Planning a trip to Cincinnati? Whether you’re headed there for work, fun, or a little bit of both, here are our tips for making the most of your time in Cincy.
Where to fly in
Cincinnati metro area is served by Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). Located 13 miles south of Cincinnati, just over the state border in Hebron, Kentucky, CVG is one of the fastest growing airports in the US. Both legacy and low-cost carriers serve the destination.
Once on the ground, travelers can catch the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) public bus service outside of baggage claim to head into downtown Cincinnati. Buses run daily from 5 AM to midnight. Taxis and ride shares are also available from CVG. Alternatively, you can rent a car to get around the city. Rental car lots can be accessed via shuttle. Shuttles run about every 10 minutes; catch one just outside baggage claim.
Where to stay
Visitors to Cincinnati are fortunate to have both sides of the Ohio River to choose from. For instance, Hotel Covington, located immediately across the river from Cincinnati in Covington, KY, draws business travelers and brunch-goers alike. Back in Cincinnati proper, travelers can choose from 4-star hotels like the 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati – Mgallery and Hilton Cincinnati Netherlands Plaza.
In the Queen City on business? Here are our picks for where to stay:
- If you’re attending an event at Duke Energy Convention Center, you can’t beat the convenience of the Millennium Cincinnati. Business travelers will also appreciate the hotel’s many amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi, a business center, and express check-in.
- If a hotel in a prime downtown Cincinnati location is what you’re after, look no further than the Hyatt Regency Cincinnati. Located in the Central Business District, the hotel is just a three minute walk from Fountain Square and an 11 minute walk from the Great American Ball Park. Plus, Concur Hipmunk users receive exclusive discounts when staying at a Hyatt property.
- Planning an event? The Westin Cincinnati—located just steps away from Fountain Square—offers over 11,000 square feet of meeting, conference, and event space.
How to get around
Part of downtown Cincinnati’s charm is its easy walkability. Plan accordingly by packing comfortable shoes for walking from place to place. When walking isn’t feasible, Cincinnati’s Metro bus system can be your go-to for getting around. A single-ride fare costs $1.75 for a one-way trip within the city of Cincinnati (Zone 1) and can be purchased from the bus driver. Alternatively, a Zone 1 day pass costs $4.50. Fares increase the further the zone you’re traveling to. Download the Cincy EZ Ride app to purchase your fare, as well as view bus maps, schedules, and more.
Sticking around downtown? The Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar covers 3.6 miles of downtown Cincy and connects many of the city’s attractions and businesses. Fares are also available to purchase via the Cincy EZ Ride app and cost $1 for a two hour pass or $2 for a day pass.
Alternatively, Lyft and Uber are available in Cincinnati and are likely your best option for getting around the city in a jiffy or outside of downtown. Plus, if you manage your travel and expenses with Concur or Concur Hipmunk, your Uber trip receipt will automatically populate into your expense report.
Pro tip: Use TripIt’s Navigator feature to search transportation options available to you. It will show you the estimated costs and travel times for each option, so you can decide which works best. You can find Navigator within your flight, hotel and rental car details screens. Plus, if you add a restaurant reservation to your itinerary (more on where to eat below), Navigator also helps you find the best transportation options for getting to your table.
Where to eat
If you only have time for one meal during your trip to Cincinnati, make it at Sotto. Offering menu items that are “above all, Italian”, Sotto is open for lunch and dinner. Reservations are recommended—as is taking a peek at their impressive wine list.
Elsewhere downtown, Please tickles the adventurous eater’s fancy. Order a la carte or opt for the five-course menu for $62—either way, we think you’ll come away, well, pleased.
In pursuit of wine and cheese? Head to The Rhined to sample the best domestically-made artisan cheeses around—paired perfectly with a glass (or three) of vino.
Have breakfast on the brain? Make your way to Blue Jay Restaurant, located in Cincinnati’s Northside neighborhood, for traditional breakfast dishes served all-day long.
Finally, let’s not forget to look across the river. Yonder, a rooftop bar located immediately above Commonwealth Bistro (by the same owners), offers unique bar bites made from locally-sourced ingredients and inventive cocktails to match. Libby’s Southern Comfort in Covington takes a turn on Southern classics. They don’t take reservations, so bring your thirst (may we suggest something with bourbon?) and bide your wait at the bar.
What to do
While many cities tout themselves as America’s best beer city, few can lay claim to the long brewing history Cincinnati has. In the mid-1800’s, German entrepreneurs built a profitable brewing industry, establishing Over-The-Rhine’s Brewery District. Today, breweries dot the cityscape, both within OTR and beyond. To sample the city’s best suds, choose from breweries like Rhinegeist Brewery, Taft’s Brewing Company, Urban Artifact Brewing, 13 Below Brewery, Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, and many more.
If you’re visiting Cincinnati during baseball season, be sure to catch a Reds game at the Great American Ball Park—how could you not with a name like that? More of a football fan? The Bengals play just down the street at Paul Brown Stadium. Or, catch the other kind of football at Nippert Stadium, the temporary home of FC Cincinnati. The Major League Soccer team will relocate to West End Stadium once construction is complete in Spring 2021.
If your family tagged along on your business trip, there are plenty of kid-friendly things to do in Cincinnati. Start your day at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Then, head downtown to explore Washington Park. Catch a rainy or chilly day? Head to the Cincinnati Public Library or the Duke Energy Children’s Museum for hours of indoor fun.
Adults-only? By day, visit Findlay Market—Cincinnati’s last remaining public market, open since 1852. By night, catch a performance at the Cincinnati Music Hall. From touring Broadway and comedy shows to opera and classical music performances, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
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