park in the city. Elegantly landscaped, a good place to take a break while exploring downtown by foot. In the summer there is even music sometimes on weekdays aimed at workers on lunch break.
- Mt Lookout Square. More of a landscaped parking lot than a square, this gives the Mount Lookout a quaint small village feel.
Museums & Galleries
- American Classical Music Hall of Fame, 1225 Elm St (Over-the-Rhine, next to Music Hall, in Memorial Hall), , fax: , e-mail:[email protected]. Open by appt. The American Classical Music Hall of Fame includes a timeline through classical music (focusing on American classical music) and interactive displays of inductees. The Hall its located in is also worth a look too, as it was built as a memorial to those who perished in the Civil War, in the era close to the height of Cincinnati's prominence.
- Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Dr (Eden Park, Go up Gilbert Avenue, until you see the park, and turn onto Eden Park Drive), , e-mail: [email protected]. Th-Tu 11AM-5PM, W 11AM-8PM, M Closed. The Cincinnati Art Museum is in the beautiful Eden Park, which perfectly reflects the artwork the museum houses. The museum has a 60,000 piece collection, which explains why the museum is referred to as the Art Palace of the West. According to the Zagat Survey, The Cincinnati Art Museum ranks with The Art Institute of Chicago and The Museum of Modern Art in New York as the best art museums in the nation. The museum features special exhibitions and a terrific collection of art by Cincinnati artists in the "Cincinnati Wing" including the worlds largest collection of Rookwood Pottery. Be sure to check out the Far Eastern Art section which includes a Jain Shrine; the Egypt, Greece, and Rome room, which features a mummy; the spectacular collection from the Classical & Near Eastern Art section with its spectacular Room from Damascus, a room imported from Syria with beautiful Islamic architectural influences; and don't miss with impressive art from Cincinnatians. You can join a free docent led tour around the museum's permanent collections on Tuesday through Friday at one o'clock, Saturday at two o'clock (14:00) and on Sunday at one o'clock (13:00) and two o'clock (14:00).Admission: Free.
- The Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education, 3101 Clifton Ave(Hebrew Union College Campus, University Heights, about a block from the University of Cincinnati), , fax: , e-mail: [email protected].9AM-5:30PM daily. CHHE has a heart-wrenching and inspiring exhibit called Mapping Our Tears, which follows the stories of Cincinnatians involved in the resistance to Nazis and Holocaust survivors now living in Cincinnati. One part of the exhibit tells the tale of a local man, who after interrogating suspects to be tried at the Nuremberg Trials became U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg. Free.
- Cincinnati Fire Museum, 315 West Court St, . Tu-F 10AM-4PM, Sa-Su noon-4PM. Closed all holidays.The museum for all of us, who wanted to be a firefighter, but never became one. The museum documents the history of firefighting and it's fitting that the museum is in Cincinnati, which was the first place in America to have a fully paid professional fire department. Adults $6, Seniors $5, Children $4.
- Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave (Queensgate), , e-mail:[email protected]. M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-6PM. Originally built in 1933 as the Union Terminal train station, the building was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977. The Cincinnati Museum Center is comprised of The Cincinnati History Museum, Museum of Natural History and Science, Duke Energy Children's Museum, and the Robert D. Linder Family OMNIMAX Theater. Admission for one museum or OMNIMAX show: Adults $7.25, Seniors $6.25 , Children (Ages 3-12) $5.25; Admission for all three museums and one OMNIMAX show: Adults $16.25, Children $11.25. Parking is $4.50 per vehicle.
- Cincinnati Triple Steam, 5651 Kellogg Ave (The pumphouse is set back from Kellogg Ave, but check in with the Water Works office first.), e-mail:[email protected]. By guided tour with reservation only, typically Sat 9:30AM – Noon. These four massive steam-powered water pumps are the largest in the world and were state-of-the-art in 1906, when they started a 57-year career delivering water for the Greater Cincinnati Water Works. They remain large and impressive engineering artifacts, and the tour is fascinating. The route is somewhat wheelchair accessible, and no children under age 7 are permitted. There are several other restrictions; see the tour website. Admission is only possible with a guided tour, and the tours are scheduled when enough people sign up on a wait-list. Free.
- Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, 3400 Vine St (Avondale), toll-free: , e-mail: [email protected]. From September 4th until May 25th, the Zoo is typically open daily from 9AM until 5PM. From May 26th until September 3rd the zoo is typically open from 9AM until 6PM. Hours may be extended on some days for special events like Festival of Lights or HallZOOween. The zoo is closed November 22nd and December 25th. The Cincinnati Zoo is the second oldest zoo in America and one of the most important worldwide because of its success with the mating of animals in captivity. The zoo is well worth a visit. Adults (13+ years) $14, Seniors (62+) $9, Children (2-12) $9. Parking: $7.
