Visiting Cincinnati, Ohio
The Cincinnati area offers visitors and residents a great many opportunities to just get out and enjoy the city. Cincinnati has a definitive German flavor and once was the beer brewing capital of the United States back in its day. Also known as “Porkopolis” for its once teeming pork industry, a major river port town and the home of professional baseball, Cincinnati has a rich and diverse background.
The city was also one of the first stops for freed slaves as they crossed the Ohio River, officially separating the North from the South. Many regional communities around Cincinnati can boast historical sites and markers for their contributions to the Underground Railroad.
In fact, one of the places to visit while in Cincinnati is the Underground Railroad Museum, situated downtown on the riverfront, between Paul Brown Stadium (home of the NFL Bengals) and Great American Ballpark (home of the MLB Reds).
There are many ways to get into Cincinnati. The Museum of Natural History, Duke Energy Children’s Museum, Cincinnati History Museum and the IMAX Theater are all located at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. Coincidentally, this is also the exact same location for the Cincinnati Amtrak stop if you’re coming by train. The Greater Cincinnati International Airport is located approximately twelve miles southwest of downtown Cincinnati, but happens to be in Northern Kentucky ( a common source of insider jokes). Interstates 75, 71, and 74 also bring visitors in from the North, South West and East when traveling by automobile or bus (which happens to have a Greyhound station in downtown Cincinnati). If you happen to be from Chicago, you can hop a Megabus ride to Cincinnati’s downtown stop for as little as $1 when you book online a few weeks ahead.
Cincinnati public transportation is limited at this time to the local bus network (known as Metro or SORTA) you can check their schedules at www.sorta.com for more information. Cincinnati currently has no light rail or subway system in place, although that should be changing in the coming 3-7 years. The City has just voted to implement a streetcar system connecting the downtown region to the area around the University of Cincinnati and the region’s major hospital area known as “Pill Hill” (the Clifton neighborhood). The State of Ohio has also approved plans for a light rail corridor that will connect Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus for passenger service in the coming years. Taxicabs are abundant in the area, and reasonably priced.
So besides the places we’ve already mentioned above, there are quite a few things to see that are unique to Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Zoo is the second oldest Zoo in the United States, and is always highly rated. The Krohn Conservatory if you like flowers and such, and the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum downtown right outside of the ballpark. The Reds are the first professional baseball team ever and always get to start the new season off at home, and the first game of the day as a special benefit.
The Cincinnati Art Museum, as well as Eden Park where it is situated are local gems. The American Sign Museum is located in Cincinnati, with the history of the sign making industry, as well as displays of some very famous historical signs.
The Roebling Suspension Bridge is located between downtown Cincinnati and Covington, Ky. This bridge looks identical to the Brooklyn Bridge (probably because it was designed and built by the same people). Mt. Airy Forest is one of the top five largest urban forest and nature preserves in the United States and offers miles of wooded trails to hike, bike and jog.
The Contemporary Arts Center and Fountain Square are close to each other in the heart of downtown Cincinnati and both offer local flavor and national appeal as well. If you like taking in the view from atop a hill, the Mount Adams area is your place. While there overlooking downtown Cincinnati and the riverfront area, you can take in local music, food and drink in many of the local establishments that have decks hosting these great views.
While in Mt. Adams you can also visit the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, a gothic cathedral which looks just like Notre Dame in Paris. During the Easter holiday, locals climb the thousands of stairs leading from the river up the hill to the Cathedral as part of the celebration.
If casino gaming is your thing, 20 minutes West of Cincinnati is the home of several casinos, however with that said the citizens of Ohio just voted for casino gaming in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo. The Cincinnati area Casino will be located on the northern end of downtown Cincinnati, and is scheduled to open sometime in mid to late 2012.
Your next stop on your trip should be the Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum. Sure it may seem a little creepy to just go walk around a cemetery, but Spring Grove is a nature preserve as well, and has won national awards for their gardens. If you would like some excitement and thrills, Kings Island is about twenty miles north of Cincinnati, and Coney Island is about 12 miles East of downtown (and Coney has the WORLD’s largest recirculating pool, along with slides, etc.).
If you go just across the river into Northern Kentucky (considered Greater Cincinnati) you’ll find the Hofbrau Haus (the ONLY original Hofbrau Haus outside of Germany and is owned by the same company that owns the original in Munich).
The Greater Cincinnati area is home to hundreds of Catholic Churches, and during the summer, every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day has a festival with live music, rides, beer booths and fun for the whole family.
Enjoy your visit to Cincinnati!