24 hours in: Cincinnati

Headed to Cincinnati and wondering what to see and do with only 24 hours? We’re here to help you maximise your short visit and experience the highlights of The Queen City, with advice straight from our locals.

Early morning (7am – 9am)

Begin your 24 hours with breakfast in the heart of downtown on Race Street at the amazing Maplewood Kitchen and Bar. Tip: try their quinoa cakes, ricotta pancakes, or avocado benedict.

Morning (9am – 12pm)

Now that your tummy’s full, stroll one block over to Fountain Square, passing the delightful Tyler Davis Fountain, and walk three blocks south to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The museum is devoted to educating the public about both past and modern-day slavery, and accomplishes their mission with compelling exhibits.

tyler davis fountain in cincinnati

The Tyler Davis Fountain is definitely worth a photo op

After spending an hour or two there, rent a Red Bike (one of the many stations is located just behind the center) and explore two beautiful riverfront parks: Yeatman’s Cove/Sawyer Point and Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park, passing unique art sculptures with the mighty Ohio River and northern Kentucky as your backdrop. Round-trip, the trail along the river is a short three miles (about five kilometres).

The ohio river in cincinnati

The mighty Ohio River will give you a taste of nature in the downtown

Afternoon (12pm – 5:00pm)

Turn your bike in and have lunch at either the Moerlein Lager House or the Yard House (a short 2-3 minute walk). With sweeping views of the river, the boats and occasional barges are fun to observe — not to mention having nature’s beauty right in front of you.

Take the $1 streetcar ride nine stops up to Findlay Market, Ohio’s oldest outdoor market, and from there, hop on a Cincinnati Urban Adventures tour at 1:30pm. After a brief history of the market, a tasty treat or two, and a stroll past its delicious offerings, we’ll hop on the streetcar for a stop at historic Washington Park to see some of the nation’s largest collection of Italianate architecture and playful water features.

washington park fountain in cincinnati

Spend some time in the waters at Washington Park!

All aboard the streetcar again for a ride to the heart of downtown for a taste or two of the locals’ favourite foods near Fountain Square, followed by a super-fast elevator ride up 45 stories to the observation deck of the Carew Tower for outstanding views. The building is a national historic landmark filled with art deco-themed details.

carew tower observation deck in cincinnati

Catch the views atop Carew

To finish our Nati in a Nutshell tour, we’ll walk three blocks down to the area called The Banks, for a short walk through Smale Riverfront Park. You’ll be provided with a streetcar pass that’s good for the remainder of the day, for you to discover more of Cincinnati’s treasures.

queen city sign in cincinnati

Cincinnati: The Queen City

Happy hour (5pm – 7pm)

You’re probably ready for a rest and a cocktail by now, so take the streetcar up two stops to the 21c Museum Hotel’s Cocktail Terrace (open seasonally), located on the 11th floor and offering stunning views of downtown Cincinnati. You’ll also want to check out the museum’s free art exhibitions while you’re there.

Evening (7pm until late!)

Now it’s time to hit some hot spots in Cincinnati’s beloved Over-the-Rhine community. Located just four streetcar stops north, this area is chock-full of trendy eateries and bars. We recommend walking one block over to the swank and sumptuous Bakersfield OTR for some authentic Mexican food and top-notch margaritas. If you prefer Italian, A Tavola is across the street and although they have delicious pasta, their signature pizzas are the best I’ve ever had!

If you’re looking for nightlife, you’re in the right spot. Just two blocks east on Main Street, you’ll find the MOTR Pub, which features live rock bands with a laid-back vibe. The Drinkery and Japp’s are also on the same street. There are just too many cool places to list!

Cincinnati Day Tours, with a local

Nestled between the beautiful Ohio river and rolling hills, Cincinnati has been revitalised in just a few years. The new streetcar takes you from gorgeous riverfront parks and restaurants, past Fountain Square, through historic architecture and trendy eateries and bars in Over-the-Rhine, to the historic Findlay Market. Oh, and don’t forget about Cincinnati Chili, the Reds & Bengals, and Graeter’s Ice Cream!

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Manager @ Cincinnati Urban Adventures. Life lover. World traveller. Professional photographer. Cincinnati lover.

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