- Contemporary Arts Center, 44 East Sixth St (Downtown, Across from the Aronoff Center), . M 10AM-9PM, Tu Closed, W-F 10AM-6PM, Sa-Su 11AM-6PM. The CAC is one of the regional leaders in thought-provoking art; the building itself is a piece of art with some of Cincinnati's boldest architecture. The center has also been the center of controversy; some may not see the "art" in some exhibits. If you do get this kind of art, hop one door north on Walnut to the 21C Museum Hotel for a few more exhibits in its publicly open/free museum, for info on staying there see details under the Sleep section below. Adults $7.50, Senior (65+) $6.50, Student w/ID $5.50, Children (3-13) $4.50.
- Harriet Beecher-Stowe House, 2950 Gilbert Ave (Walnut Hills), , e-mail: [email protected]. Hours vary, see website. Harriet Beecher-Stowe is famous for writing the anti-slavery Uncle Tom's Cabin. Free (donations are welcomed).
- National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 50 East Freedom Way(Riverfront), . Tu-Su 11AM-5PM (Closed: Labor Day, September 7, October 15 at 14:00, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day). The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is a museum of conscience; it offers lessons on the struggle for freedom in the past, in the present, and for the future as it attempts to challenge visitors to contemplate the meaning of freedom in their own lives. Its location recognizes the significant role of Cincinnati, where thousands of slaves escaped to freedom by crossing the Ohio River, in the history of the Underground Railroad. $12 Adults, $10 Seniors, $8 Children.
- Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St (Downtown, Located at the east end of Fourth Street, across from Lytle Park), , fax: , e-mail:[email protected]useum.org. M Closed, T W F 11AM-5PM, Th 11AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. Closed January 1, Thanksgiving, and December 25. The Taft Museum of Art is known as one of the finest small art museums in America. A National Historic Landmark built around 1820, the Taft is home to an extensive art collection that includes European and American master paintings; Chinese porcelains; and European decorative arts. Adults: $7, Seniors (60 and over): $5, Students (over 18): $5, Youth (18 and under): Free. Free admission on Wednesdays. Parking costs an additional $3.
- William Howard Taft National Historic Site, 2038 Auburn Ave, , fax: , e-mail: [email protected] WIHO [email protected]. The park is generally open from 8AM to 4PM daily.The William Howard Taft National Historic Site, which is administered by the National Park Service, was the birthplace and home of William Howard Taft. William Howard Taft served as the 27th President and became the 10th Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. The Taft family has become one of the most politically distinguished families in Ohio, let alone the US. Free.
- American Sign Museum, 1330 Monmouth St (Camp Wasington off the Hopple Street Exit on I-75), , e-mail: [email protected].Wed – Sat 10AM – 4PM Sun 12:00 – 4PM. Check out the only museum dedicated to the sign industry and features a very large collection of signs from all around the United States. Covering nearly 100 years of sign making and advertising, the museum boasts an impressive collection of painted, light bulb, plastic, and of course neon signs. Guided tours are available at 11:00 am and 2pm during museum hours. The museum also houses Neon Works, the last full-time neon workshop in Cincinnati and is able to demonstrate their craft during weekday tours. $10-15.
- Betts House, 416 Clark St (West End - West of Central Parkway). Tue-Thurs 11AM - 2PM 2nd and 4th Sat 12:30PM - 5PM. One of the rare survivors of mid-century urban renewal that destroyed the once very densley populated West End, this is the oldest surviving house in Cincinnati (built in 1804) and one of the older brick houses west of the Appalachian Mountains. It houses a museum and rotating exhibitions usually devoted to the history of Cincinnati. $2.
- Art Beyond Boundaries, 1410 Main St (Over-the-Rhine), .M-Sat 10-5. Art Beyond Boundaries is a visual art gallery showcasing the work of local artists with disabilities. They also have showings at Pendelton Art Center's Final Friday.
- Weston Art Gallery, 650 Walnut St (Downtown, on the corner of 7th and Walnut, connected to the Aronoff Center), , fax: , e-mail:[email protected]. Tu-Sa 10AM-5:30PM. Su noon-5PM. The Weston Art Gallery is located within the Aranoff Center for the Arts. Exhibitions feature painting, sculpture, prints, photography, textiles, independent film, performance and electronic media. Ten diverse exhibitions are programmed annually in the gallery's 3,500 square foot museum-quality space. Free.
- Pendleton Art Center, 1310 Pendleton St (Downtown), , e-mail: [email protected]. Final Friday 6-10PM; Second Look Saturday 10AM-2PM. Final Fridays at the Pendleton Art Center are the "The World 's Largest Collection of Artists Under One Roof!" On the final Friday of each month, Pendleton Art Center showcases many floors of local art for those interested in buying or just admiring. Free admission.
