A July 2005 trip
to Cincinnati by J. Stephen
Quote: Cincinnati is a city of 2 million, on the Ohio River, bordering Kentucky to the south and Indiana to the west. Like Rome, it is built on seven hills, all rich in culture and natural beauty. First time visitors are pleasantly surprised by all Cinncinnati has to offer.
Cincinnati is a city of neighborhoods. This helps to give it a small-town feel while having big-city amenities. I live in Sharonville, one of Cincinnati's northern suburbs, and love it here. There is so much to see and do in Cincinnati, the Queen City.
Regretable there is no view from inside the restaurant, but some say that the view from the parking lot is the best in the city. It is absolutely dazzling to stand beside the restaurant after dark and look down on the lights of Cincinati. The restaurant is tastefully decorated, and reflects the historic significance of the building.
The seafood fettuccini is sumptous, and the thick juicy burgers are great too. Be sure to leave room for the chocolate fudge cake for dessert.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 10, 2004
Rookwood Pottery Restaurant
1077 Celestial Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Skyline first opened in Cincinnati in 1949, and was named for the view from the original location. The proprieter was Nicholas Lambrinides, an immigrant from Kastoria, Greece, who was fulfilling his dream of coming to America and opening a restaurant. Nicholas used family recipes handed down to him from his mother and grandmother back in the Old World.
People loved Skyline Chili and the dish gained an almost cult-like following. The enterprise has grown until today there are dozens of Cincinnati area restaurants serving the recipe that has become known throughout America as Cincinnati-style chili.
Nothing at all like Texas chili, Skyline Chili is a spicy but mild meaty sauce, poured on a plate of spaghetti and topped with huge mounds of shredded mild cheddar cheese. That's the three way. You can also have the four way (add onions OR red beans), or the five way (add onions AND red beans). It is served with oyster crackers. Skyline is also famous for their Coney Dogs, also piled high with chili and cheeze.
Just before writing this tip, I went to our neighborhood Skyline Chili for lunch and took this picture before I ate. Now I'm going to email this page to my son, Chris, who now lives in Denver, CO. It will make him so homesick and hungry. Every time he returns to Cincinnati, we head for Skyline Chili.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 25, 2005
4588 Montgomery Rd
Cincinnati, Ohio 45212
Restaurant | "Rock Bottom Cafe & Brewery"
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 25, 2005
Rock Bottom Cafe & Brewery
10 Fountain Square Plaza
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Graeters Ice Cream
Locations throughout the Cincinnati area
When the food comes out, it is heaped on platters, family-style, and everyone is encouraged to share. This is no place to grab a quick bite. It's a wonderful venue for a party - large or small. We enjoyed our anniversary celebration here on one occasion and a birthday on another. The staff will even come to your table and sing for you. The last time we ate at Buca di Beppo it was with a group of twelve people around a big table. Because of the family style service, we must have sampled at least a half dozen different dishes -all very good. I especially enjoyed the chicken marsala with fresh mushrooms. The Italian sausage was also a favorite.
Buca di Beppo
2635 Edmondson Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45209
People loved Aunt Dena's recipe and the entreprise grew. Half a century later there are dozens of LaRosa's Restaurants scattered all around the metropolitan area and Buddy, who still has his hand in the business, is something of a local celebrity/legend. Lots of folks in and around Cincinnati wouldn't think of eating pizza anywhere else. LaRosa's offers a full line of Italian dishes: hoagies, lasagna, spaghetti, ravioli, and salads. It's a favorite local venue for family dining, birthday parties, and even wedding receptions.
If you want to sample the best pizza in the world, go to Chicago - or maybe Italy. But on the days when you're willing to settle for second-best (and #1 in Cincinnati), try LaRosa's. Don't feel like going out? They still use Aunt Dena's original recipe, and they'll even deliver it hot to your door.
Locations Throughout the Cincinnati Area
El Rancho Grande
11765 Lebanon Road
Every time we have been here we have had the big one: "The Timmy Dog." It's a foot long and comes with chili, onions, hot sauce, cole slaw, mustard, ketchup, relish and sauerkarut - topped with cheddar cheese. This is best with a root beer float using two scoops of hand-dipped velvet ice cream.
The Root Beer Stand
11566 Reading Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45241
The designer and builder of the bridge, John A. Roebling, used the Cincinnati Bridge as his prototype when he later built the longer and more famous Brooklyn Bridge, which opened in 1883 in New York City. The Cincinnati and Covington Bridge was renamed for its designer in 1984.
