Cincinnati, Ohio is a beautiful city filled with modern skyscrapers and a variety of fun and enjoyable attractions. There is so much to do in the city that it’s wise to take a few moments to plan your itinerary so you won’ miss out on the most interesting activities. If you’re a first-time visitor, we’ve got you covered. Our guide The 20 Best Things To Do in Downtown Cincinnati gives you an overview of the most fun and interesting things to do and see to make the most out of your time there.
20. Visit the Cincinnati Zoo
The Cincinnati Zoo is rated as one of the best in the country. It’s situated on 65 acres in Avondale at the center of the city. The zoo and its botanical garden have been in existence for 140 years, making it the second oldest in the USA. Here you’ll find exotic animals including Malayan tigers, rare bonobos, Sumatran Rhinoceros, and a California sea lion breeding program. There are more than 2,000 animals on exhibit. they represent 500 different species. You’ll also see a 70-year-old alligator that is the oldest in captivity. It’s also educational with multiple conservation and sustainability projects explained.
19. See the Cincinnati Observatory
The Cincinnati Observatory was built in the 19th century and is designated as a national historic landmark. It’s one of the more popular attractions, drawing missions of tourists each year. It’s open to the public for the study of 21st-century science and astronomy. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and there is a research center for education that sponsors activities and events all year round. They also provide film nights and concerts. The observatory also offers telescope training and astronomy classes.
18. Shop at Findlay Market
A shopping trip to Findlay Market is a great way to find fresh foods year-round in Cincinnati. The Market was established in 1852, It’s on the National Register of Historic Places. You can visit the market from Tuesday through Saturday and sometimes it’s open on Sundays. You’ll find it in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood in the downtown district, which is also a historic part of the city. The market is famous for its artisan honey, handmade prepared foods, cheeses, poultry, fish, meats, herbs, vegetables, and fruits. In the summer enjoy the OTR Biergarten with live music and craft beers on tap and in the bottle.
17. Tour the Museum of Natural History & Science
Cincinnati is the home of the Cincinnati Museum Center where the Museum of Natural History and Science is located. Learn about ancient Egypt with exhibits and educational information about an Egyptian mummy named Umi, estimated to be over 1800 years old. Learn about the Ice get with more educational information, and visit the Cave display to learn about the deepest limestone caves. There are also exhibits that range from the dinosaur age to moon travel with Nil Armstrong. The museum is packed with interesting and educational exhibits and facts with interactive activities.
16. Take an aerial tour of the city
You can book a helicopter tour of the city of Cincinnati through Stratus Helicopters. They offer special flight packages, and some of the best tours of the city you’ll find. The company also provides flight training for those interested in learning. They offer customized flights for almost all kinds of special occasions.
15. Visit the Krohn Conservatory
The Krohn Conservatory was founded in 1933. It’s one of the most popular attractions for tourists visiting Cincinnati for the first time. Get photos of the Gothic arch-style building that is encased in glass. The conservatory contains more than 3,500 species of plants from across the globe. Enjoy the International Butterfly Show and walk through thousands of beautiful butterflies in flight. See the unique exhibits including rainforest waterfall, and exotic plant displays, and more.
14. Ride the Cincinnati Dinner Train
The Cincinnati Dinner Train offers a romantic and interesting dining experience. The cars are elegantly furnished and can accommodate up to 132 passengers. The interior is vintage 1940s style with booth window seating. The train leaves from the BBQ Revue parking lot and takes diners through downtown Cincinnati to the riverfront for a three-hour excursion. Four-course dinners are served as you make your way to the riverfront. You can also reserve a private tour as a part of our package. Learn more about the options and reserve your seats on the official website.
13. Visit the Cincinnati Art Museum
The Cincinnati Art Museum offers an interactive space free for families with children at the Rosenthal Education Center. The center is located in the museum. The larger area of the museum is one of the oldest in the nation. It features a collection of more than 65,000 pieces of art. The building is a Romanesque revival style. Enjoy viewing the works of Murillo, Botticelli, Hals, Pissarro, Picasso, Monet, and many others. The museum was founded in 1881 and is one of the most popular attractions in Cincinnati.
12. Tour the Taft Museum of Art
No trip to Cincinnati is complete without a visit to the Taft Museum of Art. The Taft Museum of Art is a National Historic Landmark and designated as one of the nation’s best small art museums. This museum opened in 1927 as a gift from the Taft family. They designated their Greek Revival-style house as a museum. The museum offers art from grandmasters Goya, Gainsborough, Rembrandt, and others, along with Gothic ivory sculptures. Activities are offered for visitors including live music shows Art in the Afternoon with local artists, gallery talks, and guided walking tours. The Taft Museum of Art is a National Historic Landmark. The site is one of the best small art museums in America. The museum is home to an extensive fine art collection of American and European paintings and decorative artwork.
