Cincinnati Travel Guide 2021

2021 Cincinnati Visitors Guide

Cincinnati, Ohio is a center of history and of fun. Located on the Ohio River, Cincinnati has been a prosperous town ever since its founding as a trading post in 1788. The Queen City shows off its diversity by scheduling a variety of events throughout the year. Traveling exhibitions at the Cincinnati Art Museum and performances by the Cincinnati Opera bring culture to the city, while the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals offer seasonal games for baseball and football fans. Beer, wine, music and dance festivals round out the eclectic calendar.

Cincinnati Fun Guide

Outdoor activities abound in this family-friendly city. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike. In addition, Public Landing is a mile-long riverside walk featuring views of carefully painted showboats and other river craft that recall the city’s bustling days of river commerce. For the true outdoors enthusiast, Surf Cincinnati Waterpark offers visitors, several water slides, miniature golf courses, boat rides and go-cart racing.

Walkways and skywalks connect the sports stadiums on the riverfront to a vibrant business district, making it possible to dine, shop, see a game, and hit the clubs all without leaving downtown. Fountain Square, with its graceful Tyler Davidson Genius of Water fountain, is surrounded by office buildings full of shops, restaurants, and bars. A few blocks north are the elegant brick buildings of Over-the-Rhine, a former German enclave that’s now the place to go for live music and trendy clubs.

Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati is proud of its artistic heritage and history. At the top of Mount Adams sits the Cincinnati Art Museum, a Romanesque-style building with eighty-eight galleries, displaying some eighty thousand works of art dating back 6000 years. Its treasured art and artifacts collection covers 5,000 years of art history and includes an impressive collection of art from the Near and Far East, Africa, Europe, and America. Not just paintings and sculpture are displayed, but also finely crafted furniture (many pieces crafted in Cincinnati), porcelain, glassware, costumes, and ceramics.

Contemporary Arts Center

In May of 2003, the Lois & Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art opened in downtown Cincinnati, replacing a much smaller gallery that had been located over a drugstore for many years. The new space is an impressive building of geometric shapes and walls of glass that is an ideal showcase for what the Contemporary Arts Center refers to as “the art of the last five minutes.” The art is ever-changing and always fascinating. New and noteworthy developments in painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, performance art, and new media all find there way into the museum’s remarkable exhibits.

Taft Museum

The Taft Museum, a small, exquisite museum housed in a mansion built in 1820, has reopened after a twenty-two million dollar renovation. It exhibits stunning paintings by Rembrandt, Goya, and Turner, as well as priceless Ming porcelains. The Museum Center at Union Terminal is entered through the original ten-story high rotunda which retains carefully restored rail terminal signs and symbols from its glorious past. It now houses a collection of museums including The Cinergy of Children’s Museum, The Museum of Natural History and Science, the Cincinnati History Museum, and an Omnimax Theater.

John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge

Northern Kentucky is just a bridge away from downtown and offers almost as many attractions as Cincinnati. One of the bridges, the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, is itself worth a look–it was the prototype for New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge.

Cincinnati neighborhoods

Cincinnati encompasses several neighborhoods, each with its own ambiance. You may want to allow some time to drive through the city’s historic neighborhoods. Just north of downtown is Over-the-Rhine, an old German area whose steep streets are lined with brick row houses, many of which have been renovated. The area includes the Main Street Entertainment District, where you’ll find art galleries and nightclubs. The West End contains the city’s best-preserved collection of Italianate homes. Mount Adams overlooks the Ohio River, offering spectacular views, as well as lively nightspots. Clifton (home of the University of Cincinnati), Hyde Park and Mount Lookout are known for their distinctive homes on heavily wooded lots and their town square-style shopping districts.

Cincinnati has fine German restaurants, as well as excellent Italian and French cuisine. Be prepared to dine in some unusual surroundings. You’ll find restaurants in a former police station, a pottery factory (where you can eat in a kiln), a general store, and a saloon.

It is its very diversity that makes Cincinnati a popular destination. For a small city (only the third-largest in Ohio), it has an impressive array of museums, performing arts venues, galleries, fine dining restaurants, festivals, shopping areas, and sports arenas. It also has the Cincinnati Reds, the oldest professional baseball team in the U.S. All of this helps explain why more than 5 million people visit Cincinnati each year.