Several newer and more modern bridges now span the Ohio River in and around Cincinnati, and the Roebling Bridge carries much less traffic than the others. That's good, because I consider a walk across the old suspension bridge a "must" to fully experience Cincinnati. A wide walkway goes along either side of the bridge and on a recent Saturday I walked across on one side and back on the other. There were a few folk who had put their lawn chairs up near the center of the walkway and were enjoying an afternoon in the sun while they watched the river traffic below.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 10, 2004
John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge
follow signs from Fort Washington Way
Water streams from the outstretched arms of a 9-foot-tall female figure representing the "Genius of Water." Below, four adult figures dramatize the life-sustaining uses of water and four relief panels depict the industrial uses of water. These are fitting symbols in a river city. Four drinking spouts on the lower tier once held communal cups for pedestrians to use.
The fountain was a gift to the city of Cincinnati in 1871, from local businessman Henry Probasco, in memory of his deceased brother-in-law and business partner. It is the creation of sculptor August von Kreling of Munich, Germany.
The first time I saw the fountain was on a trip from Tennessee to Cincinnati with my Dad and three of my brothers in 1954. I was at Fountain Square again the last week in June, 2004. The downtown area around the fountain has changed dramatically during the interim, but the fountain itself has endured - just as I always remembered it.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 10, 2004
Corner of 5th and Vine
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
However, since 1991, Amtrak once again is using the station. Now only six trains a week pass through Cincinnati. It's the "Cardinal," with three weekly trains going west (to Chicago) and three trains going east (to Washington, D.C.). My wife and I love railroading. We have traveled in and out of this terminal on several occasions and we hope for the day when America will once again have a more viable railway system.
Union Terminal was begun in August 1929, and completed in March 1933, as the joint venture of 7 different railways. The rotunda of the building is fabulous - a definite "must see" for those visiting Cincinnati - regardless of their mode of transportation. It spans 188 feet and soars to a peak of 106 feet high. The interior walls are decorated with murals which portray the history of Cincinnati and environs.
In addition to the small Amtrak station, the building now is home to the Cincinnati Museum Center, one of the top cultural attractions in the Midwest. Inside are: Museum of Natural History and Science, Cincinnati Historical Museum, Cinergy Children's Museum, Linder Family Omnimax Theater, and Cincinnati Historical Society Library. Each of the three museums is a worthy destination within itself, and the Omnimax has a giant wraparound screen, five stories high, that offers an unending series of spectacular shows. Also, more than 700 special events are held in the Museum Center each year. Tickets for the different museums vary. Multi-passes for the museums as well as annual passes are a good value.
Cincinnati Museum Center and Union Terminal
1301 Western Ave
Cincinnati, Ohio 45203
The tenants have changed, but today the building still houses upscale shops, offices, restaurants, and a hotel. Although the interior of the building has been updated to modern standards, the outside looks much as it did 74 years ago. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1994.
To reach the observation deck, you ride a modern elevator up the first 45 stories. From there, a rickety telephone-booth-size elevator carries you to the 48th floor, then a gray steel staircase leads up the final floor to the observation deck. My wife and I ascended the Tower to see the view on a beautiful clear Saturday afternoon. The 360-degree vistas are the best to be had in the city, along the Ohio River, and into the countryside beyond. One of the best parts is that the observation deck is seldom crowded, so you could have the view all to yourself. We shared it with only half a dozen other people.
Hours are: Monday-Thursday 9:30am-5:30pm, Saturday 9pm-1am, Sunday 11am-5pm.
Carew Tower Observation Deck
441 Vine Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Cincinnati Music Hall is the home of the Cincinnati Arts Association, and provides rehersal and performance space for a dozen arts institutions, performing groups and companies. They are: Broadway in Cincinnati, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Cincinnati Music Theatre, Cincinnati Mens Chorus, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Clear Stage, Cincinnati Contemporary Dance Theater, CSO Chamber Players, and Ovation Theatre Company.
Our favorite of these is the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and we attend their concerts often. Each program has a different theme and there is usually a special guest performer or performers. The conductor, Erich Kunzel, has a wonderful raport with his audience and makes each Pops concert fun.
Cincinnati Music Hall
1225 Elm Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
On April 25, 2003, the newly renovated Purple People Bridge opened to pedestrians, bicyclists and skaters. At 17-feet-wide and 2,670 -feet-long (just over 1/2 mile) it is the longest pedestrian bridge in America that connects two states. At the Ohio foot of the bridge is Sawyer Point, a Cincinnati riverfront park and venue for numerous festivals and special events. The southern end is in Newport, Kentucky, at that city's wonderful new entertainment complex, Newport on the Levee. The pedestrian bridge provides a seamless collection of dining, nightlife, festivals, parks, attractions, and entertainment on both sides of the Ohio River. The walk across the bridge offers splendid views of the river and the city skylines on either side.
