Oh, Cincinnati. We fall more in love with the Queen City every time we visit. There’s always so much to discover, from coffee shops to restaurants, breweries to museums.
Last month we had the pleasure of being hosted by the generous folks at CincyUSA. The long weekend afforded us the chance to re-visit old favorites and discover new spots around the region.
Our first stop took us over the river to the Newport Aquarium. It’s located in a new collection of shops and restaurants on the south bank of the Ohio River, which means it offers lovely views of the city skyline.
The Aquarium is pretty popular these days, so they recommend purchasing your timed entry tickets ahead of time.
The facility is structured so there’s a clear path that takes you through it, and it features a whole range of exhibits, including hands-on activities. Want to pet a starfish, or shake hands with a stingray? You’ll get the chance.
Many of the walkways and viewing areas take you under and through a giant tank filled with sharks, turtles, and other creatures. After you marvel at the sharks swimming right over your head…
…you get to walk above them on the fabled Shark Bridge.
The well-secured rope bridge carries you 75 feet across the top of the shark tank.
Don’t worry, kids, despite all the signs, it’s perfectly safe.
We stayed at the new Holiday Inn & Suites downtown. It’s comfortable and clean, with a pool (much loved by our kiddos), and is close to everything.
To get around downtown, we hopped rides with Oggo, a ride service featuring small electric cars. Much like an Uber, you call it with an app. Rides are free, although they suggest tipping your driver a few bucks.
We used it multiple times throughout the weekend, and while the service area is limited to downtown, Over-the-Rhine, and just south of the river in Kentucky, it was a helpful way to get around efficiently.
Speaking of transportation, you also have the Cincinnati Bell Connector at your disposal. We’ve ridden the convenient streetcar before.
In fact, when we arrived by Oggo at Taft’s Ale House for dinner, we found there was a one-hour wait (we didn’t think to make reservations – d’oh!), so the boys and I jumped on the streetcar and rode the entire route. (Beth wisely stayed at the brewpub and enjoyed a beer.) By the time we came back around, our table was ready!
Taft’s Ale House is situated in a renovated church. When you enter from the front doors, you climb a long staircase into the waiting area. The restaurant is located on the main floor, while the balcony features a full bar and additional seating.
We were ushered to a giant beer hall-style table in the center of the space. The adults ordered a flight of beer. We were impressed with the brews all-around, but special kudos to Taft’s for their lagers and IPAs. All on-point in terms of style, and very easy and enjoyable to drink.
The beer outshone the food for us, but the meals were still tasty and fitting for a brewpub. Think giant sandwiches, burgers, tater tots, platters of smoked chicken and tri-tip steak. Bonus: there’s a kid’s menu, too!
The next morning we walked one block from our hotel to Cheapside Cafe, a breakfast spot that’s been on my list for years. The starkly decorated eatery offers a fine breakfast and coffee service. Read the full post to learn more!
On our way to the Cincinnati Museum Center, we stopped for a second breakfast at Holtman’s Donuts in Over-the-Rhine.
A truly proper start to a day in Cincinnati. Continue on to part two!
You can also:
- Jump ahead to part three of our itinerary
- Read about breakfast at Cheapside Cafe
- Or breakfast at Maplewood Kitchen & Bar
- Check out our full Cincinnati travel guide
Also, you can always read our full Cincinnati travel guide.