What Else is Here?

DOWNTOWNCincinnati’s central business district boasts riverfront entertainment — including Great American Ball Park — historic skyscrapers, world-class dining and a flurry of arts activity. Grab

click to enlarge A view from Carew Tower Observation Deck
A view from Carew Tower Observation Deck


Cincinnati’s central business district boasts riverfront entertainment — including Great American Ball Park — historic skyscrapers, world-class dining and a flurry of arts activity. Grab a local beer, have dinner with a view or relax at one of the many parks on the Ohio River. downtowncincinnati.com.

EAT — Find restaurant clusters near the ballet-to-Broadway Aronoff Center for the Arts and the Contemporary Arts Center (44 E. Sixth St., contemporaryartscenter.org), which includes its own café, giant robot sculpture and a children’s ”UnMuseum.” Award-winning chef David Falk’s restaurant group encompasses some of the best downtown eateries: traditional Tuscan trattoria Sotto (118 E. Sixth St., sottocincinnati.com), world-class French-Italian upstairs sister Boca (114 E. Sixth St., bocacincinnati.com) and modern Mexican hotspot Nada (600 Walnut St., eatdrinknada.com). For 2 a.m. noodles, Shanghai Mama’s (216 E. Sixth St., shanghaimamas.com) is a must. Eat lunch in the L.A.-style outdoor wooden tepee at Cheapside Café (326 E. Eighth St., cheapsidecafe.com) in the Eighth Street Design District, which also offers locally foraged housemade soda. A more affordable version of French master chef Jean-Robert de Cavel’s menu at Table (713 Vine St., jrtable.com) is available via their bar-only Lunch Tray — four courses for $15. For traditional Italian, Scotti’s (919 Vine St., 513-721-9484, scottiscincinnati.com), family-owned for more than a century, features nearly 20 different varieties of veal dishes and dripping candles in old Chianti bottles. Chef Cristian Pietoso’s Via Vite on Fountain Square (520 Vine St., 513-721-8483, viaviterestaurant.com) does Northern Italian, inspired by Grandma, and offers a large piazza with a view of the action on the Square.

— Grab a 3-way at any of downtown’s multiple Skyline Chili locations (including 643 Vine St., 513-241-2020, skylinechili.com). You can get Skyline chili on top of everything from spaghetti, fries or a baked potato to inside of a burrito. Or try a coney — a hot dog on a steamed bun with chili, mustard, onions and shredded cheese. The Montgomery Inn Boathouse (925 Riverside Drive, 513-721-7427, montgomeryinn.com) is the place locals take out-of-towners for a classic Cincinnati dining experience (the original location in Montgomery has been around since the 1950s). The Boathouse is gigantic, and there’s always a wait, but it has huge river views and a ton of sports memorabilia. People mostly come for the ribs, slathered in the restaurant’s “world famous” sweet and smoky barbecue sauce. Or the barbecued spring chicken. Or the Saratoga chips.

DRINK — Select a single-malt Glenfiddich 18-year at Scottish pub Nicholson’s (625 Walnut St., nicholsonspub.com), where the servers wear kilts; or a local draft at the cozy, 150-year-old Arnold’s (210 E. Eighth St., arnoldsbarandgrill.com), the oldest continuously operated tavern in town, named one of the best bars in America by Esquire magazine. Madonna’s (11 E. Seventh St., 513-621-8838) is a locals-only-type dive with a pool table, jukebox, friendly bartenders and a great BLT. For a more “hip” atmosphere, the multi-leveled Igby’s (122 E. Sixth St., igbysbar.com) has a craft cocktail menu developed by world-renowned mixologist Brian Van Flandern and their own private-label Four Roses bourbon. Nearby Scene Ultra Lounge (637 Walnut St., scenecinci.com) and next-door Righteous Room (641 Walnut St., therighteousroom.com) are intimately clubby. And Mynt Martini on Fountain Square (28 Fountain Square Plaza, myntcincinnati.com) has DJs and a dress code.

