A couple weekends ago we travelled down I71 South 4 hours to the “Queen City“, Cincinnati Ohio. Not the first time I have been there. A couple years ago we took a quick trip to their Art Museum to see American Gothic, which was there for a special exhibit. We didn’t really do much except explore the museum, eat Skyline Chili and drive over the Ohio River into Kentucky. This more current trip we got much better feel for the city than our previous trip, but I really hesitate to call this a “City Guide” as I know that we have just sampled a small part of what the city has to offer. That being said, I think we stumbled on some real great gems that I would suggest if you ever make your way to Cincinnati.
1. The Taft Museum of Art- This is main reason we went to Cincinnati. Impressions of Landscape exhibit features the works of Daubigny, Monet, and Van Gogh. It was a great exhibit. Definitely worth the trip. The Museum is open Tuesday-Sunday. Admission to the Museum is free on Sunday (other days it is $15.00 for non-members). The special exhibit is an additional $5.00 admission. We bought our tickets before we left for Cincinnati. We went on Sunday (opening day). It was not terribly busy, but the website does warn that Sundays tend to be busier days and could potentially sell out. The rest of the collection and the history of the house is also worth the drive and the price of admission.
2. The Coffee Emporium- Ok so confession time… Since we knew very little about the city, when it came to figuring out where to eat and drink I relied on Google… Not a big deal…but where the confession part comes in… when I googled I literally typed “hipster places in Cincinnati.” What can I say? I know my scene. Anywho. That search lead me to The Coffee Emporium. We went to the one on Central Park Way. The vibe, for you Clevelanders, was very similar to Phoenix coffee. The coffee was really good. I got a frozen Mocha thingy the first day which was standard, but the next day I got drip coffee (Emporium Blend) and it was really good. The second day we also bought a bag for home. We debated over the Bourbon Barrel aged coffee verses the Raven’s Blend. Both sounded amazing, but we ultimately went with the Raven’s blend and OMG it smells amazing and has been the best part of my morning this week. Lucky for me we can buy some online. A foursquare tip guided me towards the maple scone. I was not disappointed. Over all highly recommended.
3. OTR (Over The Rhine)- This is a neighborhood in Cincinnati that is VERY similar to OHC (Ohio City) in Cleveland (OTR is regarded as Cincinnati’s brewery district). It is a historic district (thought to be the largest most intact urban historic district in the United States…or so says Wikipedia) that has been going through gentrification process since the early 2000s. There are definitely good and bad aspects to gentrification, but I think over all the neighborhood is headed in a positive direction. So disappointed that I didn’t grab any pictures of this area…next time!
4. The Eagle OTR- For dinner the first night we went to The Eagle OTR. This place had a similar vibe and menu to SOHO kitchen and bar here in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood. We always try to find local spots we travel and stay away from chains. There seems to be another Eagle owned by the same people in Indiana, but I wouldn’t call it a chain. The food was really good. Long wait time, but that’s to be expected. I got the fried chicken sandwich with the mac & cheese. That sandwich was fantastic. We shared the spoonbread (cornbread with a maple butter). I took a bite of Jimi’s sandwich (the pulled pork) and it was also really good. The restaurant itself was cool it was in a old Post Office!
5. William Howard Taft National Historic Site- This was the childhood home of William Howard Taft (27th P.O.T.U.S). This was a fun touristy (and educational! I had no clue Taft served as President AND Chief Justice of the Supreme Court) thing to do. There was a short film and a short 20-30 minute tour of the house. Also it was free so even better.
6. CAC (Contemporary Arts Center)- This place… so happy we walked around the city and stumbled upon it… SUPER cool place. Thanks to a recent grant admission is FREE. The exhibits that were going on were fantastic. One of them was a “After The Moment: Reflection on Robert Mapplethorpe” which goes until March 13, 2016. The other featured exhibition was Passage, work by artist Do Ho Suh, who recently had an exhibit at MOCA Cleveland that Jimi and I saw (we also had the fortune of seeing the artist speak). His work is unreal. Painstakingly meticulous! This exhibit goes till September 2016. Also check out this amazing interactive art piece from the…uhm…interactive section (aka the kids section of the art museum…but we don’t have kids…so let’s go with interactive).
7. Skyline Chili- You can’t go to Cincinnati and not get Skyline Chili. These two things go hand in hand. My favorite thing to get is the “4-way” which is Chili over spaghetti noodles with chopped onions and cheese on top. It’s a totally weird and totally Cincinnati dish and I totally recommend giving it a try because it is tasty…and you know #yolo and all that stuff.
8. Cincinnati Museum of Art- We didn’t go this time around, but Cincinnati Museum of Art is a really nice Museum. General admission is FREE (special exhibits, like the American Gothic show we saw a few years ago, will vary in price.)
So there you have it. My “city guide” for Cincinnati. I really love traveling within my home state and exploring it’s hidden treasures. If we make our way back to the Queen City (and I’m sure we will) I will be sure to post all the additional gems we fine. If you know of any PLEASE share them in the comments! I will say that the city has some really great murals so if that’s your thing you are in luck!