30 Activities to Put On Your Cincinnati Summer Bucket List
Summer is right around the corner, and for those ready to leave their cabin fever behind, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the season in the great outdoors. From keeping cool with a Northern Kentucky ice ball to catching Kings Island's new extravagant fireworks display, kayaking, hiking and more, here's your can't-miss guide to summer in Cincy.
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We all need a getaway sometimes and the hot summer calls for a trip to a cabin shaded by trees. Follow the link to find a list of cabins — all within driving distance of Cincinnati — nestled in secluded forests or perched atop hillsides offering breathtaking views. Many are located near parks featuring hiking trails for the perfect adventure right outside your door.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger | Somerset
Summer is the perfect time to explore places you may not have ventured to before. Take a walk around the city and see if you can find some of Cincinnati's hidden bars (secret garden patios and underground nightclubs beckon). The Queen City may be packed with nightlife options, but there are a few local gems that remain a challenge to find. Click the link to find some Cincinnati bars that may be playing hard-to-get...but they're totally worth the struggle.
Photo: Danielle Schuster
11566 Reading Road, Sharonville
Opened as an A&W Root Beer Stand in 1957, the now family-owned restaurant makes secret-recipe root beer (available by the jug) using water from the property’s 280-foot-deep well. But don’t miss out on the food — the secret-recipe chili for the eatery’s famous foot-long coney dogs is to die for. Open seasonally.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger | Nolia
Looking to escape the heat for an hour? Make the most of your downtime by hecking out some of the Queen City's newest restaurants. Cincinnati's food scene is definitely starting to heat up —dozens of restaurants have opened in recent months, from Mexican joints to a ramen spot and a new Italian restaurant in Covington. Follow the link to find a taste of what folks are buzzing over this season.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
20 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue
As summer approaches, a seasonal favorite is making its way back to Northern Kentucky sweet shops — ice balls. A combination of finely ground ice with rich, flavored syrup generously poured on top, this dessert has become a seasonal staple in Northern Kentucky since its inception in 1919. The more-than-a-century-old legacy continues at places like Schneider’s Sweet Shop in Bellevue and Sweet Tooth Candies in Newport, where you can pair your favorite flavored ice with smooth ice cream to further enhance the experience.
Photo: provided by BARk Park & Patio
7544 Burlington Pike, Florence
Sometimes you just need a drink and your dog needs some playtime so the BARk Park & Patio is the perfect place to take your pup this summer. The BARk Park is Cincinnati’s first bar and dog park, which opened this April in Florence, Kentucky. Patrons can enjoy 18 craft brews and two wines. The taproom is self-serve and guests can sync their credit cards to a BARk Park card that they can use to pour their own beer. Everyone must sign a waiver prior to entering the park and pups will need a day pass or monthly membership to play. Passes range from $10-216 per dog. Those without a dog can simply enter the establishment for free.
Photo: provided by Great Parks of Hamilton County
Greater Cincinnati is home to a myriad of parks offering diverse hiking trails perfect for every sort of hiker. As the temperatures climb, Cincinnatians should take advantage of the many benefits the outdoors offers. The outdoors increases serotonin levels and gives your immune system a boost — it’s a natural energizer. Got a dog? Walk it. Have kids? Tire them out. An old friend? Reconnect with them. Or, go Walden-style and wander alone to your heart’s content. Click the link to find a sampling of the best hiking spots in the Cincinnati area.
Photo: Kevin J. Watkins
316 Pike St., Downtown
The Taft Museum of Art is celebrating its 200th anniversary with a full-scale restoration project. They closed for a few months in the spring of 2022 and are reopening in June with an amazing new exhibit. From June 11-Sept. 4, the museum will present Jane Austen: Fashion & Sensibility
, a special exhibition that features costumes worn by Hollywood celebrities in film and television adaptations of Austen's novels. The costumes are journeying across the Atlantic from Cosprop LTD, an award-winning British costume house based in London, to the Taft to be displayed in North America for the first time.
Photo: provided by Kings Island
6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason
In celebration of Kings Island’s 50th anniversary, the park decided to update its nightly fireworks show. The show now will conclude with 200 synchronized drones, laser projections, fire bursts and plenty of fireworks that will tell the story of Kings Island over the past 50 years. “Fun, Fireworks and Fifty – A Kings Island Nighttime Spectacular," lasts for 14 minutes (four times longer than the show lasted in years past), and will continue through the summer.
3400 Vine St., Avondale
A stroll through the zoo grounds may be the perfect thing to do this summer in Cincinnati. Kids, teens and adults alike can enjoy viewing all the many animals and botanicals throughout the facility. You can see some of the newest additions to the zoo, like the Steller’s sea eagle chick, born in March, or little blue penguin Cup O' Joe Burrow who hatched in January. Also, stop by the hippo habitat to see if you can spot the baby bump on famous Fiona the hippo's mom Bibi, who is due to give birth to another baby hippo this summer.