(Like, for instance, that it is called the ‘Queen City’)


Let’s kick off this Cincinnati series with a list and a confession.

Although I like to think of myself as quite the travel maven, until a few weeks ago I was scandalously uninformed as to the many delights contained within this fascinating river city. Back in my touring-with-Russ-and-the-band days, I’m sure they performed in Cincy a time or six, but I’ve never had the chance (or taken the time) to really get to know the place. That oversight is even more criminal when you consider that it is less than a 5 hour drive from Nashville, which is very do-able for a weekend getaway.

I recently had the opportunity to spend several days on what amounted to an extended blind date with the city of Cincinnati—and quite frankly, I am smitten.

I was included in a travel media trip hosted by the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network,  joining two travel writers from Colorado, Ron Stern (aka “The Global Gumshoe”) and Cameron Martindale, as well as local writers Becky Lindhart and Jeff Waddle.  We all had way more fun than is probably professionally allowed, mainly because our guides/wranglers were so very passionate and knowledgable about their city. Our itinerary was designed to introduce us to all sides of Cincinnati and come away with an overall ‘feel’ for the region, which it most definitely did.

There will be many more details and recommendations in the posts to come, but here are the Top 10 things about Cincy that I didn’t know when I got there:

#10: Every time you turn around, you’re in Kentucky.

Cincinnati is nestled on the banks of the Ohio River, and Kentucky is directly right smack dab across the water. A stone’s throw, almost. This is probably not a startling revelation to most of you, but geography has never been my strong suit. There are five lovely bridges that connect downtown Cincinnati to the Kentucky towns of Covington and Newport, and during my stay we crossed back and forth several times a day, which was just a wee bit confusing. I spent a lot of time saying, “OK, so now we’re in…?” The locals just merge the whole area together and call it the ‘greater Cincinnati REGION.’ (I personally think ‘Kencinnati’ is catchier, but nobody asked me.) This interesting fusion of Midwestern urban center with small Southern river towns is just one of the unique features of  this captivating city.

**Cincy from the Kentucky side

**Kentucky from the Cincy side

#9: The Reds Are A Religion.

 Now, I grew up in Arkansas the home of rabid Razorback fanatics, so I totally get that whole team loyalty thing, but Cincinnatians take it to a whole ‘nother level! They are very enthusiastic about their NFL Bengals, too but it seems that the Reds have a special place in their hearts. Cincy has built them a gorgeous stadium, the Great American Ball Park, perched proudly in the heart of downtown. Even if you are not really a big baseball fan (that would be me), watching the Reds play on their home field is an experience to remember, and I would HIGHLY recommend it. As fate would have it, my first-ever Reds game happened to be the one in which they beat the L.A. Dodgers to clinch the 2012 Central Division Championship– so I got to witness 42,000 red-clad people collectively lose their dang minds. Here’s a quick clip of The Moment! (I didn’t take this video, but I feel sure my camera work would have been even shakier.)

Video courtesy of NunzioCorb.

**My view of the game

#8: They have gargoyles.

Cincinnati (on the Kentucky side) is home to one of the most massively elaborate, gloriously gothic cathedrals in the entire country– St. Mary’s Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption. One of only 35 designated ‘minor’ basilicas in the U.S., (the only four ‘major’ basilicas in the world are all in Rome) it has everything you’d ever want in a big honkin’ cathedral: stained glass windows, flying buttresses, mosaic murals, 81-ft. ceilings, marble statues, giant pipe organ… Basically, it’s only one hunchbacked bellringer away from rivaling Paris’ Notre Dame. This magnificently serene cathedral is an unforgettable site that should be included on any tour of Cincinnati– and the 26 Italian carved gargoyles crouched on the roof and peering down at the church grounds are the icing on the cake.

**This is only a small section of the interior.

**Each one of the 26 is different–but I like this guy’s attitude.

Photo courtesy of wojohawn photostream


#7: Trying to describe Cincinnati’s art scene can lead to superlative overload.

Vibrant, thriving, diverse, innovative, classical– I’m telling you, there is a cultural explosion going on in this city! From highbrow galleries to funky street festivals, no creative, artistic stone is left unturned. Whether you want to hear a symphony, see a Broadway play, catch your favorite singer on tour, or spend an evening at the ballet, they’ve totally got you covered. They even hosted the World Choir Games, for crying out loud. One interesting thing that sets the Cincinnati scene apart is the emphasis they place on photographic art. FotoFocus is a cutting edge organization that is responsible for bringing renowned photographers and world-class exhibits to town, as well as raising the level of awareness and appreciation for all lens-based art. They have some really fabulous exhibits going on right now– in fact Russ and I are planning a weekend Cincy trip next month just to see them!

