A Perfect Weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio

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Located on the banks of the Ohio River, Cincinnati is a gorgeous city that’s worth a visit. Cincinnati might not be on the radar of most tourists; however, it is the perfect city to visit on a weekend trip.

Whether you’re a sports fan, a history buff, or an amusement park junkie, you’ll be able to find something to keep you occupied while spending a weekend in Cincinnati. The downtown area is compact and walkable, and there are plenty of attractions on the outskirts of the city. The city is also easy to get to from a lot of places in the United States – nearly 50% of the country’s population is within a day’s drive of the city. Flying in? The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International airport is served by most major US airlines including budget carriers like Allegiant Air and Frontier.

Ready to spend a perfect weekend in Cincinnati? Keep reading for everything you need to know!

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The skyline of Cincinnati, Ohio - weekend in Cincinnati itinerary

Where to Stay for a Weekend in Cincinnati

If you’re spending a weekend in Cincinnati, Downtown is the best area of the city to stay. Most of the attractions are Downtown, and there are plenty of wonderful hotels within walking distance of the city’s best restaurants, bars, and attractions. If you’re not going to have a car on your trip, staying Downtown will also save you money on Ubers or Lyfts as you’ll likely only need a car when visiting attractions such as the zoo or Kings Island.

For a unique experience in Downtown Cincinnati, consider a stay at The Guild Downtown – Current. The Guild bills itself as upscale suite accommodations in the heart of Downtown Cincinnati. Essentially, The Guild is an apartment building that also has several units dedicated to vacation rentals. The rentals are sort of like VRBO; however, the units at the Guild are designed to be used for vacation rentals rather than someone’s personal home.

A bed witA bed with white duvet at The Guild Downtown - Current in Cincinnatih white duvet at The Guild Downtown - Current in Cincinnati
A room at The Guild Downtown – Current

The Guild Downtown – Current’s location is perfect – it is right on Freedom Way close to the Great American Ballpark and some of the city’s best restaurants and bars. One thing to keep in mind is that it can be quite noisy here at night. The bars don’t close until 4AM, and there are bars in the bottom floor of the The Guild’s building.

At The Guild Downtown – Current, travelers can choose from a studio apartment (sleeps 2), a 1-bedroom (sleeps 4), or a 2-bedroom (sleeps 6). Rates start from $149/night. Click here to book an apartment at The Guild Downtown – Current.

Other great places to stay for a weekend visit to Cincinnati include:

  • 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati – A unique boutique hotel combined with a contemporary art museum. Even if you aren’t staying here, the museum is worth a visit. Read reviews on TripAdvisor or check rates on Booking.com.
  • Renaissance Cincinnati Downtown Hotel – An elegant yet budget-friendly hotel in the heart of Downtown. Read reviews on TripAdvisor or check rates on Booking.com.
  • Residence Inn Cincinnati Downtown/The Phelps – The highest rated Cincinnati hotel on TripAdvisor. Read reviews on TripAdvisor or check rates and availability on Booking.com.
  • Prefer a vacation rental over a hotel? Check out all of Cincinnati’s VRBOs!

A Perfect Weekend in Cincinnati – Top Things to Do

Cincinnati has plenty of things to do to keep you busy during your weekend visit. Whether you want to visit a museum, attend a sporting event, or ride roller coasters all day, the city has something for you. Here are some of the top things to do while visiting Cincinnati for a weekend:

Attend a Cincinnati Reds Game

Did you know that Cincinnati is the home of professional baseball? The Cincinnati Reds, formerly known as the Cincinnati Red Stockings, were the first professional baseball club when they were founded in 1869.

A view inside Great American Ball Park, the home of the Cincinnati Reds MLB team in Cincinnati Ohio - a great thing to do on a weekend in Cincinnati

Now, the Cincinnati Reds play their games at the Great American Ball Park, right in the heart of downtown. Attending a game can be an all-day event if you want – spend the day drinking red-dyed beer at the bars surrounding the park before heading over to the game.

Tickets for Reds games tend to be pretty affordable compared to other MLB teams in the country, and you can often score great deals on tickets if you check StubHub a few hours before the game. For more casual baseball fans, grab a ticket for the FiOptics District – starting at just $15, you’ll get access to the exclusive FiOptics Rooftop Lounge, a general admission seat to watch the game, and a free drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic).

Explore the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is the top-rated attraction in Cincinnati and is one of the best zoos in the country. In 2019, it was even named by USA Today as the best zoo in North America! You can easily spend a day here seeing all the animals, watching the shows, and wandering around the botanical garden.

The Cincinnati Zoo’s most famous resident is Fiona the Hippo. Fiona was born prematurely in 2017, and the journey of her growth was shared with the world on social media. Today, there are books, toys, and even a web show dedicated to Fiona. The Cincinnati Zoo shares adorable videos and stories about Fiona and other zoo residents on their Facebook page.

Learn at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

There are several museums in Cincinnati, but one of the best is the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. The museum teaches visitors about the history of the Underground Railroad, the network of safe houses used to help slaves escape from the South to the free states in the North. Cincinnati was a significant spot on the Underground Railroad as it was a safe spot for slaves crossing the Ohio River from the southern slave states.

