With iconic scenery, family-friendly attractions, hands-on fun, tasty treats and more, it can be hard to decide what to do in our dynamic river region! Your trip might be a bit different due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are still plenty ways to have a safe, enjoyable getaway in the Cincinnati region. Here are 15 memorable experiences to include during your next visit. (Be sure to check in advance as many venues require advance registration.)
Walk across the Roebling Bridge
The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge is an icon in the Cincinnati region. It's the prototype of New York's Brooklyn Bridge and has been dubbed "the singing bridge" due to the way car tires hum when driving across it. Pedestrian lanes make it a picturesque way to get from Cincinnati to Northern Kentucky (and vice versa) on foot. Read more about the bridge here.
Ride the Beast at Kings Island
Riding the world's longest wooden roller coaster is a rite of passage! And if you like those Kings Island thrills, try the record-breaking Banshee (the world's longest inverted roller coaster) or Mystic Timbers, a 3,200-foot-long wooden coaster that weaves through the forest on the edge of the park and boasts 16 airtime hills.
Touch a stingray at the Newport Aquarium
Touch a stingray. Or a shark. Visit with seahorses. Or walk across the Shark Bridge suspended over the Surrounded by Sharks exhibit. Kids and adults will be amazed at all the sea life on view at the Newport Aquarium.
Snap Instagram-worthy shots of the Cincinnati skyline from Northern Kentucky
Covington, Newport and Bellevue in Northern Kentucky all have amazing views of the Ohio River and Cincinnati skyline across the river. Go for the views and grab lunch or dinner from neighboring restaurants. Find more spots for great views here.
Feed a giraffe at the Cincinnati Zoo
You can feed a giraffe at Giraffe Ridge, go eye-to-eye with hippos at Hippo Cove, take a train ride, get up close with gorillas and so much more at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.
Eat a cheese coney
Cincinnati-style chili is a way of life for locals. Whether you pour it over a hot dog for a coney or over spaghetti for a 3-way, you've got to try this regional favorite during your next visit. Find chili parlors here.
Watch the sunset aboard BB Riverboats
Drink a locally-crafted beer at the oldest bar in Cincinnati, Arnold’s Bar & Grill
Arnold's opened as a saloon more than 150 years ago and survived Prohibition by adding a kitchen to convert the saloon to a cafe. These days, the bar & grill is known for its local selection of craft beer, good food and popular courtyard for outdoor dining.
Shop at Findlay Market
Historic Findlay Market in Over-the-Rhine is the perfect spot for families and couples to relax for a casual lunch, purchase fresh locally-sourced food, sip a craft beer in the biergarden, or enjoy a scoop of Dojo Gelato. Click here to find out how to shop like a pro at Findlay Market.
Enjoy a black raspberry chip ice-cream cone from Graeter’s
It's hard to resist a scoop of creamy French-pot ice cream with huge chunks of chocolate chips. Black Raspberry Chip is a favorite at Graeter's, but don't miss the chance to try their seasonal flavors, too. Oh, and we also recommend the donuts.
Drink locally-made bourbon in Northern Kentucky
Tour The B-Line and enjoy a sip at bourbon distilleries and bourbon bars like New Riff Distilling, the northernmost stop on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour; Boone County Distilling, which makes authentic bourbon whiskey in the northern hills of Kentucky; and Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar, home to more than 300 domestic bourbons and whiskeys to choose from. Find a list of distilleries here.
Visit the Cincinnati Art Museum's Art Climb
Ascend 450 feet from the base to the top at the Cincinnati Art Museum's new experience, Art Climb, and enjoy views of the city and surrounding Eden Park along the way. Plus, tour the museum for free to browse their collection of more than 67,000 objects spanning 6,000 years of art work from around the world. Click here for more museums to explore.
Play "Heart and Soul" on the foot piano at Smale Riverfront Park
Kids and adults will enjoy pouncing on the giant foot piano at the popular Smale Riverfront Park. Plus, there's a carousel, slides, rock climbing wall, porch swings and so much more to explore while at the downtown park. Click here to explore more at the park.
Spend a day at the Ark Encounter
Cheer on the Cincinnati Reds at Fountain Square
Watching a Cincinnati Reds baseball game is a tradition that dates back to 1869 when the Cincinnati Redlegs became America’s first professional baseball team. Attending games in person have been more difficult due to the pandemic, but there are still fun ways to experience America’s favorite pastime. Fountain Square, in the heart of downtown, has plenty of space between their outdoor tables and their consession stand is open daily serving refreshments including alcoholic beverages. Bring some peanuts and grab some dinner from a nearby restaurant to enjoy while watching the Reds play on the big screen.
Additional updates by Julie Brock.