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Over-the-Rhine

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Understand[edit]

Over-the-Rhine

Over-the-Rhine (OTR) is the city's largest historic district. It is the location of Music Hall, home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Opera; Findlay Market, Ohio's oldest public market in continuous operation; the Main Street Entertainment District; and much of Cincinnati's creative arts. Also of note is the Gateway Quarter a rebranded part of the neighborhood which has some of the city's hottest/hippest bars/dining spots between Central Parkway and 14th Street on Vine.

Care should be taken when visiting this neighborhood as crime is more frequent here than in other areas of the city though its going down every year, see stay safe for details. Since the 1980s, the neighborhood has been a battleground between advocates for low income housing and historic preservationists/real estate developers. As a result, the neighborhood is inconsistent in its make up, with high-end housing and shopping within viewing distance of abandoned and decayed buildings with boarded up windows.

This article also covers the adjacent West End. The little bit that survived of this once large densely populated neighborhood would not be notable for travelers except for the Dayton Street Historic District. At its peak in the mid-to-late 1800s, this was a millionaires' row that rivaled Prairie Avenue in Chicago, or 5th Avenue in New York City in terms of wealth. Today it’s more than a bit rundown, but less so than the neighborhood that surrounds it. It’s worth a look for the adventurous traveler. The local soccer club FC Cincinnati, which joined Major League Soccer in 2019, is preparing to build a new stadium in the West End that is planned to open in 2021.

Get in[edit]

Get around[edit]

See[edit]

Map of Cincinnati/Over-the-Rhine
  • 1 Old St Mary's, 123 E. Thirteenth Street Cincinnati, OH 45202 (13th and Main), +1 513 721-2988. Built in 1841, this is the oldest standing church in Cincinnati and was for many years a center for the German-Catholics who called Over-The-Rhine home. For a taste of local culture, attend a mass in German on Sunday's see website for details Old St. Mary's Church (Q7085044) on Wikidata Old St. Mary's Church (Cincinnati, Ohio) on Wikipedia
  • 2 Washington Park, 1230 Elm St (In front of Music Hall - parking in garage under the park). Originally designed in 1855, replacing what was then a cemetery, this park has pretty much followed the fortunes of Over-The-Rhine, going from a prosperous hub of activity and immigration to a crime filled den of poverty and squalor. Fortunately along with the neighborhood, this park has undergone a major renovation, including interactive fountains designed to go with music selectable by phone app, a beergarden (this is Cincinnati), a large event lawn, playgrounds, and a look that combines a respect for the park's history with modern amenities. Its particularly striking to see at night when the fountains are lit up in different colors, and safety shouldn't be an issue then as there are plenty of security cameras installed to quell any potential issues with the neighborhood. 3CDC who remodeled Fountain Square led this renovation and as a result is programming it with plenty of events throughout the year, see website for details. Washington Park (Q7972097) on Wikidata Washington Park (Cincinnati, Ohio) on Wikipedia
  • 3 Dayton Street Historic District (Dayton Street West of Linn (800-950)). A millionaire's row from the 19th century rivaling the far more famous ones in New York City (5th Ave) and Chicago (Prairie Ave) giving one a glimpse of Cincinnati's heyday in the mid-1800s. This one is far more intact, but is part of an endangered neighborhood that's seen better days (its a bit seedy). The website discusses the history of the houses in the area, though the Hauck House is no longer a museum. An East Coaster would probably have their jaw hit the floor if they saw the low prices on these wonderful old mansions. Dayton Street Historic District (Q5243573) on Wikidata Dayton Street Historic District on Wikipedia
  • 4 Betts House, 416 Clark St (West End - West of Central Parkway). Tu-Th 11AM - 2PM; 2nd and 4th Sa 12:30PM - 5PM. One of the rare survivors of mid-century urban renewal that destroyed the once very densely populated West End, this is the oldest surviving house in Cincinnati (built in 1804) and one of the older brick houses west of the Appalachian Mountains. It houses a museum and rotating exhibitions usually devoted to the history of Cincinnati. $2. Betts House (Q4898661) on Wikidata Betts House (Cincinnati, Ohio) on Wikipedia

Museums and galleries[edit]

