8 Best Things to Do in Cincinnati

Originally called Losantiville, Queen City and Porkopolis, city leaders finally decided on the name Cincinnati. The city is home to the first professional baseball team. Started as the Red Stockings in 1869 with just 10 players, the Cincinnati Reds has won five World Series. During the Civil War, the city served as an important stop on the Underground Railroad. President Trump redeveloped the Swifton Village as one of his first real estate projects. Steven Spielberg was born here, and Jerry Springer once served as the town’s mayor. If you are visiting Cincinnati or are a resident looking for new ideas, then consider these eight things to do in Cincinnati.

1. Pet the Animals at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens

One of the best things to do in Cincinnati is to visit the zoo. It is the second oldest in the United States. Visitors have been coming to the zoo since 1875. The Elephant House, the Reptile House and the Passenger Pigeon Memorial are all registered historic buildings. The zoo was the first in the nation to successfully breed California sea lions. View the Nile hippos from above or below the water’s surface. See the zebras, gazelles, lesser kudu, impala and giant eland play in their exhibits. Laugh at the antics of the bonobos. While the 65.4 acre facility welcomes visitors all year long, not all animals are on display during the winter months.

  • Best for: Couples and families.
  • Address: 3400 Vine Street, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Season: Open all year.

2. Root for the Cincinnati Reds at the Great American Ball Park

President George W. Bush threw out the first ceremonial first pitch at this park that opened on March 31, 2003. Watch the fire blow out of the power stacks at the Great American Ball Park after the team strikes out the other side. Get to see the fireworks following each Red Sox run and win. Leave time to visit the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum located on the west side of the park. Concerts are frequently held at the park when the team is not playing. Nursing women can enjoy using the special box seating provided just for them.

  • Best for: Couples and families.
  • Address: 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Season: April through October.

3. Hear the Interesting Stories at the William Howard Taft National Historic Site

Listen as the park rangers tell interesting stories from the life of President William Howard Taft
Taft who was the 27th President of the United States and the 10th Chief Justice of the United States. Tour the restored home of Alphonso and Louise Taft that has been restored to resemble the time that President Taft spent there as a boy. This two-story Greek Revival house was built about 1835. Watch the film showing the son of President Taft sharing stories about his father. The extremely friendly park ranger will be glad to teach you more about this remarkable man who is the only one to serve as both a presidents and a chief justice.

  • Best for: Couples and families.
  • Address: 2038 Auburn Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Season: Open all year.

4. Hear the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra  is one of the oldest in the United States. It is also one of the most active. The Cincinnati Pops, an ensemble, has been listened to by over 30 million people making it one of the most popular things to do in Cincinnati. Both groups regularly perform in the Music Hall that was built in 1878. The ballroom is the second largest meeting space in the city. Try to plan your visit to coincide with the Cincinnati Music Festival occurring each July.

  • Best for: Couples and families.
  • Address: 1241 Elm Street, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Season: Make sure to check calendar.

5. Enjoy a Riverboat Cruise on the BB Riverboats

Visitors have been enjoying riverboat cruises on BB Riverboats for more than 30 years. Pick the trip that meets your needs the best from dinner, lunch and brunch cruises. Alternatively, take the family on a princess or pirate cruise. Consider a historical cruise to learn more about the area’s history. Check out the seasonal cruises with special themes. All cruises leave from Newport, Kentucky, located just across the river from downtown Cincinnati. This is one of the most fun things to do in Cincinnati. Their historic paddlewheel boats can also be booked for special occasions.

  • Best for: Couples and families.
  • Address: 101 Riverboat Row Newport, Kentucky.
  • Season: Available year round.

6. Decide on who Makes the Best Chili in Cincinnati

One of the favorite things to do in Cincinnati is to eat chili. The chili is unique here because it consists of a big plate of spaghetti covered with chili and topped with a mound of cheese. Some people prefer to also top it with chopped onions and beans. Hungry diners have been eating at Camp Washington Chili for more than 75 years. Diners have been flocking to Pleasant Ridge Chili for more than 50 years.

  • Best for: Couples and families.
  • Address: Camp Washington Chili – 3005 Colerain Avenue Cincinnati, Ohio.
    Pleasant Ridge Chili – 6032 Montgomery Road Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Season: Anytime both are open very late.

7. Stroll through the Irwin M. Krohn Conservatory

More than 3,500 plants are housed inside a marble and glass Art Deco structure at the
Irwin M. Krohn Conservatory. The building is divided into different sections including the palm, tropical, desert and orchid houses. Stroll to the top of the hill to enjoy panoramic views. This facility often features special festivals. One of the best things to do in Cincinnati is to visit the Spring Orchid Show where visitors find over hundreds of orchids from around the world. This show also features experts and supplies to grow your own at home. Their spring show each year is a colorful fragrant experience with a different theme each year. This facility is very popular for private events.

  • Best for: Couples and families.
  • Address: 1501 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Season: Open all year.

8. See the Sights from Carew Tower

Originally constructed in the 1930s, the Carew Tower’s 49th floor observation deck offers spectacular views of downtown Cincinnati and beyond. Try to plan trips here on clear days. The Art Deco building is full of many retail shops, a hotel and office space making it a popular thing to do in Cincinnati. Leave time to explore Fountain Square. Stroll through the building to see many of the beautiful Art Deco elements. The square contains a fountain constructed in 1871. This building is the second tallest in the city, and the outside structure contains more than four million bricks.

  • Best for: Couples and families.
  • Address: 441 Vine Street Cincinnati, Ohio.
  • Season: Check calendar.

There are so many wonderful things to do in Cincinnati. Hear the lions roar at the zoo, root for the Red Sox, go on a riverboat cruise or take a stroll through the conservatory. Make sure to not leave the city without trying its famous chili. Of course, you will want to listen to the music of the symphony orchestra. With so many different things to do in Cincinnati, you will need to stay awhile. If you are on a longer trip in the area, you can consider visiting some cities in the neighboring states, Kentucky, or Pennsylvania.

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