We always include a lot of time in Over-the-Rhine. On our recent trip to visit my in-laws, my husband and I ate almost every meal in the area. We shopped at new boutiques and returned to some stores we always patronize. Over-the-Rhine is one of the largest intact 19th-century historic districts in the United States, but it always has something new to do or see. Here are my top reasons to visit Over-the-Rhine.
One of the Best Reasons to Visit Over-the-Rhine: the Food
One of the top things to do in Over-the-Rhine is eat. Findlay Market, the oldest public market in Ohio, is the crown jewel of Over-the-Rhine. You can wander the market, inside and out, on your own, or take a tour. Cincinnati Food Tours leads 90-minute tours. For $75 you get an inside look at five or six food stands and stores, with tastes at each. There were vegetarian options at each place. Even without the tour, wandering the market is fun. Many places offer samples and there is live entertainment around the market. If you are walking around Findlay Market with kids (or without!), make sure to stop for treats at Blue Oven Bakery.
Krueger’s Tavern has delicious meat or vegan burgers and salads. There is a great ‘martini service’ where you get a beaker of gin or vodka, with some vermouth if you like on pebble ice. You get homemade potato chips and a bowl of olives to nibble on, plus meaty olives in your martini glass, and citrus if that’s how you roll.
For a special evening, Salazar Restaurant stands out. The sharing plates and creative cocktails are among the best in the city. The vegetarian potato-spinach gratin with fiddlehead ferns, morel mushrooms, pea puree and greens was delicious, complex, and beautiful to look at.
The Beer: Adult Thing to Do in Over-the-Rhine
If you walk around Over-the-Rhine, you can see free murals relating to beer. The murals depict the beer trade, from gathering hops to brewing. There is a free family-friendly guided brewery tour of the Brewery Heritage Trail, on an app. You learn that kids are depicted in some of the murals since they often worked in breweries. Their short stature helped in the beer tunnels that still exist in Over-the-Rhine.
We took an adult-oriented paid beer tour that included a close look at several murals and a narrow, low-ceilinged beer tunnel that runs under a street. This tour ends at the Christian Moerlein Brewery & Malthouse Tap Room, with a tasting of local beers on tap and a behind-the-scenes look at the brewery. The Brewery District has several different tours, so you could return again and again and learn more about the Brewing Heritage Trail.
The Drinks: Also Adult Only
The speakeasy Sundry and Vice calls itself a “purveyor of fine tinctures, tonics, and elixirs.” The excellent cocktails are prepared with care. House cocktails have cute names like ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ and ‘Mother May I?’ Yes, you may, but be careful. The drinks are potent. There are local beers on tap, but if you are a wine drinker, there isn’t much for you.
Ghost Baby, an underground bar, also has live music. You need a reservation here.
Since parking is scarce, and you don’t want to drink and drive, take advantage of Uber or Lyft.
The Streetcar: One of Kids’ Top Things To Do in Over-the-Rhine
The Cincinnati Bell Connector, a free streetcar, runs a 3.6 mile loop. Catch it in front of Findlay Market and ride downtown and back. The streetcar used to charge to ride, but now it’s always free. From a parental perspective, the curb-level floor is a boon. You can easily bring on a stroller (or a wheelchair, scooter or bicycle). For another kind of ride, if your kids are at least four feet tall, you can rent a bike from the Cincinnati Red Bike bikeshare and pedal around too.
The large Washington Park, across from the National Historic Landmark Music Hall, has plenty of room to play. And clean public restrooms, perfect for when you are strolling around.
There is a garage if you don’t want to look for street parking. Since it’s a park, there is a green roof on the garage. Seasonal water fountains incorporate music and light. There are also free workouts for adults, children’s programming, and special events for dogs and their owners. Spanking new bathrooms are a new amenity.
On the Horizon: Over-the-Rhine Museum
The Over-the-Rhine Museum offers walking tours of the historic area from May through October. There is a small storefront exhibit in an 1860s building at 3 West McMicken Street. The whole building is slowly being restored and will eventually house the museum.
Take a Selfie
Photos in the oversized chair in front of Findlay Market are a must. There is often a line.