American Classical Music Hall of Fame
The Cincinnati Museum Center and Union Terminal
  • 5 American Classical Music Hall of Fame, 1225 Elm St (next to Music Hall, in Memorial Hall), +1 513 621-3263, fax: +1 513 621-9333, . Open by appt. The American Classical Music Hall of Fame includes a timeline through classical music (focusing on American classical music) and interactive displays of inductees. The Hall it is in is also worth a look too, as it was built as a memorial to those who perished in the Civil War, in the era close to the height of Cincinnati's prominence. American Classical Music Hall of Fame and Museum (Q4743420) on Wikidata American Classical Music Hall of Fame and Museum on Wikipedia
  • 6 [dead link] Art Beyond Boundaries, 1410 Main St, +1 513 421-8726. M-Sa 10AM-5PM. Art Beyond Boundaries is a visual art gallery showcasing the work of local artists with disabilities. They also have showings at Pendelton Art Center's Final Friday.
  • 7 Carl Solway Gallery, 424 Findlay St (West End), +1 513 621-0069. M-F 9AM-5PM; Sa noon-5PM. Founded in 1962, the Carl Solway Gallery features nationally and internationally known modern and contemporary artists such as Nam June Paik, John Cage, Claes Oldenburg, and Tom Wesselmann. Free.
  • 8 Pendleton Art Center, 1310 Pendleton St (Downtown), +1 513 559-3958 ext 1257, . Final Friday 6-10PM; Second Look Saturday 10AM-2PM. Final Fridays at the Pendleton Art Center are "The World's Largest Collection of Artists Under One Roof!" On the final Friday of each month, Pendleton Art Center showcases many floors of local art for those interested in buying or just admiring. Free admission.
  • 9 Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, 1301 Western Ave (Queensgate), +1 513 287-7000, . M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-6PM. Built in 1933 as the Union Terminal train station, it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977. The Cincinnati Museum Center is comprised of the Cincinnati History Museum, Museum of Natural History and Science, Duke Energy Children's Museum, and the Robert D. Linder Family Omnimax Theater. If you're a fan of classic comic books, you'll easily recognize Union Terminal as the inspiration for the Hall of Justice. Admission for one museum or Omnimax show: adults $7.25, seniors $6.25 , children (ages 3-12) $5.25; admission for all three museums and one Omnimax show: adults $16.25, children $11.25. Parking is $4.50 per vehicle. Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal (Q863050) on Wikidata Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal on Wikipedia

Do[edit]

  • 1 Cincinnati Music Hall, 1243 Elm St, +1 513 744-3344, fax: +1 513 744-3345. The Music Hall is the beautiful home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Opera, and Cincinnati Ballet. The building was built in 1878 and funded by what's believed to be the first matching grant fund drive in the United States. In 1880, the building hosted the Democratic National Convention. Tours can be arranged through the Friends of Music Hall. Cincinnati Music Hall (Q9289351) on Wikidata Cincinnati Music Hall on Wikipedia
  • 2 Woodward Theater, 1404 Main St (Mainstreet Entertainment District), +1 513 721-7625. 6PM - 11PM. Built as a movie theater, this remodeled venue features up and coming indie bands that would attract larger crowds than the nearby MOTR pub which has the same ownership. Price varies, see website. Woodward Theater (Q43159393) on Wikidata
  • 3 Know Theatre, 1120 Jackson St (South of Liberty), +1 513 300-5669. Nestled in Over the Rhine, this is a theater known for doing less conventional productions. They also run the fringe festival annually. $15 advance, $20 week of performance.
  • 4 Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati, 1127 Vine St (Gateway), +1 513 421-3555. Intimate playhouse hosted in an old bank building in Over-The-Rhine. Generally plays nationally-known plays and regional specials.
  • 5 Queen City Underground Tours (Cincy Haus), 1281 Vine St, +1 859 951-8560. Spring and fall: Sa 9:30AM, 10:30AM, 11:30AM, 2:30PM, and 3:30PM, Su 11:30AM, 2PM. Summer: M-Th noon and 3PM, Sa Su same as fall. A popular and expanding tour run by American Heritage Tours discussing the many buildings that once housed over 130 saloons, bars, beergardens and theaters on Vine Street in Over-The-Rhine's "Gateway Quarter" followed by a trip down into the network of tunnels underneath that at one point were used to age/store beer and even a hidden tomb. Also discussed is Cincinnati's corrupt political history in the 19th century under Boss Cox. $15.
  • 6 Cincinnati Brewery District Lager Tours, 116 W Elder St (Findlay Market Biergarten, Over the Rhine), +1 513 604-9812. May 21st-September: Sa Su 1PM. Tours of the old breweries and the tunnels underneath them that once made Cincinnati one of the largest producers of beer in the United States. Tours are run by the Brewery District Community Redevelopment Corp. $15.
  • 7 Cincinnati Heritage Tours, 1301 Western Ave (Union Terminal), +1 513 287-7031. Hours vary, check website. A number of tours done through out the year (some by bus) showcasing Cincinnati's rich history. This is where you can get the once a year abandoned subway tour, which unfortunately sells out very quickly, leading one to wonder, why don't they offer it more often? Reservations recommended. Prices vary, tends to be expensive, check website.