- Carl Solway Gallery, 424 Findlay St (West End), . M-F 9AM-5PM. Sa noon-5PM. Founded in 1962, the Carl Solway Gallery features nationally and internationally known modern and contemporary artists such as Nam June Paik, John Cage, Claes Oldenburg, and Tom Wesselmann. Free.
- Manifest Creative Research Gallery, 2727 Woodburn Ave, , e-mail: [email protected]. 12:00 - 7:00 Tues-Friday, 12:00 - 5:00 Saturday. The so-called "Neighborhood Gallery for the World", Manifest Gallery holds year-round international calls for exhibition, bringing contemporary art to the small neighborhood of East Walnut Hills. Check the website to see what's up at the gallery, as there is some downtime in between exhibitions. Free.
Things to do
Cincinnati has quite an impressive assortment of 19th century architecture. Parts of town will remind a visitor of large east coast cities like Boston or Brooklyn. Recently, with a renewed interest in the oldest parts of the city there are an increasing number of tours highlighting Cincinnati's golden age when it was one of the largest cities in the US. During some events like Oktoberfest or Bockfest, additional tours are offered, such as those highlighting the cities strong brewing heritage, or even the rare venture down into the abandoned subway tunnels, inquire locally or read local blogs as these are not well advertised to people from out of town.
- Queen City Underground Tours (Cincy Haus), 1281 Vine St (Over-The-Rhine), . Spring,Fall: Sa: 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 2:30, and 3:30, Su: 11:30,2:00. Summer: M-Th 12:00 and 3PM Sat, Sun same as fall. A popular and expanding tour run by American Heritage Tours discussing the many buildings that once housed over 130 saloons, bars, beergardens and theaters on Vine Street in Over-The-Rhine's "Gateway Quarter" followed by a trip down into the network of tunnels underneath that at one point were used to age/store beer and even a hidden tomb. Also discussed is Cincinnati's corrupt political history in the 19th century under Boss Cox. $15.
- Cincinnati Heritage Tours, 1301 Western Ave (Union Terminal), . Hours vary, check website. A number of tours done through out the year (some by bus) showcasing Cincinnati's rich history. This is where you can get the once a year abandoned subway tour, which unfortunately sells out very quickly, leading one to wonder, why don't they offer it more often? Reservations recommended. Prices vary, tends to be expensive, check website.
- Cincinnati Brewery District Lager Tours, 116 W Elder St (Findlay Market Biergarten, Over the Rhine), . May 21st-September 1PM Sat and Sun. Tours of the old breweries and the tunnels underneath them that once made Cincinnati one of the largest producers of beer in the United States. Tours are run by the Brewery District Community Redevelopment Corp. $15.
- Stratus Helicopters, 99 Riverboat Row, Newport, KY 41071. Th-Su 12-10PM Spring/Summer, 3-8PM Fall & Winter. Though technically located in Newport, this company provides various tours of scenic Cincinnati from the air in a helicopter. Included on the itinerary is a date night tour. Tours last anywhere from 10 mins to a few hours.
Music & theater
- Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle (Mt. Adams), . Box office hours: M.: 10AM-5PM. Tu-F.: 10AM-9PM. Sa: 10AM-10PM. Su: Noon-8PM. Box office hours may vary on days when performances are held. The Playhouse in the Park is a Tony Award winning playhouse, housing two theaters in Eden Park, not far from the Cincinnati Art Museum. The playhouse hosts performances ten months out of the year.
- Cincinnati Music Hall, 1243 Elm St (Over-the-Rhine), , fax:. The Music Hall is the beautiful home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Opera, and Cincinnati Ballet. The building was built in 1878 and funded by what's believed to be the first matching grant fund drive in the United States. In 1880, the building hosted the Democratic National Convention. Tours can be arranged through the Society for the Preservation of Music Hall.
- Bogart's Concert Hall, 2621 Vine St (Corryville), . Small venue that attracts some well-known acts. Crowds can get rough with mosh pits growing annoyingly large.
- Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave (California/Anderson Township), . Box office hours: M-F 11AM-5PM, Sa 11AM-2PM. Located on the Ohio river and draws big name artists like John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews Band, and Jimmy Buffet.
- TimberWolf Amphitheatre (TimberWolf Amphitheatre is located at the Kings Island amusement park). This arena also draws some big name artists, usually teen heartthrobs like Aaron Carter.
- Esquire Theatre, 320 Ludlow Ave (Clifton), , e-mail:[email protected]. The Esquire Theatre is a movie theater that generally runs indie/foreign films along with some other mainstream films. It also hosts twice-monthly showings of Rocky Horror Picture Show. It is on Ludlow Ave, which is close to great coffee shops, restaurants, and specialty stores. $5.50-$8.50.
- Arnoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St (Walnut and 6th Downtown). This is the main place in Cincinnati to see a Broadway musical, famous stand up comics, the Cincinnati Ballet and other large scale performing arts events. $9-30.
- Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St (OTR, Mainstreet Entertainment District), . 6pm - 11pm. Originally a movie theater, this newly remolded venue features up and coming indie bands that would attract larger crowds than the nearby MOTR pub which has the same ownership. Price varies see show on website.
- Taft Theater, 317 East 5th St (5th and Sycamore Downtown), . A large old venue that's good for seeing bigger comedians or musical acts.
- Know Theater, 1120 Jackson St (Over-The-Rhine, South of Liberty), . Nestled in Over the Rhine, this is a theater known for doing less conventional productions. They also run the fringe festival annually. $15 advance $20 week of performance.
- Ensamble Theater of Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St (Over-The-Rhine, Gateway), . Intimate playhouse hosted in an old bank building in Over-The-Rhine. Generally plays both nationally known plays and regional specials.
- Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 718 Race St (Downtown, South of Garfield Place), . Well regarded local theater troupe specializing in Shakespearean and Classic plays. Thurs & Sun: Adult $31 Senior $27 Student $22 Fri & Sat: Adult $35 Senior $31 Student $26.
- Coney Island, 6201 Kellogg Ave (Exit 72 off of I-275), .usually 10AM-9PM. Coney Island is a piece of Americana - a park that has been in operation for over 120 years. The park is located closer to Cincinnati, on the Ohio River. General admission is $17.50 to use the rides and Sunlite Pool, the world's largest recirculating pool (200' by 401'). For cheaper admission go after 4PM when the price drops to $8.95.
- Kings Island (About 20 miles north of Cincinnati). located in Mason, OH, is one of the world's greatest amusement parks. The park is divided into three different areas - the main park with adult attractions, a children's park, and a water park. Admission to the park grants access to every one of the areas. Kings Island is also the home to record holding coasters including The Beast, the world's longest wooden roller coaster! Kings Island has just recently been sold to Cedar Fair, and the names for some of the rides have changed.
- Jack Casino, 1000 Broadway St (At the NE edge of Downtown). The Horseshoe Casino is an urban casino, and one of three that were given special permission by the state of Ohio to operate. Horseshoe Casino boasts 100,000 square feet of gambling floorspace. It features approximately 2,000 slot machines, 85 table games and a 31-table World Series of Poker room. The Casino also has four restaurants including Jack Binion's Steak and Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.
Sports are taken extremely seriously in Cincinnati. Everyone roots for the Reds and the Bengals, but college basketball is where the city becomes divided. One of the most intense rivalries in all of college basketball is the Crosstown Shootout (called "Crosstown Classic" from 2012 to 2014), the annual matchup between the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. The game has returned to having the two schools alternate hosting duties after three years at the neutral US Bank Arena located in the Central Business District. This came about because the 2011 game ended in a bench-clearing brawl (which also led to the temporary name change).
The term always refers to the Cincinnati Bengals and can be used as a cheer or a greeting among Bengals fans. At Bengals games fans screaming "Who Dey!" often leads to an entire section chanting the Who Dey chant: "Who dey! Who dey! Who dey think going to beat dem Bengals?" The answer is an extended "Nobody!" The origin of the chant comes from beer vendors of Cincinnati beer Hudy (Hudepohl) shouting the name at the front of each section. One particular section of Riverfront stadium during the 1981 Super Bowl season always erupting into the chant during games that the Bengals were winning. Eventually that chant spread to the entire stadium and is now ubiquitous at Bengals games even when they aren't winning.
- Cincinnati Bengals, One Paul Brown Stadium (Riverfront), . For more than a decade, the Bengals were the punchline of a joke about the NFL. No more, though. Since the hiring of Head Coach Marvin Lewis, the Bengals have gone on to win the AFC North Division and have gained respect within the NFL. In his first season (2003), Lewis led the Bengals with an 8-8 record compared to the 2002 record of 2-14. The Bengals have since posted an 8-8 record in 2004 and an 11-5 record with an AFC North Division Championship. Since their turnaround, a visit to a Bengals game is recommended — if you can get a ticket. Their new home is Paul Brown Stadium, named for the Hall of Fame founder and owner/first head coach of the team in their American Football League days, who before that was affiliated with and gave the name to the original Cleveland Browns, one of their fiercest rivals.
- Cincinnati Reds, 100 Main St (Great American Ball Park; Corner of Main Street and Second Street), .The "Big Red Machine" has always been a leader in professional baseball since its formation as the first professional baseball team. The team earned their nickname during the 1970s, when the team made six post-season appearances and won two World Series with the likes of Johnny Bench, Pete Rose, Tony Perez and manager Sparky Anderson. The Reds' new home is Great American Ball Park, located on the downtown riverfront near the site of the stadium it replaced, the now-demolished Riverfront Stadium. Tickets run $7 - $67, with most seats $22 or less. If you are on a budget, the Reds allow spectators to bring in their own food and drink. Drinks must be non-alcoholic, and in a sealed, clear plastic container. No cans or glass may be brought in. Coolers must be soft-sided and be able to fit underneath your seat. Ballpark tours that take you onto the field and behind-the-scenes are available at 11:30AM and 1:30PM on Saturdays off-season and non-game days during the season, with extra tours available on days with a night game. Ballpark tours $17 adults, $15 students/seniors.