SPORTS BARS — Grab a beer and famous smoked wings (featured on the Travel Channel) at downtown sports dive Knockback Nat’s (10 W. Seventh St., 513-621-1000). O’Malley’s in the Alley (25 Ogden Place, omalleysinthealley.com) is Cincinnati’s second-oldest bar — an Irish pub with free popcorn at happy hour and a Reds Slammer shot for $3. In Between Tavern (307 Sycamore St., facebook.com/inbetweentavern) is located in between the Reds and Bengals stadiums, and Tina’s (350 W. Fourth St., tinasbar.com) is a third-generation, family-owned Bengals bar. Located on Fountain Square, Rock Bottom Brewery (10 E. Fountain Ave., 513-621-1588, rockbottom.com) is a chain, but they brew their own beers in-house, have sports on TV and offer a nice kids menu.

— The Banks (thebankscincy.com) is a booming mixed-use riverfront development between the Reds and Bengals stadiums (you might in fact be at The Banks while reading this), which means lots of sports bars with giant TVs, chain restaurants with live music and a mix of both that can fit and feed a lot of people. The Holy Grail (161 Joe Nuxhall Way, holygrailcincy.com) is located within 100 yards of Great American Ball Park: You can chug a beer and get to the game almost as fast as “Neon” Deion could steal second, third and home. Features 31 TVs. Local Moerlein brewery’s multi-level dining destination The Moerlein Lager House (115 Joe Nuxhall Way, moerleinlagerhouse.com) features house brews on tap, a crafted menu (with stuff for meat-lovers, vegetarians, the gluten-intolerant and late-night drunks), sweeping river views and brew tours. Next door at the Yard House (95 E. Freedom Way, yardhouse.com) — from the people that brought you the Olive Garden — find 160 draft beers, a thick bible of a menu and an expensive sound system piping out mostly Classic Rock. New locally owned spot Santo Graal (180 E. Freedom Way, facebook.com/santograalbanks) features mainstream Italian and decent bottles of wine. And Jefferson Social (101 E. Freedom Way, jeffersonsocial.com) has a nice selection of tequila, bourbon, champagne by the glass and lots of variations on nachos and wings. For entertainment outside of drinking beer, the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum (100 Joe Nuxhall Way, cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/cin/hof; admission fee) at the stadium spans more than 130 years of baseball and Reds history through a variety of exhibits. And Smale Riverfront Park (100 W. Mehring Way, mysmaleriverfrontpark.org) near the Roebling Suspension Bridge does family-friendly with spraygrounds, a bike center, a walking labyrinth, swings with river views and a glass-encased carousel (closed Mondays). Keep going down river and you’ll find Sawyer Point (705 E. Pete Rose Way, cincinnatiparks.com), another giant civic park, with a cool Serpentine Wall — a sort of stepped, curvy floodwall you can walk on (or eat lunch on). The attached Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park (1101 Riverside Drive, cincinnatiparks.com), named for the city’s first African-American mayor, features award-winning outdoor sculptures and gardens.

HOTEL BARS — Luxury boutique hotel and contemporary art gallery The 21c Museum Hotel (609 Walnut St., 21cmuseumhotels.com/cincinnati), voted best hotel in America by Condé Nast Traveler readers, has an amazing rooftop terrace. Watch the sun go down over downtown with a cocktail in hand, or grab a Gotham City (bourbon, Watershed’s nocino black walnut liqueur, benedictine and rhubarb bitters) in the hotel’s street-level Metropole restaurant and bar. Make sure to dance on the interactive light display on the floor by the bathrooms. Enjoy a Fleuri 75 (gin, grapefruit bitters and champagne) surrounded by an Art Deco interior at The Bar at Palm Court (Hilton Netherland Plaza, 35 W. Fifth St., orchidsatpalmcourt.com). The Cricket Lounge at The Cincinnatian Hotel (601 Vine St., 513-381-3000, cincinnatianhotel.com) does daily happy hour and live Jazz on weekends, while The Phelps tapas bar and Top of the Park at the Residence Inn Marriott (506 E. Fourth St., 513-651-1234, topoftheparkcincinnati.com) offer unparalleled views of Lytle Park, downtown Cincinnati, the Ohio River and Mount Adams.

