Things to do in: Cincinnati

November 15, 2016
Sherry Hopkins
Because I’ve lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, most of my life, when the opportunity to start Cincinnati Urban Adventures presented itself in 2016, taking people on tours of my city, I was thrilled! I love to see people have fun and smile. I currently have four tours and my most popular tour is The Nati in a Nutshell. The tour begins in Over-the-Rhine at Findlay Market, which is Ohio’s oldest market, dating back to 1852, before Abraham Lincoln was President.

The city may not be on your radar yet, but over the past decade Cincinnati has undergone a huge revitalisation. With a city of this size, there are too many fun activities and beautiful places to list without making it a full-fledged book, but these will keep you busy until the pigs come home (we were once one of the top pork-processing centres in the nation — pigs literally roamed the streets).

Spend some time along the riverfront

At the top of your list should be a few downtown activities along the mighty Ohio River. Stretching one mile along the river are Yeatman’s Cove/Sawyer’s Point Park and Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park, both providing gorgeous views of Northern Kentucky (as well as a few interesting sculptures in Friendship Park).

To the west, The Banks features the Great American Ballpark, home of the Cincinnati Reds, the Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals, and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The view from the Freedom Center of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, one of our National Historic Landmarks, is beautiful. Or, take a stroll across the Purple People Bridge, which leads you to Newport in Northern Kentucky, and is part of the Greater Cincinnati region.

Check out the downtown scene

two travellers having a drink on a rooftop patio

Grab a drink as you check out the view | Photo by Sherry Hopkins

Just a few blocks up from the river is central downtown, where you’ll find Fountain Square — a hot spot for all types of events, amazing restaurants and shopping venues, and the Tyler Davis Fountain, dating back to 1871. Across the street is the Carew Tower, a National Historic Landmark and, with 49 stories, the second tallest building in Cincinnati. Take the elevator up to the Observation Deck for a spectacular view of Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and, if you’re lucky, Indiana. Alternately, another great site for sweeping views is Top of the Park at the Marriott Residence Inn. The food and drinks are delish!

Tease your taste buds at one of the annual festivals

crowd of people at a Cincinnati food festival

Hit up one of the city’s many festivals | Photo by Sherry Hopkins

There are hundreds to choose from, but the Taste of Cincinnati and Oktoberfest Zinzinnati are two of our most popular annual festivals. After all, what’s better than games, live music, good food, and cold beer?! (Fun fact: we were once known as the Beer Capital of the World.)

Nourish your soul with the arts

Inside an art gallery in Cincinnati

Feed your inner artist with some Cincinnati culture | Photo by Sherry Hopkins

Cincinnati has a wide range of venues that celebrate creative expression, including (but not limited to) the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum of Art, the Contemporary Arts Center, the Pendleton Art Center, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the Aronoff Center, and the Cincinnati Music Hall, which is home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Pops Orchestra, and Opera.

Entertain the kids (or act like a kid)

water slide park in Cincinnati

You’re never too old for water slides | Photo by Sherry Hopkins

Entertain the kids and the big kid in you at one of these funtastic places: Kings Island Amusement Park, Coney Island and Sunlite Pool, and/or The Beach Waterpark. You’ll make some lasting memories while having a blast!

Have a picnic in a park

garden area in a Cincinnati park

Pick a park and pack a picnic | Photo by Sherry Hopkins

You’ll have a difficult time deciding which park to choose since Cincinnati has over 70 options, but three local favourites will provide a lovely escape from life’s hectic pace: Eden Park, Ault Park, and Washington Park are perfect for relaxation, hiking, or picnicking.

Experience a local neighbourhood’s flavour

Take your time and explore the neighbourhoods | Photo by Sherry Hopkins

Take your time and explore the neighbourhoods | Photo by Sherry Hopkins

Each and every community in Cincinnati has its own charm, and the best way to immerse yourself is to wander its streets, have a bite to eat, and discover what each has to offer. My recommendations are Over-the-Rhine, home to Cincinnati Music Hall, Findlay Market, and historical Mount Adams. Plus, it’s filled with trendy eateries and cool architecture.