Grab your walking shoes, and become an urban adventurer. Danny Korman and Katie Meyer guide you through 35 unique walking tours in this comprehensive guidebook. From historic railroad suburbs to quaint river towns, go beyond the obvious with tours that showcase hidden streets, architectural masterpieces, and diverse cultures.
Enjoy the fountains, gardens, and sounds of sports at Smale Riverfront Park. Cross from Ohio to Kentucky and back again along the wondrous Purple People Bridge. Experience colorful neighborhoods such as Over-the-Rhine and Mount Adams. Each self-guided tour includes full-color photographs, a detailed map, and need-to-know details like distance, difficulty, and more. Route summaries make each walk easy to follow, and a “Points of Interest” section lists the highlights of every tour. The walks’ commentaries include such topics as neighborhood history, local culture, and architecture, plus tips on where to dine, have a drink, and shop.
The 35 self-guided tours lead you through one of the country’s best walking cities. So whether you’re looking for a short stroll or a full day of entertainment, you’ll get it by Walking Cincinnat.
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About the Author
Katie Meyer has a deep interest in how cities work and what makes them thrive. After nine years as the executive director of Renaissance Covington, Inc., Katie now has a new job as the smart city policy advisor for Cincinnati Bell. Raised in a rehabbed 19th-century Italianate in downtown Covington, she has an ingrained passion for the art of historic rehabilitation and the value of walkable neighborhoods. Katie has a bachelor of arts degree in political science and journalism from the University of Kentucky and a master’s of science degree in urban policy analysis and management from The New School in New York City. She currently lives in the Austinburg neighborhood of Covington with her wife, two stepkids, and two dogs.
Read an Excerpt
From Immigrant Neighborhood to Arts District
- Boundaries: Eton Pl., Race St., 12th St., Young St.
- Distance: 1.9 miles
- Difficulty: Easy
- Parking: Start at Findlay Market (118 W. Elder St.), 3 blocks north of Liberty St. between Elm St. and Race St. There are parking lots north and south of the market and on Elder St. west of Elm St. Better yet, ride your bike and park at one of the racks on either end of the market house.
- Public Transit: Take Metro (go-metro.com) routes 46, 64, or 78 to Elder St. and Race St., or routes 6 and 17 to Elder St. and Vine St. or Elder St. and Central Pkwy. Cincinnati Bell Connector streetcar (cincinnatibellconnector.com) connects The Banks, downtown, and Over-the-Rhine with 18 stations. Cincinnati Red Bike (cincyredbike.org) has bicycle rental stations at 1723 Pleasant St. (Findlay Market), 1384 Elm St. (Washington Park), 1425 Main St., and elsewhere.
Over-the-Rhine is Cincinnati’s chief claim to a walking city. The neighborhood is unlike anything else in Cincinnati or the Midwest. The whole area (about 365 acres) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the city’s largest local historic district. Believed to have the single largest grouping of Italianate architecture in the nation and the largest collection of tenement buildings outside New York City, its significance is comparable to other well-known national historic districts around the country.
The neighborhood’s distinctive name comes from its early residents and builders: German immigrants of the mid-19th century. The Miami and Erie Canal separated the area from downtown and was nicknamed The Rhine in reference to the Rhine River in Germany, and the neighborhood north of the canal was dubbed Over-the-Rhine. The 20th-century transition to Appalachian and African American migrants, as well as immigrants arriving after each World War from eastern Europe, influenced the area’s social and political mix even more. The residential styles are varied because the neighborhood was economically diverse for so many decades. Two of Cincinnati’s biggest industriesbrewing and ironworkare still evident throughout.
Over-the-Rhine is an urban survivor after suffering decades of neglect and indifference, and it retains an incredible 19th-century sense of place in its compact blocks, brick buildings, and human scale that usually maxes out at five stories. Just like the Germans who first settled here, people today take great pride in their neighborhood. You can see it in the well-kept houses on Orchard Street, the swept sidewalks in front of Main Street storefronts, and the well-traveled aisles at Findlay Market.
In addition to being a living neighborhood, Over-the-Rhine is a regional attraction. Most visitors come to the neighborhood to experience activities related to the arts, which has led to a surge in bars and dining options, especially along Race, Vine, and Main Streets. A handful of longtime merchants, including Silverglades (since 1922), Suder’s Art Store (since 1924), and Tucker’s Restaurant (since 1946), hold their own in a neighborhood experiencing dynamic change. This walk passes numerous monuments to Over-the-Rhine’s Germanic cultural traditions, while calling out newer additions that give the neighborhood its appeal.
Start your walk at Rhinegeist, at the corner of Elm Street and Eton Place in a resurgent area of Over-the-Rhine. Rhinegeist, a sprawling brewery, opened in 2013 in the former Christian Moerlein Brewery bottling facility. Walk one block east along Eton Place to the venerable Rookwood Pottery Company. Founded by Maria Longworth Storer in 1880, it thrived until the Great Depression and has rebounded under new ownership since 2006. (There’s a company retail store at 1209 Vine St.)
Turn right on Race Street, and go two blocks south to W. Elder Street. On your right is Findlay Market, the oldest continuously operated public market in Ohio. Findlay is the last remaining public market of the nine that once served Cincinnati. It’s Cincinnati’s closest thing to a European shopping experience, especially on a Saturday when the market is teeming with people buying, hugging, laughing, looking around, chatting, and just being. Nineteenth-century architecture surrounds the market, with Renaissance Revival, Greek Revival, Queen Anne, and Italianate all in full view.
After exploring the market, continue south on Race Street. Over-the-Rhine Recreation Center, hidden behind 1708 Race St., is a mix of refurbished historic buildings and infill from 1971. [Detour: Head east two blocks on Green Street to Vine Street for Tucker’s Restaurant (1637 Vine St.), the neighborhood’s oldest diner (since 1946) serving comfort food classics for breakfast and lunch.]
Continue south on Race Street, and cross Liberty Street. Race Street is a street of churches. On the left is the Gothic facade of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church (1871). Just down the street on the right is St. Paul’s Church (1850). Empty and neglected for decades, it now houses Taft’s Ale House, with tongue-in-cheek references to William Howard Taft, the 27th president of the United States and Cincinnati resident. There are more up ahead, as you will see. On the right is the Race Street Garden. While it looks like a private yard, it is indeed a community garden that holds its own in a rapidly changing neighborhood. In 1989 Pleasant Street gardeners created the little oasis with infrastructure support from the Civic Garden Center Community in Avondale.
A cluster of culinary businesses has emerged in these blocks: Poke Hut (1509 Race St.), Anchor OTR (1401 Race St.), Zula Restaurant & Wine Bar (1400 Race St.), Salazar (1401 Republic St.), and more in a neighborhood with a regular stream of new business openings. Anchor OTR benefits from a restored wooden veranda, an important part of the area’s architectural heritage, facing Washington Park....
Table of ContentsAcknowledgments
- Ohio Riverfront
- Downtown Cincinnati
- Mount Auburn
- Mount Adams
- Walnut Hills
- Clifton Heights, University Heights, and Fairview
- Clifton Gaslight District
- College Hill
- North Avondale
- Pleasant Ridge
- Hyde Park
- East Walnut Hills
- Mount Lookout
- Old Milford and Terrace Park
- East Price Hill
- Sayler Park
- Covington: Historic Licking Riverside, Eastside, and Roebling Point
- Downtown Covington
- Covington: MainStrasse Village and Old Seminary Square
- Covington: Devou Park and Kenton Hills
- Covington: Latonia
- Newport East Row Historic District
- Fort Thomas
Appendix: Walks by Theme
About the Authors