OTR: Cincinnati’s newest hipster hangout

Mar 21,2016

Cincinnati has undergone a massive urban makeover in recent years and nowhere is this transformation more apparent than in the city’s Over-the-Rhine (OTR) neighbourhood.

Until a few years ago, OTR was, in addition to being the Queen City’s oldest and most historic neighbourhood, one of its most dangerous. But now, thanks to substantial investment, a major facelift, invigorated locals and enthusiastic tourists, OTR’s parks, eateries, bars, entertainment venues and historic streets have become the place to hang out at. At a walkable distance from the OTR, the Millennium Cincinnati makes a great base for your exploration of the city’s new hipster playground.

Washington Park

Washington Park and Cincinnati Music Hall. Credit: Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce

Start your OTR excursion at the newly renovated and expanded Washington Park – one of the oldest parks in Cincinnati. Here, you’ll find a sprawling green space perfect for a picnic, a fabulous fountain, a play area for kids that’s bound to make the grown-ups jealous, a fenced dog park for canine visitors, frequent live music gigs and other events, all with the magnificent Cincinnati Music Hall as a backdrop. You can also stroll along the park’s American Classical Music Walk of Fame. Much more than your average tourist walk, this allows you to download an app to your mobile device to view pictures, read biographies, and listen to audio recordings about the Hall of Fame inductees.

Entertainment Venues

Now that you’re in a musical mood, the Cincinnati Music Hall is well worth a visit. Dating back to 1878 and deemed a National Historic Landmark, the building now plays host to the Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the May Festival Chorus. Take in a performance, or tour the stunning building by appointment for US$2.50 per person. For more theatrics, the nearby Know Theatre of Cincinnati presents alternative performances aimed to make theatre arts more accessible to the public. Or check out what’s playing at the Ensemble Theatre for more intimate and often provocative shows.

Eating, Drinking, Shopping, Strolling

Holtman’s Donuts. Credit: Dan Ledbetter/Cincinnati USA

For some of the neighbourhood’s best eateries, galleries and shops, meander down the major thoroughfares of Vine Street and Main Street. On Vine Street, you’ll stroll past fine examples of the popular 19th century Italianate architecture (there are almost 1000 such buildings in OTR), quirky shops, funky bars and inventive restaurants. Try the house-made wood-fired pizza at A Tavola Bar + Trattoria, the tacos and tequilas at Bakersfield, the fried chicken and local craft brews at The Eagle and the delectable delights of family-owned Holtman’s Donuts. On Main Street, you’ll find more heritage buildings, walls emblazoned with colourful murals, art galleries and a vibrant coffee culture. Check out MOTR Pub for live music and great sandwiches.

Findlay Market. Credit: Liz Dufour /Cincinnati USA

For the ultimate OTR shopping and people-watching experience, don’t miss Findlay Market. This old-school public market dates back to 1855 and today is home to stalls boasting all kinds of culinary treats, including fresh vegetables, meats, cheeses, seafood, chocolates, baked goods as well as flowers and more. In warmer weather, Findlay Market also boasts a lively beer garden, buskers and a booming farmers’ market.

Enter the Millennium Giveaway for your chance to win a 2-night complimentary stay at any Millennium hotel in the United States! Ten winners will receive a free stay with complimentary breakfast at the US Millennium hotel of their choice.


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