SHOPBatsakes (1 W. Sixth St., 513-721-9345) hat shop has been around for more than 100 years, and calls celebrities like Bruno Mars and Jack White customers. Booksellers on Fountain Square (505 Vine St., booksellersonfountainsquare.com) is an independent bookstore with an expansive selection of the latest reads, plus gifts and a yummy café.

OLD BUILDINGS — Historic and hidden, the Dead Poet’s Society-esque Mercantile Library (414 Walnut St., 11th Floor, mercantilelibrary.com) is full of spiral staircases, Grecian busts and leather chairs; you have to be a member to check out books, but their prestigious public lecture series has featured authors ranging from Ralph Waldo Emerson to John Updike. For $2 and a 49-story elevator ride, see everything Cincinnati has to offer from the Carew Tower Observation Deck (441 Vine St., 513-241-3888). Visit Dixie Terminal (49 E. Fourth St.) for breathtaking French Art Deco interiors. Once home to a streetcar terminal, the 1920s building now houses offices, but you can still view the exterior Rookwood Pottery entry arch and ornate ceiling for free.

MUSEUMS AND PARKS — Check out the Diversity in Baseball exhibit at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (50 E. Freedom Way, freedomcenter.org) or have an exhibition-inspired lunch at the Taft Museum of Art’s (316 Pike St., taftmuseum.org) garden café. The historic mansion is in the Lytle Park Historic District, where a rare, beardless statue of Abe Lincoln stands sentry. Fountain Square (Fifth and Vine streets, myfountainsquare.com) has almost nightly programming, with alcohol vendors — or grab a drink from the Tyler Davidson Fountain; the water that flows from the four figures around the rim is fresh. The 1919 Tour (americanlegacytours.com/1919-tour), a 90-minute walking tour of downtown that focuses on the events surrounding the controversial 1919 World Series — the Cincinnati Reds versus the Chicago White Sox — and the associated “Black Sox Scandal,” leaves from the Cincinnati USA Visitor Center at Fountain Square on Saturday and Sunday mornings.


The heart of the city’s booming 19th-century German immigrant population (the area is named after Germany’s Rhine River), OTR, as we like to call it, went through many transformations before finding its niche about five years ago as a hip hub for the Queen City’s foodies and creatives. It’s Cincinnati’s Brooklyn — minus, you know, all the East Coast pretension. otrchamber.com.

EPICUREAN EATS — Over-the-Rhine is the heart of Cincinnati’s dining scene — specifically on Vine Street — so be prepared to wait a while for a table. Also be prepared for the au courant in culinary: foraged, local, seasonal, poached eggs on top of things, organ meats, etc. Food & Wine magazine’s 2012 “People’s Best New Chef – Great Lakes Division,” chef Daniel Wright owns multiple restaurants on Vine: His Mediterranean tapas-style stop Abigail Street (1214 Vine St., abigailstreet.com), with wine on tap; Senate (1212 Vine St., senatepub.com), featuring gourmet pop culture-themed hot dogs; and Pontiac Bourbon & BBQ (1403 Vine St., pontiacbbq.com), with Tiki drinks, smoked meats and Red Neck Frito Pie. Also on the upscale down-home street-food beat is The Eagle OTR (1342 Vine St., facebook.com/theeagleotr), which serves up fried-chicken in an old post office; Taste of Belgium (1135 Vine St., authenticwaffle.com), with high-end chicken and waffles; Krueger’s Tavern (1211 Vine St., kruegerstavern.com), featuring housemade sausage, like an herbed Lincolnshire banger with colcannon; and Quan Hapa (1331 Vine St., quanhapa.com), with Asian fried pork rinds, sake and ramen. Nicola’s (1420 Sycamore St., nicolasrestaurant.com), a top Zagat-rated Italian restaurant, offers an eight-course Chef’s Grand Tasting on a wisteria-covered patio. And chef Jose Salazar’s Salazar (1401 Republic St., salazarcincinnati.com) will be doing a special All-Star brunch menu 11 a.m.-4 p.m. July 12, with turkey-breast Benedict and a Caipirinha with lemongrass and shaved ice, among other choices.

