Cincinnati Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Cincinnati Trip Guide

The Queen City is a glittering hub of culture and commerce along the Ohio River in the state’s southwest corner. Its crown jewels include pro sports, a stunning museum center and a unique flair for food. Yes, that’s chili on your spaghetti. And it’s delish.
John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge
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A towering rotunda draws visitors into the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal.
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National Underground Freedom Center
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Baseball fans love the Reds' Hall of Fame and Museum.
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Fountain Square
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The BonBonerie
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American Sign Museum Vintage signs from Howard Johnson’s Ice Cream, Phillips 66 and many other businesses create a neon trip down memory lane.

Cincinnati Art Museum A wing dedicated to the Queen City’s rich artistic heritage features more than 400 works, most by artists born or trained in Cincinnati. Free.

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal A repurposed rail depot houses the Museum of Natural History and Science, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, the Cincinnati History Museum and an Omnimax.

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum You don’t have to be a Reds fan to appreciate this tribute packed with trivia, exhibits and artifacts.

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Paths leading to the 500-plus animals pass themed gardens devoted to pollinators, butterflies and more.

Contemporary Arts Center This downtown building explores the art world through temporary exhibits and an interactive UnMuseum for kids.

Findlay Market At the indoor public market in Over-the-Rhine, vendors sell produce and fresh meats year-round.

Flavors of the Queen City The three-hour food tour starts and finishes at Fountain Square and stops at old establishments and promising new ventures.

Fountain Square A dramatically lit 1871 fountain anchors a four-block district of chain restaurants and local mainstays such as Graeter’s.

John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge This precursor to the Brooklyn Bridge was the world’s longest when it opened in 1867. Take in the spectacular skyline views on a walk or drive across.

Kings Island North of Cincy, this giant amusement park features a cool Dinosaurs Alive! attraction.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Situated along the Ohio River (a former dividing line between freedom and slavery for African-Americans), this multilevel museum captures the history of slavery and slaves’ struggles for freedom.

Taft Museum of Art Located in a home that belonged to President Taft’s half-brother, this impressive collection includes sacred pieces, Chinese porcelain and a Rembrandt.


The Anchor A seafood-centric menu lists whole fish as well as sandwiches like the trout BLT.

Blue Ash Chili Hearty Cincinnati chili tastes great on its own, but it’s meant to top spaghetti, a hot dog or an omelet. Blue Ash Chili serves the combos in a no-frills environment.

The BonBonerie Enjoy soups and sandwiches followed by cookies or cakes, like an opera cream cupcake.

Daveed’s Fresh, seasonal cuisine draws diners to Mount Adams. Try the golden beet salad or duck breast served with wild mushrooms.

Graeter’s Ice Cream The fourth generation of the Graeter family churns out 30 original flavors, like black raspberry chocolate chip.

Jean-Robert’s Table Celeb chef Jean-Robert de Cavel’s French bistro near Fountain Square wows guests with bold sauces on entrees like short ribs and salmon.

Montgomery Inn Four locations serve fall-off-the-bone ribs smothered in trademark barbecue sauce. Try the Big Ted’s Platter, with pulled pork, sliced smoked brisket, ribs and jalapeño corn cakes.

Nada Dine on bright Mexican flavors served in a colorful downtown dining room. We love the pink grapefruit margaritas and beautifully braised meats.

The Quarter Bistro A seasonal menu (including pizzas) and an Art Nouveau interior beckon in Mariemont.

Rhinegeist Brewery In Over-the-Rhine, Rhinegeist pours slightly hoppy beers like Cougar Blonde Ale and Truth IPA. The former bottling plant ups the fun with Ping-Pong and cornhole games.


21c Museum Hotel Contemporary artwork (think moveable plastic penguins), spacious guest rooms and on-site dining draw travelers looking for something different downtown.

Best Western Premier Mariemont Inn A renovated Tudor-style building welcomes visitors to Mariemont.

The Cincinnatian Hotel The remodeled 1882 downtown hotel offers updated suites with fireplaces and four-posters.

Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Even if you don’t stay here, stop for drinks at Orchids at Palm Court, the restaurant in this French Art Deco

The Westin Cincinnati Many of the 456 renovated rooms overlook Fountain Square. Rooms come with standard amenities, but we love the chain’s trademark Heavenly Beds.

More information: Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Day Trip

Mason Animatronic dinos move and roar, Planet Snoopy delights tykes, and the longest wooden roller coaster in the world satisfies thrill-seekers at Kings Island, 23 miles northeast of Cincinnati. When it’s too cold to play outside, nearby Great Wolf Lodge welcomes guests with a spa and a bounty of water slides.



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