Top 11 Things To Do in Cincinnati Ohio

Nearly every sort of traveler will find a niche in Cincinnati. Foodies have an abundance of options at their disposal, from vegan joints to trendy bars to fancy Zagat-rated restaurants. Sports-lovers will enjoy a game at the Cincinnati Reds' Great American Ball Park or a peek inside the team's Hall of Fame. And if museums are your thing, the Cincinnati Art Museum will keep you busy, as will the museums within the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal.

Cincinnati Art Museum
Cincinnati Art Museum

The Cincinnati Art Museum contains more than 60,000 works from across 6,000 years of history. Masterpieces by Sandro Botticelli, Claude Monet and other famed artists adorn the walls of the museum. And all of this art is housed in a building that was erected at the close of the 19th century; though it has undergone several additions and restorations, the structure stands as one of the city's historic — and simply beautiful — gems.

As well as complimenting the museum's extensive collection, one TripAdvisor user also hails its locale: "This museum sits atop a bluff overlooking Cincinnati. There are spectacular views of the skyline from both the museum and the surrounding park."

The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free. (Parking, however, costs $4.) You'll find the museum in northeast Cincinnati, nestled inside Eden Park near the Ohio River. For more information, visit http://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/


Great American Ball ParkGreat American Ball Park

If the Great American Ball Park seems a pretty lofty title for a stadium, you should know that it is home to the country's oldest professional baseball team — the Cincinnati Reds. And that's where the stadium gets its exalted name. But the Major League Baseball team didn't even start playing at the Great American Ball Park until 2003; since the 1880s, the team has played at seven different stadiums. The team's name has even changed over the course of time: from the "Red Stockings" to the "Reds" to the "Redlegs" and then back to the "Reds."

Today, visitors enjoy the Great American Ball Park for its fun-loving atmosphere and for the great views from nearly every seat. (However, some visitors do mention that the seats are rather narrow.) One TripAdvisor user visited the park with her four kids and was delighted with the availability and cleanliness of its restrooms. She added: "It's nice that you can bring a cooler and snacks and water. It helps a lot for the cost for us. … The view of the river is awesome!"

Game times vary and tickets range in price. If you won't be able to catch a game, you still might want to take a tour of the ballpark, which includes a walk through the dugout, the press box and more. A general admission tour costs $17, which also covers entry to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. In the fall and winter, tours run on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. In the spring and summer, they run more frequently.

You'll find the ballpark along the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati. For more information on tours, game times and ticket prices, visit https://www.mlb.com/reds/.

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

This museum, which opened in 2004, sits along the banks of the Ohio River. And it's a very fitting location since thousands of slaves actually crossed the river from Kentucky into Cincinnati when following the Underground Railroad. Today, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center tells the story of slavery in America with several exhibits, giving a broad sweep of three centuries of history and a more detailed look at the Civil War era. The center also works to educate visitors on the slavery that continues to plague the world.

One TripAdvisor user had high praise for the center: "Such a fantastic, educational museum chronicling the Underground Railroad's history. The staff is friendly, the facility is clean, parking is affordable and accessible."

You'll find the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center located on Freedom Way near the Great American Ball Park. The center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Adult admission costs $12; tickets for children ages 3 to 12 are $8; and entry for seniors is $10. For more information, visit http://freedomcenter.org/.

Cincinnati Music Hall

Cincinnati Music Hall

Opened in 1878, the Cincinnati Music Hall is the home to several performing arts groups, including the Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The Music Hall's Springer Auditorium can fit 3,516 audience members in its red seats. And that doesn't include the ghosts; the Music Hall was built over a cemetery, which has spawned rumors that it's haunted.

Recent visitors can't stop raving about their experience. According to one TripAdvisor, "You will love any event you attend at the Cincinnati Music Hall. From the beautiful architecture to the sounds of the orchestra. You will not be disappointed." However, some visitors do say that the place is beginning to look worn, citing the faded carpet and crumbling plaster.

You'll find the music hall in downtown Cincinnati on Elm Street (right across from Washington Park). The ticket office, however, is located a few blocks south at the Aronoff Center for the Arts at 650 Walnut Street. The ticket office is open business days from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Ticket prices and show times vary. For more information, visit https://www.cincinnatiarts.org/.

Findlay Market

Findlay Market

The Findlay Market first opened in 1855, but only just recently has it expanded into the vibrant mix of ethnic food stalls and flea market vendors that it is today. On the weekends in spring, summer and fall, the streets fill with vendors selling everything from jewelry to kettle corn to purses. You'll also find stalls devoted to goods like chocolate, fresh fruit, vegetables and artisan bread.

Many visitors recommend coming on Saturdays for the best experience — you can sample a variety of international fare while you people watch.

You'll find this market north of downtown Cincinnati in the Over-the-Rhine (OTR) neighborhood, mostly congregated on Elder Street. You can find several parking lots nearby, which you can use for a small hourly fee. In fact, there are lots on either side of the market between Elm and Race streets. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. But we recommend visiting on the weekends for a view of the Findlay Market at its busiest and best. For more information, visit http://www.findlaymarket.org/.

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum

Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum

If you're a baseball aficionado — and especially if you aren't able to catch a baseball game at the Great American Ball Park — you might want to drop by the nearby Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. This museum tells the story of the Cincinnati Reds' past with exhibits on famed players like Barry Larkin and Joe Morgan. There's also a movie theater that displays films about the Reds' history, and even a children's play area complete with a miniature Reds locker room.