Festivals[edit]

  • Bockfest (Various places Downtown, Over-the-Rhine). Usually first weekend in March. Quirky series of events that celebrate Over-the-Rhine’s history, the coming of spring and bock beer. It usually features a parade in the Main Street Entertainment District on Friday, a nomination of a "Sausage Queen" on Saturday and a series of tours of rarely seen parts of Over-The-Rhine. Performances and other German-related events are also included. Check the website for more details and pricing on tours.
  • Cincy Fringe Festival, Know Theatre, 1120 Jackson St, +1 513 300-5669. Late May/early June. Like Fringe Festivals around the world, the Cincy Fringe Festival showcases the off-beat, the experimental, and the just plain weird. Over twelve days, dozens of plays, musicals, dance productions, puppet shows, and other performances are shown in locations throughout Over-The-Rhine, all within walking distance of each other. Performers range from locals to international visiting troupes. Evening are capped by unique nightly activities at the bar at the Know Theatre Underground. $12 per show, with discounts for multi-passes.
  • MidPoint Music Festival (MPMF). The Midwest's biggest and best independent music festival. Over 300 emerging bands from the U.S. and abroad play all kinds of music in a parking lot in the small Pendleton neighborhood by OTR.

Buy[edit]

Findlay Market is the oldest operational market in Ohio
  • 1 Findlay Market, 1801 Race St, +1 513 665-4839, . T-F 9AM-6PM, Sat 8AM-6PM, Su 10AM-4PM. In Cincinnati's historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, Ohio's oldest continuously operating market offers collection of fresh food vendors, restaurants, and non-food shops that has been in operation since 1855. The market is most lively, and best visited by tourists, on Saturdays around noon. Hang out in the beergarden with local beer on the west side of the market and catch some live music when the weather is good on weekends. Findlay Market (Q5449993) on Wikidata Findlay Market on Wikipedia
  • 2 The Rookwood Pottery Company, 1920 Race St (Over the Rhine, North of Liberty), +1 513 381-2510. A highly regarded historic producer of fine ceramics. Due to Great Depression, a dramatic decrease in demand for the company's handcrafted quality artwork caused the original Rookwood Pottery to close its doors. The legendary status of Rookwood Pottery inspired its resurrection in mid-2006. It has moved down to Over-The-Rhine. A company store is next to the Gateway Quarter on 1209 Jackson Street between Walnut and Vine.
  • 3 Wooden Nickel, 1400 - 1414 Central Parkway (Over the Rhine), +1 513 241-2985. M-Sa 10AM-5PM. Antique shop that is notable for accepting goods from abandoned/demolished buildings. As Cincinnati is a very old city that maybe tears down a bit too much of its history there's a lot of great stuff here.
  • 4 Park + Vine, 1202 Main St (Over the Rhine, South of Liberty). Bills itself as a Green General store, this quirky shop is good for everything fair trade and environmentally conscious, even some locally themed T-shirts too. It's a bit of an anchor to the revitalization of OTR and worth a look just for something quirky and a bit unexpected in Cincinnati.
  • 5 Another Part of the Forest, 1333 Main St (next to Iris Book Cafe). W-Su noon-10PM. An excellent selection of rare Vinyl records as well as rare books and rare movies. Considered a bit of a hidden gem by locals.
  • 6 Micah 12/V, 1201 Vine Street (Over the Rhine), +1- 513-533-1974. M-Th 10AM-8PM, F-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-5PM. Gift shop specializing in local craft goods. Expect lots of references to pigs, goetta and other unique cultural quirks to Cincinnati in among the many hand crafted gift items.
  • Cincy Haus (American Legacy Tours), 1281 Vine St (Gateway Quarter). Gift shop for American Legacy Tours, who run the 'Queen City Underground Tours', specializing in Cincinnati memorabilia.