DESSERT — Get one if you can: Holtman’s Donuts (1332 Vine St., holtmansdonutshop.com) sells out stock daily, especially their sensational maple bacon donuts. Authentic Italian-style Dojo Gelato in Findlay Market (137 Elder St., dojogelato.com) offers unexpected flavor profiles and an affogato, gelato drowned in crafted espresso. Streetpops (1437 Main St.,streetpops.com) makes grown-up ice pops with flavors like papaya rosemary, peach sriracha and Thai basil lime. And the lovely Macaron Bar (1206 Main St., macaron-bar.com) is a bakery dedicated exclusively to the art of the colorful French macaron.

DRINK — OTR bars are places to see and be seen. Enjoy a wine flight at 1215 Wine Bar & Coffee Lab (1215 Vine St., facebook.com/1215winecoffee) or a barrel-aged Manhattan at The Lackman (1237 Vine St., lackmanbar.com), a convenient detour on the way to any of the Vine Street restaurants. Sit on the dog-friendly, massive patio at The Famous Neons Unplugged (208 E. 12th St., facebook.com/neonsunplugged), one of Travel + Leisure magazine’s “America’s Best Outdoor Bars,” with specialty infused spirits; get down to some free live music at MOTR Pub (1345 Main St., motrpub.com) or take in a gay cabaret at Below Zero Lounge (1122 Walnut St., belowzerolounge.com). If you’re serious about cocktails and history, visit Japp’s Since 1879 (1134 Main St., japps1879.com) for pre-Prohibition style spirits, or the apothecary-themed Sundry & Vice (18 W. 13th St., sundryandvice.com), offering a special “Red” bloody mary with pickle juice ice cubes Friday-Sunday and Tuesday for the All-Star Game. Rhinehaus (119 E. 12th St., rhinehausbar.com) and Lachey’s (56 E. 12th St., lacheys.com) — from 98 Degrees boy banders and brothers Nick and Drew Lachey — are the only real sports bars in OTR. Lachey’s has a running sports ticker, 90-inch television and a menu designed by celebrity chef Brian Duffy, complete with a tater tot bowl. 16 Bit Bar + Arcade (1331 Walnut St., 16-bitbar.com) is on the opposite spectrum — free vintage video game/cabinet game play if you’re drinking; drinks include the Winnie Cooper, Darryl Hannah and Patrick Swayze. Liberty’s Bar & Bottle (1427 Main St., 513-429-2461) specializes in European wine and beers, with half-pours and bottles to go.

BREWERIES — OTR is home to an entire Brewery District. Launched in the 1800s by German brewers, Cincinnati was once one of the largest beer producers in America. After Prohibition decimated the trade, it took us decades to regain our malty footing, starting with the relaunch of classic Cincinnati brewery Christian Moerlein in the 1980s. Now, the Brewery District is thriving — exploding really — with new microbrewers inhabiting the once-abandoned skeletons of former beer giants (See more on page 09). Rhinegeist (1910 Elm St., rhinegeist.com) translates as “ghost of the Rhine” and is built within the remains of an old Moerlein bottling plant from 1895. Down the street, Taft’s Ale House (1429 Race St., taftsalehouse.com), named after President (and Cincinnatian) William Howard Taft, took over an old German church. The Christian Moerlein Malt House Taproom (1621 Moore St., 513-827-6025, christianmoerlein.com) offers free tours into the 19th-century underground caverns used by the building’s former inhabitants — plus $5 fresh-tapped pints and frankfurters. Book an American Legacy Tour (1332 Vine St., americanlegacytours.com) for more history or an Over-the-Rhine Brewery District Tour (otrbrewerydistrict.org) to go below the streets into more hidden pre-Prohibition brewery tunnels. HalfCut (1126 Walnut St., halfcut.com) is not a brewery, but it is still a great place to grab a local or rare craft growler to go.

