There are so many reasons to visit Cincinnati. Aside from a thriving arts scene, Ohio’s third largest city boasts a world-class zoo and aquarium and a revitalized riverfront with several shopping options, Cincinnati nightclubs, and restaurants.
You can look forward to so many unique things to do in Cincinnati, including breathtaking performing arts, major league sports, award-winning restaurants and craft breweries, popular music and food festivals, and world-class art museums.
American Sign Museum
The American Sign Museum is the largest public museum dedicated to signs in the United States. This 20,000-square-foot space features over 100 years of history of advertising and design, showcasing commercial signs and their production.
The Mercantile Library
Located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, the Mercantile Library boasts 90,000 volumes that cover a broad range of subjects, from poetry and history to political theory and classics.
Originally founded in 1835 by a group of young merchants, the library is one of nearly two dozen membership libraries left in the United States. It has hosted many renowned authors, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, Herman Melville, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park spans over 300 acres, featuring a collection of more than 80 pieces of outdoor sculptures sitting atop rolling hills and meadows.
The park also houses the Ancient Sculpture Collection which showcases Roman, Greek, Egyptian, and antique pieces that date back to 1550 BCE.
One of the places you must visit when you’re in Cincinnati is the childhood residence of the 27th president of the United States. Read on to learn more of the other amazing historical destinations the city offers.
Spring Grove Cemetery
Chartered in 1845, Spring Grove is one of the largest nonprofit cemeteries in the United States. It has been the final resting place for many Cincinnati residents for over 175 years.
Designed as a National Historic Landmark, the cemetery offers 750 acres of scenic green space to explore, of which about 450 acres are developed. The beautifully maintained grounds are perfect for walks, picnics, and taking photos.
William Howard Taft National Historic Site
This historic site is the birthplace and house of William Howard Taft, the 27th president of the United States. The house overlooking Cincinnati atop Mount Auburn features Greek Revival architecture and has a charming yellow exterior.
It is in this residence that Taft enjoyed his childhood. He stayed here until he graduated from Woodward High School and left for Yale University to pursue a career as a lawyer.
Harriet Beecher Stowe House
The Harriet Beecher Stowe House, located in the historic neighborhood of Walnut Hills, celebrates the life of the author of the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It depicts the harsh conditions experienced by enslaved African Americans and is said to have “helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War.”
Stowe moved to Cincinnati in 1832. During this time, her father, Lyman Beecher, was president of Lane Seminary, where she attended debates denouncing slavery. It was also then that she founded the prominent literary club, the Semi-Colon Club, which inspired her groundbreaking novel.
Sound and Architecture
The city is home to an iconic performing arts venue, among impressive architectural structures worth exploring.
Built in 1804, the Betts House has been part of Cincinnati’s history for over 200 years. In 1996, it was opened to the public as a museum that offers exhibits and programs on architecture, historic preservation, building trades and materials, and construction technologies.
A survivor of Cincinnati’s period of settlement, the Betts House is the oldest surviving brick building in the city.
Cincinnati Music Hall
Built in 1878, the Cincinnati Music Hall was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975. This iconic arts venue is home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, and May Festival.
Aside from being one of the premiere Cincinnati music venues, this institution for performing arts is also cited as one of the most haunted buildings in the country. Tours to explore its dark secrets are available for a fee.
Cincinnati City Hall
The City Hall in Cincinnati is a beautiful, imposing structure home to many important government offices. The building features large granite columns and stained glass windows. It is a great place to visit if you want to learn more about the city’s history or government operations.
Family-Friendly Attractions in Cincinnati
Families visiting Cincinnati with their children have many options, too, from water parks, cruises, and a vast green space to learn about nature.
Coney Island Amusement Park
Looking for a great place to have some summer family fun? Cincinnati is home to Coney Island Amusement Park, which offers a refreshing venue to stay cool throughout the summer. This vintage amusement park, sitting right on the Ohio River, was originally founded in the 1800s.
Some of the attractions to look forward to are North America’s largest recirculating pool, an acre-large kiddy pool, and more than four waterslides that stretch more than a quarter of a mile.
BB Riverboats is known as the “Official Riverboat Cruise Line of Cincinnati,” offering a variety of amazing river cruising experiences for approximately forty years. A daytime sightseeing cruise is ideal for families, while a dinner cruise is perfect for a romantic date night.
Highfield Discovery Garden
The Highfield Discovery Garden is an open-air, garden-set educational center spanning 12 acres, featuring a 25-foot Discovery Tree and seven small gardens. It is designed to encourage visitors of all ages to explore the natural world in a fun and engaging environment.
Cincinnati is a fantastic city worth visiting. You can look forward to many unique and fun things to do, whether you’re traveling alone or with your friends or family. So many have fallen in love with this place, so much so that they eventually decide to live here!
Frequently Asked Questions
There are so many unique things to do in this city. Some of our favorites are going on a ghost tour at the Cincinnati Music Hall, spending hot summer days cooling off at the Coney Island Amusement Park, going on a cruise at BB Riverboats, and having fun in nature at the Highfield Discovery Garden.
The best months to visit Cincinnati are September or May when the weather is perfect and all the fun events happen.
Some of the best places to get Cincinnati-style chili are Pleasant Ridge Chili Restaurant, Chili Time Restaurant, Skyline Chili, Camp Washington Chili, and Price Hill Chili Family Restaurant.
The best way to get around Cincinnati is by car since the popular venues are spread too far apart. You can also take the tourist line on the city’s Metro bus, which makes stops at many of the city’s most popular attractions.
Yes! The Cincinnati Art Museum is one of the best free things to do in the city. It was founded in 1881 and is one of the oldest art museums in the country, featuring over 67,000 pieces from as far back as 6,000 years.