32 Greater Cincinnati Activities to Add to Your Summer Bucket List
Things are about to get hot, Cincinnati, because summer here is never boring. Ready to ditch the cabin fever? From cooling off in the pool to diving into the arts and getting out in nature, here's your can't-miss guide to summer in Cincy.
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Photo: Brittany Thornton
Sweet, sweet summertime is upon us, which means it's time to figure out which local rooftop bars and restaurant patios you should plan to visit for all your breezy sunshine and noshing needs. And this year, we're taking the guesswork out of the equation. Visit the link above to see some of the best places to dine and drink al fresco in the Cincinnati area.
Photo: Paige Deglow
6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason
Kings Island in the summer is always a good idea: blue ice cream, screaming your head off on The Beast and speeding down a water slide in Soak City. But this year, Kings Island’s also opening up Adventure Port, a brand new themed area of the park. Opening at the end of May, Adventure Port features a tropical-rainforest-expedition theme, complete with explorers and an ancient curse. There’s also two new family rides: Sol Spin, a Ferris wheel-esque ride that sends riders flying 60 feet through the air at 25 mph, and Cargo Loco, a barrel-spinning ride. You can also check out new shopping, dining and drinking options at The Mercado, or grab a quick bite at Enrique's.
Photo: Provided by the Cincinnati Zoo
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 Fiona’s baby brother Fritz, Larkin the penguin chick and a pair of adorable bat-eared fox kits. Plus, see if you can spot the baby bumps on Lightning the sloth and Stevie the bongo.
6201 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township
At Coney Island, you can take a dip in Sunlite Pool, zip down the numerous waterslides or compete against friends and family in the Challenge Zone – the largest Aquaglide pool obstacle course in the country. There’s also tons of fun to be in Action Alley, which features a giant, inflatable obstacle course, inflatable axe-throwing and arts and crafts. You can also challenge each other on the mini-golf course or take a leisurely glide around Lake Como in the Storybook Paddle Boats.
Ohio may not be on a coast, but don't let that fool you — we have plenty of breezy beach options for when the water is calling your name. Yes, they may be on a lake or riverfront, but they check most of our boxes when we're in need of a little sand between our toes, sunshine on our skin and a cool, refreshing dip in the water. Follow the link to find some beachy inspiration.
Photo: Allison Babka
100 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks
Great American Ball Park debuted a slate of new snacks for the 2023 season, including a Cheeseburger Frybox (hamburger topped with nacho cheese, iceberg lettuce, grilled onions, pickles and Thousand Island dressing served on French fries) and the vegetarian-friendly Curve Ball (veggie burger topped with iceberg lettuce, grilled onions, pickles and Thousand Island dressing served on a brioche bun). And that’s only some of the many new menu items you’ll find throughout the ball park. Eat up because if the Reds are losing, you’ll at least leave the ball park with a full stomach.
The Queen City boasts many canoeing and kayaking spots, plus some road trip-worthy locations within a few hour's drive – all perfect for floating a weekend away. Check with each business about reservations, specific rental fees and what you can and can’t bring with you. (We’re looking at you, ca-brewers). If you’re searching for a little more of an aquatic adventure, the 22nd annual Paddlefest
on the Ohio River is happening Aug. 5. Paddlefest is open to kayaks, canoes and standup paddleboards, as well as participants of all paddling experience levels. Motorized boat traffic will be prohibited on the river during this time, making for smooth paddling, and you can choose between the full 9-mile route or a 4.5-mile route.
Watch a Dazzling Display of Fireworks on the Fourth of July or Camp Out for the WEBN / Western & Southern’s Fireworks
It wouldn’t be summer if you didn’t take the time to watch at least one fireworks show. Cincinnati’s skies will be decked out in all kinds of colors as Fourth of July celebrations take place. Some of the most popular include Red, White & Blue Ash (also featuring concert headliner Collective Soul); Coney Island’s Balloon Glow; Fourth of July at Kings Island; Red, White and BOOM with Cincinnati Pops at Riverbend and numerous community events. And if you just can’t get enough fireworks, don’t forget about Cincinnati’s big end-of-summer bash Riverfest and the WEBN / Western & Southern Fireworks. Just make sure you grab your spot early and respect the blanket-claiming process.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine
A stop at the historic Findlay Market makes for the perfect Cincinnati summer morning. More than 50 full-time merchants at the 19th-century landmark sell everything from meat, cheese and fresh-baked bread to produce, flowers and international eats. Stop by for a pint at Jane's bar or browse a local farmers market and a wide array of arts and crafts vendors. And when you need to cool off, make sure to swing by uGOgelato for gelato made by a second-generation gelatiere.
When you're in need of a little escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, a weekend getaway to a charming small town is just what the doctor ordered. There are several destinations within driving distance of the Queen City to explore, like Yellow Springs, Ohio, for nature and arts and culture; Nashville, Indiana, for outdoor activities and live music; Frankenmuth, Michigan, for a Bavarian-esque good time or Christmas in July shopping; and Maysville, Kentucky, for a little art and history. Visit the link for some road trip inspiration.