Park + Vine (1202 Main St., parkandvine.com) is the city’s green general store with an all-vegan lunch counter and kombucha on tap. Happy Belly on Vine (1344 Vine St., facebook.com/happybellyonvine) is a clean-eating restaurant — try the spirulina energy bites. Picnic and Pantry (1400 Republic St., picnicandpantry.com) offers an abundance of locally grown whole foods and gourmet take-home salads and sandwiches; perfect for crafting your own picnic. And Off the Vine (1218 Vine St., otvcincinnati.com) is a cold-press juice bar.

Goodfellas Pizzeria (1211 Main St., goodfellaspizzeria.com) is the place to be when you stumble out of the bar at 2 a.m. (Thursday-Saturday). Gomez Salsa’s (107 E. 12th St., gomezsalsa.com) walk-up taco window has $3 tacos, housemade salsa and Mexican coke. And Bakersfield OTR (1213 Vine St., bakersfieldtacos.com), a California-inspired taco joint — tostadas, tortas, tacos, rosé sangria — is basically impossible to get into during normal dinner hours; luckily they serve until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

SHOP —  You could spend a day alone at the bevy of boutiques on Vine. Sloane Boutique (1216 Vine St., sloaneboutique.com) meets clothing needs for the style-blogger set. Article (1150 Vine St., articlemenswear.com) features durable menswear and has its own sister store, Idlewild Woman (1230 Vine St., facebook.com/idlewildwoman), with all the indigo, chambray, ceramics and tunics you need. For unique home, art and design goodies, including locally made gifts, try MiCA 12/v (1201 Vine St., shopmica.com). Mannequin (1311 Main St., mannequinboutique.org) sells high-end vintage and donates proceeds to local charities. Rock Paper Scissors (1301 Main St., rpscincinnati.com) is a local art supply store that focuses on local crafts, goods and music (and is a great place to buy a Cincinnati chili 3-way patch). Homage (1232 Vine St., homage.com), founded in Columbus by an Ohio State grad, sells vintage-inspired T-shirts and apparel that focus on hometown and sports-team pride. To see them all the vendors in one place, head to Second Sunday on Main (secondsundayonmain.org), an eclectic neighborhood festival with beer, music, food, street performers and plenty of local vendors.

EXPLORE — Stroll Findlay Market (1801 Race St., findlaymarket.org), Ohio’s oldest continuously operating public market, on Saturday morning for farm-fresh food. Go online for an ArtWorks (artworkscincinnati.org) mural map and take your own walking tour; the arts nonprofit paints murals on the sides of local buildings every summer. The six-acre Washington Park (1230 Elm St., washingtonpark.org) is a renovated 150-year-old public space that today offers a dog park, children’s playground and sprayground and almost daily free events, live music, movies and more — including local beer from the concession stand. Tour historic performance landmark Music Hall (1241 Elm St., cincinnatiarts.org), currently presenting Cincinnati Opera’s Don Pasquale. Reputedly it’s one of the most haunted places in America — it was built over a pauper’s cemetery — and haunted tours run all year. Segway tours from The Garage OTR (1150 Vine St. #17, thegarageotr.com) are a unique way to experience the city — choose between Eden Park, downtown and the riverfront. You even get to wear a big, orange vest.

Northern Kentucky

Northern Kentucky’s neighborhoods, just across the Ohio River, are very much part of the fabric of Cincinnati, and Newport and Covington offer their own unique collections of entertainment, dining and nightlife. This year, Covington is celebrating its bicentennial (cov200.com), so expect some pop-up events and cool street art. covingtonky.gov; newportky.gov.

