Cincinnati, Ohio is a fantastic place to visit for short visits and extended stays alike. We have a rich history, interesting architecture, and a diverse culture. So if you’re interested in experiencing life in Cincy, pack your bags and head on over.
- Cincinnati is known for friendly faces, a strong sense of community, and its famous chili served over spaghetti.
- Many historical architecture and landmarks were designed by the same famous architects and engineers from landmarks around the United States.
- Join us at the Findlay Market for a taste of the local cultures and cuisine.
- Enjoy the many parks and cultural centers all over the city, many with free public entrance.
Can’t-Miss Cincinnati Destination: Findlay Market
History of Findlay Market
Founded in 1855 by James G. Findlay, the Findlay Market is the oldest continuously operated open-air public market in Ohio. Due to the rapid growth of the Cincinnati population at the time, the market was built for farmers and other vendors to sell their goods in one central location. It quickly gained popularity and has been the go-to place for everything from fresh meats and produce to handmade crafts and specialty items. Findlay Market has played a vital role to the community throughout its history. Although it has undergone many renovations and expansions through the years, it has continued to support local farmers and businesses, as well as providing a gathering space.
Today, Findlay Market covers four city blocks and has space for more than 50 outdoor and indoor vendors. It has become a popular destination for foodies, with plenty of unique dining experiences only found at home in Cincinnati. Here, you can enjoy an array of Cincinnati food and displays set out by local artists.
The National Register of Historic Places recognized Findlay Market in 1972, thanks to its historical impact and cultural significance. It continues to be a cornerstone of Cincinnati—a symbol of the city’s sense of community and entrepreneurial spirit.
What to Buy at Findlay Market
Findlay Market has an abundance of specialty foods, hand-crafted wares, and unique artisan goods to buy. Options range from handmade ceramics to jewelry and so much more; you can find just about anything your heart desires in Findlay Market.
Looking to spruce up your home? Deerhaus Decor can certainly help with that. Owners Sonja Thams and Ben Deering aim to bring local, sustainable, and ethically sourced products to your home so you can enjoy the craftsmanship of local and national makers. They sell a wide range of home decor, kitchen supplies, ceramics, and even plants to decorate your home with items you can both love and feel good about owning.
For a unique set of kitchenware, find Jessica Danielle Clay at Findlay Market. Her passion for ceramics is palpable as you hold her fine work in your hands. She crafts kitchenware, vases, planters, as well as fired clay jewelry. Jessica is based out of Covington, KY, so it may be best to find her first on social media to see when she will be having her pop-up stand at Findlay Market.
Clothing and More
For those interested in unique clothing items, Findlay Market has several special boutiques that offer handmade and screen-printed clothing. Rivertown Inkery & Apparel has a collection of vintage-inspired sweatshirts, t-shirts, and stickers that pay homage to the city they love—Cincinnati. They aim to make timeless designs and clothing that will last, so you can love their clothes as much as they love their hometown.
Another designer paying homage to their hometown is Chris Deighan Art, LLC. Chris creates his own screen-printed designs, as well as fantastical freehand ink drawings on paper. Next, head over to Braided by Anna Paulsen for handmade crocheted tops and sweaters. The whimsical style and high-quality design are a match made in heaven, and she even takes custom orders and designs.
Health and Wellness
For health and wellness junkies, Chamaele is a family-owned business that makes healthy concoctions with local ingredients. From herbal remedies to flavored honey, Chamaele is all about engaging with the community to bring some delicious flavors to a healthy lifestyle. They have a passion for educating people on the wonderful healing provided by Mother Nature.
Finally, Bee Haven is your one-stop shop for all things bee. Starting from humble beginnings in 2005, Bee Haven has grown into a movement. They make a wide selection of healthy products and gifts out of the byproducts of their hives, including honey, beeswax, and pollen. Using these natural ingredients, they make candles, lotions, salves, jams, and so much more. You can find them at Findlay Market or purchase their products online.
Dining Options at Findlay Market
Whatever you’re hungry for, Findlay Market has it. From coffee shops to butchers, bakeries to sushi, there are tons of options to fill your grumbling belly. If you’re a sucker for Vietnamese pho like me, then you’ve got to try Pho Lang Thang. Pho Lang Thang brings the culinary excellence of Vietnam straight to Cincinnati and offers plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.
