Best Of 2021

Historic West Fourth
Photo: Vincent DiFrancesco
Historic West Fourth

Developers hope Cincinnati’s West Fourth Street Historic District will soon parallel its former glory. The corridor was established in the early 19th century with hotels, mansions and luxurious entertainment sites housed in Italianate and Renaissance-style architecture. It landed a rank on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Since its prestigious inception, the area has shifted in and out of hot spot status. High-end shopping destinations such as McAlpin’s and Tower Place Mall came and went, parking garages and hotels have been erected and dismantled. Beloved businesses like Koch Sporting Goods, Bromwell’s and Main Auction Galleries continue to thrive, but a focus on creating more residential space never trended down, distorting the neighborhood’s sense of place and direction. Recent developments led by The Loring Group aim to reverse the distortion. The local real estate company seized properties in and around Fourth Street with over 30,000 square feet of vacant retail space. This purchase solidified 17 to 20 new and pre-existing storefronts in the district. The project, called Historic West Fourth, was officially launched in October 2019. Since then, a quiet reawakening has ensued from Plum Street, wrapping west around Central Avenue, ushering in the opening of plant store Forage, sustainability shop Koko, the second locations of Covington’s Handzy and Gumdrop, Deeper Roots coffee shop and Rebel Mettle Brewery, among others. “Fourth Street used to be this grandiose corridor that had retail and shopping. It had some of the old homes and mansions — the first apartment for William Howard Taft — it had this burgeoning history and now, as we are in 2019-2020, we’ve realized it’s making a comeback again,” says Andrew Naab, director of commercial development at the Loring Group.

Best Of Cincinnati City Life (Reader Picks): Cincinnati's best city life picks as selected by CityBeat readers

Best Of Cincinnati City Life pig

Best Of Cincinnati City Life (Staff Picks): Cincinnati's best city life picks as selected by CityBeat staff

Best Of Cincinnati City Life pig

1. Aqua on Levee

2. The Lofts at Shillito Place

3. One Lytle Place Apartments

Cincinnati’s Red Bike is one of five bikeshares across the country to win a “Living Lab” Grant from the Better Bike Share Partnership. Red Bike says the two-and-a-half-year, $200,000 grant will help them in their mission to grow equitable access via the Red Bike Go program. Red Bike will “develop and test innovative, new strategies and programs to increase access to bikeshare in the region,” says a release. Since 2018, Red Bike Go has offered a discounted $5 monthly membership to those with household incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. “Ensuring that everyone not only has access to Red Bike, but more importantly feels like Red Bike is actively catering to them has been a priority from day one,” says Jason Barron, executive director of Red Bike. “We are incredibly proud that the Red Bike Go Program is one of the best and most creative bikeshare equity programs in the country, and we cannot wait to see what we come up with over the next two-plus years.” 

1. Drees Homes

2. Fischer Homes

3. Urban Sites

1. Union Terminal

2. Music Hall

3. Cincinnati Art Museum

With almost 24,000 followers, @cincinnati_revealed takes a photographic journey through the Queen City’s “architecture, art, anecdotal history and hidden gems,” per the account description. Photos of everything from Carl Strauss-designed modern abodes and newer Jose Garcia renovations to Italianate masterpieces and folksy Swiss Chalet-style homes dot the feed, with architecture quizzes on the stories. Read the captions for history, context and fun facts about each structure, which range from public buildings to private residences. @cincinnati_revealed.

1. Northside

2. Over-the-Rhine

3. Hyde Park

1. Fiona the Hippo

2. Brian Garry

3. Anthony Muñoz

4. Bob Herzog

5. Pete Rose

6. Molly Wellmann

7. Rose Lavelle

8. Nick Lachey

9. Drew Lachey

10. Cam Hardy

Photo: Francisco Huerta

Surprise: You’re here. Travel + Leisure magazine puts out an annual list of the best places to travel in the coming year — generally beautiful and exotic locales from across the globe. But this year’s compilation, titled the “50 Best Places to Travel in 2021,” did something a little different as a result of the pandemic: It listed the top places to visit right here in the U.S. The collection includes destinations like the Alaskan coast, Las Vegas, Tulsa, Oklahoma and all of the National Parks, but at No. 11 (it’s alphabetical — to our benefit) is Cincinnati. The write-up calls out Music Hall, the new Kinley Hotel (and its in-house eatery Khora), Please, Goose & Elder, the Cincinnati Zoo and the Cincinnati Art Museum, along with its new Art Climb.