20 Things To Do In Cincinnati

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In Ohio’s southwestern corner, the city of Cincinnati is a major economic, political and cultural hub in the Buckeye State, forming the centrepiece of Ohio’s most populated metro area. Nicknamed “Cincy”, Cincinnati straddles the north shore of the Ohio River and is a much-beloved travel destination in the Midwest due to its strong arts scene, captivating natural splendour and diverse attractions.

Among the city’s world-class tourist offerings are the oldest observatory in the Western Hemisphere, one of the oldest art museums in the United States and the largest amusement park in the entire Midwest region, cementing Cincy’s reputation as a must-visit Midwest city that’s bound to leave travellers wanting for more.

Cincinnati, Ohio

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Top 10 Sites + Top 5 Foods of Cincinnati Morning Tour
Looking for things to do in CIncinnati? Check out our top 20 list.

20 Things To Do In Cincinnati

1- Cincinnati Art Museum

The world-class Cincinnati Art Museum is a fascinating Ohio landmark in Cincy’s Eden Park that has amassed a staggering 73,000-piece art collection spanning more than 6,000 years of history.

Established in 1881, the art museum is the oldest of its kind west of the Allegheny Mountains and is among the oldest in the entire United States.

Housed inside an eye-catching Romanesque-revival style building designed by renowned Cincinnati architect James W.

McLaughlin, the museum boasts one of the Midwest’s most comprehensive collections and is home to countless priceless works of art sourced from around the world.

The Cincinnati Art Museum is at 953 Eden Park Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

2- Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal

cincinnati museum centre
Visiting the Museum Centre is one of the things to do in Cincinnati.

Housed inside the former Union Terminal Art Deco-style building in downtown Cincinnati, a National Historic Landmark-designated venue, the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is jam-packed with history and culture both inside and outside.

The museum complex has five unique museums for visitors and history buffs to explore and tour, including the Cincinnati History Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science and the Duke Energy Children’s Museum.

Complete with an on-site library, theatre and a symphonic pipe organ, the complex is without a doubt among downtown Cincy’s most-visited landmarks and provides travellers with an unrivalled glimpse into the region’s rich history.

The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is at 1301 Western Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45203.


3- American Sign Museum

The American Sign Museum near downtown Cincinnati was initially established in 1999 and officially opened to the public a few years later in 2005 by Tod Swormstedt, whose family has owned the “Signs of the Times” signage trade journal since 1906.

Swormstedt decided to open the unique Cincy venue to preserve the historic signs he and his family collected, as well as to pay homage to the cultural, commercial and artistic impact made by some of the most iconic American signs.

Among the museum’s expansive signage collection are eye-catching pieces such as a “Frisch’s Big Boy” fibreglass statue, a “McDonald’s” sign from 1963, and a neon sign from Cornell University’s popular “Johnny’s Big Red Grill” restaurant.

The American Sign Museum is at 1330 Monmouth Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45225.

4- Findlay Market

Boxes Filled With Seasonal Fruits And Veggies
Visiting a farmer’s market is one of the things to do in Cincinnati this weekend.

Open all year round between Tuesdays and Sundays, the Findlay Market has been a staple of Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighbourhood ever since the local get-together was first organised in 1852.

The market was first held on land donated by General James Findlay’s estate and is home to the market bell from Cincinnati’s former Pearl Street Market, which became Cincy’s first market in 1816.

About 50 or so vendors sell their produce and goods to the public at the market, with the Findlay Market being listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 in recognition of its longstanding cultural and historic significance.

Findlay Market is at 1801 Race St, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

5- Cincinnati Observatory

“The Birthplace of American Astronomy”, the Cincinnati Observatory, became the first observatory in the Western Hemisphere when it opened in 1843 and houses one of the oldest operational telescopes in the world.

The observatory is nicknamed Mt. Lookout Observatory by locals due to its location atop Cincinnati’s Mount Lookout, with the observatory’s cornerstone laying attended by former US President John Quincy Adams.

Featuring a Greek Revival-style design, the observatory has been added to the National Register of Historic Places and declared a National Historic Landmark, making it one of Cincinnati’s best attractions to visit.

The Cincinnati Observatory is at 3489 Observatory Pl, Cincinnati, OH 45208.

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6- Eden Park

Home to several popular Cincinnati landmarks and attractions, Eden Park is a large 186-acre (75 ha) hilltop park that’s renowned for its uninterrupted vantage points of the Ohio River Valley to the southeast.

The park boasts venues such as the Krohn Conservatory and the Cincinnati Art Museum within its borders and treats visitors to a series of walking trails, overlooks and greenery to enjoy.