EAT — In Newport, there’s the entertainment destination Newport on the Levee (see below), with some chain-type restaurants, including local chains Dewey’s Pizza (deweyspizza.com) and Tom+Chee (tomandchee.com), a grilled cheese and tomato soup restaurant that’s gone national. For some local taste, try handmade ravioli and bocce ball at Pompilios (600 Washington Ave., Newport, pompiliosrestaurant.com), the restaurant where the toothpick scene in Rain Man was filmed. La Mexicana (642 Monmouth St., Newport, 859-261-6112) dishes out excellent authentic Mexican, including beef brain tacos — or al pastor, for the less adventurous. Other favorite eats in Newport are Packhouse Meats (1004 Monmouth St., packhousemeats.com), a meatball restaurant with excellent quinoa meatballs, Strong’s Brick Oven Pizza (336 Monmouth St., strongsbrickovenpizza.com) and The Pepper Pod (703 Monmouth St., 859-431-7455), a 24/7 diner worth the trip alone for the fried pickles. In Covington’s German-style MainStrasse village, get lox and bagel for brunch at Otto’s (521 Main St., Covington, ottosonmain.com); chicken, andouille and shrimp jambalaya at Dee Felice Café (529 Main St., Covington, deefelice.com), with sauce so good they sell it at Kroger; or seasonal farm-to-table entrees at Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar (519 Main St., Covington, bouquetrestaurant.com), winner of Wine Spectator’s award of excellence, with a seven-page wine menu and options for vegans, vegetarians and those with gluten sensitivities. MainStrasse is also home to the Carroll Chimes Bell Tower, a glockenspiel in Goebel Park that features motorized figurines playing out the story of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. For Asian, sit at a traditional floor table with a steaming Dolsot Bibimbap at Riverside Korean (512 Madison Ave., Covington, riversidekoreanrestaurant.com) or order some super-spicy Dragon’s Breath egg rolls in the comfortably small Amerasia (521 Madison Ave., Covington, facebook.com/kungfoodchu), super fresh and classic Americanized Asian with a Kung-Fu lean and a ton of beer. And Keystone Bar & Grill (313 Greenup St., keystonebar.com) has an entire menu devoted to inventive mac and cheese.

BEERBraxton Brewing Company (27 W. Seventh St., Covington, Ky., braxtonbrewing.com) was started in a garage by co-founder Evan Rouse when he was just 16. He couldn’t taste what he was brewing, but, now of age, his skills are visible —and tasteable — in creations like the Dead Blow tropical stout. The comfy garage-inspired taproom also features a ton of modern technology, including tech charging stations. The Beer Sellar (301 Riverboat Row, Newport, 859-431-6969, facebook.com/thebeersellar), a sports bar on a docked riverboat, offers a boat taxi to Cincinnati during Reds games, plus 63 taps and 120 bottles. Grab a stein of German brew and a schnitzel in the biergarten at the first authentic Hofbräuhaus (200 E. Third St., Newport, hofbrauhausnewport.com) in America — “Where it’s Oktoberfest every day!”

DRINK — Because it’s in Kentucky, bourbon is king in Covington, where two bars made the top 60 best bourbon bars in America as rated by The Bourbon Review. The Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar (629 Main St., Covington, facebook.com/1okbb) has more than 150 different types of bourbon and an extremely knowledgeable staff, and The Wiseguy Lounge (603 Main St., Covington, goodfellaspizzeria.com/wiseguy.php), above Goodfellas Pizzeria, has a Bourbon Connoisseurs Club. Rosie’s Tavern (643 Bakewell St., Covington, 859-291-9707) is a comfortable dive with an LGBTQ+-friendly atmosphere. And Cock & Bull Public House (601 Main St., Covington, candbpublichouse.com) has a huge patio with daily drink specials, local flights and beer cocktails — plus nice Irish-leaning pub grub.