- ECHL Hockey Cincinnati Cyclones, U.S. Bank Arena (Riverfront), . Hockey has a long legacy in Cincinnati. In the fifties, Cincinnati was home to the Cincinnati Mohawks, five time winners of the International Hockey League's Turner Cup. In the seventies, Cincinnati was home to a WHA team, in the Cincinnati Stingers, and an AHL team, in the Cincinnati Swords. Then came the Cyclones (1990-2004, 2006-present), and the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (1997-2005). The Cincinnati Gardens was frequented by the likes of Barry Melrose, Don Biggs, Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky on a pretty regular basis. Now, the second incarnation of the Cincinnati Cyclones play in the ECHL and are 2007-2008 ECHL champions. Crowds run 1,000-3,000 on a weeknight and 4,000-9,000 people on a weekend, far below the capacity of 12,000, so tickets should be easy to come by. However, crowds have grown significantly during the latter part of the 2007-2008 season. Game 1 of the Kelly Cup Championship game has the largest crowd in seven years to see an ECHL championship game, with 8,676 in attendance. Game 6, and final game, had 12,722 in attendance, a league record for a post-season game. $10-$20.
- Cincinnati Bearcats, 2700 Varsity Way. The University of Cincinnati has a strong tradition in basketball and an emerging tradition in football. The two-time national champion basketball team plays their games at Fifth Third Arena, located inside a structure known as the Shoemaker Center. The football team plays almost all of its home games at Nippert Stadium, nicknamed the "Wrigley Field" of college football, and is the fifth oldest stadium in college football. Occasional "big games" in football are played at Paul Brown Stadium. Football tickets are $25-$35.
- Xavier Musketeers, 3800 Victory Parkway, , fax: , e-mail: [email protected]. Box Office Hours: M-F 9AM-5PM. The XU basketball team plays at the Cintas Center, on the Xavier campus just northeast of downtown.
- Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center (River Downs), 6301 Kellogg Ave, . Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center was formerly known as River Downs. Free admission and free parking everyday. Belterra Park Gaming & Entertainment Center has a unique 110 channel in-house television system in place that allows the viewers access to race replays of every race, advance viewing of upcoming simulcast race conditions and preview shows, changing odds formats and program changes. free admission and free parking everyday.
Festivals and events
- Appalachian Festival, 6201 Kellogg Ave (Located at Coney Island Amusement Park), , fax: . Mothers Day Weekend; Friday, 9AM - 9PM, Saturday, 10AM - 9PM, Sunday, 10AM - 6PM. The Appalachian Festival is bigger and better than ever... with more than 130 crafters, dozens of entertainers on three stages, cultural and educational programs and a new mountain life exhibit area. The Appalachian Festival draws nearly 50,000 people over the three-day event to Coney Island on the shores of the Ohio River.
- Bockfest (Various places Downtown, Over-the-Rhine). Usually first weekend in March. Quirky series of events that celebrate Over-the-Rhine’s history, the coming of spring and bock beer. It usually features a parade in the Main Street Entertainment District on Friday, a nomination of a "Sausage Queen" on Saturday and a series of tours of rarely seen parts of Over-The-Rhine. Performances and other German-related events are also included. Check the website for more details and pricing on tours.
- Bunbury Music Festival (Sawyer Point). Mid July see website. Annual festival happening around mid July, featuring 100s of (mostly rock) bands on multiple stages along Cincinnati's riverfront parks. The festival was founded by MidPoint Music Festival co-founder and former Fountain Square managing director Bill Donabedian. Reaching beyond music, the festival integrates Eco-friendly and technology initiatives.
- Cincy Cinco Festival, 6295 Kellogg Ave (The Plaza at Riverbend Music Center), . Cincy Cinco celebrates Cinco de Mayo, a Mexican Holiday on the fifth of May. It showcases Latino culture, values, and traditions. All proceeds benefit the tri-state charities that support the Hispanic population. Adults $10, Kids 16 and under are free.
- Cincy Fringe Festival, Know Theatre, 1120 Jackson St (Over-The-Rhine), . Late May / early June. Like Fringe Festivals around the world, the Cincy Fringe Festival showcases the off-beat, the experimental, and the just plain weird. Over twelve days, dozens of plays, musicals, dance productions, puppet shows, and other performances are shown in locations throughout Over-The-Rhine, all within walking distance of each other. Performers range from locals to international visiting troupes. Evening are capped by unique nightly activities at the bar at the Know Theatre Underground. $12 per show, with discounts for multi-passes.