For those looking for a blend of cuisines, head to Kanji OTR for a fusion of Japanese sushi and authentic Korean dishes. If you’re over 21, try their delicious handcrafted cocktails made to pair with the spicy Korean cuisine or their beautifully arranged sushi rolls. Speaking of cocktails, those looking for a more traditional American bar and restaurant should head over to Goose & Elder. Goose & Elder provides American comfort foods with a healthier twist, as well as a casual atmosphere.
If you’re a fan of Cubanos or even if you haven’t heard of them, you’ve got to try the Cuban sandwich at Chacabanas. Chef Helen Ortega brings her passion for cooking and Cuban and Dominican inspiration to life through the foods she serves. Offering Cuban sandwiches, Dominican hamburgers, pastelitos, empanadas, tres leches cake, flan, and more, Chacabanas is a must-see destination at the Findlay Market.
If you’re looking for flavors from Colombia and Venezuela, let The Arepa Place take you on a culinary journey. Arepas, the Colombian version of a grilled cheese sandwich, are cornbread pockets full of cheese, beef, chicken, or plantains. Take my word for it, you don’t want to miss a bite.
Can’t-Miss Cincinnati Destination: Eden Park
Located between East Walnut Hills and Mt. Adams, Eden Park is one of the most popular spots in Cincinnati. This large park holds a number of event centers, such as the Krohn Conservatory, the Cincinnati Playhouse, and the Cincinnati Art Museum, and it covers an expansive 186 acres. Eden Park has many stretches of lawn to enjoy the sunshine and excellent views of the Ohio River with Kentucky across the way.
Fun fact: Adolph Strauch, the landscape architect who designed Eden Park, also designed Central Park in New York City.
Popular Activities at Eden Park
There are plenty of activities and popular landmarks across Eden Park, with attractions for all. The newest addition is Tom Jones Commons, which has improved upon the landscaping by adding a walking loop and walking bridge over the wetlands, natural play areas, and a picnic shelter. There is a connection from the Tom Jones Commons to other areas of Eden Park, namely to Seasongood Pavilion and Mirror Lake (see below).
If you want to experience the best of Cincinnati culture, look no further than the centers held in Eden Park. The Krohn Conservatory, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park are all found in this one location. The world-renowned Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park features two theaters that have aimed to inspire and educate the people of Cincinnati and the greater surrounding region for the past 60 years. You don’t have to go any further to find the world-class Cincinnati Ballet. The Playhouse offers professional productions of a wide variety of works, both classical and contemporary, as well as educational programs for all ages.
The Cincinnati Art Museum is a world-renowned institution that houses masterpieces by Van Gogh, Monet, and many others, the Cincinnati Art Museum holds over 67,000 works of art. It also boasts an extensive collection of works by local artists, showcasing the talent right here in town.
My Pick for Eden Park
My favorite center in the park is the Krohn Conservatory. Perfect for when the weather turns chilly, the indoor gardens are full of wonder and beauty, with more than 3,500 plant species from around the world. I love the Tropical room full of rare and exotic flowers and plants that you wouldn’t see anywhere else. You can spend hours wandering through the gardens, taking in the sights and scents. If you find yourself here in the spring, I recommend the Butterfly Show and coming to watch the newly hatched butterflies flitting about the flowers.
The Mirror Lake and Shelter House
Found nestled inside Eden Park is the man-made Mirror Lake. Created in the early 1900s, Mirror Lake is surrounded by beautiful trees and lush greenery, making it a popular spot for picnics and photoshoots alike. The lake contains a variety of fish, and visitors can enjoy the day casting a line and taking in the scenic surroundings, as long as they have a permit.
Those who would rather stay dry can spend the day feeding the birds around the lake, which often includes ducks, geese, and swans. Mirror Lake features the gorgeous Bettman Fountain, which shoots water up 30 feet in the air and is lit after the sun sets, making a picturesque space to enjoy the whole day. I recommend enjoying the views of the lake from the Spring House Gazebo for comfort and shade.