 **The historic Music Hall, home of the Cincinnati Symphony, built in 1878 and undergoing a massive renovation– isn’t it gorgeous?

 **See what I mean? Art is everywhere in this city!

#6:  Cincinnati runs on beer.

Seriously– they may or may not put it in the water supply. This city has a long, proud history of  producing high quality German lagers, bocks and ales. Today you cannot swing a bratwurst in this town without hitting a brewery, microbrewery or local craft brewery. Cincinnatians have very educated, discerning palates where beer is concerned and they’re quite passionate in their opinions on which brew is the best. (Personally, I took a liking to Hudepohl.) Even if you’re a tee-totaler, you’ll probably still enjoy checking out one of the brewery tours complete with historic beer tunnels that still run underneath the city. There’s even a new documentary coming out called “The Cincinnati Beer Story,”– here’s the trailer, just to give you a little taste! (‘Little taste’– see how I did that?!)

**OK, that’s a whole lotta beer! The Moerlein Lager House–

#5: It’s a city of neighborhoods.

Cincinnati is made up of 52 neighborhoods, each with a distinctly different personality. The town is full of historical importance and every neighborhood seems to have its own charming backstory. I wasn’t there long enough to sample all of them, but I did get to hit a few highlights. We walked through the revitalized areas of Over The Rhine, strolled the streets of MainStrasse Village, drove around trendy Mount Adams and was invited to dinner at a beautiful home in Hyde Park. Cincinnatians take great pride in their neighborhoods, and walking tours of the most popular ones are readily available. You’ll find out lots of things you didn’t know about the area… For example, who knew that innocent, friendly little Newport was once a vice-filled gambling mecca?

**Historic MainStrasse Village

**Detail of a building in the Over The Rhine neighborhood– or OTR, as the locals call it.

#4:  Going to Findlay Market at least once during your stay should be required by law.

Located in Cincinnati’s aforementioned Over the Rhine neighborhood, this hidden gem is absolutely one of the most charming indoor/outdoor farmer’s markets I have ever seen. Operating out of its original 1852 iron-framed building, the indoor market with about 24 permanent vendors is open six days a week year-round. From April-November on Thursdays-Sundays, the outdoor seasonal stalls are spilling over with colorful flowers, produce and crafts. Locals in the know consider Findlay Market as much a gathering place as a commercial enterprise, and the food offerings are as authentic and diverse as the customers–where else can you get Vietnamese pho, local organic cheeses, handmade earrings, bubble tea, fresh pasta, organic dog food and real Belgian waffles all at the same place? Throw in some hipster street performers and a salty caramel gelato and you’ve got all the makings of a near-perfect day.

 **Be sure and go hungry.

 **I was definitely lusting in my heart.

#3:  “Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati” is not a typo. Neither is “The Running Of The Wieners.”

Cincinnatti’s proud German heritage is on full display every fall when they throw the largest celebration of its kind in North America. In fact, it’s the second largest Oktoberfest in the world– only Munich, Germany does it any bigger. Over half a million people show up ready to get their oompah-pah on, and a six block area of Fifth Street is turned into one giant party. More than 800 barrels of beer are consumed city-wide, but I would like to point out that it was a surprisingly orderly crowd and no one threw up on my shoes even once. German polka music and the smell of sausages and strudel fill the air, with an alpenhorn concert and the world’s largest chicken dance thrown in for good measure. The kick-off event is The Annual Running Of The Wieners race– you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a collection of wienie dogs of every shape, size and color imaginable all dressed in hot dog costumes running full tilt boogie down a makeshift racetrack with their equally colorful owners jumping up and down at the finish line waving doggie snacks and squeaky toys. I’m getting a little misty just thinking about it… So, if you can make it to Cincinnati during September in time for the festivities? DO IT.

**This right here? Was almost worth the trip all by itself.

 **Yes, please.

Photo courtesy of

#2: Cincinnati is a museum wonk’s paradise.

