Think you know Cincinnati? Over-the-Rhine will blow your mind. Named one of the top places to travel to in 2018, Over-the-Rhine is a rejuvenated neighborhood in downtown Cincinnati, OH. Vegetarian TravelingMom Judy Antell, a frequent visitor, takes a close look at the area. She found five reasons to visit Over-the-Rhine.
After years and years of visiting Cincinnati to see my in-laws, I thought I knew the city inside and out. But the newly gentrified Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, in downtown Cincinnati, recently turned my head – and it became our must-do on every trip. There are many things to do here. Here are my top five reasons to visit Over-the-Rhine.
One of the Best Reasons to Visit Over-the-Rhine: the Food
One of the top things to do in Over-the-Rhine is eat. Findlay Market, the oldest public market in Ohio, is the crown jewel of Over-the-Rhine. Cincinnati Food Tours leads 90 minute walking tours. For $25 you get an inside look at five or six food stands and stores, with tastes at each. There were vegetarian options at each place. Even without the tour, wandering the market is fun. Many places offer samples and there is live entertainment around the market. If you are walking around Findlay Market with kids, make sure to stop and enjoy the delicious ice cream and chocolate.
For a sit down meal, head to B&A Street Kitchen. Order breakfast or lunch at the counter and you are rewarded with perfect eggs and biscuits, interesting soups and spicy sandwiches. Prices are gentle and staff is friendly.
For a special evening, Salazar stands out. The sharing plates and creative cocktails are among the best in the city. The vegetarian potato-spinach gratin with fiddlehead ferns, morel mushrooms, pea puree and greens was delicious, complex, and beautiful to look at.
The beer: adult thing to do in Over-the-Rhine
If you walk around Over-the-Rhine, you can see free murals relating to beer. The murals depict the beer trade, from gathering hops to brewing. There is a free family friendly guided brewery tour of the Brewery Heritage Trail, on an app. You learn that kids are depicted in some of the murals since they often worked in breweries. Their short stature helped in the beer tunnels that still exist in Over-the-Rhine.
We took an adult-oriented paid beer tour that included a close look at several murals and a narrow, low-ceilinged beer tunnel that runs under a street. This tour ends at the Christian Moerlein Brewery & Malthouse Tap Room, with a tasting of local beers on tap and a behind the scenes look at the brewery. The Brewery District has several different tours, so you could return again and again and learn more about the Brewing Heritage Trail.
The drinks: also adult only
The speakeasy Sundry and Vice calls itself a “purveyor of fine tinctures, tonics, and elixirs.” The excellent cocktails are prepared with care. House cocktails have cute names like ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors' and ‘Mother May I.' Yes, you may, but be careful. The drinks are potent. There are local beers on tap, but if you are a wine drinker, there isn't much for you.
Since parking is scarce, and you don't want to drink and drive, take advantage of Uber or Lyft.
4. The streetcar: one of kids' top things to do in Over-the-Rhine
The Cincinnati Bell Connector, a new streetcar, runs a 3.6 mile loop. Catch it in front of Findlay Market and ride downtown and back. A two hour pass is $1; kids 35 – 45 inches are half price. A full day pass is $2. From a parental perspective, the curb level floor is a boon. You can easily bring on a stroller (or a wheelchair, scooter or bicycle). For another kind of ride, if your kids are at least four feet tall, you can rent a bike from the Cincy Red Bike bikeshare and pedal around too.
5. The newly renovated park
Washington Park, across from the National Historic Landmark Music Hall, was recently renovated. Some of the improvements include a large playground with a stage to encourage dramatic play and a green roof on the garage. Seasonal water fountains incorporate music and light. There are also free workouts for adults, children's programing, and special events for dogs and their owners. Spanking new bathrooms are a new amenity.
Bonus: take a selfie
Photos in the oversized chair in front of Findlay Market are a must. There is often a line.
Note: I got a media pass for both the food tour and brewery tour. Opinions expressed are my own.