FAMILY STUFF — Walk or bike across The Purple People Bridge (purplepeoplebridge.com) from The Banks to Northern Kentucky entertainment destination Newport on the Levee (newportonthelevee.com) — or vice versa. Or you could cross the Roebling Bridge, a suspension bridge that served as the model for the Brooklyn Bridge — especially between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. on July 11 during RoeblingFest (roeblingbridge.org) — part of Cov200’s Summer Celebration (July 9-14; cov200.com/summercelebration). Newport on the Levee is a one-stop-shop for restaurants and entertainment. Visit the Newport Aquarium (1 Aquarium Way, newportaquarium.com) at Newport on the Levee to pet a shark or watch a penguin parade. Also on the Levee is an AMC Theatre (amctheatres.com) and Axis Alley (axisalleylevee.com), a boutique bowling alley. Drive up the hill to Devou Park (638 Madison Road, Covington, covingtonky.gov) for incomparable river views, as well as a golf course.

COFFEE — Cincinnati’s hip to the craft coffee trend, so there’s a local roaster and a slew of cool baristas in every hood. In Covington, hit Left Bank Coffeehouse (Seventh and Greenup streets, Covington, leftbankcoffeehouse.com) for an iced Americano made with local Deeper Roots beans, or the Roebling Point Books & Coffee (306 Greenup St., Covington, roeblingpointbooks.com), a dog-friendly bookstore and coffee shop that writes quotes from literary figures on their alley door.

TOURS — There are a surprising amount of tours in Northern Kentucky. Once known as “Sin City,” Newport was a den of inequity, full of gamblers, mobsters and women of the night (The Brass Ass gentleman’s club is one of the last bastions of the city’s seedy past). The Newport Gangster Tour (americanlegacytours.com) looks at the city’s mob history with tales of murder and prostitution on a high-energy walking tour. For a more family-friendly adventure, check out Ride the Ducks (1 Aquarium Way, newport.ridetheducks.com), the amphibious sightseeing tour that takes you into the Ohio River. BB Riverboats’ (101 Riverboat Row, bbriverboats.com) historic steamboats offer a variety of dinner cruises on the Ohio, including a craft beer and barbecue cruise with local brewers on Friday nights. Walk the Licking Riverside Drive Historic District (Riverside Drive, Covington, nkytourism.com). This 13-block area includes Civil War homes, carriage houses, Underground Railroad tunnels and life-size bronze statues of historic figures in lifelike poses; take your picture fake-sketching next to the permanently sketching John James Audubon. For those who want to snoop, American Legacy Tours ($40; americanlegacytours.com) is offering guided looks into six of the historic riverside homes every half hour from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 11.


Between winding cobblestone streets, steep hills and stunning city overlooks lay many of Cincinnati’s major cultural and arts institutions, as well as eclectic restaurants and nightlife. A prime area for YPs and many longtime urban-dwellers, this hood is for dinner with a view or dancing in a crowd. mtadamstoday.com.

EAT — Plenty of restaurants with Ohio River views. The Rookwood (1077 Celestial St., therookwood.com), housed in historic Rookwood Pottery’s building (you can even eat in a kiln) has a tattooed staff, rustic meals, high-craft cocktails and “Funday” brunch with favorites like a Double Bypass — sunny-side-up egg sausage, bacon, biscuits, grits, hollandaise and smashed hash browns. The giant outdoor deck also has wooden swings. The Celestial (1071 Celestial St., thecelestial.com) is a four-star and four-diamond steakhouse with a full-window view of the river (and an attached Jazz bar). Mount Adams Bar & Grill (938 Hatch St., mtadamsbarandgrill.com), once a speakeasy, is now a great place for burgers. And for local and organic meals and grocery items, Sprout (941 Pavilion St., sproutmtadams.com) is a tasty recent addition offering lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

DRINK — Grab your laddys and head to Cincinnati’s oldest Irish pub Crowley’s (958 Pavilion St., 513-721-7709) for a Guinness. City View Tavern (403 Oregon St., cityviewtavern.com) offers possibly the best bloody mary anywhere, with a Cajun-seasoned rim and slice of lime; have one on the deck for the bar’s namesake view. And Tavern on the Hill (1111 St. Gregory St., mtadamstavernonthehill.com) has every sports station and package on 15 HD TVs, plus late-night pizza-by-the-slice after 11 p.m.

