Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to a one day in Cincinnati itinerary! So many travel writers are obsessed with hanging out with locals. “Oooh!” they squeal when they see one. “A LOCAL! In the wild! I’ll love him and squeeze him and call him George.”
Well how would you like to spend a one day in Cincinnati itinerary with your very own local? That’s what happened to me when I got to take an amazing tour of Cincinnati.
Want to cut right to the chase, Internet Stranger? The best activity in Cincinnati is this delicious food tour right here with tons of five-star reviews!
Or if you want to explore all the best activities in Cincinnati, check this search engine right here to find the best deals!
Come with me on this one day in Cincinnati itinerary and it’s just like you’ll have a local for your very own!
One Day in Cincinnati Itinerary
Where to Stay?
The Symphony Hotel is one of my favorite hotels in the United States, not just in Cincinnati. It’s the perfect choice for your one day in Cincinnati itinerary. The rooms are adorable, and the amenities are amazing. You get everything from breakfast made to order to complimentary chocolate in the room. Plus the restaurant with dinner and live music is fantastic.
If you want a great deal on this hotel, click here.
And if you’d rather explore great deals on other hotels in Cincinnati, click here.
This search engine will help you find the perfect place to stay during your one day in Cincinnati itinerary. With plenty of options to choose from, I’m sure you’ll find something for your schedule and budget.
One Day in Cincinnati Itinerary
Morning: Over the Rhine Food Tour
This One Day in Cincinnati Itinerary gets in depth into three neighborhoods. First I will introduce you to the Over the Rhine neighborhood, which a lot of tourists to Cincinnati never get to experience.
You can experience the neighborhood by taking this amazing food tour! It’s a great way to start your one day in Cincinnati itinerary because it will get you off the beaten track and your stomach will get satisfied. You’ll get to experience about six different eateries, which should be more than enough to satisfy anyone!
You can book this tour for yourself by going here!
I can’t guarantee that you’ll have exactly what I ate, but I’m sure you’ll have fun!
Three Fun Facts About Over the Rhine
1) Trendy Eateries
The One Day in Cincinnati Itinerary begins at a Belgian-style eatery. If you’re guessing this means they just serve beer, waffles, and chocolate, you’d be correct! We indulged in some small, pearl-sugar coated, crispy Belgian waffles while my guide explained the history of Over the Rhine.
Ten years ago, no one would have taken a tour of the Over the Rhine neighborhood. It was considered one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the country in terms of gun violence.
A private corporation stepped in and started buying up buildings in the area with the express desire to gentrify and bring in new businesses, like this one. Now Over the Rhine is so hip, it’s basically the Williamsburg of Cincinnati.
Of course, many of the old residents have been displaced, and community activists are working hard to create more affordable housing in Over the Rhine. It’s the same story with every gentrifying neighborhood all over the United States, and indeed the world.
Fewer people dying by gun violence is good, Belgian eateries are good, and affordable housing is also good. Surely we can find a way to have all of these at the same time?
Check rates and availability by going here to find out more about these waffles!
2) Street Art
The best part of any artsy neighborhood, aside from the food, is the street art, and Over the Rhine is no exception. ArtWorks Cincinnati is dedicated to improving neighborhoods by putting up murals to beautify the city and employing young artists to paint them. Beauty is just about my favorite thing in the world, even if it is in the eye of The Beholder, which sounds painful.
My guide seemed to know every mural in the city. The one above is called No Place Like Home, and it is done in partnership with an organization called Tender Mercies that helps the homeless. The items you can see in the mural are ones that people with homes tend to take for granted.
Here’s one dedicated to Henry Holtgrewe, a German immigrant to Cincinnati who was once declared the strongest man in the world. I’m not sure how they determine that because I don’t see how it could be possible to fight every single man in the world. There aren’t enough hours in the day!
The nerdiest mural in Cincinnati is this one, which honors the Roman general Cincinnatus after whom the city was named. He ruled Rome during a military crisis, but after the crisis was over, he voluntarily stepped down from power.
Many people during George Washington’s life compared him to a modern Cincinnatus. There are many, many worse Roman role models, like Caligula or Nero or…pretty much all the rest of them.
Check rates and availability by going here to find out more about these murals!
24 Hour Treasure
My favorite mural in the Over the Rhine is this one, called Ice Cream Daydream, because it is cute. I can’t always be full of deep thoughts!
3) Pizza and Beer
I don’t want to spoil every snack that we ate on the food tour, but just know it’s not all frogs legs and snails if you’re scared of eating adventures. No, there will be yummy treats, like this pizza and craft beer combination.
Cincinnati has actually been famous for being a brewing city for quite some time, so it’s lucky that you’ll get to try some of the local goods. And don’t worry! We’ll be able to experience some more of this amazing beer later today.
24 Hour Tip
Those are all the secrets of the food tour that I can share with you for now. You’ll have to go ahead and book the tour to find out the rest.
Check rates and availability right here!
