A delightful, tasty trip to downtown Cincinnati/Newport
My parents wanted to meet up with me and my friend for a fun weekend, so we settled on a weekend in Cincinnati. We planned it last minute so things were discovered more than organized, but we had a fun-filled weekend and some fantastic food. My mother has two bad knees so we did some walking, but we tried not to do too much. Every place we went, I made sure we parked close. Here are the highlights.
What We Did
We headed to an art fair in lovely Washington Park that hosts many events, including live music, exercise classes, and family-friendly events for people of all ages. Public restrooms in the park are now open. Artisans and food trucks were set up, along with live music. A water park is also there — it was a hot day so that was packed with everyone getting splashed as the water shot up from the pavement. washingtonpark.org
Across the street from the Elm Street side of Washington Park is the Cincinnati Music Hall — a beautiful, late 19th century, brick building that is home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (the sixth-oldest symphony orchestra in the country), Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, the Cincinnati Opera (the nation’s second-oldest opera company), the Cincinnati Ballet, and the May Festival (the longest-running choral festival in the Western hemisphere). Indoor and outdoor tours are offered. friendsofmusichall.org/music-hall-tours/
After the park, we stopped by Findlay Market, Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market. Everyone loves this place and it was packed. There are places where you can order food, beverages, flowers, and crafts. Be advised though, it was hard to navigate on a busy day. findlaymarket.org
We had lunch across the street from Findlay Market at the French Crust Bistro & Cafe. The menu is full of typical French fare, croissant sandwiches, a tuna salad baguette, and several quiche options. Virtually our entire table ordered different quiches. I’ve never had a quiche so good. frenchcrustcafe.com
While in town, we also visited IKEA. If you’ve never been to an IKEA, here are three things you should do while there: 1) Eat in the cafeteria-style restaurant and be sure to order some of their famous Swedish meatballs. 2) Visit their live plant section. 3) Visit the discount area located to the right of the registers. Also be sure to visit their market and cafe located in front of the registers. They have cinnamon rolls and frozen bags of their famous Swedish meatballs! Tip: Bring a cooler when making the trip to keep your frozen items cold.
We decided at the last minute to head to StoneBrook Winery for wine tastings. There are several wineries in and around Cincinnati, but we decided on one in the country — about 25 minutes southeast of Cincinnati on the Kentucky side (Camp Springs, Ky.). GPS is greatly needed! To me it was worth the trip to pay $5 to taste five different wines of your choice. The tasting room is in an 1890s farmhouse, and we sat outdoors under an open-sided structure overlooking the hillside and trees.
Looking to create your own wine tasting tour? Here are a few more local options.
Harmony Hill Vineyards, hhwines.com
Henke Winery, henkewine.com
Vinoklet Winery and Restaurant, vinokletwines.com
On our way to and from the winery, we drove through Fort Thomas, Kentucky. It’s a sweet little town with shops and cafes all along, what appears to be, a historic area of town. We ate at a Cambodian restaurant called Kampuchea Kitchen, a family-run business. It was an excellent meal as evidenced by our devoured dishes. I got the red curry, my mother got the chicken salad, and my father got a pork dish. kampucheakitchen.square.site
For one celebratory evening meal, we ate at Chart House restaurant in Newport, Kentucky. What can I say…it was delicious! Pricey, so it’s perfect for a special occasion. Every seat in the restaurant offers a view overlooking the river and into Cincinnati. I wanted to cry because the food was so good. chart-house.com
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Newport, Kentucky, which was fairly convenient and offers city view rooms for an additional charge. hilton.com
If boutique is more your style, The Lytle Park Hotel in the Lytle Park Historic District in Cincinnati offers luxurious rooms and suites, upscale amenities, and exquisite onsite dining. thelytleparkhotel.com
If you are looking for a truly local experience, consider booking through Airbnb. We looked at a lovely urban oasis downtown for $191 per night, complete with scenic views of downtown Cincinnati. airbnb.com
By Melissa Donald
P.S. Check out more things to do in Cincinnati here.