11. Take the kids to the Duke Energy Children’s Museum
This museum is ideal for children offering eight interactive exhibits with play, displays, and hands-on activities. The Little Sprouts Farm and Kids’ Town offer interactive playtime. The Energy Zone and The Woods are interactive exhibits featuring the world of adventure-based wilderness fun. Located in the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum offers eight interactive, hands-on exhibits, displays, play, exploration, and discovery areas. The museum encourages children to crawl, climb, explore and learn about the world around them. Other educational activities include arts, culture, reading, science, and biology activities.
10. Take the Queen City Underground Tour
American Legacy Tours offers visitors a guided tour of the 130-year-old tunnel that takes you underground through the historic OTR neighborhood in downtown Cincinnati. Guides offer a detailed history of old Cincinnati along with tours of various other parts of the city.
9. Take the Queen City Haunted Tour
Whether you are a brave soul or just interested in the paranormal, ALT offers their Queen City Haunted Tour. It takes you deep into Cincinnati’s haunted past and reveals stories of paranormal activities at the sites you visit on the tour. It’s a little scary so this tour is probably best reserved for adults.
8. Go on an Alehouse tour
Book a couple of seats on the Baron’s Brew Bus for a tour of the most famous alehouses in Cincinnati. Guests do not need a designated driver because the bus takes you to the best alehouses in the city. When you get there, you will learn about the history of Cincinnati’s alehouses and sample some of the best craft ales in the country.
7. Take the Year that Changed Baseball tour
If a baseball fan, then there is a tour offered in Cincinnati that you should not pass up. The tour is called 1919: The Year that Changed Baseball. This activity is a walking tour that gives you a detailed history of Cincinnati’s role in baseball history. It also shows the evolution of baseball as a professional sport.
6. Take pictures of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge
The iconic John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge is one of the biggest attractions in Cincinnati. It was completed in 1866 and has since connected Cincinnati, Ohio with Covington, Kentucky. It’s the fastest way to move from one city to another, and in minutes you’re in a different state. Roebling was also the builder of the famed Brooklyn Bridge. This is a National Historic Landmark where the Roeblingest is held annually.
5. Tour the Cincinnati Reds Hall and Fame and Museum
If you’re a fan of the Cincinnati Reds, then this tour is a must. The Cincinnati Reds franchise established the Hall of Fame & Museum in 1958. It was established to pay tribute to the home baseball team of the city. Learn more about the team players, managers, and executives who made significant contributions and achievements during their time. There are tons of exhibitions, displays, and memorabilia from the past and present. The venue takes up over two floors, so plan on spending a couple of hours if you want to see it all. It takes you back into the 1800s when the team was called the Cincinnati Red Stockings.
4. Visit Eden Park
Eden Park is the most well-known park in the city. It draws thousands of visitors all year round. There is a playground for kids along with walkways, bicycle paths, and two lovely lakes. You can take walks through the Hinkle Magnolia Garden while you’re there. Participate in various other activities. There are great views of Mirror Lake, the Krohn Conservatory and Butterfly Show, the Cincinnati Playhouse, and more. Eden Park is a place where you can occupy several days and there will still be more to do.
3. Visit Fountain Square
Fountain Square founded in 1871, is one of the most popular gathering places in the historic district. The Tyler Davidson Fountain is a popular place to take tourist pictures. There are multiple animal-shaped drinking fountains, and the area is the home of many great cafes and restaurants for grabbing a bite to eat. Community sponsors host free programs that include music, movies, and other special events. It’s a good idea to check out Fountain Square in advance of your trip to learn more about the various events that are going on there.
2. Tour the American Sign Museum
The American Sign Museum is dedicated to the famous signs that have become iconic throughout America. Educational components at the venue tell the stories behind the various signs on display that are a part of American pop culture. The exhibition space displays a variety of these exhibits from the past. It tells the unique stories behind each sign, and why it is a significant piece of American history. You can also learn about how to make signs if you sign up for a guided tour.
1. Visit The Overlook Lodge (Bar)
The Overlook Lodge is one of the biggest attractions in Cincinnati. The decor of the bar takes its inspiration from the 1980 film “The Shining.” Fans of the movie will immediately recognize some of the elements as cues from the film. There is a display of crossed axes on the wall. There is also an image of the infamous motel displayed on a corkboard. Although there are a few creepy references, the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed with a cozy and rustic ambiance. The Overlook Lodge is one of the most popular bars in the area that offers specialty cocktails but is also known for its craft beers. If you’re looking for a great place to party while in Cincinnati, this is a great place to go for a few specialty cocktails or brews.