- MidPoint Music Festival (MPMF). The Midwest's biggest and best independent music festival. Over 300 emerging bands from the U.S. and abroad play all kinds of music in a parking lot in the small Pendleton neighborhood by OTR.
- Midwest Regional Black Family Reunion (Sawyer Point Park). Conceived in 1986 by Dr. Dorothy I. Height, President Emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, the Black Family Reunion Celebration is a 4-day cultural weekend event which brings consumers, corporations, communities and government agencies together to focus on the historic strengths and traditional values of the Black Family.
- Oktoberfest, Fifth St (Downtown). Cincinnati remembers its German history with a two day festival dedicated to beer and the marriage of Bavarian royalty. Cincinnati's Oktoberfest draws 500,000 over two days (Munich's Oktoberfest draws 6 million over two weeks) making it second biggest Oktoberfest after Munich's. On the Sunday everyone gathers at Fountain Square to participate in the "World's Largest Chicken Dance." This is a must for any visitor to Cincinnati. Oktoberfest is held in mid to late September. $3 and above depending on restaurant booth.
- Party in the Park (Riverfront). Held several times through out the summer, 8,000 locals and visitors are entertained by the hottest musical acts and cold draft beers. The party is held at Yeatman's Cove.
- PNC Festival of Lights, Dury Ave (Cincinnati Zoo). The Cincinnati Zoo hosts the annual Festival of Lights to celebrate the holiday season with 2.5 million Christmas lights and over 100 light displays. Other activities include live music, ice sculpture shows, taking a train around the zoo, and meeting Santa. You'll want to arrive a few hours before the light display starts because there will be little or no parking left by 4PM (of course you could take an alternative mode of transportation as well).
- PNC MidPoint's Indie Summer, 5th and Vine(Fountain Square). 7:00-11:00 Fridays from June to September. Fountain Square on Friday nights is the place to be for all fans of independent rock music. Local, regional, and national bands will perform every Friday night from 7 to 11PM! Free.
- Riverfest (Riverfront). Riverfest is Cincinnati's largest bash and is held on the banks of the Ohio during the Labor Day weekend. The event is essentially the spectacular Rozzi's fireworks display, which last for half-an-hour and is choreographed to music by local radio station WEBN. There's also a famous race between rubber ducks called the Rubber Duck Regatta.
- Tall Stacks (Riverfront). Currently on Hiatus, though traditionally held every 4 years, this festival honors Cincinnati's riverboat history. The festival also stages multiple concerts by both well-known artists and local artists. The last Tall Stacks was held in 2006 and saw 900,000 visitors. It is currently on hiatus due to the economic slowdown, but plans are in the works to bring it back soon.
- Taste of Cincinnati (Fifth Street). Taste of Cincinnati is held every Memorial weekend and draws 500,000 people each year. More than 40 restaurants sell their food for $5 or less. Live musical acts are there for entertainment once you're full. $3 and above depending on restaurant booth.
The Main Street Entertainment District (located on Main Street north of 12th Street in Over-the-Rhine) was a popular area featuring many clubs and bars. However the riots did their number on the district forcing just about every bar to close down during the 2000s. This isn't all doom and gloom as, there have been attempts to bring bars back up there with several notable night spots opening up in the last few years such as Neon's and Japp's. After a few years of Kentucky getting the attention, the center of nightlife in Cincinnati has shifted to the area near Fountain Square and the Arnoff Center, or Restaurant Row generally bounded by 8th St to the North, 5th St to the South, Vine St to the West and Main St to the East. The area is always busy on weekends, especially with many young professionals. Over the last few years it has been slowly growing with many new bars/clubs and other night spots opening up.
Across the Ohio River in Kentucky, many restaurants and nightspots are located along the riverbank in Covington's Mainstrasse District and the area of Newport around Newport on the Levee.
- Rock Bottom Brewery and Restaurant, 10 Fountain Square (Downtown, On Fountain Square), , fax:. M-Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su noon-9PM. Part of the Rockbottom Brewery chain. Features beer brewed on-site and typical bar food. Wouldn't be special except that its a place to get beer on the square.
- The Dock, 603 W. Pete Rose Way(Downtown,), . Tu-Th Su 8PM-2:30AM, F-Sa 8PM-4AM. Gay night club.
- City View Tavern, 403 Oregon St (Mount Adams), . City View Tavern has for years been a popular spot amongst locals to grab an after-work drink. The outdoor deck is small but offers one of the best views of the city.