DANCE – DJs, bottle service and dancing abound. Find your inner party animal at Mount Adams Pavillion (949 Pavilion St., mountadamspavilion.com), located in a historic, multi-story house with four separate decks featuring live bands, national DJs and enough drink specials to get you hammered. For Jell-O shots from a giant, plastic syringe, test the water at Monks Cove (1104 St. Gregory St., monkscove.com). Or walk next door to Longworths (1108 St. Gregory St., mtadamslongworths.com), located in a circa-1869 fire station. They’ll be open noon-2:30 a.m. during the All-Star Weekend, with DJs and drink specials.

PRETTY THINGS — Explore the Celestial Street Overlook (Celestial and Hill streets, hillsidetrust.org), one of the city’s most famous views. Or spend the afternoon at the Cincinnati Art Museum (953 Eden Park Drive, cincinnatiartmuseum.org) checking out Up at Bat: Warhol and Baseball, featuring the museum’s commissioned painting by Andy Warhol of Reds player Pete Rose in anticipation of Rose breaking Ty Cobb’s record of 4,191 hits. Also included are Warhol portraits of Roger Maris and Tom Seaver. Walk across the historic Ida Street Viaduct (once a wooden trestle that carried the 1880s streetcar) to Eden Park (950 Eden Park Drive, cincinnatiparks.com) for another overlook and a running/walking path around Mirror Lake. Krohn Conservatory (1501 Eden Park Drive, cincinnatiparks.com) is an Art Deco plant conservatory shaped like an upside-down glass heart with more than 3,500 plant species and an indoor waterfall.


A little bit hippie and a lot Rock & Roll, Northside is a diverse, green-leaning urban enclave of artists, musicians, vintage lovers, vegetarians and a prominent LGBTQ+ community. Come for records, stay for the whiskey (or tacos). northside.net.

EAT — Tacos, lots of tacos. Django Western Taco (4046 Hamilton Ave., djangonorthside.com) serves up Mexican street-style tacos with house jalapeno-margaritas; Tacocracy (4029 Hamilton Ave., facebook.com/tacocracy) is a taco bar offering guerilla-style filling options including duck, adobo-curry chicken, mashed potatoes and more; and Barrio Tequileria (3937 Spring Grove Ave., barrio513.com) has a huge dog-friendly back patio and house-smoked brisket. There’s also Melt (4165 Hamilton Ave., meltcincy.com), an eclectic café that can make almost anything vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free. Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, they also do vegetarian huevos rancheros for brunch; kind of like a taco.

DRINK — Head to the Northside Tavern (4163 Hamilton Ave., northsidetav.com), or “the Tavern,” as locals call it, for more laid-back live music acts, pool and heavy pours. The Comet (4579 Hamilton Ave., cometbar.com) leans a little louder as a haven for scooter-riders and Garage Rock-loving burrito-eaters. The Littlefield (3934 Spring Grove Ave., littlefieldns.com) is an artful bourbon bar with 50 to 60 different bottles and art installations from local artists, plus a big ass patio and great potpies.

VINYL — Northside is home to more than one indie record store, a feat in and of itself. Shake It Records (4156 Hamilton Ave., shakeitrecords.com), both a physical store and national record label, has a nod from Rolling Stone as one of the best record stores in America. And Black Plastic Records (4027 Hamilton Ave., facebook.com/blackplasticrecords) down the street is a dig-for-it vinyl treasure trove with Punk and Indie in-store concerts.

DEAD PEOPLE — Cemetery tours: a bit morbid, but full of history. Stroll through Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum’s (4521 Spring Grove Ave., springgrove.org) 733-acre grounds, full of trees, lakes and famous interred dead Cincinnatians. They’re also hosting an All-Star Tram Tour 1-2:30 p.m. July 12, with a focus on baseball. Or hunt for the graves of local notables like Fred Waterman, the third baseman for the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, at Wesleyan Cemetery (4003 Colerain Ave., northside.net), a bit older and messier than Spring Grove.

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