Cincinnati Travel Guide

USA  

Best Things To Do in Cincinnati

Nearly every sort of traveler will find a niche in Cincinnati. Foodies have an abundance of options at their disposal, from vegan joints to trendy bars to fancy Zagat-rated restaurants. Sports-lovers will enjoy a game at the Cincinnati Reds' Great American Ball Park or a peek inside the team's Hall of Fame. And if museums are your thing, the Cincinnati Art Museum will keep you busy, as will the museums within the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal.

How we rank Things to Do

Updated May 2, 2017

  • #1
    Things to do in Cincinnati
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    #1 in Cincinnati
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    On a nice, sunny day, Eden Park lives up to its paradisiacal name. Located in the trendy Mount Adams neighborhood, the park encompasses 186 acres of green space and tree groves complete with walking paths. There are also a couple of lakes, a magnolia garden and several scenic overlooks.

    One TripAdvisor user was blown away by Eden Park's setting, saying it has "beautiful views of the city — especially at night time." However, some travelers say that the park is a little hard to find. To get there from downtown, drive north on Gilbert Avenue until you reach Eden Park Drive. You can also just call a taxi. For more information, visit the Cincinnati Parks website.

  • #2
    Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum
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    #2 in Cincinnati
    Churches/Religious Sites, Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Churches/Religious Sites, Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum was chartered back in 1845, and today exists as one of the pioneers of landscape design for cemeteries. The grounds are idyllic, with gravestones punctuated by ponds, sculptures, footbridges and lots and lots of trees. "It may sound strange to visit a cemetery, but this one is unlike any I have seen before," said one TripAdvisor user. "It is a beautiful and tranquil place to visit and take a walk in the fall."

    You can visit the cemetery and arboretum every day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours May 1 through August 31. During the warmer months (April through October), you can participate in public and private tours. Public tram tours run at different times, so you can refer to the cemetery's calendar for further details. Tours cost $5 per person, with discounts for kids and seniors. To book a private tram tour, you can call 513-853-6877 or email tcoordinator@springgrove.org. These run $75 per person.

  • #3
    Cincinnati Art Museum
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    #3 in Cincinnati
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Cincinnati Art Museum contains more than 60,000 works from across 6,000 years of history. Masterpieces by Sandro Botticelli, Claude Monet and other famed artists adorn the walls of the museum. And all of this art is housed in a building that was erected at the close of the 19th century; though it has undergone several additions and restorations, the structure stands as one of the city's historic  and simply beautiful  gems.

    As well as complimenting the museum's extensive collection, past visitors also hail its locale, calling the building "stunning." Meanwhile, others were impressed with the views of downtown Cincinnati. 

  • #4
    Great American Ball Park
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    #4 in Cincinnati
    Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sports
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If the Great American Ball Park seems a pretty lofty title for a stadium, you should know that it is home to the country's oldest professional baseball team — the Cincinnati Reds. And that's where the stadium gets its exalted name. But the Major League Baseball team didn't even start playing at the Great American Ball Park until 2003; since the 1880s, the team has played at seven different stadiums. The team's name has even changed over the course of time: from the "Red Stockings" to the "Reds" to the "Redlegs" and then back to the "Reds."

    Today, visitors enjoy the Great American Ball Park for its fun-loving atmosphere and for the great views from nearly every seat. (However, some visitors do mention that the seats are rather narrow.) One TripAdvisor user visited the park with her four kids and was delighted with the availability and cleanliness of its restrooms. She added: "It's nice that you can bring a cooler and snacks and water. It helps a lot for the cost for us. … The view of the river is awesome!"

  • #5
    National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
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    #5 in Cincinnati
    Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    This museum, which opened in 2004, sits along the banks of the Ohio River. And it's a very fitting location since thousands of slaves actually crossed the river from Kentucky into Cincinnati when following the Underground Railroad. Today, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center tells the story of slavery in America with several exhibits, giving a broad sweep of three centuries of history and a more detailed look at the Civil War era. The center also works to educate visitors on the slavery that continues to plague the world.

    One TripAdvisor user had high praise for the center: "Such a fantastic, educational museum chronicling the Underground Railroad's history. The staff is friendly, the facility is clean, parking is affordable and accessible."

  • #6
    Cincinnati Music Hall
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    #6 in Cincinnati
    Entertainment and Nightlife
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Opened in 1878, the Cincinnati Music Hall is the home to several performing arts groups, including the Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The Music Hall's Springer Auditorium can fit 3,516 audience members in its red seats. And that doesn't include the ghosts; the Music Hall was built over a cemetery, which has spawned rumors that it's haunted.

