Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What to do in Cincinnati?

I've scoured city guides looking for things to do in the various cities I've lived in and visited. Sometimes the guides are helpful, often they're not. I think it is difficult to make a travel guide that really caters to a variety of audiences and interests. But, since I'm dissatisfied so frequently with those guides, I'm going to attempt to compile some of the best ideas for places to visit and things to do in Cincinnati, Ohio.

First off, as I've already mentioned my new love of geocaching, there are geocaches all over Cincinnati. So, no matter where you go, if you have one of the latest and greatest phones with both internet connection and a GPS, all you need is a (free) account on geocaching.com, and you've got everything you need. Do it. You won't regret it.

Parks.

Cincinnati has a great abundance of beautiful parks. Take your pick. Eden Park is one of my favorites. The Cincinnati Art Museum and Krohn Conservatory are located there. I've only ever walked by the conservatory, but I've been to the museum several times.

The Cincinnati Observatory.

I've looked a number of times at the calendar and hours of the observatory, and they seem rather odd and fickle, but at some point I'm determined to visit when they're open.

Riverwalk.

There are a number of areas with access to trails and pathways that go along with Ohio River and some of the connection smaller rivers. I've found these trails to be enjoyable, particularly if you're in the mood to bike or roller-blade. The only one I've specifically visited has been the Warren County Bike Trails along the Little Miami.

Museums. 

Obviously, I've already mentioned the Cincinnati Art Museum. There's also the Taft Museum of Art (which I've never been to but heard was interesting), the Contemporary Arts Museum, The Fire Museum of Cincinnati (never been there either), and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (I'm not sure how I've not been there yet....). There's also the American Sign Museum, but I don't really know anything about it.

The best of the museums, in my opinion, can be found at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. There you have the Cincinnati History Museum (I've never been but I've heard really good things about this one), the Museum of Natural History and Science (went here many times as a kid), and the Duke Energy Children's Museum (one of my favorites!). They also have an Omnimax theater there, a guarantee that there is probably something interesting showing. There also is usually a rotating/visiting exhibit to check out. And then, of course, just visiting the building is cool. Great architecture.

Animals.

Newport Aquarium is definitely worth visiting at least once. Newport-on-the-Levee has a lot more to offer than just the aquarium, but if it is the aquarium that takes you there, that's not such a bad thing.

The Cincinnati Zoo is wonderful. Most recently I was there for the Festival of Lights where everything was decked out in beautiful displays of twinkle lights. That was pretty fantastic.

Gentle Queen Hot Air Balloon Rides.

Pretty self-explanatory, this is yet another one of the things I've never done but would like to do. I'd imagine that this would give you a nice view of Cincinnati. :) Another option in this direction is Bella Balloons. If you're interested in other air activities, I know there are options in Cincinnati for sky diving and airplane rides.

Findlay Market

Findlay Market is special. I've visited parts of Europe but never really lived there, but from the perspective of my parents who lived in Germany for several years, Findlay Market is like a market in Germany. The Market is mostly one long building that has an abundance of meats and other food products to sell. On nice days there is a wide variety of produce outside. There's just something real about the food you buy there, as if it is coming to you more from the source than the removed experience of going to the grocery store. There are a some shops that line the market and some stands with other wares, but food is really what it is mostly about.

Fountain Square.

There are a variety of events and festivals that are held at Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati. Most recently I went to the Cincinnati Celtic Festival which is now held there.

Holy Cross Immaculata.

We climbed the steps to reach Immaculata and it was a beautiful view of Cincinnati and a beautiful church. I've also heard that Carew Tower has a beautiful view of Cincinnati, but I have yet to do that.

Spring Grove Cemetery.

The Spring Grove Cemetery is the second largest in the United States. This is just another beautiful location to walk and explore, as there are several miles of roadway.

Underground Railroad Walking Tour of Springboro.

This is another I've never done, but which sounds quite interesting. It can be done on your own for free, or by guide for a small price.

Queen City Underground.

If you're looking for something slightly outside the norm, or if you're looking for some way to get an interesting look at Cincinnati, this might be a good activity for you. It is essentially a tour of some of Cincinnati's landmarks and older buildings, giving you a glance at the history of Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Dinner Train.

This is one that I haven't done but would really love to do. It requires some planning ahead and is a bit pricey, but it is basically tour by train of Cincinnati in combination with a nice dinner.

Cincinnati BB Riverboats.

Another unique view of Cincinnati, a ride on the BB Riverboats might be a thought, whether for dinner, sightseeing, holidays or something else. 

Aronoff Center for the Arts.

The Aronoff always has something showing, so if you're in the mood for a musical or show, unless you're looking for something more independent, this is a good place to go. There's also the Cincinnati Ballet,

Festivals and Events.

There are, of course, always interesting events and festivals coming and going in Cincinnati. For example, this weekend we have the Flying Pig Marathon (one which I've never gone to as the Indy 500 Mini-Marathon is always the same weekend).  A quick internet search can help you find what's going on whenever you're looking to visit Cincinnati.

Kings Island.

I would feel neglectful if I failed to mention Kings Island. I grew up going here each summer to ride the rollercoasters and eat funnel cake. This is a pretty good park as they go. Ceder Point is close enough to be an attraction of the same nature, but Kings Island is local.

Sports.

This really isn't my area of interest of expertise, but during their respective seasons, you might considering going to a Reds or Bengals game.  Although, I'd probably be interested in going to see the Cyclones...

Jungle Jims.

Only the most awesome grocery store ever. Seriously.


I'm fairly certain I've only scratched the surface of possibilities, but hopefully this will provide you with a few ideas of things to do in the beautiful and colorful city of Cincinnati. :)


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