Take an Affordable Trip to Cincinnati

Over the past two years, travelers have flocked to natural sites for socially distanced vacations. However, one of the biggest travel trends of 2022 is the return of city vacations, with New York taking over as the number one U.S. destination booked by travelers.

If you fancy a big-city adventure but are short on funds, consider Cincinnati, Ohio.

Big city attractions, smaller price tag

Cincinnati is the largest metropolitan area in Ohio and neighboring Kentucky, and its central location in the Midwest is less than a day’s drive away for half of all Americans. The airport offers more than 50 non-stop flights on 11 airlines with the lowest fares in the region.

It has won awards such as the 9th best metropolitan area to visit in the summer and one of the best places to visit in the United States by Travel & Leisure magazine. But unlike some of the other destinations on these “best” lists, this urban vacation spot costs a fraction of the price of other US cities.

According to Champion Travel, the average price for a week in Cincinnati is $1,577 for a single traveler, $2,832 for a couple, and $5,310 for a family of four. That’s 25% less than a trip to New York and almost half of a trip to San Francisco.

Budget From historic accommodations to totally cool accommodations

With over 150 places to stay, there’s something for every budget, including bed and breakfasts, large hotel chains, and family-friendly places that often include free breakfast with a stay.

History buffs will love the Cincinnatian Hotel, built in 1882 but renovated in 2018, or the AAA Four-Diamond National Historic Landmark, the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, straight out of Gatsby the magnificent.

If you love visiting museums, why not stay in one? Conveniently located, 21C Museum Hotel is right next to the Center for Contemporary Art, across from the Aronoff Center for the Arts, and one block from the city’s most coveted dining spot, Boca. The former 100-year-old Hotel Metropole is now a contemporary art museum, boutique hotel, restaurant and bar.

Popular Cincinnati Attractions

If you only have one weekend, check out this short list of the most popular things to do in Cincinnati so you can start running.

Fountain Square

Located at Vine St. and 5th, it is considered the epicenter of downtown and the city’s main gathering space. This hub is a go-to place for ice skating in the winter or an afternoon hangout on warmer days. Check their calendar for a long list of free concerts, events and markets.

Outre-Rhin district

The country’s largest collection of Italianate Renaissance architecture is now the new home of a bustling district of shops, top restaurants, the Findlay Gourmet Market and artisan bars. Check out free events scheduled in Washington Park, get tickets to a show or concert at Music Hall, and try one or more of the breweries that make Cincinnati a premier beer destination.

Underground tours

Offering the best historical experience in Cincinnati, American Legacy Tours offers 17 different walking tours and events. Learn about the city’s German beer history before refrigeration by visiting the stunning underground caves used by the Cincinnati Brewing Company centuries ago.

Explore the riverside

A 10-minute walk from downtown is the redeveloped 45-acre Waterfront Park District. Check out Smale Riverfront Park, Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove, the world-class playground and spray park.

Or stroll through the Bank’s DORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area). From 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., enjoy public green spaces and 18 take-out food outlets along the river.

Cross the Roebling Bridge into Kentucky

One of the highlights of the river is the Roebling Bridge, a prototype of the Brooklyn Bridge built just before the iconic New York landmark. Don’t miss the QR code at the base of the bridge for a free audio tour while walking the Ohio River. It is a flat and easy 1/5 mile walk accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.

Attend a festival

Plan a trip to coincide with one of the city’s summer or fall festivals. For example, the Taste of Cincinnati in May is America’s longest-running culinary arts festival, and Zinzinati in September is the second-largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world.

Or enjoy the 2-day Cincinnati Music Festival in July which attracts over 80,000 people and superstar headliners like Janet Jackson. End the summer season at the riverside Cincinnati International Jazz Festival.

Enjoy a world-class game or sporting event

“If you’re a sports fan, Cincinnati has three professional sports teams, the Bengals, Reds and FC Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Reds play at Great American Ball Park by the river, one of the best MLB ballparks in America, but offers affordable tickets,” said Jason Butler, founder of Money Chronicles.

Golfers can watch the LPGA tournament at Kenwood Country Club out of town or catch world-ranked players preparing for the US Open in New York at the Cincinnati Tennis Masters.

Exit four underground floors

Rumor has it on the street that it cost over a million dollars to convert a 150-year-old beer cellar into one of the city’s hottest nightlife spots, Ghost Baby. So be sure to make a reservation, especially for a table at the back room jazz shows or even for drinks at the front bar.

Eating through Cincinnati

From James-Beard-appointed chefs to global cuisine and iconic fast food, one of the best things to do in Cincinnati is to eat.

Skyline Chili Sample

Try Cincinnati’s iconic chili, sometimes described as Greek meat sauce, at any of Skyline’s four locations. This regional staple is served not in a bowl but on a hot dog or spaghetti with tons of cheese.

Brunch at Maplewood Kitchen and Bar

This is the place to go for weekend brunch, and the queue is often at the door. The vibe is laid-back California, and the staff couldn’t be more friendly and welcoming. Whatever you choose from the menu, be sure to order a side of refreshing lemon and ricotta pancakes.

Splurge at one of Jose Salazar’s world-class restaurants

Trained in New York’s finest restaurants, enjoy the same caliber of dining at one of his James Beard Award-nominated restaurants in Cincinnati. Choose from Salazar, a new American farm-fresh outpost, or Mita’s with a tapas-style menu and killer cocktails.

Book a table in Boca

Three years after Salazar became a catalyst for Cincinnati’s new chef-led food scene, David Falk has amplified the city’s food culture. Applying French cooking techniques, diners fall in love with its signature Brussels sprouts and seared scallops.

Boca is housed in the lovingly renovated space of the city’s oldest former fine dining restaurant, Maisonette. The large open space over two floors will blow your mind just as much as the food.

Don’t neglect Sotto

Italian for downstairs, this casual basement restaurant shouldn’t be considered below Boca, even if that’s its location. Put this causal David Falk trattoria at the top of your list if Boca is out of your price range.

Master the art of exploring Cincinnati

Did you know that Cincinnati has been named one of the 20 fastest growing artistic regions in the United States? It has some of America’s oldest and best-funded cultural institutions and over 200 public murals transforming historic architecture that has seen better days into outdoor art galleries for everyone to enjoy.

The Cincinnati Museum of Art is one of the city’s free or affordable activities and contains a diverse art collection of over 67,000 works spanning 6,000 years. Additionally, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center includes a mix of permanent and traveling exhibits that stimulate needed conversations about social justice today.

It is also one of 13 cities in the United States with professional companies in all of the arts – ballet, opera, symphony orchestra, theater, and museums of contemporary and fine art. Sarah Jessica Parker debuted in The Arts in the city and continues to rave about it. The Sex and the City star and longtime New York resident said, “Cincinnati, and I really do, is a great city.”

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This article was produced by Planner at Heart and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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