Cincinnati is Lexington’s northern neighbor, but the two cities are far more different than their 80 miles would suggest. Cincy seems to proudly lack the southern charm that cities to its south offer, but what is lacks in hospitality, it makes up for in diversity. Personally, I find Cincinnati’s conservative stereotype to be misleading. It’s a city bursting with flavor, history, and industry.
This adorable mom and pop Italian restaurant in downtown Cincinnati is a must. Step inside, and it’s like you’re stepping into another world. The tablecloths are checked with red, the candles drip wax out of old chianti bottles, and the owners bustle around making sure everyone is well-fed and happy. I’m pretty sure the most expensive bottle of wine is less than $50. Go, eat, drink, be merry… just watch your step on the way downstairs to the restrooms.
2. Orchids at Palm Court
The night I dined here, I had the worst service I’ve ever experienced at a fine dining restaurant. However, I think we just got unlucky. Orchids is consistently rated at the best restaurant in Cincinnati, so I have to assume that their service is usually on par with the food. And the food is undeniably as delicious as it is elegant. The dining room is breathtaking with its detailed ceilings and art deco fixtures… you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Paris in the 1920s. Order a glass of champagne when you get there– it’ll set the tone for a dining experience to remember (or ease the awkwardness if you have a server like the one I had!).
Rhinegeist brews some pretty tasty beers. Where better to drink one than the birthplace itself? Rhinegeist’s rooftop bar is the perfect place to enjoy a cold brew and hang out with friends.
2. Incline Public House
Situated on a hill overlooking the city, the Incline boasts an incredible view of the Cincinnati skyline. It’s the perfect place to kick back and enjoy a bourbon neat or craft beer. Go at night and revel in the beauty of downtown all lit up from afar.
1. Roebling Suspension Bridge
On the banks of the John Roebling Suspension bridge sits the most charming little park. It’s one of my favorite places in Cincinnati to spend an afternoon. There are bikes for rent, playgrounds, photo ops, and even a giant floor piano like in Big. It’s great for kids, but I say leave the kiddos at home and have all the fun yourself!
2. Cincinnati Art Museum
It isn’t ostentatious or overbearing, but that’s why I like it. Yet even still, it proudly offers soaring ceilings, beautiful architecture, and incredible exhibits. They even had an Egyptian cat exhibit last summer (I was one happy cat lady in training!). It was almost as good as the time I watched a couple quietly get engaged in one of the upstairs exhibit halls, while my date and I watched from a doorway. To this day, it’s one of my favorite moments. Go, and see what you might find in the maze of rooms and exhibits.