- Neon's Unplugged, 208 12th St E (Over-The-Rhine, 1 block east of Main), . M-W 4PM-1AM, Th-F 4PM-2AM, Sa-Su 12PM-12AM. Back in the 1980s and 1990s there was a bar filled with Neon Signs that was the cornerstone of Over-The-Rhine's Mainstreet Entertainment District. This bar is now back, and offers a visitor a large selection of craft and local beer, a beergarden with a bocce ball court, and a laid back friendly atmosphere. Live music sometimes is out on the beergarden.
- Japp's Since 1879, 1134 Main St (12th and Main Over the Rhine). Tue-Thu: 4PM-1AM Fri 4PM-2AM Sat 5PM-2AM. Locally renownd mixologist Molly Wellmann along with the people who revived Neons started this classy bar which is the best place in town to get a mixed drink! There is an "Annex" next door which features special events like dance nights, neo burlesque shows and the occasional band $7-10.
- 21C Cocktail Terrace, 609 Walnut St (Enter at side alley just past 21C Hotel Downtown). Classy rooftop bar, pricey and part of the 21C Museum Hotel, with sweeping views of Downtown and Mt. Adams. $.
- Igby's, 122 E 6th St (Restaurant Row Downtown). Gorgeous rehab of an old NYC style building downtown, featuring 3 stories. Crowd can be post-college frat boy with money on weekend nights, which could be minus or a plus depending on who you are, but the bar is gorgeous. Of particular note is an outdoor balcony on the 2nd floor where you can view the crowds of drunk people below on a Saturday night. Pricey by Cincinnati standards.
- Arnold's Bar and Grill, 210 E 8th St (Main and 8th Downtown), . 11AM-2:30AM M-F, 4:30PM-2:30AM Sat, Closed Sun. Founded in 1860, this is the oldest continuously operating bar in Cincinnati. Food was added during prohibition as well as a bathtub which was rumored to be a source of bootleg Gin. Currently has a courtyard as well as live music from varied genera.
- Holy Grail Tavern & Grille, 161 Joe Nuxhall Way (Right across the street from the stadium), . Mon-Sat 11AM - 2AM Mon - Thu, 4PM - 2:30AM Fri, 2PM - 2:30AM Sat & Sun, 11AM - 2:30AM. Not necessarily the best bar in town, but if you fancy yourself a big sports fan and want to be packed in with a lot of like minded people this is your spot. Right across from the Great American Ballpark and close to Paul Brown Stadium, this place gets packed on game days.
- The Blind Lemon, 938 Hatch St, . 5:30PM - 2:30AM M-F, 3PM - 2:30AM S-S. Great bar with delightful outdoor space. The bar is located down a stone alleyway staircase on the side of Mount Adams Bar and Grill. Live music is a staple, and they have some great lemon inspired drinks.
- 16 Bit Bar + Arcade, 1331 Walnut St, Cincinnati, OH 45202. M-F 4pm - 2:00 am, Sa-Su 12 - 2:00am. A bar that has old school arcade cabinets and video game consoles, that attracts a hip crowd in a hip neighborhood. Based out of Columbus, this is the better of Cincy's two barcades with a larger collection of games and a hip geek chic nostalgia theme. Unfortunately, its also the more crowded of the two making weekend night trips kind of difficult. $.
- Tillie's Lounge, 4042 Hamilton Ave (Northside, near Blue Rock Street intersection), . Thu: 4PM–Midnight; Fri, Sat: 4PM–2AM, Sun: 1PM–10PM; Mon–Wed: closed.. Named for Tillie the elephant, a feature of the local John Robertson Circus many years ago, this bar features plush 1920's decor. Set in the Northside entertainment district. Full bar, craft beers, wine. No food served.
- The Comet, 4579 Hamilton Ave (Northside), . Bar open daily 4PM to 2:30AM, Kitchen open daily 4PM to 1AM. Featuring a huge selection of beverages including over 200 beers, The Comet's famous San Francisco - style burritos, the hippest jukebox, 2 pool tables, work from local artists, and live music weekly and there is never a cover!
- Mayday, 4231 Spring Grove Ave (Northside), . 4PM-2AM.Hipstery dive bar known for its many dance nights and live music. Northside is the place for this kind of thing if its your scene.
- The Blue Wisp Jazz Club, 700 Race St (Downtown), . Hours: Su-W 9AM-midnight, Th-Sa 9:30PM-1:30AM. Well regarded local jazz club now in a new location a bit closer to the action at Fountain Square. The old location unfortunately is now a parking lot.
- Northside Tavern, 4163 Hamilton Ave (Northside), .Northside Tavern is a large bar/concert venue that is an anchor of one of Cincinnati's most eclectic neighborhoods. Great for people watching or catching a band no one has ever heard of.