Exhibits at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center detail the history of slavery as well as modern-day slavery. Other exhibits tell about the ongoing fight for freedom – while slavery might not look the same as it did prior to Abolition, it still exists in different forms. Visiting the Freedom Center is an eye-opening experience and should be included on any Cincinnati itinerary.

Spend a Day at Kings Island

Ohio is home to both the most visited and the second-most visited amusement parks in the United States, with the second-most visited park being right outside of Cincinnati: Kings Island.

The largest amusement park in the Midwest, Kings Island has plenty of rides and roller coasters to satisfy any thrill seeker. For the kids, Planet Snoopy has plenty of family-friendly rides. If roller coasters aren’t your thing, spend your day at Soak City, the adjacent water park.

Kings Island is home to some of the most iconic roller coasters in the country. The Beast, the longest wooden roller coaster in the world, is one of the best in the park. A new giga coaster, Orion, debuted in 2020 becoming the tallest and fastest roller coaster at Kings Island.

Walk Across the John E. Roebling Suspension Bridge to Kentucky

John E. Roebling was a civil engineer and bridge designer who is best known for designing the Brookyln Bridge in New York City. Before designing the Brooklyn Bridge, Roebling designed the Cincinnati-Covington Bridge (now known as the John E. Roebling Suspension Bridge), connecting the two cities over the Ohio River. At the time of construction, the bridge in Cincinnati was the longest suspension bridge in the world.

The John E. Roebling Suspension Bridge over the Ohio River - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Today, visitors can walk across the bridge from Cincinnati to Covington, Kentucky. The Smale Riverfront Park, located at the base of the bridge on the Cincinnati side, is a great place to walk around or have a picnic lunch.

Have a Beer or Cider at Rhinegeist Brewery

If you enjoy craft beer or cider, make sure to add a stop at Rhinegeist Brewery to the itinerary during your weekend in Cincinnati. Rhinegeist is best known for Truth, an IPA that has been ranked on many lists as one of the best beers in the world. Another favorite is Bubbles, a rosé ale that is perfect if you prefer a sweeter drink.

The Rhinegeist Brewery & Taproom is located just north of Downtown in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. You can visit the brewery’s taproom or rooftop bar; if you’d like to learn more about Rhinegeist’s production, you can tour their active brewing facility. Several different tours are offered, from a standard brewery tour to a VIP tasting tour. All tours can be booked online.

Where to Eat in Cincinnati

Cincinnati is a great city for foodies – there are plenty of delicious restaurants to satisfy any craving. Here are some of my favorite places to eat in Cincinnati:

  • The Eagle – Home to some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had (make sure to try the spicy honey on your chicken!). Also, get the mac & cheese and the spoonbread – you won’t regret it. There are a few locations throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, but The Eagle got its start right here in Cincinnati.
  • Sleepy Bee Café – If you’re looking for a great brunch spot in Cincinnati, consider the Sleepy Bee Café. This adorable café serves up breakfast, brunch, and lunch and has plenty of options for vegan or gluten-free diners. Make sure to try the goetta, a Cincinnati specialty.
  • Yard House – I don’t normally like to recommend large chain restaurants, but Yard House is the perfect place to eat before a Reds game. It is located right by the stadium, and there are plenty of tables and bar seats to relax and have a bite to eat and a drink before heading to the game. They also have a huge list of beers and ciders on tap.
  • Galla Park – Another great place to eat before a Reds game. Galla Park has an upscale ambiance, good food, and cheap red beer on game days.

Ready to have the perfect weekend in Cincinnati?

Are you ready to spend a perfect weekend in Cincinnati? If you’re looking for a great city to visit on a quick weekend getaway, Cincinnati is an excellent choice. After your visit, I’m sure you’ll be eager to return – I’ve visited Cincinnati several times and I still always find new things to do!

Have you been to Cincinnati? What’s your favorite thing to do in the city?

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9 thoughts on “A Perfect Weekend in Cincinnati, Ohio

  1. Nina Bosken says:

    I’m from Cincinnati! So cool to see a blogger write about my hometown! The only thing I would add for the food is Cincinnati style chili! Did you try some when you were there? Skyline Chili is a Cincinnati classic.

  2. Shafinah Neville says:

    Oh wow haha okay anything that has ‘best fried chicken’ is definitely worth visiting – even more so if this was where it all began!

  3. The Lost Mirmaid says:

    Baseball games are always so much fun in the summer! Never been to Cincinnati but would be fun to see a game at the Red’s stadium 🙂

  4. kmf says:

    I’ve never been to Cincinnati…so many cool places to discover. I’m a big fan of rollercoasters, bridges and history so would love to explore all your recommendations…especially the Underground Railroad center.

  5. alison abbott says:

    Cincinnati looks like a great spot for a weekend escape. I’d love to walk across the suspension bridge-two states in a weekend! And I’m curious about the goetta, I always like to try local specialties.

  6. Jess says:

    This is great, I love how you broke everything down so nicely. I went to Ohio a few years ago and loved it. I think we’ll all have to embrace domestic travel for a bit, sadly … so posts like this help a ton!

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