Cincinnatians have a longstanding tradition of coming together to celebrate. If you are planning a trip to Cincinnati or a weekend in downtown Cincinnati, September is the perfect time to take part in one – or all – of the city’s many celebrations.
Here’s our lineup of our Cincinnati festivals and cultural events to plan for in September:
Dance under the city streets at Ubahn Fest
top image and above image courtesy of Ubahn Festival
This annual two-day music festival has bragging rights as the most unique 2017 festival venue as one of the only underground music festivals in the world. And no, we’re not talking underground as in music acts that aren’t yet discovered by the masses, we’re talking literally under the streets of downtown Cincinnati in the Riverfront Transit Center. Cincinnati’s massive transit tunnel is also the world’s largest at two-stories high, more than 80-feet wide and eight football fields long.
This year’s lineup for the fourth annual festival packs big names in the Hip Hop and EDM world like Big Sean, Steve Aoki, 2 Chains, Gucci Mane, Big Boi, Niykee Heaton, Lecrae and more than an additional dozen artists on two curated stages. You’ll also be able to catch up-and-coming regional acts like Columbus-born and New Orleans-based New Thousand and local favorite DJ J. Dough, known as the man behind the popular the daily 101.1 The Wiz “The Drive at 5” mixshow. Adding to the experience, you’ll also find live street art installations, skateboard demonstrations, music-inspired merchandise, local foods and other interactive experiences all taking place in the city’s unique scenic tunnel.
“Ubahn is so much more than a music festival that happens to be underground,” said festival founder Josh Heuser. “In the tunnel, skateboarding demos, street art installations, light activations and two stages of carefully curated regional and national acts all combine to create an amazing experience that reflects the diversity and passions of our audience.”
Single-day tickets start at $65. Learn more and purchase tickets here.
Raise a stein at Oktoberfest Zinzinnati
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati attracts more than 500,000 celebrators to return year-after-year. Travel and Leisure even calls our annual Oktoberfest one of “The Best Things to Do in September Across the U.S.”
What’s all the fuss about?
First held in 1976, Oktoberfest Zinzinnati’s three-day celebration has grown to be America's largest Oktoberfest, second-only to the original one in held in Munich, Germany.
The three-day celebration pays tribute to Cincinnati’s rich German heritage and provides the authentic tastes, feels and sounds of Oktoberfest including live music, more than 200 assorted German dishes, classic Gemeutlichkeit games, the best German-style lagers – many brewed here locally, and more.
There’s truly something for everyone at this event with a wide range of action-packed events. Like cute dogs, particularly of the dachshund variety? Come down for Running of the Weiner Race. Like to shake your tailfeather? Help the city break another Guinness Book of World Record’s for the largest group Chicken Dance. Into displays of heroic mass food consumption? Cheer on Joey Chestnut as he defends his World Brat Eating Championship title.
If crowds aren’t your thing, there are plenty of satellite events that provide a bit more elbow room. Be sure to check out Moerlein Lager House’s massive Uberdome beer garden on the riverfront, Rhinegeist Brewery’s Franztoberfest release party, and special guided tours through the city’s Historic Brewing Heritage District.
Mingle with top chefs at Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic
September 23 – 24
Imagine stepping into a Top Chef episode set along a riverbank with a light breeze swirling the smells of spices and grilled meat into the crisp, fall air. Sounds wonderful right.
Now stop imagining and start making plans to attend the Cincinnati Food + Wine Classic. One of the premier culinary events in the region, this two-day annual event held on Yeatman’s Cove along the Ohio Riverfront gives you a chance to experience all that the Midwest’s dynamic and growing food and beverage scene offers and get up close and personal with the innovators who are driving the regional culinary revolution.
Some of the most popular signature events of the weekend include a Grill Invitational judged by a panel of food writers from publications you know and love like Eater and Epicurious and Feast in the Park with UNLIMITED samples from more than a dozen top chefs.
So as the event hashtag exclaims #eyhoCincinnati (short for Eat Your Heart Out Cincinnati)! Check out the full programming schedule and get your ticket here.
Discover the Next Big Thing at MidPoint Music Festival
September 23 – 24
This festival is one for the music-lovers. Started in 2001, MidPoint Music Festival takes pride in curating a lineup of acts that you may not know yet, but that you’ll soon see on “best of” or “ones-to-watch” lists. According the fest, their mission “has been to embrace today's emerging artist, all with the same spirit employed by Cincinnati's celebrated musical pioneers, who always reached for something new.”
Its track record speaks for itself. Past performers include Band of Horses, Chromeo, Kamasi Washington, The Afghan Whigs, Ok Go, Regie Watts, Bob Mould … the list goes on and on. And the festival itself and grown from 13,500 attendees in 2008 to around 30,000 last year.
If you have previously attended, you’ll notice that the festival venue has transformed from being held in various bars, music venues and outdoor spaces dotted around downtown Cincinnati to a more centralized location in the heart of downtown Cincinnati with some performances taking place inside the historic Taft Theatre and Masonic Lodge buildings.
You can check out the full lineup and dig into researching the artists with this festival playlist:
Weekend passes start at $115. Learn more and purchase here.
Save the Date – BLINK Cincinnati
The fun doesn’t stop in September. Save some energy for the inaugural BLINK art and light event. BLINK is expected to be one of the largest light, art and projection mapping events in the nation. The free four-day event will span 20 city blocks and feature large-scale projection mapping installations, murals, urban artscapes, media light and interactive art from both local and top national artists. Stay tuned to BlinkCincinnati.com for event announcements.
Looking for places to stay, food and drink, other things to do while in town? Visit CincinnatiUSA.com to plan your full #CincyExperience. See you soon!