Cincinnati in One Day
November 29, 2018 8:09 PM   Subscribe

I will be in Cincinnati for approximately 24 hours next month as part of a larger effort to show my mom different Midwestern cities that she might like. What should I show her?

We are meeting relatives to tour the Sign Museum, but I also want to drive her around downtown, see if this time I can find the flying pigs statues, and view interesting neighborhoods. I particularly need help with interesting neighborhoods! They should be close to town/near public transit, have interesting architecture, and it would be a nice bonus if they had a variety of housing options [i.e. cottages or apartments or condos]. I'd like for her to get a real taste of the city.

I also welcome recommendations about charming/cool/unusual things in/about Cincinnati that I can show her. [I'm planning on showing her the Roebling Murals across the river, too!]
posted by julen to Travel & Transportation around Cincinnati, OH (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is outstanding. I’m not a museum person and I would visit again in a heartbeat.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 10:43 PM on November 29, 2018

Union Terminal is interesting architecture and is home to the Cincinnati Museum Center.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:34 PM on November 29, 2018

When I was in Cincinnati for a week at a time for work, I really enjoyed walking up and down the riverwalk. There were pretty gardens, sculptures, and historical signs. I was there in June, though. Not sure what it's like this time of year.

Also seconding the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Some co-workers and I went one night (they stayed open extra late one night so people from our event could go, since they're usually not open that late) and it was excellent.
posted by abeja bicicleta at 3:14 AM on November 30, 2018

For a liveable neighborhood, try Clifton, specifically the Ludlow Ave. business/pedestrian district. It is on the 17 and 19 buses downtown and the 38 and 51 buses crosstown.

I find the uptown/downtown buses (running north-south) to be great. The crosstown buses are the pits--not many routes and not frequent.

I am no Cincinnati expert--I just moved here for med school--but feel free to memail me.
posted by 8603 at 4:07 AM on November 30, 2018

Jungle Jim's is an incredibly unique experience. If you like food, be prepared to spend at least a couple hours there.
posted by miratime at 4:45 AM on November 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

Hi! Welcome to my city!

The Museum Center just re-opened after an extensive refurbishment. It's one of my favorite places.

We have SO MANY museums for a city of our size! The Sign Museum (glad you're seeing that one!), the Taft Museum of Art, the Contemporary Arts Center, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Freedom Center, plus an art gallery in the 21c Museum Hotel. The only one of those not downtown is the Cincinnati Art Museum, which is in Eden Park, probably 5 minutes from downtown. We also have lots of other culture, like the Cincinnati Ballet, the Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Playhouse in the Park, Ensemble Theatre, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Pops, just SO MUCH to do for a city this size.

Neighborhoods: I love Clifton for architecture, Northside for walkability (it can be a little rough around the edges), OTR for all the action. We're a city of neighborhoods, for sure. I'd recommend one over another if I knew your mom's budget and interests. If she's on a fixed income, for example, I probably wouldn't recommend Hyde Park, even though it's great. And if she's not into the hip, woke kids of today, Northside won't be her jam.

Depending on when you'll be here, I recommend Downtown Dazzle. It's our annual holiday spectacular, with ice skating and a rappelling Santa! It only runs select weekends, though.

As for the Flying Pigs, since the Big Pig Gig ended, a lot of the pigs were sold at auction and are no longer out for public viewing. The only one I remember off the top of my head that is still out is the Shakespig at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company Theatre. I'll see if I can dig up where the others are.

Please feel free to MeMail me if you want any other info or restaurant recommendations!
posted by cooker girl at 6:12 AM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've spent little time in Cincy but the downtown Hilton and adjoining Carew Tower are Art Deco gems.
posted by hwyengr at 7:24 AM on November 30, 2018

Yes definitely wander around inside Carew Tower/Hilton. The bar/restaurant inside is the Orchid's at the Palm Court. Definitely worth it to pop in just to have a look and it is only a block away from Fountain Square.

Some of the pigs are still around inside businesses that bought them at auction. I am pretty sure one of the sports bars at the Banks has a Reds themed one and likewise I think the Aranoff has a theater themed one and so on. Unless you really, really wanted to see them, it is probably too much effort and traveling to track them down.

If you are going to OTR, you should stop in Findlay Market.

As for other neighborhoods, you might check out Oakley as they have a lot going on and can be cheaper than the neighboring Hyde Park. My neighborhood, Pleasant Ridge is a nice one as well although I don't think it does well on smaller accommodations for a single person.
posted by mmascolino at 10:21 AM on November 30, 2018

Cincinnati has a great zoo! They recently had a baby hippo, too.
posted by jquinby at 11:18 AM on November 30, 2018

Union Terminal is interesting architecture

The Museum Center just re-opened

Just to be clear they're recommending a visit to the train station, the last great rail terminal built in the US, done up in Art Deco as that was the styling of its time (1933). It's been scaled way back, only one Amtrak train, the Cardinal, stops there now, less than every other day; but Cincinnati filled up the empty space with museums. I always wanted to visit and during my last trip cross-country I made a special detour to do so, and the building didn't disappoint.
posted by Rash at 8:44 PM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you're looking for a cheaper alternative to downtown Cincinnati, I'd also check out Covington and Newport, just across the river in Kentucky (note, however, that she would have to consider flood insurance as part of her expenses, if she ends up anywhere near the Ohio River).
posted by carrienation at 7:35 AM on December 1, 2018

Thank you everyone - these are all great suggestions! My goal is give her a sense of what the city is like so when and if she does decide to move, she'll have an idea of what cities she'd like to explore more.

[On a side note: I actually took the Cardinal to Chicago last spring, and was disappointed to be hitting the train station in the middle of the night!]
posted by julen at 6:58 PM on December 1, 2018

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