15 Top Attractions in Cincinnati | Midwest Living
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15 Top Attractions in Cincinnati

This historic city on the Ohio River offers top cultural institutions and a revitalized riverfront.

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

One of the country's prettiest zoos boasts 85 acres of flower-fringed exhibits. More than 500 animals live here, but it's the gorgeous landscaping -- especially during spring tulip season -- that makes the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden a pleasure for adults as well as children. (800) 944-4776; cincinnatizoo.org

 

Cincinnati Art Museum

The Cincinnati Art Museum has a wing dedicated to the Queen City's rich artistic heritage, with more than 400 works including furniture, painting, sculpture, ceramics and pottery, most by artists born or trained in Cincinnati. Free. (877) 472-4226; cincinnatiartmuseum.org

 

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Even from the outside, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is stirring. Its wavy architecture mirrors the Ohio River, which slaves crossed to enter the North. One of the most powerful of the center's state-of-the-art exhibits is a slave pen moved here from a Kentucky farm. (877) 648-4838; freedomcenter.org

 

Sports stadiums

The Great American Ball Park (left) is home of the Cincinnati Reds, baseball's first professional franchise. The riverfront stadium pays homage to old-time baseball shrines with the Reds Hall of Fame Museum that features player appearances and interactive exhibits. (513) 765-7000; cincinnati.reds.mlb.com

The NFL Bengals, meanwhile, play at the sleek Paul Brown Stadium; tours are available April through July. (513) 455-4800; bengals.com

Great American Ball Park

Paul Brown Stadium

60-Second Video: Cincinnati

Sports fans, history buffs, garden-lovers and foodies all flock to the Queen City to explore destinations such as the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Union Terminal, the Freedom Center, Eden Park, and the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.

Cincinnati Observatory

Peer through telescopes and take a historical tour of the Cincinnati Observatory on the hills of Mount Lookout. Check the calendar for special events throughout the year; stargaze on most Thursdays and Fridays. (513) 321-5186; cincinnatiobservatory.org

Cincinnati Observatory

Cincinnati Museum Center

The striking 1933 Union Terminal houses history, science and children's museums. Costumed interpreters help visitors make a connection with the past at the Cincinnati History Museum; kids can explore areas such as the Energy Zone, Little Sprouts Farm and Kid's Town at Duke Energy Children's Museum; and you can step back 19,000 years into the Ice Age of the Ohio Valley at the Museum of Natural History and Science. (513) 287-7000; cincymuseum.org

 

Contemporary Arts Center

This acclaimed new Contemporary Arts Center downtown explores the art world's leading edge with temporary exhibits and an interactive UnMuseum for kids, which introduces the young audience to contemporary art. (513) 345-8400; contemporaryartscenter.org

Contemporary Arts Center

Kings Island

Just north of Cincinnati on Interstate-71, this gigantic amusement park claims a landmark Eiffel Tower replica. Fun recent additions to Kings Island include Diamondback, a 230-foot-tall, 80-mph coaster with 10 vertical drops; and Planet Snoopy, with Peanuts-theme rides. (513) 754-5700; visitkingsisland.com

Kings Island

Purple People Bridge

Walk across this pedestrian bridge to Newport, Kentucky, where a splashy indoor-outdoor entertainment complex called Newport on the Levee includes the top-notch Newport Aquarium. (866) 538-3359; purplepeoplebridge.com

Purple People Bridge

Taft Museum of Art

A renovated 1820s mansion holds some 700 works from a once-private collection. The Taft Museum of Art's home is a National Historic Landmark. Take one of several self-guided family tours, pick up an audio guide, or join a docent-led group tour. (513) 241-0343; taftmuseum.org

Taft Museum of Art

Flying Pig Marathon

Winged bronze pigs on the Ohio riverfront recall the city's history as a pork-producing town and inspire the annual Flying Pig Marathon's name as well as its quirky character. Race weekend includes events such as a Pig Out pasta party. If you don't happen to be in Cincinnati on race weekend, the bronze pigs will still be there for you to enjoy. (513) 721-7447; flyingpigmarathon.com

Flying Pig Marathon

Entertrainment Junction

Trainiacs will flip for the 25,000 square feet of indoor, highly detailed model train displays at Entertrainment Junction. Kids can head for an interactive children's area to climb play structures, run trains or ride a miniature train. In West Chester, about 30 minutes north of downtown Cincinnati. (877) 898-4656; entertrainmentjunction.com

Entertrainment Junction

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum

More than 60 contemporary sculptures are scattered in forests and meadows at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum in Hamilton (30 miles north of Cincinnati); all are visible from paved roads. There's also the indoor Museum of Ancient Sculpture, featuring nearly 100 rare pieces. (513) 868-8336; pyramidhill.org

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum

Hyde Park Square

The upscale shopping and dining center on the 1896 Hyde Park Square (7 miles northeast of downtown) includes large homes, unique shops and creative restaurants offering French pastries, crab cakes and create-your-own pizzas. hydeparksquare.org

Hyde Park Square

Findlay Market

In this bustling public market built in the mid-19th century, browsers find crafts and fresh produce from April to November. About two dozen indoor merchants sell year-round. Findlay Market is in Over-the-Rhine, a historic downtown neighborhood. (513) 665-4839; findlaymarket.org

Findlay Market

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