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 1/2 hours northwest of Charleston brings you to Cincinnati, a popular city on the Ohio River. Often referred to as Cincy, this city of 300,000 is home to loads of colorful street art, two professional sports teams, great restaurants, a beloved zoo, and unique neighborhoods. Here is what to see and do on your visit to this Midwestern city.
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN CINCINNATI
You could spend weeks in Cincinnati and never get bored, so a weekend will just wet your whistle. The Cincinnati Zoo is a huge attraction, and the second oldest in the country. Be sure to say hello to Fiona, the world’s most famous and lovable hippo who lives here. Other noteworthy things to see at the zoo are the painted dogs, elephants, meerkats, and the World of Insects exhibit. A second family-friendly attraction is the American Sign Museum, housing dozens of retro neon signs. Be on the lookout for Big Boy; West Virginians are sure to recognize his smiling face.
History lovers will appreciate the William Taft National Historic Site, while art lovers may prefer the incredible Cincinnati Art Museum with a stunning collection of paintings, sculptures, glass, and more. Admission is free. All aboard the pristine red and white Belle of Cincinnati Riverboat for a buffet-style lunch and scenic river cruising, offering sensational photo-ops of the Cincinnati skyline and the Great American Ballpark, home to the Cincinnati Reds. Don’t miss Cincinnati’s impressive bridges, namely the Covington and Cincinnati bridge designed by John Roebling, and the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Findlay Market is a long-time farmer’s market selling meat, produce, seasonal items, and distinctive gifts. It is also Ohio’s oldest. The market has a Biergarten and is surrounded by lovely 19th-century architecture. It is in the popular Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.
You’ll find incredible street murals around Cincinnati, and can even download a self-guided walking tour map to see the exact locations at ArtWorks Cincinnati. If you have time, enjoy a scoop of Graeter’s ice cream downtown as you sit at Fountain Square to enjoy the scenery and people watching. Black Raspberry with shards of chocolate is the best-seller.
Cincinnati is home to the Reds baseball and the Bengals football teams. Take in America’s favorite pastime at a Reds’ game or catch the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN CINCINNATI
Cincinnati is chock full of tasty eateries, with one of the most famous being Cincinnati style hot dogs, which can be found at Skyline, Gold Star, or Camp Washington Chili. If you’ve never had Cincinnati chili, it is soup-like and has a sweet taste to it (Mediterranean-spiced). They put it over spaghetti noodles with cheese and onions, or eat it on coney dogs.
Grab your morning cup of joe from Coffee Emporium in either the Over-the-Rhine or East Hyde Park location. The pastry selection at Cincinnati’s oldest coffee house is mouthwatering and the selection of teas is one of the best.
Morelein Lager House is a world-class working beer bar in the heart of Cincinnati. Dive into a huge selection of smoked rotisserie meats, hand-carved sandwiches, or a gorgeous charcuterie board. Sink your teeth into Pork Loin Sliders or a Kentucky Hot Brown from Horse & Barrel Bourbon House, an attractive pub. Or, try gourmet empanadas and a salsa trio with tortilla and plantain chips from Nada, a savvy taco joint with a gorgeous patio.
WHERE TO STAY IN CINCINNATI
Style, art, and comfort set the award-winning 21C Museum MGallery Hotel Cincinnati apart from many others. Guests and visitors can browse 21C’s art galleries with beautiful pieces spread over two floors of the hotel. If you feel like a splurge, enjoy a 21C Museum Hotel suite with a living/dining room combo, contemporary furnishings, and exceptional city views.
A second choice is the iconic Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, a 40,000 square-foot French Art Deco hotel with an indoor pool, a shopping arcade, and state-of-the-art gym.
CINCY: A MAJOR PLAYER IN TRAVEL
You’ll find a host of fun things to see and do during your Cincinnati, Ohio, visit. For a city that was a stop on the Underground Railroad, home to the oldest baseball team in the country, and the capital of cornhole, it just keeps getting better and better all the time.