Fun Things to do in Cincinnati, Ohio

Growing up in Northern Kentucky- basically living in Cincinnati- I consider myself a “native”. I’ve spent years enjoying the city, so here’s my ultimate list of fun things to do in Cincinnati, Ohio!

These tips give a good overview of the Queen City- a “big city” with a small town vibe. You can use this to plan a Cincinnati weekend trip.

It has great info for first time visitors- but useful for locals too!


Some links in this post are affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these, I may earn a small commission (at no additional cost to you!). 


Fountain Square: This is the “epi-center” of the city, and is known for its iconic (you guessed it) fountain. In the heart of the business district, there is usually something fun going on at Fountain Square.
In the winter, it’s home to an ice-skating rink. The rest of the year there is typically some sort of craft show, music festival, or live entertainment.
You can also always stop at the Graeter’s ice-cream (a Cincinnati staple) parlor in the square and get a cone of black raspberry chip! 🍦fountain square, fun things to do cincinnati ohio

Carew Tower Observation Deck: Nearby to fountain square, hop onto an elevator and go to the top of the second-highest building in Cincinnati. This has great views of the Ohio River and surrounding areas. |UPDATE: As of Feb. 2024, it is currently closed to visitors|

Carew Tower Observation Deck, Fun things to do Cincinnati Ohio.


Great American Ballpark: If you’re a baseball lover, catching a game in the home of the Cincinnati Reds is the perfect activity! ⚾
If you happen to visit and no game is going on, there are also guided tours of the ballpark, or you can visit the Reds Hall of Fame Museum and nearby Freedom Center. 

great american ball park, reds, Fun things to do Cincinnati Ohio.

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The Banks: This walkable area along the riverbank is home to the annual Zinzinnati Oktoberfest . The rest of the year, you can pass the time enjoying one of many restaurants (I recommend Moerlein Lager House as it’s a great representation of Cincinnati’s German brewery heritage!). 🍺
There are a few more high end places, and also casual spots like Tin Roof or Condado Tacos. If you have kids, the park and fountains at Smale Park are always a good time too!
the banks, cincinnati, ohio
Image via St. Louis Post

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens: One of the best zoos in the nation, this will not disappoint! Not only will you get to come face to face with the famous hippo Fiona, but you can enjoy a beautiful day of seeing well cared for animals and extensive gardens. 🦛
While I admittedly am not sure how I feel about zoos, if there is going to be a zoo- this is how it should be done. If you come in the winter, go to their “Festival of Lights”, which is ideal for young families. Don’t miss the zoo train and carousel!
cincinnati zoo fiona
Image via CincinnatiUSA.com

⇒ Plan to visit multiple attractions? Get a Cincinnati pogo pass! 


Music Hall & Washington Park: My husband and I had our wedding at this iconic Cincinnati building, so I might be a little biased, but this place is beautiful!
Built in 1878, Music Hall is not only an architectural wonder, but host to loads of wonderful shows. You can also take guided tours. In the fall, you can do a ghost tour (it’s one of the most haunted places in the mid-west, and has been on TV shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures)! 👻
The park facing the grand building, Washington Park, has a splash pad, dog park, and hosts craft shows, music festivals, and more! You can come relax for a picnic, then easily walk to the restaurants and shops of “Over the Rhine”. 
cincinnati music hall, haunted places in cincinnati, haunted places ohio, Fun things to do Cincinnati Ohio.
Image via CincinnatiArts.org

OTR Neighborhood: As a kid in the ‘90’s, nobody would have ever recommended you visit here. Thanks to several ongoing cleanup efforts and some serious investment though, this once dangerous area of the city is now one of the best!
Filled with restored buildings from the late 1800’s, this is now easily the trendiest (and yes, most hipster) part of town! 🧑‍🎨
The initials OTR stand for “Over the Rhine”, a reference to the canal that once ran through the city. Fondly called “The Rhine”, this pays homage to the huge amount of German immigrants who built up the city in the mid 1800’s (yes, including almost all of my great-grandparents!).
otr,over the rhine, cincinnati
Image via UrbanAdventures.com
You can learn about this German heritage and underground brewery tunnel system on a tour with Queen City Underground (it’s honestly really cool!). After the tour, walk around and eat food, or play arcade games at Level One. 🕹️
Grab a drink at one of the many bars in OTR, and dessert to finish (Holtman’s Donuts or Macaron Bar are great)! My favorites for dinner include Che (empanadas), Bakersfield (tacos) and The Eagle (fried chicken).