The Purple People Bridge
Pete Rose Way to Third Street
Beneath the bright red wheel are two dozen stainless steel columns, or torchiers, built to represent smokestacks. Photo sensers set off steam jets that whistle and hiss through these stacks when a person passes them. The sight and sound is attention getting to say the least. This monument is a reminder of the steamboat heritage of Cincinnati. At the height of the riverboat era, in the mid 1800s, 8,000 riverboats a year, an average of about 22 per day, docked near this spot.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 11, 2004
National Steamboat Monument
downtown on the Ohio Riverfront at Cincinnati Public Landing
In 458 B.C. Rome was in deep trouble. An enemy, the neighboring Aequi, was at Rome's gate with new weapons and offensive tactics. Cincinnatus Lusius Quinctius was a Roman nobleman who had retired from public service and returned to his small farm. He was in his field when he learned he had been appointed dictator for six months by the Roman Senate. He laid down his plow and took up the sword to command Rome's army and lead them into victory over the Aequi. After that, Cincinnatus could have become Emperor for life. Instead, sixteen days after he had been named dictator, he relinquished his position and returned to his farm. He is considered a model of Roman virtue. How different from the politicians of today who sill do anything just to hold on to their power.
Statue of Cincinnatus
downtown riverfront at Sawyer Point
Attraction | "Copeland's Restaurant"
Normally, a first blind date would just be for a drink, or lunch. However, it must have been in the stars that this was to be a magical evening. We hit it off from the start (unlike many other first dates we had both had), and after dinner we went across the street to the lobby of the Marriott, where we sat and continued talking until late into the night. Within a short period of time we were seeing each other exculsively. Exactly one year and two days later, we became husband and wife.
Oh, happy day!
On our first date, we both ordered catfish Acadiana, golden-fried bayou catfish with creamy shrimp butter sauce, steamed vegetables, and spicy red potatoes. Although I was totally enchanted by Karen, and she apparently found me at least amusing, it was not exactly love at first sight - just keen interest - so we both enjoyed the food. We have been back there many times, as recently as last Sunday, and I almost always order the Catfish Acadiana. Not only is it terrific, but at $12.99, it is also one of the least expensive items on the menu. You won't have room for dessert, but if you decide to go for it anyway, you won't go wrong by trying the Brownie Deluxe A La Mode.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 25, 2005
Copeland's Restaurant & Bar
5150 Merten Drive Mason
Cincinnati, Ohio 45040
The Cincinnati Fire Museum chronicles the story of fires and firefighting in more than 200 years of Cincinnati history. There are also many displays telling about the Ahrens-Fox manufacturing company, one of the most famous names in firefighting history, which was established in Cincinnati in 1913. This was the company to develop the first steam engine that replaced horses with motorized tractors to pull fire wagons. A few old fire wagons and trucks are on display, the oldest being an 1836 horse-drawn Hunnerman Hand Pumper.
I'm something of a history buff, yet I learned a lot about the early days of firefighting here that I never knew - all fascinating stuff. If you have any curiosity at all, you will enjoy this museum.
Cincinnati Fire Museum
315 West Court Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
There is far too much at the zoo to list it all here. A few of our favorite sections are:
Wings of the Word
Lords of the Arctic (polar bears)
And there's a whole lot more, so you'd better plan to make a day of it. There are several fast-food restaurants, picnic areas, and shops within the zoo grounds.
The zoo is open year-round, but hours vary with the season. A special time to visit is just before Christmas when the place dances with a million twinkling lights.
If you are going to visit the zoo more than once, a family season pass is a good deal.
From I-71N take the Dana Ave. Exit and follow the signs, or from I-75 N take Mitchell Ave., Exit # 6, and follow the signs.
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
3400 Vine Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45220
Attraction | "The Great American Ball Park"
To find the current game schedule and for ticket information, log on to www.cincinnati.com/reds/gabp, or call 513/831-7337.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 26, 2005
Great American Ball Park
100 Joe Nuxhall Way
Cincinnati, OH 45202
A pig actually did fly in Cincinnati on November 4, 1909. Lord Brabazon of Tara, holder of the first pilot's license in the United Kingdom, took the piglet for a 3.5-mile joy ride over the Queen City. The squealer was in a basket tied to a wing strut of Brabazon's Short Brothers biplane. A sign on the basket read, "I am the first pig to fly," disproving once and for all the notion that pigs can't fly.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 26, 2005
Cincinnati Flying Pigs
Throughout the Downtown Area
Many discoveries have been made at the University of Cincinnati that have created a positive change for society. These include the oral polio vaccine, first electronic organ, first safe anti-knock gasoline, and first antihistamine
I am particularly proud that my son, Christopher, earned his Ph.D. in cellular biology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. As a graduate student, he studied and worked in the building pictured here, the Vontz Center for Molecular Studies. Today, Chris does cancer research at University Hospital in Denver, Colorado.