24 Hour Treasure: Rookwood Pottery
The highlight of Over the Rhine is getting to see the inside of the Rookwood Pottery studios, but it’s not part of the tour, so you’ll have to go afterwards. This business was founded back in 1880 by a pioneering female entrepreneur named Maria Longworth-Nichols.
Photography is not allowed the studio, but it was a pleasure to meet the artists and hear them talk about how they got into the ceramics business, even if I didn’t get the pleasure of getting to put their faces on Instagram.
The two most famous Rookwood pieces are their cat statues and their decorative tiles, one of which you can see in my photo above. Their tiles are all over Cincinnati, so I highly recommend playing Spot The Rookwood Tile as you roam about the city. (My guide helped me get started with some good tips.)
The other piece they are known for its a vaguely Egyptian looking sparkly green cat statue which is currently adorning my side table. The tour guide at Rookwood said they sell one of those green cats to almost every person who sees one. I blame the sparkles! Also cats have the power to hypnotize people, even ceramic cats. Everyone knows that.
One Day in Cincinnati Itinerary
Afternoon: Underground Railroad Freedom Center
One of Cincinnati’s most important contributions to American history was the role it played in the Underground Railroad. Cincinnati was a major hub for enslaved people escaping from slave states like Kentucky and trying to head up north to freedom.
The Underground Railroad Freedom Center tells the stories of the brave men and women who were involved in the struggle for freedom and equality in this country. There’s so much information in the Freedom Center that I could hardly do it all justice in this blog post. Instead, I’ll leave you with…
three facts: underground railroad freedom center
1) Slavery Before the Civil War
It’s easy for someone like me, who was born in New York City, to think that slavery was just confined to one small part of the country. But look at that map of the United States in 1861! See how much of the country had legalized slavery. Even some Union states like Missouri, Kentucky, and Delaware had slaves.
On top of that, 12 of our first 18 presidents owned slaves at some point in their life. It’s hard to argue that the entire nation wasn’t complicit in the institution. (Abraham Lincoln said as much many times in his life.)
2) Heroes of the Underground Railroad
Much of the Underground Railroad Center is dedicated to telling the stories of heroic individuals. Harriet Jacobs was an enslaved woman from North Carolina. She escaped from her abusive captor by hiding under a crawl space on his property for seven years. Eventually she escaped altogether and made it to New York where she wrote a book called Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.
This book helped publicize the widespread sexual abuse that enslaved women experienced. I really can’t imagine the courage it would take to do half the things Harriet Jacobs accomplished in her life. Reading about the stories of people like Ms. Jacobs makes me realize that I don’t actually have any problems.
3) Salmon P Chase
One of the most important abolitionists associated with Cincinnati was a man named Salmon P. Chase. I know he sounds kind of fishy, but just hear me out. Chase was a Cincinnati lawyer who rose to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
While he was still a lawyer in Cincinnati, he argued for fugitive slaves who were in Cincinnati escaping their captors. Chase believed that once an enslaved person entered a free state, they should automatically be considered free.
He continued to argue in favor of civil rights for all after he became Chief Justice, and he was the first Chief Justice to allow African-American attorneys to make arguments before the Supreme Court. I don’t understand why more streets and schools and things aren’t named after Salmon P Chase. His name is both righteous and delicious!
One Day in Cincinnati itinerary
Late Afternoon: Contemporary Arts Center
In most cities, the art museums close around 5 PM. But as we’ve established, Cincinnati is not most cities. And here, from Wednesday to Friday, the Contemporary Arts Center stays open until quite late, so it’s a great thing to do in your afternoon of your one day in Cincinnati itinerary
The exhibits here change frequently so the art can stay contemporary with a capital K. But some of the things you might find include sticker art…
There are signs around the museum asking you not to lick the art, and it disturbs me that they need to say that because it means that at least one person DID try to lick the paintings.
You could get trapped in a giant prism. (Can you see me taking a photo in this photo above? That’s what I call a selfie.)
You could also get chased around the museum by a terrifying gaggle of clowns.
Oh good! I think I’m safe now! The clowns won’t find me here. What’s that you say, Internet Stranger? Look behind me? No, I’m not going to fall for that trick.
One Day in Cincinnati Itinerary
Evening: Self Guided Beer Crawl!
I’ve already mentioned that Porkopolis used to be Cincinnati’s nickname back when it was the hogpacking center of the country. (PS. Hogpacking is a great word and I’m mad at Spell Check for not recognizing it.)
Also, we’ve spoken about Cincinnati’s rich German heritage, what with the German Catholic churches, and the goetta, and the whatnot. So why not combine the piggies and the Germans with a barbecue and beer tour of the Queen City at the end of our one day in Cincinnati itinerary? We’ll drink, we’ll feast, and we’ll learn…
three fun facts: Cincinnati beer
1) Who was Christian Moerlein?
The Christian Moerlein Brewing Company was started in 1853 in Cincinnati by a German immigrant whose name I have forgotten. Like many breweries, it went out of business during Prohibition, but it was reopened in the 1980s. The Moerlein Brewing Company follows the strict German beer purity laws known as the Reinheitsgebot.