Findlay Market– In the heart of OTR, this farmer’s market is one of the largest outdoor markets in the mid west. Especially fun in summer, you can spend a few hours exploring the various stalls, vendors, and food options. 🛍️
I always grab some waffles from Taste of Belgium and top it off with gelato from Dojo. For food options, I am particularly addicted to The Arepa Place!
findlay market, Fun things to do Cincinnati Ohio, over the rhine, otr, farmers market
Image via 21c Museum Hotels


Getting Around: You can go things on foot, in your own car, grab an Uber, or make use of the  Cincy Street Car to easily get from place to place downtown. Oh yeah, and it’s free! 🚃
If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try a Segway tour of the city.
If you’re in the mood for some drinks, try an afternoon riding the Cincy Brew Bus, or even a night out on the Pedal Wagon!
cincinnati street car, cincinnati bell connector
Image via imgur.com

More fun things to do in Cincinnati:

Day-Trips out of the City: Where you can go in less than a one-hour drive from the city or even a two hour drive from Cincy.
Staycation Ideas: My ideas on unique things to do and fun places to stay in the area
Best Mexican/Latin-American Food: Some of the best tacos, arepas, or empanadas
Local Lakes with Beaches: Visit a lake with a sandy beach and do some swimming!
Food Tours: Foodies, try a Cincinnati food tour.
If you want to try a few locally famous places on your own, I recommend the trifecta of chili (Skyline and Goldstar are my faves), goetta (Glier’s goetta is in most grocery stores, or Eckerlin Meats at Findlay Market), and ice cream (try Greaters or Aglamesis Bros!).
cincinnati chili
Image via Skyline Chili
Flying Pig Statues: As you explore the city, you will undoubtedly see several  flying pig statues. Since Cincinnati was known as “porkopolis” back in the day, or “a place where pigs fly”, this urban art initiative pays homage to that great time. 🐖
Cincinnati Art Museum: The art museum is free to the public, and has some great exhibits year round.🎨
The parks and area around it are perfect for strolling, and you can visit the nearby Cincinnati Astronomical Observatory 🔭 and Krohn Conservatory.
Union Terminal & The Museum Center: If you have kids, the museum center is always hosting new exhibits and is a great place to spend the day. 🦖
You can also just hop in to admire its art-deco architecture, see the massive tile mosaics, or catch a show at the Omnimax.
Image via CincinnatiUSA.com
Spring Grove Cemetery: A little outside of the city, this grand Cincinnati cemetery has truly beautiful grounds (especially in the fall) and is a photographer’s dream! 🪦
Newport Aquarium: While technically across the river in Kentucky, the Newport aquarium is one of the best in the country. The shopping complex it is in, Newport on the Levee, is also a fun place to spend the afternoon. 🐠

Gift an experience, and enjoy a local tour! 🎁
Try an “Experience Gift” with Tinggly: If you’re heading to Cincinnati with a loved one, a great idea is to surprise them by gifting them a memorable experience in the city.
With Tinggly, you can gift an “experience” and choose a cute box (or instant e-voucher) to then present them with a gift card.
Next, they choose an activity option! Tinggly offers over 100,000 experiences and 150,000 hotel stays in over 100 countries worldwide. 🎁
I used Tinggly to gift my husband a “date day”, and we used our gift box to do a Cincinnati street car food tour.
Not only do you get to try delicious eats, but you learn the history of the city and have a guide to point out interesting sites along your walk. 🍽️

I’m a Tinggly partner, and my readers get a special discount! Use code GREATWIDETRAVEL20



Where to Stay in Cincinnati:

Splurge: 21c Museum Hotel, The Hyatt Regency, Cincinnati Hilton Netherland Plaza
Budget: SpringHill Suites Marriott, AC Hotel at the Banks, Residence Inn
Unique: The Swing HouseLuxury Mansion
unique things to do cincinnati, places to stay in cincinnati
Image via CaramelsandChocolates.com


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What to do, where to eat, where to stay, fun things to do in Cincinnati Ohio, how to see Cincinnati in one weekend

2 Comments

  • Reply NIBU ABRAHAM January 14, 2024 at 2:32 am

    Hi Michelle.
    I had contacted you on Insta to get more information about Cinncinati. You had given me this travel vlog to get more details on what to visit in Cinncinati and neighbouring places.
    As per my current travel itinerary, we plan to arrive in Cinncinati on 05th Apr, by evening around 6:00pm. We would be staying there till 10th or 11th and then move to Columbus, we would fly out from Columbus on 17Apr by evening.
    I would need your help on which part of Cinncinati I could stay with my family- young kids, with easy access to all places of interest in the city. Also when we move to Columbus, could you please suggest what could I see there. I do plan to visit the Arc Encounter too – which would be easier to visit this place – is it from Cinncinati or Columbus.
    Sorry, I do have loads of questions since its my first visit to US after COVID especially with family and wanted to make sure we spend our days visiting the right places and not waste any time.
    Any vital information, would be really helpful to me.
    Thank you
    NIBU ABRAHAM
    Doha, Qatar

    • Reply Michelle W. January 19, 2024 at 12:45 am

      Hi Nibu! I think I replied to you on Instagram, would you be able to send me your questions in an email so I can better respond? I think with young kids it’s best to stay close to “The Banks” area as there are nice parks and it’s walkable to everywhere. It will be easier to visit Ark Encounter from Cincinnati too!

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