City Break: Cincinnati

By Amanda Wowk

March 15, 2022

City break (noun): a short holiday spent in a city, such as when on business travel.

Before there was bleisure travel, there was the city break—the short space of leisure time that grants you access to the cultural and culinary amenities that big cities offer. In this series from TripIt, we explore some of the world’s best cities for planning a quick getaway or extending a work trip.

Here are our tips for making the most of your city break in Cincinnati. 

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 Ohio state border in Hebron, Kentucky. 

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.

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 during your city break

city break Cincinnati

Visitors to Cincinnati are fortunate to have both sides of the Ohio River to choose from for accommodations. 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 four-star hotels like the 21c Museum Hotel and Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza.

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. 

In the Queen City on business? 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

city break Cincinnati

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 starts at $2.00 for a one-way trip. 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. The streetcar is free to ride. 

Prefer to pedal your way around town? Grab a Cincinnati Red Bike; day passes are $10 for unlimited two-hour rides within 24 hours. 

Alternatively, Lyft and Uber are available in Cincinnati for getting around the city in a jiffy or outside of downtown. 

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 plan details screens. 

Where to eat

city break Cincinnati

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 dinner seven days a week. Reservations are recommended—as is taking a peek at their impressive wine list. 

For more casual eats, choose from The Eagle, Salazar Restaurant & Bar, Zula Restaurant & Wine Bar, Pleasantry, B & A Street Kitchen, Pepp & Dolores, and Copper & Flame

In pursuit of wine and cheese? Head to The Rhined to sample the best domestically made artisan cheeses around—paired perfectly with a glass 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. 

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. You can contact the restaurant for reservations or call-ahead seating. 

And finally, whether you’re staying at Hotel Covington or not, make sure to book your brunch plans at Coppin’s Restaurant and Bar. The ingredients are hyper-local and the aesthetic is very Instagrammable. Win-win. 

What to do on your city break

Cincinnati

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, and many more. 

If you’re visiting Cincinnati during baseball season, be sure to catch a Reds game at the Great American Ball Park. More of a football fan? The Bengals play just down the street at Paul Brown Stadium. Or, catch the other kind of football at West End Stadium, the new home of FC Cincinnati.

If you’re planning a family 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 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. 

Note: As destinations reopen around the world, be sure to consult and adhere to all local guidelines and travel restrictions, as they vary widely and will continue to change. One way to stay on top of changing guidelines is to consult the COVID-19 travel guidance feature in the TripIt app for destination-specific information, including testing and vaccination requirements, current infection rates, quarantine rules upon arrival, and other information you need to know before visiting the area.