Touring the Town
Scenic Cincinnati begs to be explored. Cover the downtown highlights on foot, then jump in your car for Eden Park and Union Terminal mini-sidetrips.
Park downtown near Fountain Square, at the intersection of 5th and Vine streets. Even better, park underneath Fountain Square; the 24-hour lot charges $1 for the first 2 hours; $15 for the entire day. Take a look at the Tyler Davidson Fountain, and if it's near lunchtime, grab a sandwich to munch on a park bench or at an outdoor table. It's a fun place to be if it's a nice day, and there's often an event afoot. From there, cross the street to Carew Tower. You can get a wonderful view of the city from the 48th-floor observation deck. Double back on 5th Street past Fountain Square, and take a left on Walnut to 6th. Follow 6th to the Contemporary Arts Center. You don't even have to go in; the building itself is a marvel to look at. Return to 5th Street and go east for about four blocks until you come to Pike Street; turn right and you'll soon arrive at the Taft Museum of Art, famous for its Chinese porcelains. Next walk south to East Pete Rose Way and Eggleston Avenue. Here you'll find the Bicentennial Commons at Sawyer Point; monuments at this riverfront park tell the story of Cincinnati's origins as a river town. Not that you're likely to miss it, but be sure to check out the National Steamboat Monument, on Mehring Way next to the Public Landing. The interactive installation has computer-synchronized, infrared proximity sensors embedded in 24 metal smokestacks. Walk back and retrieve your car; follow 7th Street to Gilbert Avenue; drive north until you see Eden Park, a grand greenspace overlooking downtown. Here you'll find the Cincinnati Art Museum, known for its collection of works by Cincinnati's own Frank Duveneck, and the Krohn Conservatory, where plants from all over the world are exhibited in natural settings. After relaxing for a bit in the park, get back in your car and take Gilbert Avenue to Central Parkway, turning right on Elm Street. Continue on Elm until you come to the Music Hall, which was built in 1878 and is the home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Back in your car, the next stop is the Museum Center at Union Terminal, west of the Music Hall, off I-75 at Ezzard Charles Drive. This historic former train station houses the Cinergy Children's Museum, an imaginative place filled with interactive exhibits; the Museum of Natural History and Science, which has a cave with real bats; the Cincinnati History Museum; and an OMNIMAX Theater. The outside of this impressive building is worth a look, but you could easily spend all day inside.