Cincinnati, OH, USA
Photo by Yolanda Shoshana
Cincinnati: An Underrated City Full of SurprisesI was invited to Cincinnati for Bockfest. I figured why not go sip some beer and see what’s going on in Ohio. While the city is called “The Queen City” it‘s affectionately known as “Cincy”.
Bockfest is an eclectic annual three day party attended by Cincy’s residents and beer tourists who come together for their love of bock beer. It’s the longest and largest running bock beer festival in the world. The fest was started to promote the rich heritage of the neighborhood, Over-the-Rhine. The name for the neighborhood came from German immigrants during the 19th century. The first brewing company established in the area was by Christian Moerlein in 1853. Prohibition put an end to the beer that was flowing freely in the hood. That put around twelve breweries out of business. Now there’s currently a revival for Over-the-Rhine thanks to Bockfest and new establishments bringing people to the area. The fest gets kicked off by a parade featuring a goat walking through designated streets carrying a keg. A weekend continues with an array of bock beer filled activities.
While Bockfest was the reason for me to go to Cincinnati, the trip shifted into the essence of what the city has to offer. It’s a city with an urban feel, but way more relaxed than New York or Los Angeles. That doesn’t mean that it lacks flair.
I was surprised at the food and wine scene. While beer is big in Cincy, the wine selection was wonderful at the restaurants I went to. It also wasn’t bad at the 21c Museum Hotel. The hotel had a short list of wine for room service, but they the wines were gems. Since Kentucky is right across the bridge, the whiskey selections are stellar as well.
There’s some great farm to table eateries in the city. If you are looking for a good brunch stop, drop by Maplewood. Everything is local and seasonal. The 150 seat restaurant is bustling on the weekends, however, it’s worth standing in the line. Everything was delicious. Get one of the mimosas made with fresh juice as you wait to place your order. The Moerlein Lager House is a good stop for lunch or dinner with a good beer pairing. There’s also a beautiful view of the Roebling Bridge. The bridge is historically known for being the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge. If you want a hip and happening place to dine, then a must is Boca. The food is fabulous and the atmosphere is elegant. It’s one of the city’s top restaurants. Let’s just say it’s well worth the hype. Do yourself a favor and get the Pommes Soufflées "1942".
Are you into visiting sites? If you want to visit a unique museum, go to the Sign Museum. It’s quirky and fun. It will bring back memories from your childhood if you lived in the USA while you were growing up. The museum is also available for events and weddings. I admit that a part of me would dig having a wedding ceremony there. Who wouldn’t want to get married close to a Howard Johnson’s neon sign?
Make sure you stop by the National Underground Freedom Center. It’s the Smithsonian Museum's only location outside of the Washington D.C. area. The center was opened in 2004 to pay tribute to end of slavery and freedom for everyone. There's a flame that burns on the center’s roof 24/7 to symbolize the fact that people are still fighting for freedom. Not only will you probably learn something new about slavery, you will get an understanding of how if still affects everyone around the world.
If someone had told me that I would develop a crush on the city, I never would have believed them. This has gotten me some side eyes and surprised glances. I feel the same way, who knew that the city had so much going on? Well, of course the people who live there know they are a well-kept secret. However with about 24.1 million plus people visiting the city, clearly the word is getting out that it’s a city worth your travel time.
For more information about travel to Cincinnati, visit www.cincyusa.com