Adam Dupuis's picture

Travel Thursday - Cincinnati Offers More Than Expected And It Keeps Improving!

 

Huffington Post just rated one of my most recent traveled to cities as one of the 10 Up-&-Coming U.S. Cities To Visit Now, and I agree.  Just last year, the same source gave nods to Cincinnati as one of The 10 Best Cities To Relocate To In The U.S.  I've traveled all over and I have to agree with HuffPost on both accounts.

 

Pulling up to 21C Museum Hotel in my Tesla chariot, (Drivr: Better Than Taxi And Uber?), I was impressed immediately with the service and professionalism of the staff, clearly one of the reasons it was rated "#1 Hotel in the Midwest Readers’ Choice Awards 2014 by Condé Nast Traveler."  My room was perfectly appointed and they even had a tea option for this non-coffee drinker.  My friend Miles Griffis, who works for ManAboutWorld, created this cute little highlight video about the 156-room hotel, contemporary art museum, and cultural civic center.

 

 

Located just outside the front door of 21C is downtown Cincinnati. There's no better location to stay.  We would tour downtown proper later but first we were off to Over the Rhine (OTR), a working-class neighborhood believed to be the largest, most intact urban historic district in the United States (wikipedia).  This part of town has been going through a major revitalization with the addition of new businesses, condos, and restaurants, all finding a new home in OTR and in turn, making this part of town desirable once again.

 

A tour of the Over the Rhine led by Destinee and Theresa focus on the Artworks project which started in 1996.  Roughly 143 youths from 14 to 21 years of age and from all over the greater Cincinnati area work to increase the beauty of downtown Cincinnati adding to the 102 murals already in existence, adding 23 in the summer of 2016 alone.  The idea is that murals are a deterrent to graffiti, which may be true since there was little graffiti to be seen.   Artworks does tours of the murals around town and provides info for self-guided tours.  Funding for the $3 million annual budget comes from tours as well as the Taft family, grants, city support, and corporations like Sam Adams and Kroger.

 

 

In addition to the Artworks tour, we went out in search of local places we would like as haunts if we moved to Cincinnati and visited OTR. As soon as you walk in to Sundry and Vice, the apothecary / pharmacy inspired theme is evident and one we absolutely loved.  A new menu each season is generated in house along with the Old Fashions served on draft. The Sundry Brunch with “boozy ice cream floats” has our name on it, too. A little hot spot for LGBTers, the owners said they’ve seen many a Tinder date happen here. They are probably coming for the home made ginger beer.

 

Salazar Restaurant & Bar (1401 Republic Street) was our stop for lunch.  About 90% from farmers the restaurant owners know by name.  “Chef Salazar celebrates the changing of the seasons with a farm inspired menu that’s, creative and refined, yet, playful and approachable. Salazar is the kind of restaurant that you could pop in, grab a seat at our comfortable bar, a drink and a quick bite, or you could hang out and sample the diversity offered up by our kitchen.”  Chef Salazar also created a Colombian restaurant, Mita’s, named after his Colombian grandmother.  Thanks bar manager Steven for stopping by our table, chatting, and for the Pedro Piper drink, a must try.

 

The OTR tour brought us around to Japps, a great cocktail bar that has established its home in an old wig/toupee store.  The visuals, furniture, walls, alcohol cases are just as epic as the drinks. It’s an older space, but the libations are new as the cocktail menu changes weekly, not monthly, or seasonally.  Jeremy, our phenom of a bartender, said he enjoys the challenge of mastering a new drink set each week. Japps was supposedly the 1st to make craft cocktails in Cincinnati.  Jeremy says Molly the owner and her vision are great to work for and great to be a part of.  I look forward to my next visit and maybe I can meet this great Molly and learn her secret about her tobacco bitters.

 

Top of the Park, a new rooftop terrace at the Residence Inn Cincinnati Downtown is a spectacular venue with unparalleled views of Lytle Park, Downtown Cincinnati, the Ohio River, and Mt. Adams, all from two rooftop decks.  A great place to run into more young professionals, just like every other place we had visited so far.

 

 

The next day, other parts of Cincinnati were explored, we had some relaxation time, and ended with an excellent dinner at Boca. Sampling just about everything on the appetizer menu, we definitely picked the right spot for a classy enjoyable environment and meal. The staff was right on top of some of our food allergies and offered some of us great options from an alter menu. It's always nice to be able to treat yourself a little with great quality and wonderful service, both were present at Boca. 

 

 

I fell in love with Cincinnati, which I truly did not think would happen.  I'm a coastal boy, mainly East Coast, so for a Midwest city to get my attention, to offer me a great time, to feel like it could be a new home, I was astonished.  A future trip back to Cincinnati is in the works.

As many of you, I need to plan most of my larger vacations well in advance.  I feel that Cincinnati can be a great quick weekend vacation or a 4+ day trip.  With so much in the city and in the surrounding areas, it's one to not miss.

My next trip back may be for the grand opening of the Cincinnati Music Hall this fall.

The historic, 1878 landmark was completely shut down in June of 2015 for what is now a $129 million construction project. Following an extensive and complex renovation, it will reopen in fall 2017.

Music Hall is home to the region’s largest performing arts groups: The Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati May Festival and, when renovations are completed, Cincinnati Ballet. The Cincinnati Arts Association manages the hall.

There's a great amount to find in Cincinnati.  Will you take the trip to Cincy?

Here are some other pics from my travels around the city.

original post was from July 2016.