Eat[edit]

Gateway Quarter: Over-The-Rhine

Vine Street between Central Parkway and 14th Street has been transformed almost overnight from one of the city's most dangerous areas to the hottest place in town to get a hip, contemporary, mid to high priced meal. If eating at a restaurant with an address of 1000-1500 Vine Street be sure to get a reservation or plan on waiting upwards of an hour on Friday and Saturday nights. Be careful going north of the building with a giant sign calling itself Cincinnati Color Company though, as the neighborhood very quickly goes from being Chic to a work-in-progress

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget $15 or less
Mid-range $16 - 25
Splurge $25 or more

Budget[edit]

  • 1 Tucker's Restaurant (Over-The-Rhine), 1637 Vine Street, +1 513-954-8920. W–Su 7AM–3PM. A second location of the old favorite diner. $10 or less.
  • 2 Tucker's Restaurant, 18 E 13th St, +1 241-3354. M–W 6AM-6PM, Thu–Su 6AM–1AM. Tucker's has been dishing out food since 1946 and is well-known amongst Cincinnatians. Joe Tucker, the owner, has become famous for socializing with his guests. Tucker's is legendary for being the restaurant to go to for breakfast. Although, it's nowhere near a five-star restaurant, it counts four-star (five-star before he left to open his own restaurant) chef Jean-Robert de Cavel. $10 or less.

Mid-range[edit]

  • 3 Quan Hapa, 1331 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 (Vine and 13th - Gateway Quarter Over the Rhine). Tu-Th 11AM-2PM & 4PM-10PM; F Sa 11AM-2PM & 4PM-11PM. One of the best Asian fusion places in the midwest outside of Chicago. Get rare for Cincinnati dishes like okonomiyaki and poke, and enjoy Japanese micro brew beer. The atmosphere is hip and communal in a compact place that reminds one of restaurants you could find in San Francisco. $5-13.
  • 4 Senate Pub, 1212 Vine Street Cincinnati, OH 45202-7117 (Gateway), +1 513 421-2020. Tu-Th 11:30AM-2PM, 4:30PM-11PM; F 11:30AM-2PM, 4:30PM-1PM; Sa 4:30PM-1PM. The people at the Senate are self-described "Pushers of beer, wine & gourmet street food" notable reasons to give them a try are the duck fat fries and a line of gourmet hot dogs.
  • 5 Taste of Belgium Bistro, 1133 Vine St (Vine and 12th Over the Rhine Gateway), +1 513 381-4607. M 7AM - 3PM; Tu-Th 7AM - 10PM; F Sa 7AM - 11PM; Su 9AM - 3PM. Cincinnati's unusually hip take on the Belgian gastropub. Founded by a Belgian expat who was wanting to get the kinds of waffles he could get back home in Cincinnati, this place features delicious waffles of the Liège variety, and other Belgian styled goodies from bon bons to lambic beer. Try the locally inspired goetta crepes for something completely unique!
  • 6 Bakersfield, 1213 Vine St (Gateway), +1 513 579-0446. M-Th 11AM-midnight; F 11AM-2AM; Sa noon-5PM; Su noon-10PM. Authentic yet gourmet Mexican street food such as Tacos and Tortas. Modeled after big city gourmet taco places like Big Star in Chicago, this is one of the best places to get Mexican in Cincinnati. They also have a good selection of tequila as well.
  • 7 The Anchor OTR, 1401 Race St (Over the Rhine, next to Washington Park), +1 513 579-0446. Seafood place, with good seafood for an inland city, though the real highlight is the outdoor patio where you can hear concerts from or people watch into Washington Park.
  • 8 A Tavola Pizza, 1220 Vine St (Gateway), +1 513 246-0192. M-W 4PM-midnight; Th-Sa 4PM-2AM. Hand made, wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, made in a rare type of oven only found in one other place in the US, very unique and chic. $10-20.
  • 9 Taft's Ale House, 1429 Race Street (Over the Rhine north of Washington Park), +1-513-334-1393. Su-W 11AM-11PM; Th-Sa 11AM-midnight. An old church in Over-The-Rhine which was saved from demolition and converted into a massive brewpub which pays tribute to one of Cincinnati's most prominent and portly citizens, William Howard Taft. Inside there are a number of creative brews (one of which is a delicious dark ale with coconut for instance) and food with a theme revolving around tritip steak). A temple of beer that is a gorgeous adaptive reuse and testament to Cincinnati's renewed love of its heritage and favorite beverage.
  • 10 Nicola's Ristorante, 1420 Sycamore St, +1 513 721-6200. Italian fine dining in downtown Cincinnati. Wine list is so-so, but atmosphere and food are excellent.
  • The Eagle, 1342 Vine Street (Over the Rhine, Gateway), +1-513-802-5007. Daily 11AM-midnight. Delicious fried chicken from the people who brought you Bakersfield, of note is that they offer carryout of which on a nice night you can take over to Washington Park and avoid the long waits on Friday and Saturday nights which are endemic to this area. $5-20.