These laws clearly state that you can only put malted barley, hops. yeast, and water in the beer. So you’ll not be finding any weird pumpkin spice latte beer at this establishment. It’s all hoppy ales and mellow lagers for these Germans! But don’t worry because we can get our weird beers later on the tour.
My favorite was the Amber ale because it wasn’t bitter, but it had enough flavor to let you know you’re drinking beer and not water that is dressed in a beer costume. (Looking at you, mass produced American brands that shall remain nameless.)
Please to note this plaque to Pete Rose, disgraced former Cincinnati Reds player. The Christian Moerlein Brewery is located right where the old Reds stadium used to be, so this plaque marks the spot where Pete Rose became the Hit King.
And all this time, I thought Charlie Hustle was just Jimmy McGill’s nickname on Better Call Saul.
2) Rhinegeist Brewery
It’s time to leave Downtown Cincinnati and head back to the Over the Rhine neighborhood for Rhinegeist. Rhinegeist means “Ghost of the Rhine” in German, so that should give you our first clue that we’re at a funkier sort of brewery.
Rhinegeist is a little more recent than Moerlein, going all the way back to 2013. According to the website, every employee at Rhinegeist is a part owner, which sounds like a fantastic way to make sure everyone on the team is committed to the business’s success.
Because Rhinegeist specializes in experimental beers, they have a jillion different flavors on tap. I suggest just asking the brewista to put together a flight of four beers for you, unless you are picky, which I hope you are not!
The bartender instructed me to drink the beers in order from left to right. “Listen to your bartender,” as my grandmother used to say. Cornsnake, as you might expect from the order, was the lightest. Dodo was a fruity sour beer made with peaches.
I feel ashamed to say this was my favorite because liking fruity beers is so girly…but this was my favorite. Truth was a citrusy and surprisingly drinkable IPA. (I like IPAs, but some people think they are too bitter.) Finally Panda, which I suppose gets its name from its black and white color, was a chocolaty oatmeal stout. It was almost like a dessert beer, so it makes sense that I drank it last.
24 Hour Treat: Eli’s BBQ
Rhinegeist lets you bring it outside food, so I got to enjoy my Porkopolis barbecue picnic. (I had picked this up at Eli’s BBQ at Findlay Market on our way to the brewery. You will recognize it by the sign of the neon pig outside.) Ohio is justly not famous for barbecue, but Eli’s is the real deal.
It’s been called one of the best barbecue places in the country and you can really taste the hickory in every bite of smoked pork. You also get to pick one side, so I selected jalapeno grits and I regret nothing. It’s not like I was lacking for beer to wash the spice down!
On the way out we spotted one final piggy waiting to wave goodbye. I am the Cincinnati Bingo Champion!
3) Taft Ale House Facts
Our final stop is the Taft Ale House, which as you can tell is located in a former church. But whither the name Taft Ale House?
Well, William Howard Taft, or Big Billy as the Taft’s Ale House website calls him, was both a Supreme Court justice and the 27th president of the United States.
He was also the only President I am aware of who was born in Cincinnati, so the Ale House likes to honor its local boy by putting Taft memorabilia on the walls. I say any man who can grow a ‘stache like that deserves to be saluted.
I always drink when I’m on the job because I need to share my reviews with my favorite Internet Strangers. The Taft Ale House specializes in fruity Caribbean-style ales, so I ordered their Key Lime Ale. It was delicious! Why do I like fruity beers so much? Curse me and my feminine ways!
One Day in Cincinnati Itinerary
Tools for Travel
- A cell charger so you can take photos all during your one day in Cincinnati itinerary
- The most reliable travel umbrella that is small enough to fit in my purse, but strong enough to stand up to powerful winds during our one day in Cincinnati itinerary
- These great TSA approved clear toiletries bags, so I can always keep spare toothpaste and travel sized toiletries in any carry-on.
- My book Get Lost, that I wrote myself with all my best travel tips. This book will show you how travel can take you on a journey of self-discovery.
One Day in Cincinnati Itinerary
How To Get There
Now, I wish I knew where you lived, Internet Stranger, because I could send you a whole plate of Skyline chili. But sadly, I do not, and so I can’t tell you exactly how to get from your home to your one day in Cincinnati itinerary.
However, if you need to take a plane or car to get to Cincinnati, I recommend Expedia for the best way to find the cheapest flight or car rental, depending on how you want to get around.
Just click here to start looking for the best possible deals on your flight or car rental, so you can head out to your one day in Cincinnati itinerary!
That’s a Perfect One Day in Cincinnati Itinerary
What would you do with One Day in Cincinnati Itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Cincinnati? Have you ever tried a 3-Way, or are you too shy? And is that clown still sitting behind me?Email me at email@example.com and let me know.
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY spend a One Day in Cincinnati Itinerary. If you have time to try another One Day in Cincinnati Itinerary, try this one.
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