Welcome to Cincinnati Downtown Hotels

Downtown Cincinnati boasts entertainment, great art, good food and comfortable lodging, all within walking distance or the length of a short drive. Visitors can enjoy the visual and performing arts with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra or in galleries such as the Taft Museum. Those interested in history will enjoy the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. For sports fans, the Great American Ball Park and the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame offer entertainment and sports history. Just north of downtown is the Cincinnati Zoo, the second oldest zoo in the nation. Eden Park is also easily accessible from downtown. The park offers green space and is home to Playhouse in the Park, Krohn Conservatory and the Cincinnati Art Museum. Navigating downtown and the surrounding areas is easy with the Cincinnati Metro, the city’s bus service. The city center also affords many options for lodging and food. Patrons can find everything from seafood to steakhouses to French dining to Brazilian cuisine. Whether visitors are looking for a quick sandwich or fine dining, downtown Cincinnati satisfies. Downtown Hotel Service offers Hotels near Downtown Cincinnati that are quality hotels at an affordable price. Use our Search box above or click here to see available hotels!

Cincinnati Weather

Cincinnati has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. You can expect approximately 176 of sunshine during the year. The city receives 44 inches of rainfall, per year, generally during the spring and summer months. Summers can be hot and humid with an average July high temperature of 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Winters are generally mild, but occasional heavy snowfalls can make getting around the city challenging. Average snowfalls are around 20 inches. The average January low temperature is 22 degree Fahrenheit.

Winter

Snowfall in Cincinnati is lower than most of the rest of Ohio, though citizens can expect at least 14-16 inches of snowfall during the winter. This means that people can take advantage of winter sports. Winter temperatures range from 20-40 degrees and the area is often rainy. Winter is mild compared to the rest of Ohio.

Spring

Spring in Cincinnati is rainy and it is best to take an umbrella everywhere. The temperatures range from 40-60 degrees. In general, late April and early May are the rainiest and windiest months in the spring and throughout the year.

Summer

Summer is the hottest season of the year, with temperatures averaging from 70-90 degrees. Adding the humidity to this heat creates a warm humid summer. However, this allows homeowners to grow many plants and trees that gardeners consider “southern” and still survive the winter.

Fall

Falls are short but mild, with many citizens seeing a mild Indian summer turning into winter. The days are warm and the evenings are cooler, requiring a sweater or light jacket. Temperatures average between low 80s in September to as low in the 40s in November so there is a large temperature variation. Like the other seasons, the fall can be rainy.

Climate Information

On average, 186 days of the year are cloudy and the average wind speed is 10 m/h. Like many parts of the Midwest, Cincinnati sees strong thunderstorms and sometimes tornadoes throughout the spring, summer, and fall. The total annual snowfall is 23 inches, but this is variable.

The dew point, which can be a good measure of how comfortable a person would be, shows that residents of Cincinnati are often the most comfortable from late April to early June and early September to late October.

Because of its location, Cincinnati can feel the effects of large storm systems, like hurricanes, especially those originating in the Gulf of Mexico. Also while it generally has a mild winter, Cincinnati can be affected by large snow systems such as when it was buried in snow during the Blizzard of 1977 and again in 1978.

Cincinnati Transportation

Visitors can get around Cincinnati easily with the city’s Metro fixed-route bus service. An airport shuttle is also available for travelers to Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Taxis are available throughout the city. A number of limousine services also serve the city and its environs.

Interstate 275 surrounds the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, and the areas around it, which include parts of Kentucky and Indiana. Although Cincinnati is not directly next to Interstate 275, there are a couple of other interstates that connect to it. The interstate on the west side of the city is Interstate 75. It goes north and south and connects to the state of Kentucky by means of the Brent Spence Bridge. The interstate of the east side of Cincinnati is Interstate 71. It connects to Interstate 75 just before the Brent Spence Bridge in Ohio.

