Midwest Living Review
Irish and German immigrants, beer-brewers, crime bosses -- the Queen City Underground tour covers quite a bit of Cincinnati's colorful, turn-of-the-century history. Two-person teams dressed in period garb paint an elaborate picture of life in long-ago Cincinnati, as they lead groups past forgotten theaters that once hosted Buffalo Bill Cody and Cincinnati's Strongest Man and beer gardens frequented by boxing legends and corrupt city officials. The tour focuses on Over-the-Rhine, the city's original German neighborhood, which is gentrifying after years of decay. For residents a bit nervous about venturing into this part of town, this is a great way to start. The tours are popular, so expect to be part of a large group. (On the steamy summer afternoon we attended, the crowd topped out around 100!) The program is well-run, though, and the operators manage the large groups quite well. Highlights include walking down makeshift stairs to a Gothic cellar that once kept countless barrels of German beer cool and hearing from the groundskeeper at picturesque Saint Francis Church, where Franciscan friars once enlisted the area's immigrant population into its fold. A quick head's up: Participants must sign a waiver due to steep stairs along the route; visitors in wheelchairs, the elderly or families with strollers may have difficulty trekking these portions. The tours cost $15 per person.