The Queen City’s crown jewels include pro sports, a bounty of great museums and a standout zoo.

March 24, 2014

Day 1

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.

Cincinnati Art Museum
Cincinnati Art Museum. Photo courtesy of

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.

Enjoy the stories behind pro baseball's oldest team at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.

And the day ends well with sea scallops in anise sauce at Jean-Robert's Table, run by the hometown chef himself.

Even if you don't overnight at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, stop in for drinks at Orchids at Palm Court.

The Westin Cincinnati at Fountain Square combines heavenly beds, a great pool and Ingredients cafe for a quiet stay.

Day 2

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-including rare African painted dogs-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 for antiques, artwork, apparel and jewelry in Hyde Park Square.

Locals know to seek out Daveed's Next in the north suburb of Loveland for locally sourced casual dining; try the house specialty, pan-seared duck breast served tapas-style.

Day 3

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;

Cincinnati Museum Center
Union Terminal

More information: Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau (513) 621-2142;

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;

2 Graeter's Ice Cream Throughout the city, the fourth-generation, family-owned ice cream parlors churn out 20 original flavors like Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip. Their French pot process produces just 2 gallons at a time to ensure a rich and creamy frozen treat. (513) 381-4191;

Graeter's Ice Cream.
Graeter's Ice Cream.

3 Blue Ash Chili Hearty, award-winning Cincinnati chili is great in a bowl on its own, but it's meant to top a bowl of spaghetti, a hot dog, or an omelet-or fill layers of one-of-a-kind lasagna. Blue Ash Chili serves it all for a low price in a no-frills environment. (513) 984-6107;

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.

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;

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;

Kings Island. Photo courtesy of Ohio Tourism.
Kings Island. Photo courtesy of Ohio Tourism.