A January 2003 trip
to Cincinnati by cr008k
Quote: Weekend trip to Cincinnati to look at colleges.
Hotel | "Holiday Inn Ex Suites Cincinnati"
We decided to stay at the Holiday Inn Ex Suites on our trip to Cincinnati. This hotel had been recommended to us and although it was a little more expensive because it is a hotel that specializes in suites, we decided to go for it. I shopped around a little to try to get the best price on it - we checked Expedia and those types of places and also called the hotel and ended up getting the best deal by just calling the hotel and using our AAA discount, so if you plan to stay here I suggest that you do that. We only booked a few days in advance so you should have no problem getting a reservation here, unless you go during a time when there are a lot of conferences or tourist season - but for the most part you can call a couple days before and book yourself a nice suite.
The hotel was easy to get to from the Cincinnati airport and rather centrally located near a lot of the key tourist attractions (the aquarium and the zoo were close by and easy to find). The neighborhood was nice and safe and you could walk to little cafes and restaurants that were nearby. The neighborhood felt safe and clean and we weren't afraid to take a walk to dinner or to the nearby areas.
Parking was included in the price of the hotel which was very nice. The price also included access to high speed wireless Internet, and the hotel gym (which was quite nice - not a huge selection of machines but a nice treadmill and stairmaster and some weights although not a ton). There was also an indoor pool which was heated to a comfortable temperature and was nice to go and take a swim in. The common areas of the hotel were all very clean and well decorated and fairly standard nice hotel decorations. The lobby was spacious and comfortable with couches. We did not have to wait a long time to check in and when we did the staff were very friendly and nice and willing to offer advice on the city. They were very efficient and showed us directly to our room.
Our room was very nice as well. It was a suite so we had the double beds - which were very comfortable and had nice comforters and sheets and extra pillows - and it also had a cute little sitting area with a comfortable couch and a few less comfortable chairs. The rooms were very clean, the beds comfortable, the sheets nice, and in general they felt very classy and well decorated. There was a stocked but expensive minibar as well as a complete room service menu affiliated with the hotel, although there was no fancy hotel restaurant.
Overall I would definitely recommend this hotel. It is clean, comfortable, and classy. It is conveniently located in a safe neighborhood and is easy to get to the tourist attractions.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 23, 2006
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Cincinnati
130 West Mitchell Ave.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45217
Fountain Square is very conveniently located in Downtown Cincinnati. It is crowded, especially on weekends, but they have ample parking (which does cost money) and you can also walk here if you are staying in a local downtown hotel. Once you get there, first stop and take a quick look at the Tyler Davidson Fountain- it's quite pretty and is right outside in the center of the square so you can throw some coins in and make a wish on your way to the shops. The square itself is quite a nice place to be outside when its warm out- its well landscaped and has nice gardens and sort of feels like a nice square where people come to gather.
There are plenty of things to do here besides admire the gardens and the fountains. If you are there in the winter you can go to the ice rink- this is a fairly large size (not huge but very nice) outdoor ice skating rink where you can skate around for hours (or until you get tired). You can rent skates for a reasonable fee and they have a good selection of sizes. It's not the prettiest ice skating rink I've ever seen but it does have some nice trees and you can see the square from the rink which is fun (although this also means people can see you falling down).
You can do a little shopping at Probasco market as well. This is not like chain shops or anything like that- it has cute little boutiques and cafes and has a vaguely European kind of feeling as you stroll down the street. There is also the water wall- which is exactly what it sounds like- basically a wall of water. This is fun for kids, but gets boring after about 10 minutes; and probably isn't too exciting for adults at all.
There are also stages here that have various plays and things going on, so check the calendar before you come and see if there is anything going on that you want to see. These are often geared towards children as well. The best thing about Fountain Square though is the restaurants. There are many different restaurants along this area- ranging from inexpensive to mid-priced cafes to expensive fancy restaurants with fine dining. There is for sure something here to satisfy everyone, and you can have a nice view of the square and the fountain while you eat from a lot of these places. Its a great place to people-watch and enjoy a nice meal.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 25, 2006
Corner of 5th and Vine
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Zagat rated the Cincinnati Zoo one of the top zoo's in the nation. It's also been rated as 1 of the top 10 zoos for kids. With all this in mind, it seemed like it would be a fun idea to check it out.