I have a real thing about museums, and apparently so does Cincinnati. I honestly had no idea the city had such a treasure trove of world-class museums, or that they were housed in such beautiful buildings. The Cincinnati Museum Center, a non-stuffy must-see, is located in the former Union Terminal, an art deco masterpiece  that is now home to three different museums: The Cincinnati History Museum, the Duke Energy Children’s Museum and the Museum of Natural History and Science. I visited another beauty, the Taft Museum of Art, which is housed in an 1820 villa in the heart of downtown. Their permanent collection includes European old master paintings, Limoge enamels and beautiful murals on the walls of the gallery. There’s also the Cincinnati Art Museum, and perhaps the most important and informative museum, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Do yourself a favor, and check out at least one!

**The fabulous art deco Cincinnati Museum Center.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

**The gracious Taft Museum

Photo courtesy of thad Flickr photostream

**An exhibit at the Underground Railroad National Freedom Center

Photo courtesy of CAA Photography Flickr photostream


And the #1 Thing I Did Not Know About the ‘Queen City’ Before I Visited?


Apparently it is made of baby kisses and fairy dust and rainbows and unicorns. (Also some Greek spices, a pinch of cinnamon and oddly enough, a bit of dark chocolate. I am not even kidding.) It is highly addictive and you may find yourself dreaming about it long after you have returned home from your fabulous trip to Cincinnati, and then you will spend more time than you are willing to admit searching the internet for a reasonable facsimile recipe and finally you will have to resort to going to Krogers and getting the frozen Skyline Chili Spaghetti which actually isn’t bad, but is NOT the same as sitting in that lovely little Skyline place on Ludlow and weeping from the sheer wondrous perfection of THIS:

**sound of angels singing**

(Ready to take a trip to Cincy yet…?)

OK, I really want to hear from you–

Have you been? Did you love it? What did you see? Any other museum wonks out there? If you’ve never been, what did you just read that appeals to you the most? Any questions about anything in particular…?


Disclosure: My travel expenses, accommodations and meals were provided for me by the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network– but as always, my opinions are my own.



50 Responses

  1. Busymom

    Graeter’s and goetta.

  2. tori

    Can you believe the ONLY thing I didn’t eat in that city was Graeters?! And I am an ice cream connoisseur (nice way of saying I can eat my weight in Haagen Das rum raisin.) That alone is enough reason for Russ and I to run up for a weekend next month!

    I did, however, manage to eat any and everything in that town that was made of sausage.

  3. Kimi

    I LOVE Cincy and Skyline chili. I haven’t visited in years but you reminded me I need too. The gargoyles are great!

  4. tori

    Welcome, Kimi!! That cathedral is amazing–I had about another 50 photos I wanted to include! And yeah, I dream about that chili…

  5. revronrarden

    Cincy brings back alot of memories for me. I have alot of family in the area, I remember my first time at a real Cincinnati style chili joint that my Dad took me to. It was great! I was adopted so therefore I ended up being the baby of the family. I had one of my brothers through adoption that was a Cincinnati Police detective, an Uncle that was a Transit driver without an accident in over one million miles and many other kinsfolk in that area. I love Kentucky with a passion, but Cincinnati is a wonderful town as long as you stay away from the bedbugs!!

  6. tori

    revronrarden– Well, thankfully I never saw or heard a thing about any *shudder* bedbugs! I actually stayed at that gorgeous art deco hotel downtown, the Netherland Hilton– I loved it, have you ever been there? There sure is a lot of revitalization going on in that city, especially in the OTR… I’m so ready to go back!

  7. Chris

    This short video from the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s “One City, One Symphony” initiative also shows off the city and community…

  8. tori

    Chris: Oh my gosh, I LOVE THIS–thanks so much for sharing it! What a great orchestra, I know your city is so proud of you. (P.S. This is my brother– we’re a big ol’ symphony-loving family! )

  9. barthornton923

    You MUST go to the Observation Deck of the Carew Tower (connected to the Omni Netherland Hotel) with someone from Cincy to point out everything. With the coin operated telescopes I was able to see the Water tower in Mt Washington. I would be happy to help show you around some more on your next visit!

  10. tori

    barthornton923: You know, I remember hearing some discussion about the Carew Tower deck one night when we were at dinner– everyone agreed it was a MAGNIFICENT view, but there were mixed reviews as to that last tiny elevator and the stairs… Bet I couldn’t get Russ to go with me, but I’m sure game!

