When most people think of Midwestern cities, they probably picture a boring town surrounded by corn fields with nothing to do.
Cincinnati, however, is packed with things to do and places to see. With an impressive variety of public parks and nature centers, over 45 independent coffee shops, more breweries per square mile than nearly any U.S. city, plenty of breathtaking architecture, an eclectic food scene, and year-round cultural festivals, the Queen City offers a long list of fun things to do year-round.
In this post, we share the 60 best things to do in Cincinnati.
The 60 Best Things to Do in Cincinnati
1. Attend a Cincinnati Reds Game
Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Cincinnati is attend a Reds game any time from March through September each year. The atmosphere at the stadium combined with the opportunity to enjoy food and drinks at The Banks both before and after the game means you can make an entire day out of it.
2. Attend a Cincinnati Bengals Game
Another fun activity to do in the city is attend a Cincinati Bengals football game in Downtown Cincinnati any time from September through January each year.
3. Attend a Cincinnati Cyclones Game
Another fun activity is to attend a Cyclones game. The Cyclones are Cincinnati’s mid-level professional hockey team that play in Heritage Bank Center (formerly U.S. Bank Arena) along the riverfront during the months between late October and early April. Despite not being a professional team, the Cyclones always offer a fun experience for fans. Nearly every home game has a “theme” such as Superhero night, dollar beer night, weiner dog racing night, blanket giveaways, and much more.
4. Attend a FC Cincinnati Soccer Game
Sticking with the sports theme, another fun activity is to attend a FC Cincinnati soccer game. The team joined the MLS in 2019 so they’re relatively new to the major leagues, but fans all around the city truly love them and the environment is always exciting and upbeat.
5. Visit the Cincinnati Zoo
Known for being the second-oldest zoo in the United States, the Cincinnati Zoo has been around since 1875 and is home to over 500 animals, over 3,000 plant species, and attracts more than one million visitors each year. Visiting the zoo is a fun activity to do with the whole family and it’s easy to spend several hours walking around checking out the various exhibits.
6. Visit the Krohn Conservatory
Located in Eden Park, the Krohn Conservatory is a wonderful place to view over 3,500 different plant species in one single building. The conservatory itself has been around since the 1930s and to this day it remains one of the most popular places for plant lovers to visit in the Queen City.
7. Walk Around Fountain Square
One interesting place to check out in Downtown Cincinnati is Fountain Square, a place that many deem to be the center of Downtown. This is a public square where concerts, festivals, and other events take place throughout the year. During the holiday season, an ice rink and a large Christmas tree are set up in the square which attracts many visitors. In the warmer months, food trucks are located in and around the square as well.
8. Visit a Rooftop Bar
One of the most fun activities to do in Cincinnati during the warmer months is enjoy a drink at a rooftop bar. Fortunately, Cincinnati has a huge variety of rooftop bars around the city where you can enjoy drinks and views simultaneously. Check out this list of our favorite 16 rooftop bars in the Queen City.
9. Check Out the Views from Carew Tower
Located on the 49th-floor of Carew Tower in Downtown Cincinnati, the Carew Tower Observation Deck offers incredible sweeping views of the city for miles in each direction. The price to go on the deck is $6 for ages 12 and up.
10. Visit the Cincinnati Observatory
Home to the world’s oldest telescope still in use nightly by the general public, the Cincinnati Observatory offers daytime tours and also regularly hosts public events, which include festivals, guided stargazing, and much more. This is a fun place to check out that the whole family can enjoy.
11. Walk Through Findlay Market
With over one hundred unique vendors selling meat, produce, desserts, and other local foods, Findlay Market is Ohio’s largest farmer’s market located in Over-The-Rhine and is an excellent place to check out if you’re a foodie or if you’re just looking for a fun and unique place to visit.
12. Walk Around the Cincinnati Art Museum
Located on the outskirts of Eden Park just five minutes from Downtown, this is one of the most popular museums to visit in all of Cincinnati. With over 67,000 pieces of individual art, both modern and historical, the museum is completely free to visit and is open Tuesday through Sunday (closed on Mondays). Because of the sheer size of the museum, it’s possible to spend an entire day walking around through the various exhibits.
13. Visit the American Sign Museum
Known for being the largest public museum dedicated to signs in the United States. With over 20,000 square feet of indoor space, this museum is packed with all types of signs that are fun to explore and learn about. Expect to spend at least an hour walking through the entire museum. Check out our full review of the museum here.
