We’re continually on the hunt for experiences that add richness to our lives. In the spirit of the revival of road trips, we are proud to feature a monthly section featuring destinations within driving distance of Charleston. We feel that our smart and savvy readers will find these trips interesting and entertaining.
Driving 3 hours 15 minutes Northwest of Charleston brings you to Cincinnati, Ohio. Sitting on the banks of the Ohio River, Cincinnati is a fun-filled big city that offers professional sporting events, great shopping, good food, and a majorly cool street art scene. The unique neighborhoods of Cincinnati are a big draw, separating the city’s awesome finds by imaginary lines and impressive scenery.
WHAT TO DO IN CINCINNATI
The American Sign Museum is a neon-filled wonderland. Walk down memory lane and see some iconic signs that you grew up with, or ones you didn’t, depending on your age. On display are an authentic Mail Pouch Tobacco barn sign, Speedee McDonald’s, Sputnik, Colonel Sanders KFC sign, plus much more. My favorite treasure is the fiberglass Big Boy, especially endearing since Alex Schoenbaum, Sboney’s restaurant founder, lived in Charleston and left such a legacy to our city. Shoney’s was a Big Boy franchise.
If you are in town during baseball or football season, it would be only fitting to take in a Cincinnati Reds pro baseball or Cincinnati Bengals pro football game. The Reds, the oldest professional baseball team in the US, are 5 time World Series champs and play at the Great American Ball Park March through September. Cincinnati’s football team, the Browns, play at Paul Brown Stadium August through December.
Lastly, visit President William Howard Taft’s birthplace and childhood home during your visit to Cincinnati. This National Historic Site, occupied in a 2-story Greek revival building, commemorates the only American President to serve as Chief Justice of the United States.
WHAT TO SEE IN CINCINNATI
The world’s most famous hippo, Fiona, can be found at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Fiona was born January 24, 2017, six weeks early, and the world has been watching (and loving!) her ever since. Other noteworthy exhibits at the Cincinnati Zoo include the World of Insects, elephant reserve, bonobos, meerkats, and painted dog valley. The zoo and botanical gardens are a National Historic Landmark and the country’s second oldest zoo.
A world-class selection of art is on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum, circa 1886, spanning six centuries of artwork. Peruse 67,000 pieces of art in this stunning architectural gem, originally referred to as “The Art Palace of the West”. See masterpieces by Monet, Van Gogh, and Botticelli, as well as local artists in this spectacular setting that has complimentary parking and admission.
Pop in the Findlay Market for Ohio’s oldest farmer’s market selling seasonal items, produce, meat, flowers, and gifts. It is located in the popular Over-the-Rhine neighborhood where you will also find great street art, a Biergarten, and stunning 19th-century architecture. Use the website at Art Works Cincinnati to find a map for strolling the street murals around town. Look for Migration of Tradition, The Golden Muse, Ice Cream Daydream, The Singing Mural, Armstrong, and Fresh Harvest, a few more popular pieces.
WHERE TO EAT IN CINCINNATI
Enjoy a breakfast of champions at Taste of Belgium, featuring mouth-watering waffle combinations such as the S’more, Ricotta Cream, and Chicken & Waffle . The crepes and galettes are desirable, as well, such as the Original Galette with ham, gruyère, and a runny egg yolk. Also offered are premium coffee and an arsenal of baked goods. Select your favorite coffee or tea drink from Coffee Emporium in both Over-the-Rhine or East Hyde Park locations, serving sandwiches, quiche, salads, and pastries.
A visit to Cincinnati would not be complete without indulging in Cincinnati chili, an American regional classic made of a sweet Mediterranean-spiced meat combination. You can find delicious varieties at Skyline Chili, Gold Star Chili, or Camp Washington Chili, serving it up since 1940. Choose from the yummy cheese coneys (hotdogs) or a 3-way (chili, spaghetti, cheese), 4-way (add beans), or 5-way (add onions).
Another tasty dining spot is Moerlein Lager House, a world-class working micro-brewery in the heart of Cincinnati. They offer exceptional food and over 80 beers in their 19th century beer garden. Try the phenomenal Short-Rib Poutine or the meat & cheese boards to start with and the Squash Wellington or German Sausage Platter for your main course.
Charleston folks will recognize their beloved Pies & Pints around town, as well.
WHERE TO STAY IN CINCINNATI
Indulge in a stay at the landmark French Art Deco Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, a member of the Historic Hotels of America group. The Netherland Plaza offer 561 rooms, an indoor pool, shopping arcade, and Hilton Hotel’s #1 best-selling restaurant and 5-diamond eatery (The Orchid at Palm Court) in their 40,000 sq. ft. hotel. The Netherland Plaza is located in the heart of downtown and within walking distance of many attractions.
The sophisticated 21C Museum Hotel Cincinnati and the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati are two other great choices for accommodations.
CINCINNATI, A FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
While Cincinnati is a smaller in geography “big city”, it has about anything you could want. From top-notch sports to trendy or classic activities, you can find them all in Cincinnati, a culturally diverse city that continues to grow and evolve.
Article by Melody Pittman of www.whereverimayroamblog.com