    Recent visitors can't stop raving about their experience. According to one TripAdvisor, "You will love any event you attend at the Cincinnati Music Hall. From the beautiful architecture to the sounds of the orchestra. You will not be disappointed." However, some visitors do say that the place is beginning to look worn, citing the faded carpet and crumbling plaster.

  • #7
    Findlay Market
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    #7 in Cincinnati
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Findlay Market first opened in 1855, but only just recently has it expanded into the vibrant mix of ethnic food stalls and flea market vendors that it is today. On the weekends in spring, summer and fall, the streets fill with vendors selling everything from jewelry to kettle corn to purses. You'll also find stalls devoted to goods like chocolate, fresh fruit, vegetables and artisan bread.

    Many visitors recommend coming on Saturdays for the best experience — you can sample a variety of international fare while you people watch.

  • #8
    Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum
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    #8 in Cincinnati
    Museums, Sports
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Sports
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're a baseball aficionado — and especially if you aren't able to catch a baseball game at the Great American Ball Park — you might want to drop by the nearby Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. This museum tells the story of the Cincinnati Reds' past with exhibits on famed players like Barry Larkin and Joe Morgan. There's also a movie theater that displays films about the Reds' history, and even a children's play area complete with a miniature Reds locker room.

    One of the things visitors most enjoy about the Hall of Fame and Museum is its interactive exhibits — you can actually pitch and field balls inside the museum. A TripAdvisor user had this to say about her experience there: "The museum was neat. I enjoyed watching my husband try to throw a strike ball. Beyond hilarious. I would suggest anyone to go see if you haven't been before."

  • #9
    Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden
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    #9 in Cincinnati
    Parks and Gardens, Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Cincinnati is home to the country's second-oldest zoo. It's especially noted for its work with endangered species like black rhinos. The zoo is also known for its innovative birthing programs with animals like the Indian and Sumatran rhinos. On a visit here, you'll see everything from an arctic fox or an African lion to an Indian peacock or an Amazon milk frog.

    According to one TripAdvisor, "the Cincinnati Zoo is quite small, but you would never know it from the amazing way they have laid it out and the abundance of animals that they have there." Other visitors agree that the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden feels spacious, though some mention that there are some serious hilly areas that make pushing a wheelchair or stroller rather difficult.

  • #10
    MainStrasse Village
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    #10 in Cincinnati
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    The German-style MainStrasse Village is on the National Register of Historic Places and makes for a lovely place to stroll. Nearly every month there is a vibrant event to attend, like Goettafest in June and the World's Longest Yard Sale in August. There are also restaurants that range from French (Chez Nora) to Italian (GoodFellas Pizzeria) and of course, German (Strasse Haus and more). And there are a number of little shops and boutiques to explore as well.

    One TripAdvisor user says you "can't go wrong with a walk through the village. Great chops, cute eateries, attractive bars, tree lined cobble streets and a working glockenspiel."

  • #11
    Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal
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    #11 in Cincinnati
    Museums
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal — or the Cincy Museum as it's sometimes called — is actually a compilation of museums housed within the art deco-style Union Terminal building. There's the Cincinnati History Museum, which contains exhibits on everything from the city's various modes of transportation to the city's contributions during World War II. There is also the Duke Energy Children's Museum, which features interactive exhibits for little ones. The center's Museum of Natural History & Science covers a variety of subjects, including dinosaurs, the Ice Age and the astronaut Neil Armstrong. In addition to these museums, the center has an OMNIMAX theater, a library and archives and a research center.

    One TripAdvisor user raves about the diversity of attractions housed here: "Whether you are spending the day, or just looking to kill a few hours, the variety and selection of the various exhibit halls is amazing."

  • #12
    American Sign Museum
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    #12 in Cincinnati
    Museums
    TYPE
    Museums
    TYPE

    The American Sign Museum has an interesting way of tracing America's history — via signage. Here, you'll find everything from a Phillips 66 sign to neon bar signs to old movie posters and more. As the museum's website relates, signs "reflect the history, technology, commerce, and culture of our communities. Signs and the sign industry have their own stories to tell."

    One TripAdvisor user, who found the museum fascinating, offers a recommendation: "Take the tour with the owner of the museum ... he really makes it all come alive!"

  • #13
    Newport Aquarium
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    #13 in Cincinnati
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    This sprawling aquarium, near the banks of the Ohio River in Kentucky, contains everything from sharks and jellyfish to frogs and fish. One of the best things about this aquarium is its special events calendar. For instance, there is a daily penguin parade, in which African Penguins process through the aquarium on a float. There are also dive shows most days, where scuba divers swim in a glass-enclosed aquarium and instruct visitors about the animals.

    According to one TripAdvisor user, "[T]he many tunnels, petting areas […] and the great view of the Ohio River and Cincinnati just after a few steps outside it was well worth going." 

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