14. Visit the Cincinnati Museum Center
Located at Union Terminal, the Cincinnati Museum Center is home to the Cincinnati History Museum, the Children’s Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science, the Holocaust & Humanity Center, and the OMNIMAX Theater. If you’re interested in museums of any type or you’d like to learn more about the culture and history of Cincinnati, this is the place to go.
15. Visit the Contemporary Arts Center
Another fun activity is to enjoy some art at the Contemporary Arts Center, a museum that features new developments in sculpture, painting, photography, drawings, architecture, performance art and media. It’s free to walk through and it’s a neat place to check out for anyone interested in art.
16. Visit Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park
Pyramid Hill is one of the few sculpture parks in the U.S. The park originally opened in 1996 and today hosts more than 60 massive contemporary sculptures. The park itself covers over 335 acres and is home to concerts, special events, and kids programs held throughout the year. This is an excellent place located just a short drive outside of the city to take a day trip with the family.
17. Check Out the Taft Museum of Art
Another neat museum to check out is the Taft Museum of Art, one of the finest small art museums in the country. The museum is home to an impressive collection of art that includes European and American paintings, Chinese porcelains, and ivory sculptures. The museum also has an outdoor garden, free on-site parking, and a museum shop and cafe.
18. Visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Center is a history museum located by The Banks that offers a variety of exhibits focused on the Underground Railroad. They offer a rotating list of exhibits, so be sure to check out their site to see which exhibits they currently have on display.
19. Check out Jack Casino
One fun place to check out at night in Cincy is JACK Casino, which is open 24 hours every day of the week. Whether you’re looking to play the slot machines, try your hand at poker, or check out a variety of restaurants, JACK Casino is the place to go.
20. Visit King’s Island
Something that the whole family can enjoy is a day at Kings Island, the largest amusement park in the region. The park offers water slides, a massive variety of roller coasters, and several carnival-style booths and games.
21. Enjoy Live Music at the Riverbend Music Center
If you’re interested in catching a concert by a big-name artist or nationally-known band, then Riverbend Music Centeris the place to go. Located on the east side of the city along the Ohio River, Riverbend hosts a wide variety of artists year-round and has a capacity of around 20,000.
22. Catch a Show at Bogart’s Music Venue
Another smaller venue to catch a live concert by some big-name artists is Bogart’s, a venue located near the UC campus where a variety of different bands and artists perform throughout the year. The capacity at this venue is about 1,500.
23. Walk Around Jungle Jim’s International Market
You might think that walking around a supermarket sounds boring, but that’s only because you haven’t been to Jungle Jim’s, a massive international market that boasts over 200,000 square feet of shopping space and over 180,000 products to choose from. They have exotic foods from all over the world, an incredible selection of craft beer and wine, and a variety of interesting displays. Jungle Jim’s also hosts cooking classes, festivals, liquor tastings, and even open mic nights.
24. Check Out the Newport Aquarium
Another fun activity to do is walk around the Newport Aquarium. Located just across the Ohio River in the Newport, this aquarium has over 70 unique exhibits and five acrylic tunnels that connect 14 different galleries. Because of its size, it’s possible to spend several hours here wandering around with friends and family.
25. Enjoy Views of the City
One fun free activity that you can do is enjoy some scenic views of the city. Check out this post where we compiled our favorite eight spots to enjoy some views of the city.
26. View a Film at the OMNIMAX Theater
One of the best places to catch a movie in Cincinnati is the OMNIMAX Theater at Union Terminal, a 5-story domed screen with surround-sound showing science & nature films. Check out their site to see which films they’re currently playing.
27. Watch a Performance at Playhouse in the Park
The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, located in Mt. Adams, is one of the best places in the city to catch a live theater performance. The playhouse is known for its top-notch musicals and plays that draws thousands of visitors in each year. Check out their site for details on upcoming plays.
28. Walk or Hike Through Ault Park
One of the most well-known parks in all of Cincinnati is Ault Park. Nestled in the Mt. Lookout neighborhood, this park covers over 224 total acres and includes paved walking paths, a beautiful garden, picnic areas, a huge network of hiking trails, a pavilion, and an excellent lookout point. Whether you’re interested in doing some hiking, having a picnic, or going for a leisurely walk, Ault Park has something to offer for everyone.
29. Hike Through California Woods
One of the best places to go hiking in all of Cincinnati is California Woods, a nature preserve located on the east side of the city. California Woods offers several miles of hiking trails and it serves as the perfect place to get away from urban life and enjoy some peaceful time in nature.
