At the Cincinnati Art Museum , a wing dedicated to the city’s rich heritage features more than 400 pieces, mostly by artists born or trained in town.
Excellent margaritas and worth-the-calories Mexican dishes secure Nada as a great stop for lunch downtown.
You’ll feel like you’re walking through someone’s lovely home at the Taft Museum of Art—as long as that someone owns a Rembrandt.
The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum shares the team’s fascinating beginning.
And the day ends well with foie gras, confit quail and duck at Jean-Robert’s Table, run by the hometown chef himself.
Even if you don’t overnight at the Hilton Netherland Plaza, stop in for drinks at Orchids at Palm Court.
The Westin Cincinnati at Fountain Square pairs the chain hotel’s heavenly beds, great pool and Ingredients cafe for a quiet stay (from $129).
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center celebrates liberty while exploring the history of slavery and the fight to end it.
Exquisite gardens and more than 500 animal species entertain visitors at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.
An unpretentious waitstaff serves fresh seafood at The Anchor in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.
Fill an afternoon shopping the numerous options in Hyde Park Square.
Locals know to seek out Daveed’s Next in the Mount Adams neighborhood for locally sourced casual dining; try the house specialty, pan-seared duck breast, or the tapas.
Add a day
A single ticket buys access to three great museums—Cincinnati History Museum, Museum of Natural History and Science and the Duke Energy Children’s Museum—plus an Omnimax theater show. Even better, it’s all in the striking Union Terminal, a mosaic-filled, Art Deco jewel. (513) 287-7000; cincymuseum.org
More information: Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau (513) 621-2142; cincyusa.com
5 Great Places to Sample Regional Favorites
1 Montgomery Inn Four locations, including one downtown, serve delicious fall-off-the-bone ribs smothered in trademark barbecue sauce. Try Big Ted’s Platter with pulled pork, sliced smoked brisket, famous spicy ribs and jalapeño corn cakes. (513) 721-7427; montgomeryinn.com
2 Graeter’s Ice Cream Throughout the city, the fourth-generation, family-owned ice cream parlors churn out 20 original flavors like Black Raspberry Chip. Their French pot process produces just 2 gallons at a time to ensure a rich and creamy frozen treat. (513) 381-4191; graeters.com
3 Blue Ash Chili Try the hearty, award-winning Cincinnati chili in a bowl on its own, or try it on a bowl of spaghetti, on a hot dog, on an omelet or layered in a one-of-a-kind lasagna. (513) 984-6107; blueashchili.com
4 Glier’s Goetta Locals consume more than 1 million pounds of this Kentucky company’s breakfast sausage each year. Area restaurants like Price Hill Chili incorporate the goetta in their menu items. (513) 471-9507; pricehillchili.com
5 Findlay Market Open year-round, but spilling outdoors during the summer, this spot in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood sells a great mix of ethnic, traditional and organic foods. You’ll find meat, produce, cheese, baked goods, honey and more. It’s a tradition that dates to 1855. (513) 665-4839; findlaymarket.org
Bring the Kids
Kings Island Animatronic dinos move and roar, Planet Snoopy delights tykes, and Soak City Waterpark cools summer days at this amusement park north of Cincy in Mason. (513) 754-5700; visitkingsisland.com