  11. Megadeal

    At least you can get some flavors of Graeter’s at your local Kroger and Publix stores! So glad they went national – I can get my friends addicted!

  12. Megadeal

    Another treat just for Cincinnati? Jungle Jim’s International Market Now 2 locations. So much fun and selection.

  13. Matt

    Reading this brought a smile to my face. Thank you for your kind words about our beautiful city! Come back anytime! I have lived in Cincinnati all 26 years of my life, and still find something new to do, see, or try every week it seems like! Cincinnati is a never ending adventure!

  14. tori

    megadeal: At Publix and Krogers? SERIOUSLY? *runs to car* I didn’t make it to Jungle Jim’s, but I looked at their website– that is SO my kind of place! Next time…

    Matt: Yay, thank you, that makes me feel great! I honestly fell in love with your city, and I am most definitely coming back!

  15. Kellie

    I went to college in Cincinnati. Cincinnati Christian University. When you’re downtown and look up at the Western hills, you’ll see a cross on the side of a building. It lights up at night so it’s easier to see then. Great place to go to school.
    My husband John asked me to marry him at the Glenway Avenue Skyline Chili restaurant in November of 1985. We bowed our heads to pray over our 3 Ways and when I lifted my head, there was a ring box…right there next to my bowl of oyster crackers. True story.
    That particular Skyline has since been razed, but fortunately a new one has been built nearby since my daughter will be moving to Cincinnati next fall to attend her momma’s alma mater. I can’t wait to hang in Cinci again.

  16. Kat

    Love the list! Apparently we made it to the same Reds game; we didn’t have seats as nice as yours, but we made it work :-) (I posted my own photo blog about it here: And yes, we did go nuts, too. Grew up in the Queen City, and my parents now live in OTR, and we LOVE visiting them!

  17. Gramma Jac

    So everyone who has commented has been there–but not me! You sold me–it is officially on my E.N. list of things-to-do!! (E.N.= Empty Nest, which I now officially have!) I however have a sinking feeling about your new travel venture–my E.N. list may grow to where it takes me to age 105 to complete it! (OK by me!!)

  18. Gramma Jac

    BTW, travel note–I’m going to the Seattle area in February. I’m going because there will be a new grandbaby to meet, so there won’t be a lot of tourism time. So I’m taking suggestions on the 1 or 2 things I CANNOT miss!!!

  19. Gramma Jac

    Sorry–Cincinnati–didn’t mean to take the focus off such an incredible city!!!

  20. tori

    Kellie: Ok, that is the cutest dang story, I just read it out loud to Russ and he went, “Awwwww…..”

    Kat: It was something to see! That’s so cool that you were there, too– we walked back to our hotel afterwards and there was literally dancing in the streets!

    Gramma Jac: I will make it my personal goal to add as many trips to your EN List as I possibly can– you’ll HAVE to live to be 105, then! (You will have a ball in Seattle, such a lovely city–but you’re right, you’ll probably have your hands full with a grandbaby!)

  21. Virginia

    You nailed Cincy. I have friends there and I LOVE CINCINNATI. I was just there last month and I”ve made my next to do list from this blog. Your photos are great as well.

  22. senojeiram

    Born and raised in Cincinnati, I left for a little while when I was in college (not far, just Oxford, Ohio) and then as a 30-something, desperate to get away from home. Turns out, absence makes the heart grow fonder. After ten years in Colorado, I moved back home. I miss Colorado, make no mistake about that, but it’s good to be home.

    Ice Cream – my lactose intolerance has gotten intolerable, so I can’t do this, but you need to compare Graeters with Agalmesis – one location in Oakley Square. Oh, and it does taste better when they scoop it fresh. The stuff from the grocery store is good – really good (can’t go wrong with Black Raspberry Chip – or any flavor, really), it’s better from the source.

    Pizza – LaRosa’s is the hometown favorite, but Dewey’s is the up-and-comer. It’s a chain, but the original location is in, well, Oakley Square. Or, there’s always Mio’s.

    Carew Tower – Take the stairs for those last five floors. I’m fairly sure that little elevator is original to the building, and it’s a lively ride. Take the stairs.

    If you’re in town during the school year, see if my alma mater, the School for the Creative and Performing Arts has any shows going on. First school in the country to combine an arts focus with an academic program. Or, see what the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music has going on.

