Whether you're trying to escape the cold in the winter or beat the heat in the summer, check out these spots in the Cincinnati region.
Fun for all ages
Butterfly Show at Krohn Conservatory (photo: Gary Kessler)
Parks are known for outdoor fun, but many of the parks in the Cincinnati region offer fun indoor options as well. Eden Park
's Krohn Conservatory
is home to more than 3,500 plant species from around the world. Krohn features annual events like the Butterfly Show
every spring, where kids can walk and explore among fluttering butterflies!
, a park north of downtown Cincinnati, offers an amazing two-story indoor playground for kids to burn off steam inside the Ranger Station. The Ranger Station is also home to a gift shop, educational nature displays, and live animal exhibits.
Full Throttle Indoor Karting (photo: Full Throttle Indoor Karting)
Check out an indoor family fun center. The region is home to familiar favorites like Dave and Buster's and Chuck E. Cheese's, but there are quite a few local spots that are fun in their own way. Check out Scene75 in Milford for arcade games, mini golf, go-karts, laser tag and more! Don't miss the Pin Deck located next door for bowling, a full bar, and billiards.
Main Event Entertainment in West Chester is another fun option for family fun. They offer classics like laser tag and mini golf, as well as gravity ropes and rock climbing! If there's a speed demon in your family, check out Full Throttle Adrenaline Park with locations in Springdale, OH and Florence, KY. Each location has karts designed for specific age groups and skill levels to ensure everyone has a fun and safe racing experience.
Adults can try their hand at axe throwing at one of several spots that have opened up around the region, including Flying Axes, Class Axe and Urban Axes.
Bars with a fun twist
Head to a movie-themed bar like The Overlook Lodge in Pleasant Ridge or their sister bar The Video Archive in Walnut Hills. The Overlook is themed around The Shining and offers live music every Friday and Saturday night, plus trivia every Tuesday. They also host special movie showings and live recording sessions for local podcasts. The Video Archive is a Quentin Tarantino-themed speakeasy that offers plenty of fun surprises. They often show movies and have the bartenders come up with creative cocktails to enjoy while you watch. Join the Mug Club and you can enjoy cheap beer every Thursday!
If video games are more your style, head to Northside and hit up Arcade Legacy: Bar Edition. This "barcade" serves hot dogs and nachos in addition to drinks. There's another Arcade Legacy location for the under 21 crowd located in Forest Park, but this location is strictly about the games, so no food or drinks are served.
Fine art for free
Cincinnati Art Museum (photo: Cincinnati Art Museum)
Take in some fine art at the Cincinnati Art Museum. The museum is FREE and open every day except Monday, and even has extended hours on Thursday. You can enjoy a free daily public tour that highlights the museum's permanent collection. Make a whole day at the museum and have lunch at the Terrace Cafe located inside. The menu offers soups, salads, and sandwiches, and you can even sit and eat on the outdoor terrace during the warmer months. The art museum is not just for adults, there's plenty for kids to do, too! Every Saturday and Sunday kids can participate in family ARTventures, which are tours that allow kids to interact with art in the collection. Kids will also love the Rosenthal Education Center, where they can make their own art in a hands-on and safe manner.
Contemporary Arts Center (photo: Contemporary Arts Center)
Another great art museum dedicated to modern art is the quirky Contemporary Arts Center located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati. There you will find three floors of ever-changing world-class art exhibitions, including the UnMuseum, which is an entire floor dedicated to family-friendly interactive art. The CAC has more than just art, they also host performances, films, conferences, and workshops that are open to the public. When you're finished exploring all three floors, check out the cafe located inside and enjoy breakfast or lunch. The CAC is open every day except Tuesday.
Fun off the beaten path
Jungle Jim's Eastgate (photo: Jungle Jim's)
Take a walk on the wild side at Jungle Jim's International Market and enjoy a shopping experience like no other! Jungle Jim's carries all of the typical items on your shopping list plus quirky items like kangaroo jerky and a collection of 1,500 different hot sauces. The store also offers tours, food demonstrations, and fun attractions for both adults and kids. Pick up a map so you don't get lost in the jungle (yes, the store is that huge). Don't miss their yearly festivals like the International Wine Festival and the Big Cheese Festival. The original Jungle Jim's is located in Fairfield and they have an additional location in Eastgate.
Escape the Room Challenge (photo: Escape the Room)
Try an escape room! Get locked in a room full of challenging puzzles and see if you can escape before the timer runs out. This activity is fun for all ages and there're lots of local companies to choose from including Escape The Room Challenge
at EnterTRAINment Junction
, Breakout Games
located in Hyde Park and The Escape Game
in downtown Cincinnati at The Banks
. Each company has multiple rooms to play and puts their own spin on the activity. From taking on the mob to breaking a gypsy's curse, everyone is sure to have a fun experience! Do you have what it takes to escape?
Findlay Market (photo: Wendy Pramik)
Pay a visit to the Play Library
, a twist on the classic library concept. Instead of loaning books, toys and games are lent out to children in the neighborhood. They welcome visitors to come in and play games for free during their business hours, but donations are appreciated. Grab lunch or a snack from one of the stalls inside Findlay Market
across the street. Choices include Areti's Gyros
, Dojo Gelato
, Taste of Belgium
, and much more! There's plenty of seating available inside the market if you're trying to escape the weather.