What to Do with 24 Hours in Cincinnati, Ohio
The fun-filled city of Cincinnati sits on the banks of the Ohio River.
Often referred to as Cincy, it is home to loads of street art, two professional sports teams, great restaurants, a beloved theme park, and unique neighborhoods.
During a summer road trip, my daughter, Taylor and I visited Cincinnati for just one short day but it was filled with spectacular sights and many memories. Based on our travels, here is what I recommend for you to do with 24 hours in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Eat Delicious Food
Sink your teeth into authentic Belgian eats at Taste of Belgium, a sophisticated eatery where waffles are the star of the show. Though the restaurant offers more than breakfast, it is our favorite time to visit. I suggest the OG (Original Galette) with ham, gruyère, and a runny egg yolk. Satisfy your sweet tooth with the Belgian Chocolate & Cream or S’More Waffle.
Grab your morning cup of joe from Coffee Emporium in both Over-the-Rhine or East Hyde Park locations. The pastry selection at this oldest coffee house in Cincinnati is mouthwatering and the seelction of teas is one of the best. They also have salads and sandwiches to choose from.
I’m a “chili-head”—a lover of the sweet-style Cincinnati chili. Have the best at Camp Washington Chili for a tasty lunch that will hit the spot. Camp Washington has been serving up 3-ways (chili, spaghetti, cheese), 4-ways (add beans), 5-ways (add onions), and coneys (hotdogs) since 1940. Foodies will appreciate that “Camp Washington Chili has earned the James Beard Award as an American Regional Classic for its timeless appeal and its commitment to quality food”.
Another great place for lunch is Pies & Pints where you can have upscale pizza (try 1/2 and 1/2 so you can enjoy two flavor combinations) and a cold draft beer. Other great dishes are the Pork and Pepper Nachos and fresh salads.
Enjoy a huge selection of smoked rotisserie meats, hand-carved sandwiches, and yummy appetizers from Moerlein Lager House, a world-class working beer bar in the heart of Cincinnati. Order a meat and cheese board (grilled beer bread, spicy mustard, apple kraut, and pickles) to share with the table. Other delicious choices include the Squash Wellington and Short Rib Poutine. You can choose to dine outside on the wrap-around patio to enjoy the weather.
Graeter’s is a regional ice cream chain that originated in Cincinnati. It has been dishing out handcrafted French-pot processed ice cream for 145 years. Black Raspberry (the #1 seller) and Rum Raisin are our favorites. Even with only 24 hours in Cincinnati, you’ve gotta have a snack, right?
Visit Popular Attractions
With only 24 hours in Cincnnati, a few things that might appeal to you would be the Cincinnati Zoo, local street art, American Sign Museum, and Findlay Market. If you are like us, you wouldn’t dream of passing up a chance to see a Presidential site so try fitting in a visit to President Taft’s house as well.
See the famous hippo, Fiona, at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Fiona is near and dear to my heart so do not be surprised when you see fans like myself blubbering from just looking at her. People around the world have been watching her since the day she was born (January 24, 2017) six weeks early. Other noteworthy exhibits include the World of Insects, elephant reserve, meercats, and painted dog valley.
The American Sign Museum is a neon-filled wonderland. Guaranteed to make you reminisce and snap dozens of pictures, this iconic sign collection is a blast for all ages. Take a guided tour through the archives at 11 AM Wednesday through Saturday and at 2 PM Wednesday through Sunday. Our favorite pieces were the fiberglass Big Boy, Speedee McDonalds, and Sputnik sign. There is also an authentic Mail Pouch Tobacco barn sign onsite.
The Findlay Market is a long-time farmer’s market (and Ohio’s oldest) in town selling meat, produce, seasonal items, and distinctive gifts. The market is in the popular Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, which has a Biergarten and is surrounded by lovely 19th-century architecture.
Explore President William Howard Taft’s birthplace and childhood home a mile north of downtown Cincinnati. The National Historic Site commemorates the only American President to serve as Chief Justice of the United States in this two-story Greek Revival building. Several interesting pieces of furniture and artifacts of the 27th President are on display.
Catch a Game
Cincinnati is home to the Cincinnati Reds pro baseball and Cincinnati Bengals pro football teams. Take in America’s favorite past time by seeing the first baseball team Cincinnati Reds (5 time World Series champs) at the Great American Ball Park. The Bengals play at the Paul Brown Stadium. Their head coach, Marvin Lewis, is the second-longest tenured head coach in the NFL. Football season runs August through December while baseball games are played between March and September.
Appreciate Intricate Street Art
Cincinnati has great street art scene and some of the best I’ve seen in the country. Visit Art Works Cincinnati to see what pieces are available and where to see them, but here are a few that we recommend seeing:
- The Vision of Samuel Hannaford
- The Cincinnati Strong Man: Henry Holtgrewe
- The Migration of Tradition
- The Golden Muse
- Faces of Homelessness
- Ice Cream Daydream
- Martha, the Last Passenger Pigeon
- Little Sure Shot (Annie Oakley)
Stay in a Historic Luxury Hotel
The Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza is a member of the Historic Hotels of America group and a landmark French Art Deco 40,000 square-foot hotel masterpiece. The hotel boasts 561 rooms, an indoor pool, shopping arcade, and a state-of-the-art gym. Netherland Plaza is in a fantastic location for seeing the downtown area on foot. Valet parking is available for your convience.
The Cincinnati Netherland Plaza’s onsite restaurant, The Orchid at Palm Court, is a swanky five diamond eatery. In fact, it is Ohio’s highest rated restaurant also earning Forbes four stars. The Orchid leads the country in Hilton’s top-selling food and beverage venues in North America.
We loved the luxury accommodations and the quaint concierge level amenities. Our queen bed junior suite was spacious and the Serenity beds were very comfortable. A separate parlor room was great for watching TV and catching up on work. Best of all, we had two full bathrooms. I will mention that the Wi-Fi was spotty at times in our room.
Be sure to visit the Hilton Netherland Plaza’s third floor Hall of Mirrors, a very Instagram-worthy space. It truly is amazing!
Enjoy a Classic American City in 24 Hours
These are surefire ways to enjoy your 24 hours in Cincinnati, Ohio. No matter what time of year you visit, Cincinnati has something for everyone of all ages to experience.
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Thanks to the Cincinnati CVB for hosting my stay. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.