When we host attorneys from out of town for depositions and other legal proceedings in Cincinnati, they often ask what they should do if they have any spare time.
Cincinnati doesn’t headline a lot of vacation lists, but it is still a city with plenty to offer. No matter what time of year, there are plenty of things to do in the metro area. Trying to figure out what to do when visiting Cincinnati, OH? Below are a few options every visitor should consider.
The Cincinnati Zoo is truly one of the best in the United States. In fact, many claim that the most famous resident in the city lives here, and her name is Fiona the Hippopotamus. She was born in 2017, making her the first hippo born at the zoo in 75 years. She has her own mural, fan gear, beer and more.
People might come for Fiona, but they stay for everything else the second oldest zoo in the country has to offer. From the extensive elephant reserve to the arctic zone, there is really something for everyone on site.
It is best to go during warmer days, since hippos usually don’t go outside unless it is over 50 degrees. With that said, they do have some winter events for people to check out too.
If an aquarium is more intriguing, cross the Ohio River and go to the Newport Aquarium. They have sharks, penguins, hundreds of different fish and more. It’s a little cheaper, and might be the best option to go with if the weather is not that great.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Crossing the Ohio River and entering Ohio was a big step for a lot of slaves during the Civil War area. Due to Cincinnati’s location, it is the perfect fit for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
Cincinnati has a number of museums in the city, but this is the most unique. It has a ton of history housed inside, and even touches on slavery issues around the world to this day. Slavery is always a sensitive topic, but the museum is a very educational.
Technically speaking, King’s Island is in the extreme northeastern suburbs of Cincinnati. However, it is still a huge part of the entertainment scene in the area. People flock from all over the Midwest to get to this amusement park.
The major amusement park used to be Coney Island along the Ohio River. While that is still in existence, there simply was not enough space to grow. Enter King’s Island.
Attendance figures have been steady for the amusement park since opening. Only Cedar Point in Sandusky consistently gets more visitors on a yearly basis in the United States as far as seasonal amusement parks are concerned.
From thrill seekers to large families, this is a great amusement park to visit for a day. Most will be able to see and do everything they want in one day, but locals often get yearly passes for some fun entertainment.
Sports, Sports and more Sports
This might not be entirely unique to the city of Cincinnati, but the Queen City has quite the history when it comes to sports. From professional to amateur sports, the city has a little bit of everything.
The headline franchise is the Cincinnati Reds. They are the oldest MLB team, and winners of five World Series. Every Opening Day in the spring is more than just another game. The city throws a parade and makes a holiday of it. Even when it isn’t baseball season, the Reds Hall of Fame & Museum is great for any fan to visit.
Football fans can catch the Bengals play eight times a year by the Ohio River as well. Although they don’t have quite as much history as the Reds, the team still has a rabid fanbase. They are in the midst of a few down seasons, so ticket prices aren’t too bad.
Just this year, FC Cincinnati kicked off its inaugural season as a MLS expansion franchise. The city has quietly turned into a soccer town, supporting the franchise from their humble beginnings to now. They might not be ready to contend just yet, but the atmosphere for game day is great.
Finally, Cincinnati is viewed by some to be a big college town. With two D1 colleges in the University of Cincinnati and Xavier, they field a number of sports that draw in fans. The most heated rivalry between the schools takes place on the basketball court, referred to as the Crosstown Shootout.
Unique Food and Beer Options
Cincinnati, like any major city, has its own unique food scene. Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse is arguably THE place to go for a great steak in the city. Sotto, Bauer and Restaurant L are all getting recognition not only around town, but nationally as well. They are all great choices, but Cincinnati has a little bit of everything as far as food is concerned.
For drinks, Taft’s Ale House and The Overlook Lodge are just two places that provide a great atmosphere. There are also plenty of bars in different pockets of the city. The craft beer scene is growing, and many bars in the area have strong German roots.
Most don’t think of Cincinnati as a BBQ city, but it does have Eli’s BBQ. It is one of the most popular restaurants in the area, and it currently has two locations (including one at the Findlay Market, discussed in detail below).
Another cheap meal option that just screams Cincinnati is Cincinnati chili. The two most popular fast food choices to try for the authentic experience are Skyline Chili and Gold Star Chili. People seem to absolutely love it or hate it. Natives are very protective of the chili, so don’t say anything too bad about it.
With all these choices, where should a person go if they only have one day? Findlay Market in the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood might be the best choice. A lot of restaurants and shops are in the area, and it is very walkable. It’s a great place to park the car and sample some of the best options the city has to offer without having to drive all over. It’s also the perfect place to simply people watch on the weekends.
Final Thoughts on Cincinnati
The city of Cincinnati has a number of attractions that make it unique. Whether visiting for work, seeing family or taking a vacation, there are plenty of reasons to get out and about in the area.
In another article, Where to Eat in Downtown Cincinnati, you will find more restaurant options close to our Cincinnati location.