The city of Cincinnati is well connected with a number of major roads and side streets. Important streets in the city include West McMillan Street, Auburn Avenue, West 6th Street and Spring Grove Avenue. Important roads in the city include William Howard Taft Road, Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, Reading Road, and Central Parkway.

At the beginning of the 1900s, streetcars were the major form of transportation in the city of Cincinnati. However, the streetcar system ceased to be in existence in 1951. In 2008, the City Council of Cincinnati decided to bring back streetcars to the city. The citizens of the city approved of the idea and construction began for a new streetcar system in 2012. According to some projections, the streetcar service in Cincinnati will open in 2013. The streetcar line will run through the heart of Cincinnati and go by places that include Great American Ball Park, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Carew Towner-Tower Place Mall and Lytle Park Historic District.

The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport serves the city of Cincinnati and the surrounding area. Although the airport is located in Covington, Kentucky, the international airport is a quick drive from Cincinnati. Other airports in and around Cincinnati are Butler County Regional Airport, Lunken Airport and Cincinnati West Airport.

Three different transit authorities serve the city of Cincinnati. Those authorities are the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, the Clermont Transportation Connection and the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky. Although each authority is independent and unique from the others, all authorities have the same purpose which is to transport people from one location to Cincinnati and back in a timely manner. Buses serve most of the authority lines and all parts of the city are covered.

Cincinnati Attractions

Being Ohio’s third-largest city, Cincinnati offers some of the best attractions in the state. Sports lovers can enjoy Cincinnati’s professional teams competing against the best squads in the United States and Canada. Families can enjoy the ball game at the Great American Ball Park, which is home to the Cincinnati Reds of the MLB. With a seating capacity of nearly 43,000, this ballpark is one of the largest baseball venues in the Midwest. The Paul Brown Stadium invites football fans to watch the Cincinnati Bengals take on other NFL teams. When the home team scores a touchdown, the 65,000 seat capacity stadium is one of the loudest venues in Ohio.

Great American Ball Park

Great Ice hockey action is only a walk away from the Great American Ball Park. The U.S. Bank Area is home to the Cincinnati Cyclones of the East Coast Hockey League. Another major sports venue in Ohio’s third-biggest city is Cincinnati Gardens. The indoor arena is home to the city’s Kings (Indoor Soccer), Commandos (Indoor Football) and Rollergirls (Roller Derby) teams. Large enough to accommodate nearly 11,000 spectators, Cincinnati Gardens is also one of the premier entertainment venues as it hosts concerts, shows and other exciting performances oriented towards family-friendly fun. Home to the Cincinnati Masters, The Linder Family Tennis Center hosts one of the largest annual tennis events in the United States. Tennis fans can watch the world’s best men and women compete in one of the largest tennis-specific venues in the country.

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens

The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens is one of the most popular attractions for families visiting the city. Being in operation since the late 19th century, Cincinnati’s zoo is one of the oldest zoos in North America. Covering over 65 acres, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens is home to nearly 2,000 animals from more than 500 different species. Additionally, visitors can explore some of the world’s most beautiful flowers, grasses, plants, trees, and shrubs in the city’s premier botanical gardens. Tourists can also explore amazing marine wildlife in the Newport Aquarium, which is located within Kentucky territory right across the Ohio River near Downtown Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Museum Center

Anyone who has an appreciation for great architecture and history can satisfy his or her interests at the Cincinnati Museum Center that is located in the Union Terminal train station. Most of the historic art deco building has been converted to space that is now home to a history museum, natural history and science museum, children’s museum and other cultural venues such as a theater and library.

Sports

Cincinnati is the home of 2 major sports teams, the Cincinnati Reds baseball team and the Cincinnati Bengals football team. Visitors to the city can enjoy games at Cinergy Field and Paul Brown Stadium, respectively.

Museums

The city has a variety of museums to enjoy, including the Taft Museum of Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal and the Duke Energy Children’s Museum. In addition, you can stop by a number of specialty museums, such as the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum, the American Sign Museum and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Culture

Cincinnati is home to an orchestra, ballet and a number of theater groups. Visitors to the city can also enjoy zoos, botanical gardens, observatory and library. Cincinnati is the cultural center of the Indiana-Kentucky-Ohio border region.