One of the things visitors most enjoy about the Hall of Fame and Museum is its interactive exhibits — you can actually pitch and field balls inside the museum. A TripAdvisor user had this to say about her experience there: "The museum was neat. I enjoyed watching my husband try to throw a strike ball. Beyond hilarious. I would suggest anyone to go see if you haven't been before."

You'll find this attraction right next to the Great American Ball Park on Joe Nuxhall Way. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for students. There are discounts for seniors and active military; kids ages 4 and younger can enter for free. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/cin/hof/visit/.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Cincinnati is home to the country's second-oldest zoo. It's especially noted for its work with endangered species like black rhinos. The zoo is also known for its innovative birthing programs with animals like the Indian and Sumatran rhinos. On a visit here, you'll see everything from an arctic fox or an African lion to an Indian peacock or an Amazon milk frog.

According to one TripAdvisor, "the Cincinnati Zoo is quite small, but you would never know it from the amazing way they have laid it out and the abundance of animals that they have there." Other visitors agree that the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden feels spacious, though some mention that there are some serious hilly areas that make pushing a wheelchair or stroller rather difficult.

General admission to the zoo is $15; while tickets for seniors and kids ages 2 to 12 cost $10. Alternatively, you can purchase a "rides package," which includes zoo admission and unlimited carousel and train rides for $22 for adults and $17 for children and seniors. There's also the "value package," which includes zoo admission and one screening at the 4-D theater for $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and children. The zoo welcomes visitors every day (except Christmas) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m; between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it stays open until 6 p.m. You'll find the zoo north of downtown Cincinnati on Vine Street. For more information, visit http://cincinnatizoo.org/.

MainStrasse Village

MainStrasse Village

The German-style MainStrasse Village is on the National Register of Historic Places and makes for a lovely place to stroll. Nearly every month there is a vibrant event to attend, like Goettafest in June and the World's Longest Yard Sale in August. There are also restaurants that range from French (Chez Nora) to Italian (GoodFellas Pizzeria) and of course, German (Strasse Haus and more). And there are a number of little shops and boutiques to explore as well.

One TripAdvisor user says you "can't go wrong with a walk through the village. Great chops, cute eateries, attractive bars, tree lined cobble streets and a working glockenspiel."

MainStrasse Village is actually located across the Ohio River from Cincinnati in Covington, Ky., but it's a quick trolley ride away via the TANK-operated Southbank Shuttle. You can also drive and park in the free visitor lot. For more information, visit http://www.mainstrasse.org/.

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal

Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal

The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal — or the Cincy Museum as it's sometimes called — is actually a compilation of museums housed within the art deco-style Union Terminal building. There's the Cincinnati History Museum, which contains exhibits on everything from the city's various modes of transportation to the city's contributions during World War II. There is also the Duke Energy Children's Museum, which features interactive exhibits for little ones. The center's Museum of Natural History & Science covers a variety of subjects, including dinosaurs, the Ice Age and the astronaut Neil Armstrong. In addition to these museums, the center has an OMNIMAX theater, a library and archives and a research center.

One TripAdvisor user raves about the diversity of attractions housed here: "Whether you are spending the day, or just looking to kill a few hours, the variety and selection of the various exhibit halls is amazing."

The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Sundays, the museum is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission varies depending on the ticket package you purchase: For instance, an adult ticket to all three of the museums costs $12.50 and a child's ticket from 3 to 12 years costs $8.50. There are also discounts for seniors and younger children. Meanwhile, an adult ticket to the Ultimate Dinosaurs Exhibit and the Dinosaurs OMNIMAX film costs $16.50, while a child's ticket costs $12.50. Parking costs $6, but after 4 p.m., it drops to $4. To get your money's worth, we recommend blocking out an entire day for touring the museum. You'll find the massive complex in downtown Cincinnati on Western Avenue. For more information, visit http://www.cincymuseum.org/.

American Sign Museum

American Sign Museum

The American Sign Museum has an interesting way of tracing America's history — via signage. Here, you'll find everything from a Phillips 66 sign to neon bar signs to old movie posters and more. As the museum's website relates, signs "reflect the history, technology, commerce, and culture of our communities. Signs and the sign industry have their own stories to tell."

One TripAdvisor user, who found the museum fascinating, offers a recommendation: "Take the tour with the owner of the museum ... he really makes it all come alive!"

The American Sign Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sundays, from noon to 4 p.m. Adult admission costs $15, while children ages 12 and younger can enter for free with an adult. Entry for seniors, students and those in the military costs $10. We recommend planning to visit the museum at either 11 a.m. or 2 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday or at 2 p.m. on Sunday so you can enjoy a guided tour (included in the price of your ticket). You can ensure your place in the tour by ordering your tickets in advance online. You'll find the museum in Cincinnati's Camp Washington neighborhood, north of the downtown area. For tickets and more information, visit https://www.americansignmuseum.org/.

Newport Aquarium

Newport Aquarium

This sprawling aquarium, near the banks of the Ohio River in Kentucky, contains everything from sharks and jellyfish to frogs and fish. One of the best things about this aquarium is its special events calendar. For instance, there is a daily penguin parade, in which African Penguins process through the aquarium on a float. There are also dive shows most days, where scuba divers swim in a glass-enclosed aquarium and instruct visitors about the animals.

According to one TripAdvisor user, "[T]he many tunnels, petting areas […] and the great view of the Ohio River and Cincinnati just after a few steps outside it was well worth going." 

General admission to the aquarium costs $23, while kids ages 2 to 12 are charged $15. The aquarium is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. To reach the aquarium from Cincy, you can hop the TANK-operated Southbank Shuttle. Alternatively, you can make the short trip via car. For more information, visit http://www.newportaquarium.com/.


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26 Sep 2017


By U.S. News