30. Walk Through Glenwood Gardens
One of Cincinnati’s more hidden and underrated parks is Glenwood Gardens. Nestled between the neighborhoods of Woodlawn and Glendale, Glenwood Gardens encompasses over 335 acres and offers several miles of hiking and walking trails. Check out our full guide to the gardens here.
31. Walk Along Smale Riverfront Park
Located directly on the Ohio River, Smale Riverfront Park is a beautifully landscaped, well-maintained park that has a long winding walking trail with several swinging benches to sit on and enjoy the views of the River and the bridges that cross over into Northern Kentucky. This is an excellent park to check out with friends and family.
32. Play a Round of Disc Golf
One of the best free activities that you can do outside with a group of friends is play disc golf. Fortunately, Cincinnati has a huge variety of courses around the city where you can play a few rounds while enjoying some nature. Check out this post we compiled of a complete list of Cincinnati disc golf courses.
33. Check Out Washington Park
Located in the heart of the Over-The-Rhine neighborhood, Washington Park is one of the city’s premier urban parks featuring a gazebo, a dog park, plenty of green space, and walking paths. This is a great park to check out if you’re looking to enjoy some green space in an urban part of the city.
34. Take a Self-Guided Mural Tour
Cincinnati is filledwith murals in the Downtown area and in Over-The-Rhine. Fortunately, Artworks Cincinnati has published a map of where each mural is located, which makes it easy to take a self-guided tour through the city to check out the incredible larger-than-life drawings. Check out this post to see our 12 personal favorite murals.
35. Enjoy the Views from Alms Park
Located atop Mt. Tusculum on the east side of the city, Alms Park offers some awesome views of the Ohio River, the Little Miami River, the hills of northern Kentucky, and the Lunken Airport. With over 94 total acres, the park is home to several hiking trails, a playground, picnic areas, a pavilion available for rental, and several incredible overlook points. Check out our complete guide to Alms Park here.
36. Go Hiking at the Cincinnati Nature Center
One of the best places to go hiking in all of Cincinnati is the Cincinnati Nature Center. Located on the far east side of the city, the nature center covers more than 1,000 acres and offers over 16 miles of hiking. The center is open year-round, but note that daily admission is $9 for adults, or alternatively you can get a yearly membership. You can find out more about their admission, hours, and rates here.
37. Visit Eden Park
Another one of the best parks to visit in all of Cincinnati is Eden Park. Located on the outskirts of the Mt. Adams neighborhood, the park covers 186 total acres and features several hiking trails, a basketball court, a gazebo, plenty of green space for picnics, a pond with a fountain, Krohn Conservatory, and the Seasongood Pavilion.
38. Take a Pedal Wagon Tour
A pedal wagon is exactly what it sounds like – a huge “wagon” that requires multiple people to pedal on it at once to make it move through the street. One of the most popular pedal wagon tours is through the heart of Over-The-Rhine and lasts two hours, offering multiple stops at different bars and breweries along the way. Find out more about the tours here.
39. Go Axe Throwing
Another fun indoor activity in Cincinnati is axe throwing – a relatively new sport that involves throwing axes at targets. Two popular places to check out are Urban Axes in Over-The-Rhine and Class Axe in Port Union.
40. Go Kayaking or Canoeing
Another fun outdoor activity is canoeing and kayaking. The two most popular spots for doing so are the Little Miami River and the Great Miami River, which are located on opposite sides of the city. Both rivers have several drop-in points at various places and there are several kayak and canoe rental companies you can use as well if you don’t have your own equipment.
41. Enjoy Brews and Pizza at Madtree Brewery
One of the most well-known breweries in all of Cincinnati is Madtree Brewing, located in Oakley. MadTree offers an impressive selection of craft beers, an indoor wood-fired pizza bar, and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Plus, they’re a dog-friendly establishment which means you can pet some good pups while enjoying a drink.
42. Check out Rhinegeist Brewery & Rooftop Bar
With a massive interior, a rooftop bar, a space exclusively reserved for cornhole games, and a wide variety of local beers, Rhinegeist is one of the most popular and well-known breweries in the city. Located in Over-The-Rhine, it’s just a short walk away from Findlay Market as well which means you can enjoy a walk through the market and follow it up with a short walk to Rhinegeist for a craft beer or two.
43. Enjoy Drinks and Sand at Fifty West Brewery
Fifty West Brewery is one of the most unique breweries in Cincinnati located on the east side of the city along the Little Miami River. With six outdoor volleyball courts, indoor and outdoor seating, and some of the best beers on tap in the city, this is a must-stop brewery.
