Local Loves: Cincinnati with a friend

Washington Park courtesy of their super informative website!

Washington Park courtesy of their super informative website!

I first moved to Cincinnati knowing very little about the city, except that I was going to be going to the University of Cincinnati for interior design with every intention of traveling as much as possible. I had a wonderful time during the 5 years that I lived in Cincinnati, but I honestly I lived in a DAAP (Design, Architecture, Art & Planning) bubble with Carly that didn't expand that far past the campus unless we were interning. When I graduated, I didn't really expect to find myself back in Cincinnati, but here I am! After moving back, my goal was to explore the city as much as possible and to truly experience the city in a new "grown-up" way. Lucky for me, Cincinnati has been reviving itself from a heavy slumber with amazing food, drinks, shops, parks and overall amazing events throughout the year! With quite a lot of young entrepreneurs in the area with great ideas and no fear, there is always something new on the horizon. However, sometimes I find myself getting into a rut of going to the same places over and over for various reasons. That is why I have turned to my friend, Lauren, who truly embraces all that the city has to offer to share a days worth of things to do in Cincinnati. She tried to limit herself, but that is basically impossible! Hope you enjoy!

1. Breakfast: To start your big day in Cincinnati, you need a healthy, hardy breakfast and Happy Belly couldn't be a better option! Known for their clean eating in a neighborhood full of delicious drinks and heavy eating this is the place to get rejuvenated from the night before or to just start the day fresh with their fresh squeezed juices, Deeper Roots Coffee or whole grain sandwiches!

2. Morning Shopping: There are quite a few hidden gems for shopping in Cincinnati. If you like a bit of old and new, you can't go wrong with any of the shops listed below. The only problem is you may not be able to visit all of them!

  • Wooden Nickel Antiques - A huge warehouse filled with over-sized treasures. You never know what you are going to find here, but be prepared to have a way to transport it! Don't miss the building of doors or the garage filled to the brim.
  • City Flea: This flea doesn't happen every weekend, but if you are lucky enough to be here, make sure you stop by. It isn't a down and dirty kind of flea, but has a bit of a fancy flair with some great artists and vendors. This year the dates are May 16, June 20, July 25 10a-4p at Washington Park! Good luck trying to leave without buying anything!
  • Findlay Market: Known mostly for its delicious food vendors, this market has been around for a "century and half" and is truly part of Cincinnati. The energy, people and smells are well worth stopping in even for just a bit!
  • Mica 12v, Little Mahatama, & Rookwood Pottery: All within a block of one another. These shops aren't big, but have some great pieces for gifts, or maybe even yourself!

3. Lunch: The Rookwood, mentioned before for its delicious brunch, also serves up a great lunch as well! Sitting right on the edge of Mt Adams, it is the perfect spot to stop at before your long walk through the hills. If you have beautiful weather, you can enjoy the view and your delicious food sitting out on the patio overlooking the city! Make sure to enjoy every moment - the food & view!

A few required stops including the fabulous High Street, eclectic Wooden Nickel Antiques and the beautiful Macaron Bar!

A few required stops including the fabulous High Street, eclectic Wooden Nickel Antiques and the beautiful Macaron Bar!

4. Afternoon: Some of the most beautiful views of the city are at the top of the mountain! Your visit to Cincinnati wouldn't be complete without a walk through Mt. Adams and Eden Park. As you meander through you not only enjoy the city views looking into Northern Kentucky, but some giant historical homes. It may be one of the biggest reasons this city is so great.  While you are in the neighborhood, make sure to check out the Cincinnati Art Museum. Free to the public, there is always new exciting exhibits going on that always cause surprise and delight. 

5. Shopping: One of my favorite places to find gifts for others as well as myself is High Street. Known for its variety in all things design, you are bound to find something as a token of Cincinnati. High Street has anything you can imagine from clothes, home goods, jewelry and even design services. You can't leave the city without a visit of some sort, the only problem is that it is hard to not buy everything!

6. Afternoon Snack:  There are a couple of unique options for sweet treats here in Cincinnati.  Taste of Belgium waffles and Graeter's are well-known favorites, but check out Sweet Petit or Macaron Bar for a little something new. Sweet Petite offers everything from cheesecake pops to petit fours and chocolate covered Oreos. They are open most afternoons (closed Sunday and Monday), so it's a good post-lunch spot. If you are in love with Macarons, like myself, you need to check out the colorful, delicate little french cookies!  Macaron Bar specializes in just macarons, but they offer a huge variety of flavors. They are open until 10pm on Friday and Saturday, so you can enjoy a cookie and a coffee before heading out for your night.

7. Dinner: Gomez is literally a "hole" in the wall! It is located just around the corner from Halfcut, which makes for the perfect pairing of "turtles" and beer. Gomez is just a kitchen with a window, where you can walk up and order delicious tacos and "turtles." A turtle is sort of a quesadilla-burrito hybrid; it's a giant tortilla stuffed with all sorts of delicious ingredients (you choose your fillings from the menu order form). One of the best parts is discovering a crunchy tostada in the center. Once you grab your "turtle" you can meander over to Halfcut for a wide variety of beer selections! It's a cute little bar with a friendly, helpful staff and a great atmosphere. Or, if you're on the go, Halfcut has a take-out window as well! Pick up a growler (32 oz or 64 oz) on your way to a party, or take it home to enjoy.

8. Post Dinner Drinks: There are so many places to hit up in OTR (Over the Rhine) for post dinner drinks, but Goodfella's is a great place to start for drinks. They have a terrific bar upstairs with great cocktails and the friendliest bartenders decked out in 1920's garb. When the weather is cooperates you can find live bands playing and there is an outside patio perfect for listening to live music and all the action on Main Street.

9. Late Night: Below Zero Lounge is one of those places that may seem a bit over the top, but with over a 100 vodka drinks and a fabulous drag show it is worth a stop! If you need a late night snack or pick-me-up you can always swing back by Goodfella's for a slice of pizza or Gomez for tacos.

It has taken me quite a while to truly except Cincinnati as home, but it is pretty hard not to when so many people truly LOVE this city with all of their heart! Hopefully, you have enjoyed Lauren's list as much as I have, and either have a few more places to try or have found an excuse to come check out the Queen City for a weekend!