Other Activities

Cincinnati has entertainments for every taste, including an ice rink, zoo, architectural walking tours, parks and hiking trails. Eden Park is a favorite spot for visitors, with interesting views of the Ohio River, outdoor sculptures, basketball courts, war memorials and picnic areas.

Cincinnati Dining

Cincinnati, Ohio, is the gateway to Kentucky, and its dining selections for tourists include a blend of Midwestern and Southern fare. Cincinnati is also a cosmopolitan city providing its residents and visitors alike the chance to taste upscale and international cuisine. Cincinnati has a wide variety of restaurants, including Italian, Asian, Indian, French, American and other cuisines. Eating establishments range from burger joints to grills to five-star restaurants, with food to suit every taste.

Cincinnati chili

Cincinnati’s signature dish is Cincinnati chili. This is a kind of thin chili con carne sauce that is frequently served on hot dogs or over spaghetti noodles. It can also be served in a bowl, with cheddar cheese, onions, mustard, beans, or other toppings. Tourists who want to taste Cincinnati’s unique gift to the culinary world will want to try this dish at least once. Skyline Chili is one restaurant known for its Cincinnati-style chili. The original Skyline Chili is found on Vine Street downtown. Other places to get Cincinnati-style chili are Gold Star Chili, which serves chili the traditional way and inside burritos and even offers a vegetarian version, and Camp Washington Chili which is found in the Camp Washington area of downtown Cincinnati and is designed to resemble a 1950s-era diner.

Eli’s BBQ

Eli’s BBQ is the place to go for simple food with a Southern accent. This barbecue restaurant features ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, cornbread, coleslaw, and potatoes. It is found on Riverside Drive in the East End/Mount Washington area.

Melt Eclectic Deli

For a memorable dining experience, visitors to Cincinnati may want to walk into Melt Eclectic Deli on Hamilton Avenue, which offers a new take on the hot sandwich. There are vegan and gluten-free options, cheeses made without rennet, and organic vegetables and meats stuffed between whole grain bread slices or wrapped into wrap sandwiches. Interesting options include the veggie cheesesteak or the Kirby Melt with baked tofu. A breakfast menu is also available, as is a weekly Sunday brunch, featuring many inventive vegan and vegetarian choices.

Bakersfield OTR

Bakersfield OTR downtown on Vine Street offers Mexican street fare, like tacos with several filling options, including braised pork, crispy fish, or corn truffles with roasted poblano peppers. Mexican torta sandwiches, chips with queso dip, and tequila and whiskey are also served. Patrons can dine outdoors as well.

Green Papaya

Green Papaya on Wasson Road in the Hyde Park/Mount Lookout Area features Thai cuisine and sushi. Thai cuisine classics are served, including spring rolls, pineapple fried rice and pad Thai noodles, along with various curry dishes. Sushi can be ordered with fillings such as octopus, clam, or barbecued eel. Vegan and vegetarian dishes are served along with meat dishes.

Cincinnati Annual Events

Bockfest

Bockfest celebrates the heritage of German brewing and it takes place early March. It is now a tradition that was created by breweries as a way to release all of their seasonal bock beer at the same time. The event starts out with a parade at Arnold’s Bar and Grill, the oldest saloon in the city, and travels up Main Street, ending at Bockfest Hall, where the first keg is blessed.

Cincinnati International Wine Festival Grand Tasting

The Cincinnati International Wine Festival Grand Tasting takes place in the beginning of March and features rare, exciting and new wines from all over the world. This is a great event for wine connoisseurs where over 600 wines from more than 100 wineries are up for sampling. Guests can also participate in a silent auction and enjoy a variety of delicious food.

Taste of Cincinnati USA

Taste of Cincinnati USA jumps off during May on Memorial Day weekend in Downtown Cincinnati. It covers Fifth Street for six blocks, from Race Street to Broadway. Local area restaurants dish up and serve out a variety of appetizers, soups, seafood entrees, desserts and more as they participate in this annual culinary competition. Live music performances take place on multiple stages at this free event.

