Cincinnati Travel Guide
A river’s width from the South, Cincinnati resembles a southern city in many respects: Its summers are hot and humid, a result of being in a basin along the Ohio River, and its politics lean toward the conservative. This is just the first of several different identities, however. It’s a river town, a sports town, a metropolis with architectural landmarks, and—since the opening of the $110 million National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in 2004—a history town. There are also a multitude of museums and one of the best zoos in the country. The rolling bluegrass-covered hills of Kentucky are just over the river, and the rural plains of Indiana and the meadow-marked countryside of Ohio are about a 30-minute drive away. If you want to sample a little bit of everything, consider Cincinnati your buffet.
Cincinnati’s many hills, green parks, and neighborhoods radiate north from Downtown. The downtown area is laid out along the north bank of the Ohio River, with numbered streets running east-west (2nd Street is Pete Rose Way), and named streets running north-south. (Remember the names with the acrostic “Big Strong Men Will Very Rarely Eat Pork Chops,” for, from east to west, Broadway, Sycamore, Main, Walnut, Vine, Race, Elm, Plum, and Central.) Vine Street divides the city into east and west. Fountain Square—which underwent a multi-year renovation that was unveiled in 2006—is the center of a thriving and eminently walkable downtown. Skywalks connect hotels, convention centers, stores, and garages, though the city has been dismantling some sections as part of a long-term plan to bring pedestrian life back to street level.
Across the river is Covington, Kentucky, with a prominent historic district lined with antebellum mansions and wonderful views from Riverside Drive. If flying into Cincinnati, you’ll arrive across the river at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), 12 mi southwest of Downtown in Hebron, Kentucky.
Cincinnati Restaurant Reviews
Famous for its chili, Cincinnati has more good restaurants than the most ravenous traveler could sample in one visit, including riverboat restaurants and rathskellers. The unofficial city cuisine is probably the steakhouse. High-end restaurants are sure to command a crowd when they serve up the surf and turf, and there’s no shortage of those in town, many of them locally owned.
Cincinnati Hotel Reviews
Downtown Cincinnati has several choice hotels. Many offer weekend packages including tickets to Reds or Bengals games. Staying in the suburbs is less expensive and the accommodations generally more modest. There are clusters of hotels in Sharonville along I-75 and Loveland along I-71, on the riverfront in Newport and Covington, Kentucky, on I-71/75 in Florence, Kentucky, and near Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, Kentucky.
Downtown Cincinnati is full of action, from the bustling workday crowd to theatergoers in the city to catch a play at the Aronoff Center to art patrons off to catch an exhibit at the Contemporary Arts Center. The stadiums attract huge crowds, especially during the weekends. But it’s Main Street, between Liberty Street and Central Parkway, where downtown really comes to life. Art galleries and specialty stores selling antiques, flowers, and music operate by day, and nightclubs attract a spirited crowd at night.
The University of Cincinnati and “Pill Hill,” the city’s hospital district, are found in the uptown area, north of downtown. Its international restaurants and the indie Esquire Theater draw a diverse crowd, while its restaurants and bars are frequented by fun-seeking college students.
This trendy, hillside neighborhood overlooking downtown is the place to be on the weekend. Nightclubs and restaurants line the streets and are open into the wee hours of the morning. Mount Adams is sandwiched in bounded by the Ohio River, Eden Park, and I-71. Parking is difficult, however; consider taking a cab.