Two Days in Cincinnati
This itinerary illustrates a possible way to spend your day in Cincinnati. Consideration should be made of which activities and sights would interest you, especially if you want to gain a better understanding of the Cincinnati area. Recommendations contained within the itinerary are developed with the goal of providing the traveler with something insightful and fun. The itinerary is written with Cincinnati's peak tourist season in mind - summer and fall. If you are visiting during the winter or early spring some activities or sights may have shortened hours or possibly closed.
(update 08.27.15: Sadly, Tucker's had a kitchen fire and is close for renovations indefinitely). Start your day off by skipping the continental breakfast at the hotel and head over to Tucker's Restuarant at 1637 Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine. Tucker's is legendary for being the restaurant to go to for breakfast. Although, it's nowhere near a five star restaurant, it counts four star (five star before he left to open his own restaurant) chef Jean-Robert de Cavel.
Around one o'clock (13:00) head over to Eden Park, where you can easily plan several hours wandering around. Highlights of the park are the Cincinnati Art Museum, Irwin M. Krohn Conservatory, and the park, itself. If you're taking a bus you can reach the park by taking bus number 11 or 69 and get off at the Cincinnati Association of the Blind, then walk into Eden Park until you find a trail that leads up a hill (the trail will take you up to the museum). Alternatively, you can take bus number 1, however, you may be required to walk up a steep hill, if the road is blocked.
First, head up to the Cincinnati Art Museum to escape the heat and humidity. The museum has a 60,000 piece collection, which explains why the museum is referred to as the Art Palace of the West. The museum occasionally hosts special exhibits, but the museum is already home to some amazing artwork. You can join a free docent led tour around the museum's permanent collections on Tuesday through Friday at one o'clock, Saturday at two o'clock (14:00) and on Sunday at one o'clock (13:00) and two o'clock (14:00). Be sure to check out the Far Eastern Art section which includes a Jain Shrine; the Egypt, Greece, and Rome room, which features a mummy; the spectacular collection from the Classical & Near Eastern Art section with its spectacular Room from Damascus, a room imported from Syria with beautiful Islamic architectural influences; and don't miss the Cincinnati Wing with impressive art from Cincinnatians.
Around three o'clock exit the museum, head out the front door toward the parking lot, and begin heading over to the Irwin M. Krohn Conservatory. On the right side of the parking lot is a trail that leads into the woods. Follow the trail, be careful when walking down the steps since some steps are broken. When you reach the road turn right until you come to the fork, cross the street and walk toward the lake. Since the conservatory isn't terriblely large you can afford to kill 20 or so minutes at the park before continuing onto the Krohn Conservatory. Walk up to the gazebo and follow the path and you'll see the large glass building that is Krohn Conservatory. By now, you should have roughly an hour and twenty minutes before the conservatory will close. Entrance here is also free and is open daily from 10 AM until 5 PM.
Now, it's time for dinner. After you leave the conservatory walk toward Gilbert Avenue. Find the nearest bus stop, on the side of the road opposite the Cincinnati Association for the Blind. Catch the next 69 Metro bus toward Madisonville - Fairfax (Away from downtown). Get off at the Hyde Park Square area. The ride should take about fifteen minutes.
Hyde Park is a wonderful neighborhood abound with gourmet restaurants. One recommendation is Indigo Casual Gourmet Cafe, which has a great outdoor patio that overlooks Hyde Park Square. After dinner, walk across Erie Road and head over to Graeter's for the world famous ice cream. If you want to go shopping Rookwood Commons is a short walk from the square and is home to numerous stores and other restaurants.
Visit the observation deck of the Carew Tower. Go to 441 Vine Street. Notice the Art Deco interior of the common areas as you follow the signs to find the elevators. You have to change elevators and then take the stairs up the final level to make it to the 49th floor.
Walk east on 5th street two blocks to Fountain Square. Then return to Vine and walk South and across the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. Take the stairs down on the Kentucky side to walk along the murals on the floodwall. Then visit a restaurant at Roebling point.
Newport on the Levee
Catch a ride over to Newport, in Kentucky. It's a short ride over with a bus or car. However, if you'd like to walk over, you could use the Purple People Bridge. The biggest attraction in Newport is Newport on the Levee, which is entertainment complex that comes complete with a 20 theater cinema, shops, restaurants, and an aquarium. If you've been to one mall in your life, this one won't impress you, so skip to the aquarium and spend some time among the marine life. Afterwards, if all that water has got you thirsty, head over to the Hofbrauhaus for ein Bier. Or, if that's not your cup of tea, or rather beer, then head over to Pompilio's at 6th Street and Washington Avenue for Italian. This restaurant played the backdrop for diner scene in the movie Rainman with Dustin Hoffman instantly counting the number of tooth picks that fall on the floor as his brother, played by Tom Cruise, looks on.
Depending on the day, why not venture out for some musical entertainment? The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra has become one of the most respected orchestras from the United States and is the resident orchestra for the Cincinnati Opera and Ballet companies. So, even if you can't catch a just the CSO, then you can always have the benefit of watching the ballet (although, one key secret is to definitely come back in December and catch the Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker). Furthermore, you get to visit the Cincinnati Music Hall. Afterwards, go back toward Downtown Cincinnati and stop off at Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse for an expensive dinner, or maybe just a nightcap at that price. For something more affordable, stop off at Skyline Chili, which is just one block east of Jeff Ruby's.