Hello, Cincinnati. Here, natural outdoor beauty meets majestic city architecture. Magnificent skyscrapers from many eras rise from the banks of the scenic Ohio River, surrounded by rolling hills and views to Kentucky's bluegrass country.
"Cincinnati is experiencing something of a transformation, and has become one of the hottest emerging cities in the United States." -Travel & Leisure
But, the region’s beauty is just the beginning of its riches. Cincinnati has the greatest collection of assets of any city its size in America. Pick any lifestyle interest and the Cincinnati region delivers.
Here, people get to do whatever it is they love.
While German immigrants had a great deal of influence around early life in Cincinnati, the city’s culinary scene has a global influence.
We have the Greek’s to thank for our signature dish – Mediterranean-spiced chili served over spaghetti and topped with mounds of cheddar cheese. It’s called a three-way. We’ll pause here. The Germans did give us goetta, a surprisingly delicious and filling mix of pork, beef and steel-cut or pinhead oats eaten at breakfast. We like it so much we hold a Goetta Fest every summer and add to the hundreds – maybe thousands – of ways we can think of to prepare it.
We love our southern barbeque. Montgomery Inn is the “Ribs King” – a legend. New outposts like Eli’s and Just Q’in have quickly become new favorites.
We’ve been enjoying Graeter’s french pot ice cream creations for more than 145 years. Both Oprah and Al say it’s the best, and they know best. Aglamesis Brothers, more Greek influence, and Schneider’s Sweet Shop in Bellevue, KY are also local favorites.
Findlay Market, operating since 1855, offers a diverse array of ethnic eats from more than 40 vendors.
But, make no mistake. There is serious chef talent here. Add to this really unique dining spaces from casual to elegant and we’ve got culinary swagger.
Magnificent French chef Jean Robert de Cavel, the godfather of Cincinnati’s culinary scene, has a number of outposts including prix-fixed Restaurant L and the equally divine Table. Chef Jose Salazar, a James Beard semi-finalist, was so taken with Cincinnati he left NYC culinary jobs with Per Se and Jean-George Vongerichten to give us his namesake, Salazar, (pictured above) and the Colombian masterpiece, Mita’s – an homage to his grandmother who instilled in him his love for cooking. Chicago transplant Daniel Wright has opened the popular Mediterranean Abigail Street and the creative Senate, featuring a variety of gourmet hot dogs. Chef-entrepreneur David Falk has given us a trio of culinary favorites: contemporary Mexican at Nada; contemporary American at Boca; and inventive rustic Italian at Sotto, located underneath the busy downtown Cincinnati streets.
USA Today named The Precinct, located in an historic 1896 converted police station, one of the country’s Top 10 steakhouses. Maplewood Kitchen & Bar is a light-filled, spacious café focused on farm fresh California cuisine. Mainstrasse, a small historic German village in Covington, KY, offers more than a dozen restaurant and cocktail bar offerings including hundreds of bourbon offerings at the Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar and live jazz at the Dee Felice Café. The latter is a favorite of a hometown boy you might have heard of, actor George Clooney.
We could go on and on. But, here’s the deal - Cincinnati is poised to be the next big food city.
photo credit | Gina Weathersby
The Cincinnati region is the intersection of Kentucky Bourbon, a rich Cincinnati brewing history, an even richer wine heritage and contemporary craft cocktails.
Kentucky bourbon needs no introduction. It’s distilled and enjoyed throughout Northern Kentucky, with the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail just 90 minutes south.
Beer is to Cincinnati as bourbon is to Kentucky. For decades before and after the turn of the 20th century, Cincinnati was one of the beer-drinkingest, beer-brewingest cities in America.
Cincinnati’s first brewery opened 1812 near the riverfront – more than 200 years ago – and another 250 breweries opened and closed through the mid 20th Century. During this time, one of the country’s richest and most famous bootleggers – Cincinnati’s George Remus – was the basis for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, “The Great Gatsby.” We celebrate this heritage every fall with the country's largest Oktoberfest, drawing nearly 700,000 people.
Today, nearly 50 breweries – and counting – are operating and celebrating the rich beer-loving tradition in the Cincinnati region.
Let’s talk wine. A little-known fact: Cincinnati was once the wine-making capital of the nation. During the 1800s, not only did the Ohio River make for a fertile place to grow grapes, but the hills of the Queen City, filled with limestone, provided the perfect topography for vine roots to grow deep. During the 1840s through the 1860s, with more vines planted in the Cincinnati area than anywhere else in the country, this city was producing more wine than any other region. Cincinnati was the Napa Valley of the time!
Today, small-batch wineries are bringing that rich wine-making history back to our city.