Cincy Fringe Festival

During Cincy Fringe Festival in late May, downtown Cincinnati is invaded for 12 days. During this span of time, local, international, regional and national artists participate in an artistic extravaganza, showcasing some of their most creative, original performances and works. The artists represent various media including dance, music, theatre, visual art, film and so much more.

Macy’s Music Festival

Macy’s Music Festival takes place during the end of July on Cincinnati’s riverfront. Guests can expect to see the hottest R&B, hip-hop, jazz, and soul artists at this two-day event. There is sure to be an outstanding line-up of artists performing some of the best music and entertainment.

Brew Ha-Ha

The Brew Ha-Ha is an adult event held during late August. It features over 100 different brands of beer for participants to sample and buy. Fifty guest comedians are scheduled to perform on three different stages throughout the two-day event. There’s lots of laughter, fun, and relaxation for the 21 and overcrowd.

Riverfest

Riverfest pops off in September on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend and features one of the Midwest’s largest fireworks displays. There is plenty of food, music, entertainment and family fun to be had. Riverfest is held on the Riverfront at Sawyer Point and Yateman’s Cove.

PNC Festival of Lights

The PNC Festival of Lights is one of Cincinnati’s most popular traditions, and it takes place at The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens beginning November 23. Over 2.5 millions sparkling LED lights will twinkle in the eye of the beholder. Over 100 lighted displays are also featured. Guests can marvel at the 35-foot-tall decorated tree, experience breath-taking light shows, and be entertained by Rappin’ Elves and other characters who just may stroll through for a visit. Children are sure to have a blast at this fun-filled, delightful event.

Shopping near Downtown Cincinnati

Enjoy the city’s varied shopping experiences at Mount Adams, O’Bryonville, Mainstrasse Village, Hyde Park Square, the Findlay Market and the Kenwood Towne Center.

Tri-County Mall

A beautiful mall with more than 150 esteemed retailers, Tri-County Mall is where shoppers can find a little of everything from fashion to jewelry, electronics and home decor. Some of the popular retailers here include Sears, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Hollister and Zales.

Hyde Park Square

Hyde Park Square is an attractive plaza that includes specialty boutiques, art galleries and restaurants. Shoppers will find a blend of both discount and high-end products here.

MainStrasse Village

Featuring historic buildings, landmarks and cobblestone streets that have been restored to resemble a 19th century German village, MainStrasse Village encompasses five blocks of quaint shops, boutiques and restaurants.

Mt. Adams

One of Cincinnati’s fine neighborhoods, Mt. Adams is a great place for shopping, dining and entertainment. Shoppers here will find art galleries, antique shops and boutiques selling unique gift items.

Shake It Records

Music lovers don’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind music store. With more than 30,000 CDs, shoppers are sure to find something by their favorite musicians as well as hard-to-find items.

Tower Place

Located downtown, Tower Place is where shoppers can find unique items at specialty boutiques as well as popular stores like Bath &Body Works, Ann Taylor and The Gap.

Kenwood Towne Centre

At the Kenwood Town Centre, shoppers will find a little of everything from home furnishings to electronics, toys and fashion. Kenwood Towne Centre features more than 180 stores of well known retailers like Pottery Barn, Build-A-Bear, MAC Cosmetics, J. Crew, Bebe, Coach, Aveda and more.

Cincinnati Premium Outlets

At Cincinnati Premium Outlets, shoppers can find great bargains on name-brand items. This outlet mall features more than 100 outlet stores like Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Saks Fifth Avenue, Banana Republic, Coach and Guess just to name a few.

Findlay Market

Located in the historic neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine near downtown Cincinnati, the Findlay Market is one of America’s oldest open-air markets. Here, shoppers can find the likes of fresh produce, cheese, meats, fish, flowers and more.

Jungle Jim’s International Market

Covering six acres, Jungle Jim’s International Market is a gigantic food market that offers tens of thousands of imported and national food items. Meat lovers will be spoiled for choice with the wide selection of quality meats here that range from fresh seafood to prime beef cuts to exotic meats like alligator and kangaroo. The store’s bakery produces 700 loaves of bread daily from a variety of European recipes. Additionally, shoppers will find cheeses, wines and beers here from all over the world.