Home Food And Drinks 36 Hours in Cincinnati – The New York Times

36 Hours in Cincinnati – The New York Times


4) 10 A.M. Rolling on the River

Cincinnati’s shared bicycle system, Red Bike, with 56 stations in the metro area (including Newport, Covington and Bellevue in northern Kentucky) gives cyclists the singular thrill of cycling in two states. A one-day pass ($8) allows unlimited rides of up to one hour at a time, easily allowing renters to pedal along the banks of the Ohio River on the Cincinnati side, which is largely park land, then crossing over to Kentucky via the Purple People Bridge. Opened in 1872 as the area’s first train bridge, the half-mile span now serves only pedestrians and cyclists. On the Kentucky side, bike paths top the grassy levee, offering views to flood gates. Return to Cincinnati via the 1866 vintage John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, a fraternal twin to the namesake engineer’s Brooklyn Bridge.

5) 11 A.M. Freedom Quest

On the banks of the Ohio River, which once separated a free state, Ohio, from a slave state, Kentucky, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (admission $15) examines slavery in America, from the nameless scores who died at sea during the Middle Passage from Africa, to the enslaved heroes who went on to be authors, lawyers and leaders. Powerful exhibits include a slave pen from the early 1800s, which once held individuals in rural Kentucky before they were sold. Other exhibits explore past and present human rights issues. A new virtual reality experience puts users in Rosa Parks’s seat on the Montgomery bus ($5).

6) 2 P.M. Progressive Feast

Use the Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar ($1) to travel from downtown to the nearby Over-the-Rhine district (abbreviated as OTR), a former German enclave. Stylish boutiques, trendy restaurants and handsome Italianate buildings fill the gentrifying district, especially along Vine Street. Follow your nose to the bustling Findlay Market. In operation since the mid-19th century, the market today mixes produce stalls with cheesemongers, butchers and prepared-food specialists serving everything from barbecue to gelato. Sample its offerings with Barb Cooper, the owner of Cincinnati Food Tours, during a 90-minute walk ($20) that introduces visitors to the market. Samples en route often include goetta, the traditional pork-oat sausage patty synonymous with Cincinnati.

The gallery and museum area in the 21c Museum hotel. Credit Andrew Spear for The New York Times

7) 4:30 P.M. Houses of Mirth

Cincinnati was home to 36 breweries by 1860, a density that earned it the nickname “Beer Capital of the World.” Prohibition doomed most of them, but new microbreweries are reclaiming the city’s place in the beer galaxy. Try the Truth IPA ($6) at Rhinegeist, which occupies the former bottling building of historic Christian Moerlein brewery, a warehouse so vast patrons can play whiffle ball indoors. In 2015, Taft’s Ale House moved into an abandoned 1850-vintage Protestant church, replacing pews with picnic tables and the altar with a bar tapping styles from the quaffable Nellie’s Keylime Caribbean Ale to the rich Maverick Chocolate Porter ($8 for a five-sample flight).

8) 6 P.M. Farm-Fresh Fare

The chef José Salazar, a James Beard nominee for best chef in the Great Lakes region, mixes a respect for ingredients, often locally sourced, with a sense of play at his eponymous Over-the-Rhine restaurant Salazar. It seats only 40, so make a reservation in advance for a spot in the bright, storefront bistro where seasonal dishes may include heirloom polenta with a duck egg ($12), and “everything salmon,” a play on a loaded bagel, complete with a sesame-poppy seed crust on the fish ($29).

9) 8 P.M. Curtain Time

Catch a show at one of three major performing arts theaters in Over-the-Rhine, each either reopening after major renovations or debuting in the fall. The grand red brick Music Hall, home to the Cincinnati Symphony, Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Opera, will reopen in October after a $143 million investment in the 1878 landmark. Down the block, Ensemble Theater Cincinnati will unveil its approximately $7 million renovation and expansion in October with “This Random World,” by the playwright Steven Dietz. Nearby, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will open its new theater where no seat will be farther than 20 feet from the thrust stage when its fall season opens with “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” running Sept. 8 to 30.

10) 11 P.M. Doctor’s Orders

Review the show over an adult elixir at Sundry and Vice, a neighborhood corner bar modeled on an old apothecary (antique pharmacists’ prescriptions paper the bathrooms). Try the thematically appropriate Night Cure ($10) with bourbon, lemon, honey and grapefruit oil, or an old-fashioned on draft ($9). Wine lovers can catch last call at the laid-back urban winery Revel OTR.

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