More of a craft cocktail lover? Get transported to the Olde World at Sundry & Vice, where the drinks harken back to the days when alcohol had its medicinal purposes; or at Japp’s, an historic hair & wig store turned cocktail bar where the drinks are based on recipes as old as the 145-year-old building. Drink in unparalleled city and riverfront views at Top of the Park rooftop bar; or soak in the contemporary atmosphere at the 21C Museum Hotel’s Cocktail Terrace, named a Top 10 Rooftop Bar in the country by USA Today. Movie lovers can enjoy themed cocktails at Video Archive, a Quentin Tarantino-themed speakeasy, (pictured above) or at the Overlook Lodge, a lodge-style bar inspired by, “The Shining.”
photo provided, Video Archive
This region loves the arts. So much so, that it donates more money to support its arts institutions than any other city in the country.
The Cincinnati region is also home to some of the oldest and most noteworthy arts institutions in the country.
photo credit | Louis Rideout
We’re home to the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals and the MLB’s Cincinnati Reds. Both stadiums sit along the Cincinnati riverfront and were built within the last 15 years. Our USL FC Cincinnati is well on its way to becoming an MSL team, drawing larger crowds than many professional teams across the country. Our ECHL Cincinnati Cyclones have earned two Division Titles, a Brabham Cup and two Kelly Cup Championships since their 2006-2007 season.
When it comes to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships, no other region fills the brackets the way the Cincinnati region does. We cheer for The University of Cincinnati, Xavier University and Northern Kentucky University.
At the end of every summer, professional tennis rolls in with the Western & Southern Open, boasting one of the most impressive men’s and women’s player lineups outside of the four Grand Slam tournaments.
Our golf scene features more than 125 courses, including 80 public courses, offering a range of urban and rural settings and challenges for all levels of play. Spring breaks sooner and fall extends deeper into November here, affording a longer golf season than anywhere else in the Midwest.
photo credit | Louis Rideout
Wallethub named us a Top 10 best city in the nation for recreation based on our wide-range of leisure activities and offerings. Here’s a quick snapshot of what caught their attention.
With five (5!) rivers that flow year-round with nearly 6,000 stream miles, we’re overflowing with water activities. One-of-a-kind local events include The Ohio River Paddlefest – when each August thousands of kayaks and canoes hit the waterways during one of America’s largest paddling events.
For land lovers, the Cincinnati region offers an impressive 23,000 miles of long distance trails, 250 miles of hiking trails, 80 miles of on-road bike lanes and 60 miles of mountain-biking trails. We’re also home to the Little Miami Scenic Trail – the third longest paved trail in the country.
Our park system is ranked Top 10 by the Trust for Public Land which ranks the “park score” of the 100 largest cities – and we have the most top 10 rankings. Local favorites include Smale Riverfront Park, Washington Park, Eden Park, Devou Park and Mt. Airy Forest - all with incredible views of the riverfront.
Our verdant topography with scenic hilltops also includes abundant greenspace – over 101,000 acres of protected greenspace, to be exact.
photo credit | Louis Rideout
The Cincinnati region has a rich music heritage that took off when Cincinnati’s WLW-AM became the first radio station in the country to broadcast at the maximum power of 50 kilowatts. With broadcasts that could be heard from Toronto to Florida, WLW became “the nation’s station” and Cincinnati became a hotbed for artists who wanted their music heard across the country. Music studios began building up around Cincinnati including King Records, where Chubby Checker, James Brown and Bootsy Collins recorded hits; and Herzog Studios, which made Hank Williams famous, among others.
Through the years, the Cincinnati region has contributed such diverse musical acts as The National, the Isley Brothers, Afghan Wigs, Rascal Flatts, 98 Degrees, Blessed Union of Souls and Walk the Moon.
Today, dozens of live music venues can be enjoyed throughout Cincinnati and range from hangouts, taverns and clubs like MOTR, Northside Tavern, Dee Felice Cafe and The Blind Lemon; to intimate performance spaces like the 262-seat Ludlow Garage; to 3-story performance halls like The Southgate House Revival and Bogarts; to concert theaters and event centers like The Taft Theater, The Madison and the Lawrenceburg Event Center; to 15,000+ venues like the outdoor amphitheater Riverbend Music Center and indoor U.S. Bank Arena, both located on Cincinnati’s beautiful riverfront.
We also take advantage of our expansive green space to host a variety of music festivals every year ranging from mainstream to up-and-coming-artists, including: Bunbury Music Festival; Cincinnati Music Festival presented by P&G; UBAHN FEST; MidPoint Music Festival; to name a few.
For those with a passion for LPs, music stores dot the region like Shake It Records; Everybody’s Records; Plaid Room; Mole’s Record Exchange; Black Plastic (in Northside and in Over-the-Rhine); Another Part of the Forest; Herzog Music; Phil’s Music, Books and More; Sugarcube Records; C & D Record Bar; and Torn Light Records.
photo credit | Matt Steffen
For more information on things to do and places to stay, visit CincinnatiUSA.com.