Families can explore baseball, museums, and other Queen City attractions.
Looking for a budget-friendly spring break? Less than a two-hour drive southwest of Columbus, Cincinnati offers an action-packed, family-friendly getaway, whether you’re there for one day or more.
If you only have time for a day out, plan the 100th Cincinnati Reds Opening Day Parade on March 28th, coupled with the season opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Great American Ball Park. Or, for a later trip, visit the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens for Zoo and Blossoms in April, Zoo Babies in May, and educational programs in the spring.
An overnight trip to Cincinnati is the best way to see some of the top attractions and enjoy the food and neighborhoods that give Queen City its character. Plan a visit with this sample route.
The Cincinnati Museum Center
1301 Western Ave., Cincinnati; 513-287-7000; cincymuseum.org
Opening times: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily
Cost: Basic entry is $ 14.50 for adults, $ 10.50 for children ages 3 to 12, $ 5.50 for children ages 1 to 2, and is free for infants
The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is a must for families. The grand Art Deco building is a historic train terminal converted into three venues: the Cincinnati History Museum, the Museum of Natural History and Science, and the Duke Energy Children’s Museum. There is also an OMNIMAX theater that shows films for an additional fee.
With the simple “Discovery” passes, visitors can travel between the venues. The Cincinnati History Museum features live historical exhibits with costumed interpreters, while the Children’s Museum offers hands-on exploration of energy, gardening, and nature with educational game exhibits. The Natural History Museum focuses on dinosaurs and science through interactive experiences.
Parking spaces are often occupied, but given the size of the venue, it’s rarely crowded inside. Parents can get snacks at the Bean Sprouts Café, which offers kid-friendly options like monster-shaped sandwiches and guacamole hummus decorated like an alligator.
Lunch at the Skyline Chili
254 E. Fourth St., Cincinnati; 513-241-4848; skylinechili.com
For a true Cincinnati experience, visit Skyline Chili, founded in 1949 by Greek immigrant Nicholas Lambrinides, who named the restaurant after the view from the windows of its original (now closed) location. The menu is the same as in central Ohio, but fun eating like a local at a downtown Cincinnati restaurant. Parking is best on the street or in the nearby garage.
1 Dave Cowens Drive, Newport, Kentucky; 800-406-3474; newportaquarium.com
Hours of Operation: Varies with the season, opens at 9 or 10 a.m. and closes at 6 or 7 p.m. every day
Cost: $ 25.99 for children ages 13 and older, $ 17.99 for children ages 2 to 12, free for younger children
Across the bridge from downtown is the Newport Aquarium, which is located in the Newport on the Levee complex. The attraction has more than 60 exhibits and thousands of aquatic life. Visitors can tour five underwater tunnels or stroll along the Shark Bridge. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the aquarium. So keep an eye out for special events, including Jim Henson’s Splash and Bubbles Reeftown Adventure, where kids can crawl through Coral Cove and learn about the animals that live there.
Strollers are not permitted before 4:00 p.m., but free child transports are available from Guest Services. Outdoor dining and drinks are prohibited, but the on-site Sharky’s Café provides refreshments.
Over the Rhine
Relax in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, one of Cincinnati’s liveliest and most historic neighborhoods. Head to Washington Park for the kids’ playground and fountains, and walk a few blocks to The Rook OTR (1115 Vine St.), a board game studio with 1,000+ games and a full-service restaurant. On-street parking is limited, but get a spot under Washington Park for a couple of hours for $ 3 to $ 5.
After dinner, take a spin on the SkyStar Observation Wheel in the nearby riverside entertainment district, The Banks. The 150 foot tall Ferris wheel is covered with 1 million colored LEDs and offers panoramic views of the city. Tickets are $ 12.50, but Groupon has a recurring offer of $ 40 for four drivers. Note that the traveling attraction is scheduled to leave town on June 16.
Breakfast at will
16 W. Freedom Way, Cincinnati; 513-396-5800; authentischwaffle.com
Head to the Belgian Flavors at The Banks to get you ready for the day. Try an authentic Belgian waffle, waffle & chicken, crepes or other morning meal.
Narrow park on the riverside
West Mehring Way, Cincinnati; mysmaleriverfrontpark.org
Spend a few hours at Smale Riverfront Park, a revitalized green space along the river. Head to the P&G Go Vibrantscape play area, where kids can enjoy the giant foot piano, and check out the hand-carved carousel, fountains, rose garden, and swings by the river.
Bike over the Purple People Bridge
Rent a red bike from The Banks near Smale Riverfront Park and cycle from state to state on the Purple People Bridge. The pedestrian mall, officially called Newport Southbank Bridge, opened in 1872 to connect Newport on the Levee, Kentucky, to Sawyer Point, Cincinnati. The bike rental is $ 8. Learn more at cincyredbike.org.
Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum
100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati; 513-765-7923; mlb.com/reds/hall-of-fame
Hours: 10 a.m. to two hours after the afternoon games have ended; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. for night games; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. non-game weekend days. The museum is open seasonally.
Cost: $ 10 for adults, $ 8 for children, free for children aged 4 and under
The Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum is a great pre-game activity for learning about history and seeing the largest such facility for any team in baseball. The museum has recently been extensively renovated. Be sure to visit the kids’ clubhouse (ages 6 and under) for a pint-sized locker room, team jerseys to try on, and more.
Catch a Reds Game
100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Cincinnati; 513-765-7000; mlb.com/reds
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Cincinnati Reds of Major League Baseball, so the Great American Ball Park 2019 will be full of action, giveaways, and special events. Playing a Reds game is one of the most iconic experiences in Cincinnati. The playing times vary as well as the ticket prices.
For lunch or dinner before heading home, there are numerous standard rates available for the ballpark as well as Skyline and local favorites LaRosa’s Pizza and Montgomery Inn.