Free to visit, the park is one of the most visited public parks in the Cincinnati Metro Area and is perfect for hiking, picnicking, snapping pics or stopping by its many museums and popular landmarks.

Eden Park is at 950 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

7- National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

cincinnati historic district
Exploring the historic district is one of the interesting things to do in Cincinnati.

Established in 2004, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center pays tribute and shines a light on Cincinnati’s important role as a stopping point along the Underground Railroad from the late 1700s through the mid-1800s.

The railroad is said to have provided a safe passageway to over 100,000 African American slaves before and during the American Civil War from slave states in the South to Union states, Canada and Mexico.

The centre features several noteworthy attractions to take in, including a 1930s Slave Pen, several interactive displays and a variety of other eye-opening and thought-provoking exhibits.

The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is at 50 E Freedom Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

8- Great American Ball Park

The Great American Ball Park is a state-of-the-art, 42,271-seat baseball stadium that’s been the home venue of the MLB’s Cincinnati Reds since 2003.

Initially titled “Cinergy Field” when it first opened, the $290 million stadium has played host to music concerts by the likes of Paul McCartney, P!nk, Jay-Z and Billy Joel, and even hosted the 2015 MLB All Star Game.

Whether you’re stopping by to root for the Reds or to enjoy the venue’s great acoustics during a live open-air concert, the Great American Ball Park is bound to be among the loudest attractions in Cincy.

The Great American Ball Park is at 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

9- Cincinnati Music Hall

Deemed to be one of downtown Cincinnati’s most recognisable landmarks, the Cincinnati Music Hall is a fascinating cultural and historic landmark which first opened its doors in 1878.

Constructed over a three-year period from 1876 through 1878, the music hall was designed by prominent architect Samuel Hannaford and is considered to be among the finest examples of Gothic Revival-style architecture in the United States.

The hall was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and also became a National Historic Landmark in 1974, starring in everything from Democratic and Republican Party National Conventions and music concerts to paranormal investigation TV shows.

The Cincinnati Music Hall is at 1241 Elm St, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

10- Newport Aquarium

Established in 1999, the Newport Aquarium offers visitors to Cincinnati the opportunity to experience, see and learn more about a wide variety of marine lifeforms just across the Ohio River in landlocked Kentucky.

The world-class aquarium is situated less than 2 miles (3.2 km) outside downtown Cincy and serves as a refuge for animals ranging from penguins to white alligators.

Home to themed exhibits such as the one-of-a-kind “Shark Bridge” and the “Shipwreck: Realm of the Eels”, the aquarium is one of the best in the country and is well worth the short drive across the Ohio River to experience.

The Newport Aquarium is at 1 Levee Way, Newport, KY 41071.

11- Taft Museum of Art

Recognised as being one of the premier small art museums in the United States, the Taft Museum of Art in downtown Cincinnati is a National Register of Historic Places-listed venue boasting a large collection of culturally important visual art pieces.

The museum is housed inside the historic Taft House, a beautiful Federal-style residence built in 1820 for prominent businessman and politician Martin Baum.

There are several noteworthy paintings, sculptures, ceramics and furniture pieces on display in the Taft Museum of Art, including Rembrandt portraits, Chinese porcelains and Limoges enamels.

The Taft Museum of Art is at 316 Pike St, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

12- Krohn Conservatory

Within the borders of Cincinnati’s Eden Park, the Krohn Conservatory was established in 1933 as the “Eden Park Greenhouse” to replace the park’s ageing collection of greenhouse structures which first started popping up in the park around 1894.

The conservatory was renamed in 1937 after Irwin M. Krohn, who played a pivotal role in the conservatory’s creation during his more than 3-decade stint on the Cincinnati Park Board between 1912 and 1948.

The Art Deco-style conservatory showcases more than 3,500 unique plant species sourced from across the world under one roof, divided into sections that include the Bonsai Collection, the Tropical House and the Desert Garden

The Krohn Conservatory is at 1501 Eden Park Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

13- Kings Island

Kings Island is an exciting 364-acre (147 ha) amusement park situated about 24 miles (38 km) northeast of downtown Cincinnati that’s recognised as the largest amusement park in the entire Midwest region.

The landmark Ohio family attraction first opened its doors in 1972 as an alternative to the nearby “Coney Island” amusement park which was prone to flooding and has since expanded to include 14 different rollercoasters and a 33-acre (13 ha) water park.

Conveniently separated into eight uniquely themed areas, Kings Island attracts well over three million visitors every year and routinely ranks among the most attended amusement parks in all of North America.

Kings Island is at 6300 Kings Island Dr, Mason, OH 45040.