University of Cincinnati
2600 Clifton Ave.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45221
Attraction | "Mount Adams"
Originally called Mt. Ida, the name was changed in 1843 to honor President John Quincy Adams, who visited to dedicate the Cincinnati Observatory. At the time, it was the most powerful observatory in the United States. In the early 1800s, this hill was the site of the Nicholas Longworth Vineyard. The Catawba grape was developed here, and from it came America's first champagne, Golden Wedding. For a brief period of time, Mt. Adams was the center of winemaking in America.
In the mid-19th century, many German and Irish immigrants settled on Mt. Adams, building their homes to conform to the steep topography from wood and stone, which was quarried nearby. The Mt. Adams Incline, which operated from 1874 to 1948, carried residents from their homes to downtown Cincinnati.
Today, Mt. Adams retains much of its historic quaintness and charm. It is a neighborhood of narrow winding streets; well-maintained, old homes and gardens; spectacular views; and an eclectic assortment of shops and restaurants. Many artists and craftsmen make their homes here.
To learn more, go to www.mtadamstoday.com.
Mt. Adams district
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Attraction | "Procter & Gamble World Headquarters"
Ivory Soap was invented by P&G personnel and became their first nationwide brand. The company has continued to grow and diversify over the years until today It manufactures and distributes hundreds of different products in 180 countries of the world. Although their corporate offices are here in Cincinnati, P&G employs 98,000 people in 80 different countries. One of their very best employees is my beautiful bride, Karen, a Customer Logistics and Financial Coordinator for their North American Division’s Customer Service.
Procter and Gamble has 16 "billion-dollar brands." They are Pampers, Crest, Tide, Ariel, Always, Pantene, Charmin, Bounty, Iams, Folgers, Pringles, Downy, Olay, Head & Shoulders, Wella, and Actonel. There are also numerous smaller brands, and all together, they are used or consumed 2 billion times a day worldwide. Whenever you see the P&G moon-and-stars logo, wherever you are, thank Cincinnati.
The distinctive P&G towers can be viewed along I-71 or from 5th Street on the east side of downtown Cincinnati.
Procter & Gamble World Headquarters
301 East 6th Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Attraction | "The Serpentine Wall"
For a schedule of current or upcoming happenings on the river, see www.sawyerpoint.com.
Riverfront Park/Serpentine Wall
Attraction | "Concourse Fountain"
Concourse fountain is open in summer and has no admission charge. Just jump in and enjoy.
Another of our favorite times to visit the Krohn Conservatory is during the annual spring butterfly show. Countless butterflies are released to add their flashes of color to an already beautiful display. Sometimes you may also spot an iguana climbing on a branch or rock.
Krohn Conservatory is open daily from 10am to 5pm. However, as of this writing, it is closed until Oct. 22, 2004, for renovations.
The conservatory is operated by the Cincinnati Parks Department and is free to the public.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on July 26, 2005
1501 Eden Park Drive
Eden Park, Ohio 45202
Playhouse in the Park is a not-for-profit organization with an annual budget of $9 million which involves 75 full-time staff and about 1,000 volunteers. Every year, a quarter-million theatergoers attend the performances, which are often sold out.
Playhouse in the Park is the 2004 recepient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award. We have attended productions here and found them to be of an excellent professional caliber. A total of 14 plays are being produced for the current season. Click on the web link below for specific plays, times, and tickets.
Playhouse in the Park
962 Mt. Adams Circle
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
The Cincinnati Art Museum is open every day except Monday from 11am to 5pm, and until 9pm on Wednesdays. Admission is free.
Cincinnati Art Museum
953 Eden Park Drive
Although Taft did not go down in history as a particularly outstanding president, the fruits of his administration are still a part of American life. He backed the constitutional amendment providing for an income tax, worked within a budget, indtroduced "dollar diplomacy," strengthened the Interstate Commerce Commission to better regulate transportation and control railroad rate wars, and signed New Mexico and Ariizona into the union. He also inaugurated the presidential tradition of throwing out the first baseball of the season.
