Cincinnati is one of the coolest under-the-radar cities in America. In addition to cultural institutions, like the epic art deco Museum Center, and a dining scene to rival some of the more populous cities, there's also a really solid sense of identity and pride that comes from a close-knit small town, which makes Cincinnati such a unique and special place to visit.
The Tyler-Davidson Fountain, located on Fountain Square, is one of Cincinnati's favorite icons, and the area around it is a popular downtown hangout spot. There's something going on just about every night, from dance lessons to concerts to movie screenings.
Love it or hate it, you should at least try it. The city's signature dish, Cincinnati chili from Skyline, is a distinctive chili-like meat sauce over spaghetti, topped with cheese. It's divisive, but those who like it really like it. Try it on a hot dog, coney-style, if you prefer.
Cincinnati is definitely a baseball town. The Reds were the very first professional baseball team, having been established in 1869, so there's a ton of interesting history to sort through when it comes to the city and its beloved Redlegs. From their role in the Black Sox scandal to the Big Red Machine, you can see all kinds of memorabilia, and dig into the team's history at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.
Right in front of the beautiful old Music Hall building is Washington Park, a patch of green space in the historic and trendy neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine. There's a dog park, a playground, a splash pad, a gazebo for concerts, and a bar. They also frequently have various events going on, from live music to craft fairs to movies in the park.
One of Cincinnati's most consistently delicious restaurants, Salazar is a guaranteed hit. The menu, which is all seasonal, changes every so often, but each dish will come out looking beautiful and tasting amazing. It's one of the most popular places to eat in the city, and you'll know why when you go.
Cincinnati has a great craft beer scene...and the city is also known for having a lot of old churches, so a craft brewery in an old church is kind of a no-brainer. Named for the only President to hail from Cincinnati, and serving up some really great brews in a gorgeous restored building, Taft's Ale House has quickly became a local favorite.
Another local brewery, Moerlein is more historic than Taft's, with roots dating back to the 19th century. Their taproom serves giant pretzels and other German grub, pours a really solid rotation of beers, offers tours, and has giant Jenga games to play.
There is no lack of great places to drink in OTR, but the beer garden at Queen City Radio is quickly becoming a favorite. With fun cocktails (including some supremely drinkable frozen ones) and an insanely massive beer list, you could easily spend a few hours here trying a little bit of everything. There's a pool table and a juke box... and a food truck permanently parked outside, where you can grab a chili dog, fries, or a deliciously sloppy burger if you need to soak up the booze.
Part art museum, part restaurant and bar, part hotel, all awesome. The rooms at the 21c Museum Hotel have subtle, funky, artsy touches and the first two floors of the building are dedicated to an art museum of rotating weird awesomeness, and the Metropole, the onsite restaurant. Pro tip: there's a cocktail bar on the roof.
Brunch time! Taste of Belgium is most well-known for their decadent Belgian waffles (so rich and sweet you don't need any toppings, although you can certainly get it with berries, chocolate, whipped cream, and more), but they also have Bloody Marys and mimosas, and it's a great place to sample another Cincinnati delicacy: goetta, a special kind of sausage.
Spend the morning gawking at the stunning architecture of the Cincinnati Museum Center, a train station-turned-museum. Believe it or not, it's even cooler-looking inside, and features a history museum, a natural science museum (with a cave!), an awesome children's museum, an OMNIMAX theater, and tons more.
Located at Findlay Market, Cincinnati's historic covered market, is Pho Lang Thang, a tasty Vietnamese eatery. Bahn mis and pho, plus great Vietnamese coffee, are the perfect lunch to grab so you're not too hungry as you poke around the stalls and shops.
One of Cincinnati's bigger craft breweries, Rhinegeist is in a beautiful, huge old building and serves up tons of beers (and cider) to a fun crowd. They also have cornhole inside, so grab a beanbag and practice your tosses while you enjoy your beer!
With a great location in stunning Eden Park, and a lovely collection of pieces from various artists across the globe, the Cincinnati Art Museum is a great place to get lost for a bit. And the best part? It's free to visit!
Also close to the Art Museum is the Krohn Conservatory, with a fun collection of plants that range from exotic to interesting. Orchids, palms, bonsai trees, cacti and more can be found within. There's also a butterfly exhibit that's well worth a visit.
Drive along the river and take in the views on your way to Eli's BBQ. You can order smoked meats and sides inside and then sit under the tent and listen to some live music while you eat. Hopefully you picked up some beer or wine at Findlay Market or Rhinegeist because this place is BYOB!
A hidden gem of the Mt. Adams neighborhood, the Blind Lemon is a little, low-key bar with a quirky decor, a great patio, live music, tasty cocktails, and an intimate vibe.
End your night at Arnold's, which has been serving solid grub and slinging drinks for Cincinnatians since before Prohibition. Sit in the courtyard and enjoy some awesome live music with a local craft beer!
The weather in Cincinnati is predictably unpredictable. Summers can get hot, and late winters can get snowy, but you never know. Fall brings beautiful autumn leaves, and everything blooms in the spring (despite the sometimes-drizzly weather). Plus, Cincinnati is home to an early-summer music festival as well as pro baseball and pro football teams, all of which are worth checking out when in season.