14- Carew Tower

One of Cincy’s most iconic landmarks, the 49-story Carew Tower in downtown Cincinnati is a striking Art Deco-style building overlooking the Ohio River that was unveiled as a National Historic Landmark in 1994.

The building soars more than 570 feet (174 m) into the sky above the Buckeye State and was officially completed in 1930 at a cost of $33 million to replace the 9-story Carew Building.

The Carew Tower was replaced as the tallest building in Cincinnati in 2010 and boasts a banquet hall inspired by the Palace of Versailles in France, remaining as opulent and grandiose today as the day it first opened.

Carew Tower is at 35 W 5th St, Cincinnati, OH 45202, USA.

15- Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

A Cincy mainstay since its grand opening in 1875, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is a 75-acre (30 ha) urban zoological park that’s been named the top zoo in North America by “USA Today” in 2019.

The zoo is among the top 10 oldest zoos in the United States and is home to about 1,900 animals across over 500 species which includes hippos, giraffes, elephants, okapis, two-toed sloths and western lowland gorillas.

More than 1.2 million visitors stop by the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden every year, making it one of the most popular attractions in the Buckeye State’s southwest corner.

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is at 3400 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45220.

16- Fountain Square

Fountain Square is a public gathering space which first popped up in downtown Cincinnati in 1871.

Initially little more than a large empty esplanade down Fifth Street, the square was updated and renovated in its centennial year in 1971 to include shops, eateries and office space, growing into a space that’s held presidential campaign rallies, festivals and live events.

Free to enjoy, the square is the symbolic heartbeat of downtown Cincy and is a great space to visit when you’re out and about exploring the sights and attractions of Cincinnati.

Fountain Square is at 520 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

17- Over-the-Rhine Neighbourhood

The thriving Over-the-Rhine neighbourhood in Cincinnati is among the oldest and most cultured districts of Cincy, with the neighbourhood first settled around the turn of the 19th century.

Spanning about 319 acres (129 ha), the district is recognised as being one of the largest and most intact historic districts in the nation.

It’s home to Findley Market and the Cincinnati Music Hall.

A once working-class neighbourhood inhabited by German immigrants, the neighbourhood has been extensively revitalised throughout the centuries.

Today, it’s a popular attraction thanks to its unique architecture, distinct culture, world-class tourist centres, shopping districts and culinary scene.

18- Roebling Suspension Bridge

Cincinnati Skyline And Historic John A. Roebling Suspension
Crossing the historic John A. Roebling suspension bridge is one of the iconic things to do in Cincinnati.

The Roebling Suspension Bridge, or John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge as it’s officially titled, is a major thoroughfare between the states of Ohio and Kentucky, spanning about 1,642 feet (500 m) across the Ohio River.

Completed in 1866, the bridge was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1883, when it was overtaken by another Roebling-designed suspension bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.

Still as captivating and impressive as the day it first opened, the bridge is free to cross and is a great way of accessing the lively bar and restaurant scene found along the shores of Northern Kentucky across the river from Cincinnati.

19- Ohio River Trail

Cincinnati Downtown Overview
Exploring downtown is one of the best things to do in Cincinnati to start your visit.

The 4.6-mile-long (7.4 km) out-and-back Ohio River Trail is a scenic walking, cycling and jogging pathway that links together several parts of the Cincinnati riverfront that travellers can experience on foot.

The trail was established to boost the river’s outdoor offerings and is set to eventually connect the Ohio town of New Richmond with Cincy’s Smale Riverfront Park to create a 28-mile-long (45 km) outdoor attraction.

Free to enjoy, the trail currently passes by Cincinnati landmarks such as Paycor Stadium, the Roebling Bridge and the Great American Ball Park.

It’s a must-visit attraction for unbeatable views of the Ohio River towards northern Kentucky.

20- Paycor Stadium

Fireworks Over the Stadium
Watching a game is one of the things to do in Cincinnati.

Home to the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL, Paycor Stadium is a state-of-the-art football and general entertainment venue which has been one of downtown Cincinnati’s most exciting landmarks since opening in 2000.

The stadium was originally known as “Paul Brown Stadium” for the first 22 years of its lifetime before being renamed in 2022 and has played host to countless professional and collegiate football matchups.

Paycor Stadium is also one of Ohio’s premier live music arenas, having hosted music concerts from the likes of Demi Lovato, Guns N’ Roses, Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift.

Paycor Stadium is at 1 Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati, OH 45202.

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Jessica Shaw is a storyteller who has lived in four U.S. states - Missouri, Georgia, Ohio and Illinois - and has visited many others. She loves history and nature and is a big fan of road tripping.