    Eden Park is a large, lovely walk. The Overlook, by Walnut Hills, is a very popular spot. You own’t be able to find a place to park on Sundays. From 9 – 5, there’s the Krohn Conservatory, right in the park. It’s not large, but it’s always been a little slice of heaven for me. The (always free, if you know where to park) Art Museum is on the other side of the park, the Mt Adams side. In between, you can see the remnants of the Cincinnati Water Works, a Gazebo that used to be a spring house for a toxic spring, and a large reflecting pool that’s very popular in the summer, even though you can’t swim in it.

    Ault Park is also very popular. Mt. Echo, on the west side (we can get into the East/West thing later), is also very nice, and gives very nice views of the river and downtown. Devou Park in Covington is a popular spot for skyline shots of Cincinnati, too. Oh, and then there’s Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove, bordering the river with the Serpentine Wall. Oh, and Bicentennial Commons, built in 1988.

    Festival season begins with Taste of Cincinnati in May – the longest-running festival of its kind in the country. Used to be the biggest, but Chicago took that away from us, just like they took the whole meat processing thing (look up Porkopolis – the pigs will make more sense). Churches around town have their summer festivals from about then to just before the main Oktoberfest. Two of the biggest ones are the Panegyri Greek Festival, in Finneytown, and St. Rita’s Festival, for St Rita’s School for the Deaf. In between, there are a few Goetta fests – only one by Glier’s – and Riverfest, a fireworks display that’s been going on for decades, and draws tens of thousands of people to the river, even paying money so they don’t have to sit on the wall on a blanket all day to save a space.

    I will stop before this becomes a mini-series. I haven’t even scratched the surface. The food is fabulous (I’m sure you noticed we’re not exactly “svelte,” here), and there is much to do. If you’re bored here, it’s your own fault.

    To my shame, I have never been to Findlay Market. I plan on remedying that shortly.

  23. tori

    Virginia: THANKS– that makes me feel great!

    senojeiram: I am totally printing your comment out and keep it for future reference! Some of our Cincy guides were talking about Agalmesis ice cream, it is on my list to try. Thanks for the pizza suggestions as well, I’m a big pizza fan. The festivals sound great, too. You Cincy folks know how to party! Thanks for the tips!

  24. gloobemach

    graeters, deweys, cyclocross racing, north avondale…’nuf said.

  25. tori

    gloobemach: I’m thinking after eating at Graeters and Deweys, I better not even think about trying the cyclocross racing…

  26. beckcomm

    I agree with senojeiram: Aglamesis Bros. ice cream beats Graeter’s, hands down. They make it right in their Oakley store in their French kettles. Owner Jim Aglamesis is the son and nephew of the men who started the store in 1908. (They now also have another store up in Montgomery, but the ice cream is made in their Oakley location.)

    They also make most of their own candy on site. Their opera creams are absolutely incredible!

  27. lisaphoto

    As a born and bred Cincinnatian, I am embarrassed to say that there are things you got to see that I have never been to (like Findlay market). But I also have a few places that you should visit on your next visit and some other tips. For one, Montgomery Inn. Known for their ribs, it is so good. And if you go to the one downtown (called the boat house), you’ll be overlooking the river. Kings Island (a little bit north, in Mason). It is an awesome amusement park, and if you have kids, they have been voted best kids area in the country. Even if you have a fear of roller coasters, there is still tons to do, including a giant water park with slides, 3 kids areas, and 2 wave pools. Newport on the levee is a fun place, and has an amazing aquarium and great restaurants (one is Dewey’s). You can walk across the Purple People Bridge (no cars), and visit the new parks and restaurants they are building as part of the Banks Project. SKYLINE-You can stock up on cans of chili instead of the frozen stuff, and make them at home pretty close to the original, you have to try the coneys while you are hear, and don’t let anyone tell you that Gold star is better, it’s gross. And Graeter’s is definitely better than Aglemesis, and even though Graeter’s ice cream is awesome on it’s own, try the turtle sundae made with butterscotch, pecans, and bittersweet chocolate fudge. Hofbrauhaus in Newport is awesome, and is modeled after the original one in Germany. Polka bands, chicken dancing, sausages and beer steins – year round.

  28. auntie

    I don’t mean to be a killjoy. It’s just something disturbing to me in the blogworld. People get paid/get free trips to write positive reviews of something. I just struggle with that. Perhaps you can explain it better to a novice like me.

