Friday: Downtown Food and Views

Carew Tower Observation Deck (photo: CincinnatiUSA.com)
Carew Tower Observation Deck (photo: CincinnatiUSA.com)

Start your weekend in Cincinnati with a bird’s eye view of the city. Head to Carew Tower, the second-tallest building in the city, and take the elevators to the observation deck (currently closed). Be sure to get there before it closes at 6 p.m. Cost: $4 for adults, $2 for children (6-11), free for children 5 and under.

Crowd at Fountain Square (photo: Louis Rideout)
Crowd at Fountain Square (photo: Louis Rideout)

Next, check out what’s going on at Fountain Square in the heart of the city. Take photos in front of the Tyler Davidson Fountain, a Cincinnati landmark since 1871, and see what’s playing on the giant video board. Or catch one of the free concerts or events scheduled on the outdoor stage. Cost: free.

Skyline Chili cheese coneys (photo: Provided by Skyline Chili)
Skyline Chili cheese coneys (photo: Provided by Skyline Chili)

For dinner, try Cincinnati’s specialty, Skyline Chili, then treat yourself to some Graeter’s Ice Cream for dessert.

Sawyer Point Playground (photo: Terri Weeks)
Sawyer Point Playground (photo: Terri Weeks)

If the kids still have energy left, head to one of Cincinnati's riverfront parks. Smale Riverfront Park offers plenty of fun options including Carol Ann's Carousel, a playground, splash fountains, and an interactive play area including a giant foot piano and flying pig. Kids also love the community-built 1,000 Hands playground at Sawyer Point & Yeatman’s Cove, a mile-long park along the Ohio River. Cost: $2 per carousel ride; other activities free.

Saturday: Over-the-Rhine and Northern Kentucky

Holtman's Donuts in OTR (photo: CincinnatiUSA.com)
Holtman's Donuts in OTR (photo: CincinnatiUSA.com)

Spend the morning in Cincinnati’s Over-The-Rhine neighborhood, starting with breakfast at Holtman’s Donuts. Try the popular bacon maple donut or take a bit out of one topped with Fruity Pebbles or Lucky Charms cereals!

Kids playing in the interactive fountains at Washington Park (photo: CincinnatiUSA.com)
Interactive fountains at Washington Park (photo: CincinnatiUSA.com)

Consider getting those donuts to go and enjoying them at nearby Washington Park. The park has a fun playground for kids and a water play area with interactive fountains (don’t forget to pack a change of clothes for the kids). Cost: free.

Cincinnati Fire Museum (photo: Terri Weeks)
Cincinnati Fire Museum (photo: Terri Weeks)

Visit the Cincinnati Fire Museum for some educational fun. Learn about the history of firefighting equipment, slide down a fire pole, and climb into the cab of a fire engine. Cost: $8 for adults, $6 for children (7-17), free for children 6 and under.

Findlay Market Biergarten (photo: Cincinnati USA.com)
Findlay Market Biergarten (photo: Cincinnati USA.com)

For lunch, head to Findlay Market. This historic and colorful market has been in operation since 1855. You’ll find restaurants, outdoor vendors, and street performers.

Behringer-Crawford Museum (photo: Behringer-Crawford Museum)
Behringer-Crawford Museum (photo: Behringer-Crawford Museum)

Spend the rest of the day across the river in Northern Kentucky. The Behringer-Crawford Museum is a hidden gem in Covington’s Devou Park. This interesting museum, which focuses on Northern Kentucky’s history and heritage, is fun for all ages. Cost: $9 for adults, $5 for for ages 3-17.

Roebling Murals (photo: Terri Weeks)
Roebling Murals (photo: Terri Weeks)

Wander down to the riverfront for an artistic perspective of Northern Kentucky’s history. The Roebling Murals, painted by artist Robert Dafford, depict a variety of scenes from history. You can also check out the new Covington Plaza outdoor amphitheater while you're there! Cost: free.

Hofbrauhaus Newport (photo: KentuckyTourism.com)
Hofbrauhaus Newport (photo: KentuckyTourism.com)

Enjoy dinner at one of Northern Kentucky’s many restaurants. Both Covington and Newport offer several family-friendly options. One of our favorites is the Hofbräuhaus, where the dining experience involves standing on a bench and doing the chicken dance. Or enjoy a meal alfresco in the biergarten.

Bridgeview Box Park (photo: Newport on the Levee)
Bridgeview Box Park (photo: Newport on the Levee)

Spend the rest of the evening playing games at Gameworks or enjoying the views, drinks and eats at Bridgview Box Park, both located at Newport on the Levee.

Sunday: Parks and Jungles

Parky's Farm (photo: Provided by Great Parks of Hamilton County)
Parky's Farm (photo: Provided by Great Parks of Hamilton County)

Enjoy a relaxing day appreciating Greater Cincinnati's natural beauty at Winton Woods Park. Kids love Parky’s Farm, a 100-acre educational farm with pony rides, live animals, and an indoor Playbarn (some parts of Parky's Farm are temporarily closed). After a morning at Parky’s farm, head to Winton Lake where you can grab lunch at the snack bar, then spend the afternoon on the lake. Choose from a variety of boats to rent. Parky’s Ark wet playground is a great way to cool off in the summer (not open in 2021). Winton Woods also has a riding center, two golf courses, nature and fitness trails, and a disc golf course. Cost: Free, fees may apply for some activities. A valid Motor Vehicle Permit is required to enter the parks – cost for residents of Hamilton County: $10 annual/$5 daily; other visitors: $16 annual/$8 daily.

Jungle Jim's International Market (photo: Provided by Jungle Jim's)
Jungle Jim's International Market (photo: Provided by Jungle Jim's)

As your weekend is winding down, head up to Fairfield for a shopping trip to Jungle Jim’s International Market. You’ve never seen a grocery store quite like this one with a monorail outside the building and fun displays throughout the store. (There is also a location in Eastgate!) Grab some picnic supplies, then drive over to Trammel Fossil Park for a picnic and fossil-collecting expedition.

Got a babysitter? Click here for an itinerary for a couples’ getaway.

Written by Terri Weeks.