Located at the heart of the park, the Shelter House at Eden Park is a popular venue for larger events and gatherings. Originally constructed in the early 1900s, the Shelter House is now a modern and bustling venue for a variety of events, such as weddings, large family reunions, receptions, and corporate events. The Shelter House was remodeled to accommodate groups of up to 200 people, complete with an industrial kitchen, multiple event spaces, and outdoor patio with views of Mirror Lake. It’s the perfect place to host your next event.
Can’t-Miss Cincinnati Destination: Smale Riverfront Park
Views From the Park
If you want the best views of the city, I recommend heading to Smale Riverfront Park. Sitting along the banks of the Ohio River, Smale Riverfront Park is one of the most beautiful parks in Cincinnati. You can enjoy the breathtaking views of the city skyline and the fresh air along the river. This is the ideal spot to take a break and relax after a long day of exploring all that Cincinnati has to offer. Smale Riverfront is one of the best spots in the city, and it’s a must-see for anyone’s first time in Cincinnati.
Look up and see the historic John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. Spanning from Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky across the Ohio River, this marvel of engineering was designed by the same engineer as the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s also a popular pedestrian bridge, used to cross over to the many hotels, restaurants, and bars found across the river. For the best view of the bridge, head to the Serpentine Wall.
Finally, my personal favorite is the P&G Go Vibrant Garden. You can take a leisurely stroll through its winding paths and stop to smell the (actual) roses or find the perfect background for a picture. This garden is one of the best hidden gems in the city.
Events and Activities Offered by the Park
As if the views weren’t enough, the Smale Riverfront Park has the best activities and family-friendly attractions in Cincinnati. With multiple water play stations, giant swings, and a gigantic foot piano, there’s plenty for the kids to do and see. One of the most iconic features of the park is Carol Ann’s Carousel. This 45-foot-tall structure is covered in intricate details and features 44 animals and two chariots, each carved by hand. The kids will love it, and the adults will enjoy a nice break. You can enjoy the views of the Ohio River and its surroundings from both the carousel and the benches nearby.
The Heekin Family-PNC Grow Up Great Adventure Playground is a learning playground for children. Here, rope bridges and rock walls help kids learn to use their surroundings as play and think more outside of the box. Opened in 2015, this park is part of a $120 million park program encouraging community-oriented and family-friendly spaces.
For more great views of the Roebling Bridge, you can head to the Barr Labyrinth inside the park. Instead of tall hedges, simply walk through the provided path lined with grass for a short walking meditation. Or take part in a city-organized scavenger hunt that takes you throughout the park. Whatever you choose to do here, it will surely be enjoyable.
Can’t-Miss Cincinnati Destination: Union Terminal
One of the most iconic landmarks in Cincinnati is the Union Terminal train station. For the train-obsessed, it is a must-see stop on your visit. It is no longer a working train station, but it is now converted into a museum center housing several famous Cincinnati museums. The building itself is a work of art, first built in 1933 in the Art Deco style. Laid with beautiful brickwork, it leads up to a magnificent clock tower that can be seen from most of the city. The inside of the building is just as beautiful with its polished floors, ornately carved pillars, and lofty ceilings. From the concourse, you can view several exhibits on the history of Cincinnati.
Museums and More to See at Union Terminal
Union Terminal is home to several museums all under one (metaphoric) roof. From the Cincinnati History Museum and the Natural History Museum to the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, there is something new for everyone to learn and experience. Walk through the history of Cincinnati, told by those who were born and raised here, or let the kids run around, learn, and explore. Take time to discover the rich history of Cincinnati—from the actual railroad to the underground railroad. Enjoy a walking tour of the grounds or a self-guided tour through the museums. The whole family can easily enjoy a full day at Union Terminal.
The Union Terminal complex is also host to various restaurants and cafes that showcase our local style and taste. My favorite is Moerlein Lager House, offering delicious beers and food with a wonderful view of the riverfront. If you happen to find yourself in the area around Christmas, you can’t miss Moerlein’s German-style Christmas.
Union Terminal is a can’t-miss on the list of things to do for those interested in the history and culture of Cincinnati. The combination of fascinating exhibits, marvelous architecture, and fantastic food makes it the perfect stop for families and friends alike.