  29. tori

    beckcomm: You had me at ‘French kettles’… I don’t even know what that is, but it sounds like it would make for a sublime ice cream experience!

    lisaphoto: Once again, I am furiously making notes here! I will be writing my next 3 posts focusing on a family trip, a romantic weekend, and a girlfriend getaway– so I will definitely be incorporating some of the things you mentioned. And we DID go to Hofbrauhaus– OMG, why didn’t somebody tell me about SAUERKRAUT BALLS before now?!

    auntie: No worries, darlin’– you couldn’t kill my joy if you tried! You bring up a very valid point that has been heavily debated all over the blogworld for years. Here are my feelings about ‘reviewing’ products, cities, etc.:

    My personal integrity (not to mention the Federal Trade Commission’s truth-in-advertising guidelines for bloggers) keeps me from A) NOT revealing to my readers that I was paid or compensated in some way for a review or B) posting a fake puff-piece about a product/trip that does not truly reflect my experience.

    (Here’s a link to an article in 2009 about that very thing:)

    I am very often approached with an offer to review a product that I honestly don’t use or have no interest in– and I politely decline. But when it is something that I already or will actually use (Dove products, Paul Newman’s pizza, etc.) I am more than happy to try it and give my honest opinion. I am VERY picky, and generally only choose to review products/places that I feel pretty sure I will like– I’m not interested in tearing down anything, but I will only ‘build up’ something if I really like it. I am not a ‘critic,’ I’m just a blonde with some life experience and a lot of opinions, and I will happily share them with my readers. But I also am not about to jeopardize my credibility by touting something just to get a free sample or a free trip. If this blog turned into one long commercial for freebies, I would lose my readers, and I won’t ever let that happen– they mean too much to me.

    So yes, there are bloggers/reviewers out there that will blow smoke up their readers/a company’s skirt regardless of how they really feel, but my experience has been that those types don’t last very long. Most of the review bloggers I know take their work very seriously, and choose to put their ‘stamp of approval’ ONLY on things they feel deserve it.

    I can tell you from my heart that my experience discovering the amazing city of Cincinnati is 100% accurately portrayed in my posts about it. I was completely and unexpectedly entranced with Cincy, and as I mentioned, Russ and I are already planning a return weekend trip (on OUR dime) next month.

    Thanks for being honest about your misgivings, I truly understand your feelings– hope this helps shed a little light on the subject!

  30. vviva

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. A friend posted a link to your blog on fb, I’m so glad she did. Hubby is on his way to Skyline as I’m typing this to pick up dinner because by the time I finished reading I was craving it so badly I would have crawled there! I’m happy you enjoyed our city and look forward to hearing about your next trip.

  31. tori

    vviva: Aw… *digs toe in the dirt* That really makes me feel good– i’s not easy writing about somebody else’s hometown!

  32. auntie

    Tori –

    Thank you very much for your detailed explanation. I know you are a Christian and have a lot of integrity. A city seems like a good thing to review/support cause there are always fun things to do no matter what city you are in. I happen to love Nashville, so maybe I should find a gig reviewing it :-) Let me know if you hear of anything LOL

  33. LindaB

    I’ve been to Cincy three times and I loved it too. I missed seeing Findley Market though—–we ran out of time and energy. I spent a lot of time shopping at the Florence Mall just across the bridge in Kentucky. If I ever get to Cincy again, I’ll be sure to take your list of things to see. You did a great job of “exploring” the city and all it has to offer! Don’t know about the chili though—–I’ve never liked chili myself. And it doesn’t like me either. But that ice cream sounds wonderful!

    Let me know when you’re ready to take a trip to Michigan! I’ll start making a list of things to see. :)

  34. tori

    Linda B: Yeah, I’m not usually a chili fanatic, either– I mean, I like MY chili, but it’s never anything I seek out. But that Skyline chili, with the hint of cinnamon, and the rich undertones of the chocolate, and… Annnnnnd now I’m craving it again!

  35. ElizabethMurray

    What a wonderful article. I have lived in Cincinnati all my life, and it really seems the last 10 years or so they have more to offer and things just keep happening. I love it!

    If you like art and such, Pendleton Art Center is worth a gander. Open to the public the last Friday of the month, along with many other galleries in the area is, I believe, one of the most artist under one roof in the world. There are several places similar to Pendleton, Essex Studios in Clifton being one, Milford having another. American Sign Museum is a must as well.

