This question has come up in conversation and, when I’ve had the pleasure of hosting first-time visitors to Cincinnati, I’ve faced this challenge myself: how best to introduce an outsider to the Queen City? Here is my ideal itinerary for a weekend visit.
Let’s assume arrival late afternoon on a Friday. After settling in, we would head out for a taste of old-school Cincinnati goodness either at Price Hill Chili or Pleasant Ridge Chili. If my friend is a vegetarian, we would probably hit up Myra’s Dionysus in Clifton, and then head over to nearby Bellevue Hill Park to watch the sun set over the city:
Just to mix things up a bit and show a different side of old-school Cincinnati, we would end the evening with a nightcap at the Netherland Hilton in Carew Tower downtown:
Saturday morning, we would head over to Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine, feasting on pastries and coffee at Skirtz & Johnston [hello, goetta danish!]. I’m more of a weekday shopper, but it’s fun to check out the market in all its competitive shopping glory:
Afterward, we would meander through OTR, with me pointing out some of the awesome ghost signs and ghost graffiti, and then we’d check out VL work at two of my favorite neighborhood stores: Park+Vine and MiCA 12/v.
Continuing our walk downtown, I would point out some of my favorite ArtWorks murals, we’d stop for an obligatory photo-op in front of the Hustler Store, and I would show off the stark façade of the Contemporary Arts Center by Zaha Hadid:
We would explore the detailed Art Deco interior of Carew Tower and take in a view of the area from its observation deck:
In nice weather, we would continue down to the riverfront and maybe even walk across the Roebling Bridge to explore Covington:
On a cold day, we would take a free, docent-led tour of Cincinnati Union Terminal, admiring the gorgeous Art Deco architecture and the glass mosaic murals in the rotunda:
Then we’d go up to the top of Tower A to check out the train tracks:
For dinner, we would head over to Mayberry, because I really like chef Josh’s creative, Midwest-inspired food.
On a warm evening, we would then head to Arnold’s, the oldest bar in Cincinnati, and hang out on the patio, hopefully listening to a fun band like Lagniappe or the Dancing Pigs. On a cool evening, we’d swank it up at Music Hall [tickets start at $10, so the symphony is a fancy evening without a fancy price tag]:
Sunday brunch is the most important meal of the week, and I’m rather partial to Honey and its yummy Binkle fries. Afterward, we’d walk off our meal with a leisurely walk around Northside, checking out all the CoSign signs and doing a bit of shopping at Fabricate, Shake It Records, and other cool independent businesses in the neighborhood:
We would end with a visit to the awesome American Sign Museum in Camp Washington:
And that concludes the romp through Cincinnati at its Cincinnatiest! Fellow Queen City dwellers, what would you put on your must-do list? Where do you always take your guests?