We parked at the zoo- which cost money. We paid our entrance fee to the zoo- it costs less for young children (under 12) than adults. It was your typical price to enter the zoo- reasonable as long as you intend to stay for at least a few hours to get your money worth. We got our zoo map at the door (which you need because this zoo is large) and headed in.
There are 500 animals and 3000 different plant species at the zoo so it was kind of overwhelming to know where to start. Elephants have always been one of my favorite animals so we headed over in that direction first. As we walked I noticed how clean the zoo itself was. There are lots of visitors, but there was no litter or sign of unruly crowds anywhere. The sidewalks were nicely manicured and clean and although there was a slightly zoo-y smell (as one would expect in such a large zoo) it was not too noticeable.
The animal habitats are very nice- this is not your typical zoo with animals in cages with steel bars and a little pool and a few trees. It really looked like natural habitats- lots of lush plant life and greens, and a very jungle like feeling for the jungle animals. The bears had a lovely and large pool. I know the zoo is also known for conservation and animal care, and it definitely showed. You could tell that great attention was paid to having the animals be comfortable and feel at home. This made me very happy. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable in zoos because I feel like the animals are just stuck in human made cages for our amusement- but here I felt like they were really there because the zoo cares about the animals and teaching kids about animals and conservation.
Overall I would highly recommend a visit to this zoo. There is every kind of animal you could expect to see, from the typical snake and lizard and monkey house to the cute little polar bears and pandas. The zoo also has traveling exhibits that come in periodically throughout the year so you can see other animals you would not necessarily expect or get to see at your average zoo. They do a really good job making sure everything feels natural for the animals and that everything is clean and nice. The one down side is the only refreshments/snacks at the zoo were quite expensive- but again I suppose this is to be expected when you have a monopoly on the market. But I recommend you have lunch before you go to avoid the problem.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 26, 2006
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
3400 Vine Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45220
Newport Aquarium is so large it is almost overwhelming. I really don't recommend going there with any kind of fish lover unless you want to spend way more hours than you can imagine looking at all of the offerings this aquarium has. But, that being said, if you love aquariums and do want to spend lots of time exploring a great one, you can't find one too much better than this. And the Zagat guide agreed with me- as this aquarium was named the number 1 aquarium in in 2004.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 31, 2006
One Aquarium Way
Newport, Kentucky 41071
I think this museum is actually called the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History and Science. We decided to visit because we had already gone to the zoo and the aquarium and we were cold and wanted to do an indoor activity in keeping with the sciency-learning theme we'd begun. However, in our visits to the educational tourist activities in Cincinnati, this was our first disappointment.
To be fair, there are a lot of great exhibits here. There are many historical exhibits- there's an ice age exhibit, a historical society library, some dinosaur stuff, and the usual. However, the exhibits just were not that sophisticated and did not really offer that much unique or even that much that really caught my interest or taught me anything. I think the mistake that we made was we expected it to be more museumy in that we expected it to teach us something and have a lot of great historical and scientific exhibits. Instead it was really more geared towards kids. Some of the science stuff- like different things with water and weights- and almost all of the history stuff- like seeing the rainforest or the glacier stuff- is all geared toward giving kids a hands on experience and exposure to science. However, if you are beyond about the fourth grade it's not going to teach you anything and not going to be very exciting for you to see.
That being said, if you have kids it would probably be a great place to go. The price is cheap (only $7.25 for adults and $5.25 for kids under 12) and offers a lot of family fun activities that kids will get a kick out of. They do a good job teaching weather stuff and ecosystems to kids and the hands on stuff is great for them. There is also an imax theatre where there are vaguely educational and always cool 3D sort of things going on.
I'd definitely visit if you have kids, but otherwise I wouldn't waste your time.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 31, 2006
Cincinnati Museum Center and Union Terminal
1301 Western Ave
Cincinnati, Ohio 45203
San Francisco, California