    There is also a “sculpture park” in Hamilton, OH about 30 minutes north of downtown.

    I am so happy that you went to the Basilica! What a fabulous piece of architecture. I hope you got to take the information tour. A lot of people from this area have no idea about that place, it is a gem!

    It was nice to see what you had to offer, I think you really did have a great taste of the city and what it offers. I look forward to hearing more when you come again!

    P.S. Don’t forget to hit Hofbräuhaus in Newport. Now that is fun!

  36. narcdogg

    I grew up in Cincinnati but moved away when I got drafted into the Army in 1969. I only came home to visit from time to time over the years. I am now retired and living in Tucson, AZ. However I have a houseboat in Dayton, Ky. that I come “home” to every summer. The first things I do is have Skyline, UDF, goetta, and Graeters. I can never get enough of any of this. I have now found that Sam’s Club carries goetta in their meat section. I can now enjoy goetta any time I want in Tucson. I can also have my Skyline, albeit not fresh, from Fry’s, which is owned by Kroger’s. I think the packets of Skyline Chili are much closer to the “REAL” thing since you make it from scratch yourself.

  37. senojeiram

    Yeah, um…I’m glad you liked my comment. I didn’t mean to write my own novel.

    On Montgomery Inn…there are those who consider it the best they’ve ever had. There are others who disagree. I happen to be one of those. I actually think Montgomery Inn is overrated. Take away the sauce, and you have overcooked, underflavored ribs. Not a fan.

    But the Boathouse *is* really nice. Good ambiance.

    Essex Studios – if you get there on an open weekend, wear comfortable shoes. It’s HUGE!

  38. tori

    ElizabethMurray: Thank you–Pendleton and the Sculpture Park are now on my list! LOVED the American Sign Museum, got some great pictures, (more on that later…) And I had a really good time at Hofbrauhaus!

    narcdogg: A houseboat for the summer? What a blast! And I will start looking for the Skyline packets…

    senojeiram: Yeah, as a life-long Southerner I’ve got pretty strong opinions about ribs– but I’d like to at least give Montgomery Inn’s a taste test! And Essex Studios looks like my kind of place.

  39. Cynthia

    Tori, next time try Izzy’s; it’s been in operation since the turn of the last century. Huge over stuffed sandwiches, and potato cakes to die for. If you like Kosher, you’ll love Izzy’s. Many times you’d hear him say as you left, “Hurry back; I got the rent to pay.” Then go to Busken Bakery; I always went to the Hyde Park location; open 24/7. Their cakes are the best; and their apple walnut bread is past being addictive (in a good way) while my husband was alive we’d by two, “His and hers” so to speak. Their Danish is fresh and flaky; you’ll have to try it. If you have extra time, drive up I-71 to Kings Mills and check out the Old Peters Cartridge Plant, it sits on the Little Miami River, it is beautiful this time of year, and you can imagine what it was like in the 19th century. As I say, I may be partial; but I grew up in the Cinti area, on the Ohio side of the river, and even though I’ve been in South Eastern KY for years; all I have to do is close my eyes and I can see the Tyler Davidson Fountain, and public landing w/ its flying pigs. At Christmas Duke Energy still puts up the antique train display which was started by Cincinnati Gas and Electric, it’s a tradition every year. Oh yes, I do know the Netherland; our prom was held in the Hall of Mirrors, in 76 and 77, beautiful. Hope you guys have a great time when you go back; and thank-you so much for all the Kudos given our city. Call it the Queen City; or porkopolis, both spell home to me.

  40. tori

    Cynthia: THANK YOU for the suggestions– I’m especially interested in Izzy’s, I am a huge fan of potato cakes! And the bakery is a good tip as well– apple cake, mmm… The Peter’s Cartidge plant looks spooky and interesting, I KNOW Madi Rose would love to see that. I appreciate you taking the time to add these to my list– now I want to go back at Christmas time, too!

  41. senojeiram

    There’s also Servatii, which may have been an East side thing, but they have stores on the West (no, seriously, the East/West side stuff is a thing). Oh, and the Hyde Park Busken is definitely one of the good ones. The *really* good bakeries (Virginia, Priscilla) are long gone.

    Izzy’s…there’s one close to me. I have to force myself not to go there every day, because I would.