- Schwartz Point Jazz Club, 1901 Vine Street (Corner of McMicken and Vine OTR North of Liberty), , e-mail: [email protected]. Tue 7:30pm-2am, Fri/Sat 9pm-2am. For 3 nights a week in a not so great part of Over the Rhine been everywhere aging beatnik and accomplished jazz musician Ed Moss serves up some of the best jazz in the Midwest along with his equally talented improv buddies in an otherworldly speakeasy style bar that he lives above. Venue is as intimate and informal as the improvised jazz standards you'll hear. On Tuesdays they offer up a Jazz big band and a complimentary buffet while Friday and Saturday they offer Ed and a few of his buddies doing improv jam sessions. Get a taxi or uber/lyft to go here as this is not in a good part of town (but worth it to the adventurous traveler). A hidden gem! $10 cover wed w/buffet, $5 Fri/Sat.
Brewery Tap Rooms
With the recent loosening of laws regarding microbreweries and allowing them to sell beer on site, as well as increased interest in reviving its brewing heritage, Cincinnati has a growing scene of tap rooms which aren't necessarily open late but may be a good way to get microbrew straight from the source.
- Christian Moerlien Brewery, 1621 Moore St (Over-The-Rhine, North of Liberty). Fri 4PM-9PM, Sat 12PM-9PM, Sun 12PM-6PM. Greg Hardmann has the goal of becoming Cincinnati's leading contemporary beer baron. In doing this he's revived a lot of dead brands including what was Cincinnati's most famous pre-prohibition beer Christian Moerlien and by reviving the historic Kauffmann Brewery into his own contemporary brewery. Tours and food trucks are also available on site check website for details. Caution, this establishment is a bit north of where most of the revitalization has occurred.
- Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St (Over-The-Rhine North of Liberty). Thurs 4PM-11PM; Fri 4PM-12AM; Sat 12PM-12AM; Sun 12PM-7PM. Rhinegeist is a brewery started by two West Coast entrepreneurs who decided to bring the hoppy styles of San Francisco beer to the Cincinnati area. There are more than hoppy beers available here (including some very good cider) but their emphasis is on IPAs and similar. Of note is that this is in the Old pre-prohibition Christian Moerlien Building which was at its peak one of the largest breweries in the United States, even exporting its beer overseas! The building is expansive and airy, and even sports a rooftop with excellent views of OTR, Downtown and the surrounding hills. Even if you don't like IPAs this is a great visit.
- Madtree Brewing, 5164 Kennedy Ave (Oakley, just off I-71 / Norwood Lateral).Thu: 4PM-12AM Fri: 4PM - 1AM Sat 12PM - 1AM. A new microbrewery close to the Oakley Neighborhood.
- Listermann Brewing Company, 1621 Dana Ave (Dana and Victory Parkway - Near Xavier University). Mon-Sat 10AM-6PM.. A local microbrew that's near Xavier University.
- Urban Artifact, 1660 Blue Rock Street (Northside). Monday – Thursday: 4pm – 12am Friday: 4pm – 1:30am Saturday: 12pm – 1:30am Sunday: 12pm – 12am.Currently located in the basement of a former catholic church, this brewery and concert venue produces some excellent examples of sour style beer. Concerts can also be found frequently in the same space, eventual plans call for this to have concerts/events in the sanctuary and brewing in the basement. This space further reinforces that beer is Cincinnati's second religion. $.
Safety in Cincinnati
Safety ( overall) - Mid. /5.8
Safety ( day) - High /7.7
Safety ( night ) - Low/3.0
Cincinnati is a safe city to visit, however care should be taken when visiting certain neighborhoods. Some perceive downtown as unsafe, but according to a 2011 article by the Cincinnati Enquirer, Downtown is "as safe as the suburbs. ... The most common crime [downtown] is theft, which includes shoplifting but not muggings, and the most likely crime you'll suffer is having your car broken into." Therefore, it's safer to park your car in a monitored lot than on the street. As always, be sure to take proactive steps to ensure your safety regardless of where you are by using common sense. There are a fair number of Panhandlers, most aren't harmful, use common sense and firmly say no if approached.
The safest neighborhood near downtown is Mount Adams, which statistically experiences almost no serious crime. Some neighborhoods you should avoid, particularly at night, include Avondale, Walnut Hills (though East Walnut hills is fine), The West End, and parts of Over-the-Rhine.
Over-the-Rhine is becoming a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, but it is still in a transition phase. As of 2015, the safest part of Over-the-Rhine is on Vine Street from Central Parkway to just north of 14th Street at the Cincinnati Color Company building (large sign) and Main Street up to Liberty as well as the area immediately surrounding and including Washington Park (which is monitored security cameras) as far north as Taft's Ale House, and Walnut Street up to 14th street just past the 16 bit bar. These areas is well lit at night, and have constant police presence. Use caution wandering off by yourself in Over-the-Rhine at night as the neighborhood is inconsistent in its makeup. A good rule of thumb for OTR is to stay on the major streets (Vine and Main) and stay south of Liberty. Travel in a group if possible, or call/hail a cab.