Top 6 Things to Do in Cincinnati, OH on the Ultimate USA Road Trip

Things To Do In Cincinnati
Things To Do in Cincinnati

My first stop, after leaving my hometown of Syracuse, New York, on my ultimate USA road trip was Cincinnati, Ohio. I have been to Cincinnati a few times over the past few years because my younger brother lives there! My brother lives in a neighborhood called Over The Rhine. This is a strange, but interesting neighborhood that reminds me a bit of neighborhoods in Brooklyn. One thing is for certain, there are plenty of things to do in Cincinnati and many new places are cropping up all the time.

Before my brother moved to Cincinnati I knew next to nothing about the city. I naively thought that it was some bland midwestern city. That just shows you how little I knew about this large country of ours before I took a road trip all around it. On the contrary, Cincinnati is a vibrant city full of promise and people pulling it towards the future. Here are my top 6 things to do in Cincinnati, that I invariably end up doing every time I visit my brother.

6 Things To Do in Cincinnati, Ohio

1. Get Coffee From Coffee Emporium

Things To Do In Cincinnati
You all know how I love a good cup of coffee. Even more than that, I love a good coffee shop! Coffee Emporium offers a stunning array of different types of coffee, as well as bulk coffee beans to take home. Their large cafe area is perfect for getting work done, or having a breakfast date with friends (or family in my case). The staff here is always incredibly friendly.
Things To Do In Cincinnati

2. Get a Donut From Holtman’s Donuts

Things To Do In Cincinnati
Best. Donuts. Ever. Maple Bacon. Bear Claw. Red Velvet. Fruity Pebbles. Powdered. Classic Glaze. Is your mouth watering yet? Just remember: get there early, especially on the weekend! These sell out fast, and when they’re gone they’re gone. Don’t make that mistake.
Things To Do In Cincinnati

3. Go Shopping in the Over The Rhine Neighborhood

Things To Do In Cincinnati
Every time I visit my brother there seems to be a new shop opened up in Over The Rhine. Some of my favorites include: Mica 12/v for design-based gifts. Park + Vine for eco-friendly and local goods (I even buy a lot of my travel necessities here and stock up when I’m in town). Iris BookCafe & Gallery, which is a book store slash cafe. Elm & Iron for the most amazing home goods. And these are just a few!
Things To Do In Cincinnati

4. Check Out Findlay Market

Things To Do In Cincinnati
Findlay Market is a gigantic indoor farmer’s market, with merchants ranging from fresh farm grown produce to gourmet egg rolls and curry. There are also restaurants surrounding the market, including a Vietnamese pho restaurant which my brother tells me is delectable. Since my brother performs in The Nutcracker every year around Christmas (see below), we have made it our tradition to come here for our Christmas meal shopping. It’s so fun to see the place all festively decorated. Before you go, be sure to grab some invisible bacon or a latte from the mobile Urbana Cafe truck!
Things To Do In Cincinnati

5. See a Performance at Cincinnati Ballet

Things To Do In Cincinnati
Cincinnati Ballet does Cinderella;Photography: Peter Mueller; My brother is the Stepsister on the right!

I may be a bit biased, because my brother is a company member at Cincinnati Ballet, but seeing a performance is one of the best things to do in Cincinnati. As mentioned above, The Nutcracker is the old classic you love with a twist. I’ve seen a few Nutcrackers in my day, and this one tops them all. And this year, they are even touring their version of the show to Washington D.C., at The Kennedy Center. Other than The Nutcracker, Cincinnati Ballet puts on 6 or 7 more productions per season. The biggest ones this year are going to be Coppelia and King Arthur’s Camelot in February. The rest of the year, the company performs smaller works, often by highly regarded contemporary choreographers. Definitely head out for a night at the ballet if Cincinnati Ballet is performing when you’re in town. And say hi to my brother, Jake, for me!

Things To Do In Cincinnati
Cincinnati Ballet does Wild Sweet Love; Photography: Peter Mueller; This is also my brother, without a wig and makeup

6. Eat Dinner at Boca

Just down the block from the ballet’s theatre, the Aranoff Center for the Arts is an amazing restaurant called Boca. Carefully crafted plates, best meant for sharing, are flavorful and unique. My family and I went after a production of The Nutcracker, and it was extremely and perfectly indulgent. Will you have Blue Oven Bad Boy Bread to start? The butter poached lobster with sweet english peas for your entree, and a S’mores bar for dessert? Oh, I really hope you do.
Things To Do In Cincinnati

Everything Else You Need To Know

Where To Stay:

21c Museum Hotel is a boutique hotel that doubles as an art gallery.

Where (Else) To Get Coffee:

  • Cheapside Cafe
  • Urbana Cafe

    Cappuccino from Urbana Cafe in Cincinnati, Ohio #☕️ #travelingcoffeecup @urbanacafe

    A photo posted by The Traveling Coffee Cup (@thetravelingcoffeecup) on


    Where (Else) To Eat:

  • Graeter’s Ice Cream
  • Taste of Belgium for chicken & waffles
  • Nation Kitchen and Bar for brunch tots (yes, this is a thing)
    Things To Do In Cincinnati

    Happy Exploring, Wherever You Are!

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    1. I have been to Columbus many times as well to visit family, but never Cinncinati. I will have to stop over sometime and head to that donut shop!

      1. Yes, I hope you get there Joyce! Cincinnati is pretty cute, and there’s lots to do! Park + Vine is the best..I really miss it when I’m away!

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