    Cynthia – we had our proms in the Hall of Mirrors, too. It’s such a beautiful space.

  42. Cynthia

    Tori, one more suggestion – about 27 miles north of Cincinnati is The Golden Lamb Hotel and Restaurant, Lebanon Ohio. Check it out on line; I think you would lose yourself there, the entire Mason/Lebanon area is right down your alley. “The Golden Lamb is recognized as the oldest continuously operating business in the State of Ohio. On December 23, 1803, Jonas Seaman spent $4 for a license to operate a “house of Public Entertainment”. The Golden Lamb got its name due to the fact that many early pioneers could not read, so giving a business a name that could be easily drawn and recognized, such as the Black Horse or Golden Lamb, was a necessity.”(From their web site)

    senojeiram you’re right; I had forgotten all about Servatti’s, it was in the downtown/West side area, but they are branching out. Also “Jungle Jim’s International Market in Fairfield”, Dixie HWY/Route 4 and in the Eastgate area. Does anyone know whether Meier’s Wine Caller is still in business; we went following our Rehearsal Dinner to have a chance to relax before the wedding the next day it was a working winery. This is making me so homesick; can’t wait to see what you post next, your next port of call.

  43. auntie


    Here is another blog that mentions Skyline chili! They are a family of five traveling cross-country in an Airstream! They are fun to read:

  44. Barbara M. Lloyd

    My goodness, all I had to do was move my screen a little to discover you smack dab in the middle of Cincy.

    A few years ago, a group of ladies who call themselves the Magnolias met in either Cincy or Kentucky. Our hotel was in either Kentucky or Cincy and the church we attended the next morning was in the opposite state. I can’t even remember which state the airport was in. But I do know that the group’s goal was to hear our favorite artist at the concert on Saturday night and then hear him in concert in a church the next morning….and I remember well that he was terrific in both places, which ever they may be.

    Now I have discovered that one of the Magnolias knew enough about those two states that she could have been a grand tour guide. But that’s okay because we kept her locked in the kitchen cooking when we were not out listening to that boy sing. To keep up her strength she ate about all of the homemade cookies brought by another lady. So much for suffering for the gang.

    All I can tell you for sure is that I’ve been to little parts of Kentucky and Cincy…very tiny little parts. And I was okay with that until I read your travel report, Tori. Now, I can see how much I missed while (almost) there. Great write up.

  45. DonnaMariePatterson


    I have never wanted to go to Cincinnati. Now ….. I wanna go, I wanna go, I wanna go!! Wow, there are so many things to do there! Your blog was interesting (I’m easily bored)and very informative (I learned alot). The links, pictures, and videos provided real insight into the ‘Windy City’. I can’t wait to visit and see everything in person.

  46. DonnaMariePatterson

    Bahahahaha! Besides getting easily bored, I also get easily confused! I MUST PAY ATTENTION. I would have ended up in Chicago!

  47. » Super Bowl Sunday | babybloomr

    […] part of a Super Bowl party is the food. And wait ’til I tell you what I did! Remember  that wonderful trip to Cincinnati and my introduction to the wonder that is Skyline Chili? Well, since this party was kind of spur […]

  48. FAB

    Just found your blog. Actually, from a link in Tanya Sykes’ blog. So glad I found both blogs.

    So — OK. I’m a couple of YEARS late in finding and commenting on your Cincinnati post. I even run late reading blogs! You may not even see this now, but had to thank you for posting this. I’ve never been to Cincinnati and now that we live in Indiana, it might actually be possible to visit. Can’t wait to photograph all those places you talked about. What beautiful architecture.

    Thanks for sharing. I’ll be checking out your blog often now. Appreciate your articles I’ve read in my Mom’s Homecoming Magazine, and Russ’music ministry. It blesses me and has been a blessing to my 87 year old Mom. She has almost all the Gaither Homecoming videos and listening to those and reading is about all she can do any more. God bless you!

  49. tori

    FAB: Hey, it’s never ‘too late’ around here! Thank you so much for stopping by, and for commenting, too– welcome to ‘Bloomr Nation! And thank you for the kind words– please tell your mom hello from Russ and me.

    I hope you do make a trip to Cincy. Honestly, I didn’t over-sell it, it’s a great city!

  50. Will I earn money by mining?

    Dreary Day

    It was a dreary day here today, so I just took to messing around on the internet and found

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