CINCINNATI


Cincinnati, Ohio is a place that we visit a lot.  Jessica grew up visiting Cincinnati frequently with a set of her grandparents living there along with a handful of family.  Now, we visit because all of those wonderful people still live there AND now so does Jessica's sister's family.
 
Most times we travel to Cincinnati, we stay with family.  This is nice because we get more quality time with them (especially the littles!).  However, we've realized that no matter how much you adore your family; sometimes it's just easier to grab a hotel room for the night.  And, that's OK!
 

When we don't stay with family, we enjoy staying right in the heart of downtown at The Westin.  It is a nice, large hotel with a great location in walking distance to both Great American and Paul Brown.  Oh, and there is a Starbucks right across the street on the corner of 4th and Vine.  Bonus!

The Westin
21 E 5th Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 621-7700  

 
Our favorite little restaurant in Cincinnati is right around the corner from The Westin.  Sotto is a basement dining spot with an austere brick-&-wood interior serving inventive rustic Italian cuisine.  It is the best.  The atmosphere, the service and the food are all so good that we can't say enough about them.  You've got to make a reservation if you plan to eat here and make it early, they fill up fast! 



Sotto
118 E 6th Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 977-6886 


When you're eating at Sotto, debating whether or not to get dessert is not an option.  You must order the ricotta doughnuts.  They come with three different dipping sauces and you will absolutely love them.  We sat at the chef's table, a bar area with seating for four that gives you an up close look of the kitchen.  Since we love great food, it was an extra bonus to the great dining experience.   


Besides visiting family (and the sweetest little niece), we have a load of reasons why we love spending time in Cincinnati.  The main reason we head to Cincinnati (besides the bonus family time) is to enjoy sporting events.  Between Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium, regardless of the season there's always a great game to catch.


Cincinnati is a great city that sits right across the Ohio River from Kentucky.  Jessica grew up a Cincinnati Reds fan while Dave cheered for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Great American Ball Park is one of our favorite parks to catch a game.  We try to go once a year when the Reds play the Cardinals.  When it comes to the NFL, Jessica is a Packers fan and Dave is a big time Steelers fan.  


For the past two years, Dave got tickets for his birthday to see the Steelers play in Cincinnati.  It's been a fun tradition for us.  Watching the Steelers play in Pittsburgh is on our bucket list, but for now we'll settle for watching them at a much cheaper price in Cincinnati.


Cincinnati has lots of great areas that surround the city.  We'd recommend checking out Newport which is right across the river from Cincinnati and Over the Rhine just barely north of downtown.  Over the Rhine is an up and coming area that offers great parks, special finds and is also home to Rhinegeist Brewery.
  
Rhinegeist Brewery
1910 Elm Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 381-1367  

He may freak-ishly look like our little brother, but this was actually our tour guide.

Rhinegeist offers tours for you to get a behind the scenes look at the brewery.  We took one and would recommend it to anyone who is visiting that enjoys craft beer.  They cap the tours at 15 people so it's important to make online reservations prior to your arrival.  Food is not served, but the atmosphere extremely laid back and you are welcome to bring in whatever food you'd like.


 Sticking with the theme of beer... Oktoberfest Zinzinnati.  You've got to go!  Oktoberfest Zinzinnati showcases the rich German heritage of Southwest Ohio, as well as tasty samples of German-style music, food and beer.

First held in 1976, the event has grown to be America's LARGEST Oktoberfest.  It usually takes place in September, so be on the lookout and mark it on your calendar early in the year.  They've got all of the craft beer, soft pretzels and German food that you could ever want!


 Aside from all kinds of ballgames and festivals, Cincinnati has much more to check out.  The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden are high on our list along with the Cincinnati Museum Center.  If you're in the city and you've got littles tagging along, these are both stops to make.


Cincinnati also has some great parks and outdoor space for you (and the littles) to enjoy.  Smale Riverfront Park and Washington Park are two of our favorites.  Smale is downtown near the riverfront and Washington is in Over-the-Rhine.  Both have lots of free outdoor entertainment on occasion.


We love being in the city!  Stopping by fun places to grab and drink and enjoying each other's company is one of our favorite things to do.  There's something about sipping on a good glass of red wine in the quiet while the hustle and bustle of a large city surrounds you.  A great place to do this in Cincinnati is at 21c Museum Hotel.  If you're in town, it's worth the stop.

 
If you aren't familiar with 21c, they are boutique style hotels that house multi-venue contemporary art museums.  We love checking them out!  A fun little fact is that they have these fun penguins all over their hotels and each hotel has its own color penguins.  Seriously, how cool is that! 


If you're looking for a specific color penguin, here's the list of where to visit:
Red – 21c Louisville
Yellow – 21c Cincinnati
Green – 21c Bentonville
Fuchsia – 21c Durham
Blue – 21c Lexington
Purple – 21c Oklahoma City
Teal – 21c Nashville


We've also gone to Cincinnati to catch a concert at Riverbend Music Center.  Riverbend is an outdoor amphitheater located in Cincinnati right along the banks of the Ohio River.  It's got a laid back vibe and is a fun place to see a concert.  Just plan to rent chairs if you go and don't try taking your own.


We visit often and brave all kinds of weather conditions.  Whether its super hot catching a summer baseball game or we are freezing our toes off in December watching a football game.  A fun thing about visiting at different times of the year is that you are able to see how they celebrate holidays.


We loved walking around downtown (in the freezing cold) checking out Christmas trees.  Christmas is such a fun time to travel to places you love and are familiar with to see all of the special little things they do for the holiday season.

We can't count the number of times we've been to Cincinnati and we know they'll be dozens more.   Regardless of the number of times we've been, we always find something new to do.
Pay extra to stay right downtown!  It makes your time in the city much easier.

It's worth it to valet park at downtown hotels.  The ease of pulling right up and letting them deal with parking your car is a heck of a lot better than driving around looking for parking.

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