Welcome to the 2013 Best of Cincinnati Issue

Celebrating the best people, places and businesses and cool stuff from the past year

In last year’s Best of Cincinnati issue, we celebrated the opening of Smale Riverfront Park and the ongoing renaissance of the Gateway Quarter, in addition to hundreds of local businesses, people, places and cool stuff we found worthy of highlighting in our annual — 17 years running — ode to the best of the best in this town.

But what seemed like an abundance of riches in 2011 feels a little light when compared to the progress Cincinnati made last year. Were we simply relieved back then that after more than a decade, we finally saw progress on the riverfront? Maybe all the new visitors to Over-the-Rhine felt a little intrusive at first — these newbies weren’t going to stay all night and make the line long at Tucker’s in the morning, were they? Who were these strange settlers, and what did they want?

During the past year we’ve all gotten a little more comfortable with our new surroundings. And it’s because we got a lot done.

Cincinnati saw a fresh, new City Council in 2012 and, consequently, witnessed a lot less bickering within City Hall. We hosted thousands of foreign visitors during the World Choir Games and internationally renowned visual artists at FotoFocus. We watched the Reds and Bengals make the playoffs and saw a ton of great music at the MidPoint and Bunbury festivals. In our spare time, we checked out a bunch of new bars and restaurants, which are helping to revive neighborhood business districts and an urban core even local conservatives are starting to admit is pretty cool.

Looking back, it seems like we did a lot of eating, drinking and shopping (either the economy is getting better or we were probably a little irresponsible with our finances). But that’s what happens when week after week we hear about (mostly from CityBeat) the people making Cincinnati a better place to live by providing the arts and entertainment options that are easy to notice, and also those working behind the scenes helping us progress politically and socially.

In this year’s Best of Cincinnati issue, we’ll touch on hundreds more things worth celebrating and also spend a little time pointing out the people and organizations trying to slow us down. There’s a lot to look forward to in the coming year — hopefully next year’s Best of Cincinnati issue makes this collection look a little lame, too.