44. Enjoy Cocktails at Karrikin Spirits
Located on the east side of the city in Fairfax, Karrikin Spirits is a massive distillery that offers a huge variety of cocktails and beer that you can enjoy in a spacious indoor and outdoor seating area.
45. Visit One of the City’s Best Ice Cream Shops
Cincinnati is home to a huge variety of great ice cream shops sprinkled throughout the city. While there are plenty of shops where you can enjoy a cone, we think a few stand above the rest. Check out this post for our 10 favorite ice cream shops around the Queen City.
46. Enjoy some Skyline Chili
Hands down, the food that Cincy is best known for is Skyline Chili. With dozens of locations around the city, odds are that you’re never more than a few miles away from a local Skyline. This is a must-stop restaurant for a cheese coney, a 3-way, some cheesy fries, or any other Skyline classic.
47. Enjoy some of the Best BBQ in the City
Along with Skyline Chili and ice cream, Cincy has a plethora of awesome BBQ restaurants. Check out our list here to discover the 12 best BBQ restaurants in the city.
48. Visit one of the City’s Hidden Bars
Unbeknown to even locals, Cincinnati has several hidden bars located throughout the city that are a bit harder to find than most. These bars are particularly fun to discover and enjoy a drink in. Check out this list of our favorite 14 hidden bars and speakeasies around the city.
49. Enjoy the Best Tacos in the City
Cincinnati is also home to a variety of restaurants that serve up some incredible tacos. Check out this list of our 17 favorite places to get tacos around the city.
50. Visit one of the 45+ Independent Coffee Shops
Cincinnati is also home to an incredible amount of independent coffee shops throughout the city. Check out our Complete Guide to Cincinnati Coffee Shops to find some places to check out.
51. Walk Along the Loveland Bike Trail
One of the largest bike trails in the Cincinnati area is the Loveland Bike Trail. Covering 70 total miles, the trail is perfect for bike lovers and it’s also accommodating for anyone who wants to walk along the trail, admire the views, and check out the many restaurants and shops that line the trail.
52. Explore one of the City’s Independent Bookstores
Cincinnati is home to several excellent bookstores, ranging from small coffee shop bookstores to larger multi-level stores, all of which are fun to roam around in. Check out this list of our favorite 10 independent bookstores around the city.
53. Experience some of the City’s Best Pizza
Cincinnati is packed with great pizza places all over the city, but we think a few really stand out. Check out our guide to the best pizza places in the Queen City here.
54. Enjoy one of the City’s Best Burgers
The Queen City is also home to a variety of excellent burger joints. Check out our favorite ones here.
55. Check out one of the Best Places for Brunch
Another activity that’s particularly fun to do on the weekend is get brunch at one of the city’s best restaurants. Check out this list of our favorite Cincy brunch places for some ideas.
56. Check out the City’s Most Hidden Library
Located on the 11th floor of The Mercantile Library Building in the heart of Downtown Cincinnati, The Mercantile Library is the city’s most hidden library. You’ll have to pay an annual membership fee if you want to actually rent books from the library, but it’s completely free to visit and explore.
57. Go Hiking at Mt. Airy Forest
One of the more popular parks for hiking in Cincinnati is Mt. Airy Forest. Spanning 1,459 total acres, this park offers a massive variety of hiking trails that all interweave throughout the park. It’s easy to spend several hours out on these trails, which makes it a perfect place to go if you’re looking for a challenging, multi-hour hike.
58. Enjoy food, drinks, and music at Hofbrauhaus
Located just across the Ohio River in Newport, KY sits Hofbrauhaus, a wildly popular brewery and restaurant in the Cincinnati area. Known for their plentiful amount of seating, delicious food and beer, and live music, this is a great place to visit during any day of the week, but we recommend checking it out on the weekend when they’re known to stay open until 2AM.
59. Walk Along the Roebling Bridge
The John A. Roebling Bridge, which spans across the Ohio River and connects Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky, is one of the more scenic bridge in Cincinnati and it’s completely free to walk across for individuals. The views of the Cincinnati skyline and the Ohio River make this a particularly fun walk.
60. Explore Over-The-Rhine
Last but not least, one of the most fun activities to do in Cincinnati is explore Over-The-Rhine – a neighborhood just north of Downtown that is densely packed with some of the best restaurants, coffee shops, and boutiques in the whole city. Check out our complete guide to Over-The-Rhine here.