Over the past few years, Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine (OTR) neighborhood has experienced a renaissance. The area, which has gone through an incredible transformation since 2012, has become a colorful mecca for young professionals, artists and small business owners. ba
Whether you’ve lived in the Queen City for years or are brand new to the area, OTR is the perfect place to spend the day. This hip neighborhood is full of quirky shops, gorgeous historic buildings, trendy restaurants, hip cocktail lounges and more. The only challenge is deciding what to see first!
To start your day off, we recommend renting a Red Bike from one of the stations around town. In fact, there’s even an app that will help you locate stations and rent a bike right from your phone.
But, no matter how you decide to traverse the neighborhood, you’ll find an abundance of things to do. Our guide includes the best ways to spend your day, starting with a visit to the famed Findlay Market and ending with evening drinks at a unique arcade-bar. Enjoy!
Photo courtesy of Taste of Belgium
Findlay Market is Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market and one of Cincinnati’s most loved institutions. Here, you can peruse local produce, meats and handmade items from more than 40 indoor merchants all year long. While you could spend an entire day meandering through the market and trying something from every vendor, we recommend heading here for breakfast.
Taste of Belgium is one of the most popular spots in the market, serving warm, mouthwatering Belgian waffles and foamy lattés. After you’ve eaten your fill, spend time perusing the market. A few of our favorite, must-visit spots include Saigon Market, Blue Oven Bakery and Artichoke.
For details on everything you can do and eat in Findlay Market, check out: 25 Must-Visit Places in and Around Findlay Market.
This hidden gem is open every day of the week except for Sunday and is the perfect place to escape from the elements for a few hours. This isn’t your usual antique store. Wooden Nickel Antiques sells antique furniture, bars, lighting and stained glass among many other things.
Their top selling items, though, are their antique saloon back bars which they’ve restored to their former beauty. Whether you’re looking for a new statement piece for your home, want to pick out a unique souvenir, or just want to learn more about history, the knowledgeable staff at Wooden Nickel will be able to help.
Photo courtesy of Washington Park
Honestly, we can’t imagine a better way to spend a sunny mid-morning in OTR than exploring the 6-acre beauty that is Washington Park. Not only does this park offer plenty of green space to roam, there’s also a dedicated dog park, a kids’ playground castle, spray grounds and the American Classical Walk of Fame.
The park hosts various entertainment events and festivals throughout the year — including music performances, markets and outdoor movies — so be sure to check out their website to see what happenings are going on when you’re visiting!
1 p.m. — Salivate Over Sandwiches at panino.
After spending the morning sampling delicious bites from Findlay Market, you might be looking for something lighter to indulge in for lunch. That’s why you should stop by panino. This extremely popular farm-to-table eatery is hyper-local — using only ingredients from local vendors, including some from just down the street. Here, you can get a fresh salad or a drool-inducing sandwich. Enjoy your lunch in the cozy café, or take it to go and eat it as you wander the streets of OTR!
2:30 p.m. — Enjoy a Craft Beer at Taft’s Ale House
Photo courtesy of Taft’s Ale House
You can’t pay a visit to OTR without visiting at least one brewery. Taft’s Ale House is a local favorite, located in the old St. Paul’s Evangelical Church building. At Taft’s, you can experience the history of Cincinnati while sipping on a cold pint of craft beer. If you’re still hungry when you stop by, don’t hesitate to order the Alehouse, which features their juicy tri-tip steak, Alehouse onions, bleu cheese and red ranch sauce.
3:30 p.m. — Shop For Gifts at MiCA 12/v
Visiting from out of town? You’ll probably want to take home a souvenir (or twenty) to remember your trip! MiCA 12/v is an independently owned and operated gift shop and gallery that features fine crafts and art from local artists and designers. They’re open every day, so you can shop for baby gifts, handcrafted jewelry, screen-printed t-shirts, home decor, ceramics and more.
4 p.m. — Make a Candle at the Candle Lab
You can never go wrong with a good candle. The Candle Lab sells pre-poured natural soy candles in more than 100 fragrances, but they also invite you to customize your scent. One of their Scent Stylists can help you narrow down your list to just a few scents that blend perfectly together. Then, you’ll design your own label, pick your favorite jar and mix your oils at the Fragrance Bar. The process of candle cooling takes about 90 minutes, so you’re welcome to wait or you can spend some time perusing the neighborhood and pick it up later.
6 p.m. — Wine and Dine at Salazar
Born in Columbia and trained at some of the best restaurants in New York City, Jose Salazar could have opened his restaurant anywhere. Finally, he landed on Over-the-Rhine, opening the doors of Salazar New American Restaurant in 2013. The small bistro offers an upscale menu full of locally sourced ingredients. So, before you head to your eventful evening, stop by and relax with a delicious entree and a glass of wine. We promise you won’t be disappointed.
8 p.m. — See a Show at the Know
The Know Theatre of Cincinnati is a non-profit theater company that produces a wide variety of shows throughout the year. In their 99-seat contemporary black box theater, you can experience unique performances from local actors and really feel like you’re a part of the show. Afterward, take advantage of Underground, a full bar and cabaret stage where you can hang out and enjoy a second show for free!
10 p.m. — Play a Few Rounds of Pinball or Skee-ball at 16-Bit
Fun and silliness don’t have to end after childhood, and 16-Bit proves that 100 times over. This unique bar caters to all children at heart, gamers and science fiction fanatics with its immersive arcade experience.
16-Bit is outfitted with around 50 traditional and new arcade games, and the selection is always changing (you can find a current list on the 16-Bit website here). The staff also equips the bar with RetroPi, retrofitted consoles that allow guests to play hundreds of older games that look and feel just like the originals. If you want to learn more about this eclectic bar, check out Ohio-Based 16-Bit Bar + Arcade is a Dream Destination for Any Kid at Heart.
Have a Great Day!
No matter how you plan to spend your day in Over-the-Rhine, you’re guaranteed to have a blast.