Taft was serving as Secretary of War when outgoing President Theodore Roosevelt anointed Secretary Taft as his successor. "My ambition is to become a justice of the Supreme Court," Taft wrote his brother in 1905. "I presume however, there are very few men who would refuse to accept the nomination of the Republican party for the presidency, and I am not an exception." He received the nomination for President in 1908 and won the electoral vote in November two to one. He served one 4 year term and was defeated in his bid for re-election. In 1921, Taft was named by President Warren G. Harding as 10th Chief Justice of the United States, a post which he held until shortly before his death in 1930.
Directions: From downtown Cincinnati on I-71N take exit # 2. Stay in right lane; turn left at first stoplight onto Dorchester Ave., and go to top of the hill. Turn right on Auburn Ave. and go 1 1/2 blocks to the site.
William Howard Taft National Historic Site
2038 Auburn Avenue
There are no marked trails in the park, but it is a very popular place for walkers who use the many paths. Karen and I have wonderful memories of strolling here arm-in-arm and drinking in the city's best views when we were courting. (Of course we are still courting). Mirror Lake is used for ice skating in the winter, and outdoor concerts are held in the Murray Seasongood Paviion. There are several cultural landmarks within the boundaries of Eden Park, including Krohn Observatory, Playhouse in the Park, and Cincinnati Art Museum.
Directions: Eden Park is on the eastern slopes of Mt. Adams. Take the Eden Road exit off 1-71 just north of downtown Cincinnati.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 27, 2005
1501 Eden Park Drive
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Attraction | "Ohio River Monument and Overlook"
On June 30, 2002, the overlook beside the monument was dedicated in honor of Donald A. Spencer, founder of Friends of Cincinnati Parks. From the overlook, spectacular views may be had of the Ohio River, Cincinnati bridges, and communities across the river in Kentucky.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 27, 2005
Attraction | "Historic Brick Water Tower & Memorial Groves"
Just behind the tower are several quiet, shaded, hilltop acres with four memorial tree plantings. These are:
Each of these was planted in the late 1800s or early 1900s, and each has an appropriate small monument. This is a beautiful, semi-secluded place, away from the more crowded adjoining areas of Eden Park and definitely worth seeking out.
Historic Brick Water Tower & Memorial Groves
St. Paul and Vine Streets
The Ohio begins at the confluence of the Monongahela and the Allegheny Rivers at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and flows for 980 miles until it empties into the Mississippi River at Cairo, Illinois. For more than 200 years, the Ohio was the great highway to the west of the American pioneer. Today, it is still a working river, and Cincinnati is one of its principal ports. Forty-nine locks and moveable dams have been built along the Ohio, giving it a 9-foot flood stage to river navigation. In this photo, taken from Eden Park, a barge is seen approaching the bridges that span the Ohio at Cincinnati.
The Ohio River is often muddy and not the best place in the world to take a swim, but it is very popular with boaters, fishermen, and even water-skiers.
Forming the south border of Cincinnati
Attraction | "Wolf Statue in Eden Park"
And what is the Rome-Cincinnati connection? Both Rome and Cincinnati are cities built on seven hills, and Cincinnati's name was inspired by a Roman nobleman of the 5th century B.C., Cincinnatus Lucius Quinctius.
The statue is also a reminder that many Italian immigrants helped to make up the population of Cincinnati in it's formative years. However there were numerous other immigrants, mostly from Western Europe: Germany, Ireland, England, Greece, and many other nations.
Attraction | "Corporate Headquarters for The Kroger Company"
One of my fondest childhood memories is of Fowlers Grocery, the little mom-and-pop store where we bought groceries and penny candy when I was a kid. Mr. and Mrs. Fowler knew everybody in the neighborhood by name, and they were happy to extend credit and even make deliveries if you needed it. What a different world it is today.
The Kroger Company
1014 Vine Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Built in 1975 as the Riverfront Coliseum, it has since been named The Crown, Firststar Center, and, since 2001, U.S. Bank Arena. Karen and I were there most recently for a Shania Twain concert. The place was packed to capacity, and on the same evening the Cincinnati Reds were playing a baseball game to a full stadium next door. We were amazed that downtown Cincinnati could provide enough parking spaces for 60,000 people that night, but it did.
This picture of the Arena, and looking beyond across the river into Kentucky, was taken with a telephoto lens from Mt. Adams, one of Cincinnati's seven hills.
Cincinnati is no more dangerous than any other city of its size. Sure, there is crime here, but it is almost never directed at tourists. Just use common sense. If you frequent the rundown sections of town after dark, where large groups of young men loiter on the streets and many of the businesses are boarded up and you are looking to buy illegal drugs or pick up a prostitute, you are taking a risk. Most of Cincinnati is perfectly safe for law-abiding citizens.