Splurge[edit]

  • 11 Salazar, 1401 Republic Street (Over the Rhine), +1-513-621-7000. M-Th 11:30AM-2PM, 5:30PM-10:30PM, F Sa 5:30-11PM. Highly regarded fancy small plates restaurant featuring the work of famed local chef Jose Salazar. Seating is extremely limited as its in an intimate space off of a side street deep in the revitalized part of Over the Rhine. $12-33.

Drink[edit]

The Main Street Entertainment District (on Main Street north of 12th Street) was a popular area featuring many clubs and bars. However the riots did their number on the district forcing just about every bar to close down during the 2000s. This isn't all doom and gloom as, there have been attempts to bring bars back up there with several notable night spots opening up in the last few years such as Neon's and Japp's.

  • 1 16 Bit Bar + Arcade, 1331 Walnut St, Cincinnati, OH 45202. M-F 4PM-2AM, Sa Su noon-2AM. A bar that has old school arcade cabinets and video game consoles, that attracts a hip crowd in a hip neighborhood. Based out of Columbus, this is the better of Cincy's two barcades with a larger collection of games and a hip geek chic nostalgia theme. Unfortunately, its also the more crowded of the two making weekend night trips kind of difficult.
  • 2 [dead link] Neon's Unplugged, 208 12th St E (1 block east of Main), +1 513 827-9361. M-W 4PM-1AM, Th-F 4PM-2AM, Sa-Su noon-midnight. Back in the 1980s and 1990s there was a bar filled with Neon Signs that was the cornerstone of Over-The-Rhine's Mainstreet Entertainment District. This bar is now back, and offers a visitor a large selection of craft and local beer, a beergarden with a bocce ball court, and a laid back friendly atmosphere. Live music sometimes is out on the beergarden.
  • 3 [dead link] Japp's Since 1879, 1134 Main St (12th and Main Over the Rhine). Tu-Th 4PM-1AM, F 4PM-2AM, Sa 5PM-2AM. Locally renownd mixologist Molly Wellmann along with the people who revived Neons started this classy bar which is the best place in town to get a mixed drink! There is an "Annex" next door which features special events like dance nights, neo burlesque shows and the occasional band $7-10.
  • 4 Schwartz Point Jazz Club, 1901 Vine Street (Corner of McMicken and Vine OTR North of Liberty), +1-513-651-2236, . Tu 7:30PM-2AM, F Sa 9PM-2AM. For 3 nights a week in a not so great part of Over the Rhine been everywhere aging beatnik and accomplished jazz musician Ed Moss serves up some of the best jazz in the Midwest along with his equally talented improv buddies in an otherworldly speakeasy style bar that he lives above. Venue is as intimate and informal as the improvised jazz standards you'll hear. On Tuesdays they offer up a Jazz big band and a complimentary buffet while Friday and Saturday they offer Ed and a few of his buddies doing improv jam sessions. Get a taxi or uber/lyft to go here as this is not in a good part of town (but worth it to the adventurous traveler). A hidden gem! $10 cover wed w/buffet, $5 F Sa.
  • 5 Coffee Emporium, 110 E. Central Pkwy. Cincinnati, OH 45202, +1 513 300-9185, . M-F 7AM - 6PM; Sa Su 8AM - 4PM. A locally owned and operated coffee house since 1973. Specializing in artisanal roasted coffee, fine teas, and accessories, as well as a mixed menu of locally made pastries and light meals. Hearkening back to an era before coffee house homogenization, Coffee Emporium is a meeting place of art, ideas, and tastes.
  • 6 1215 Wine and Coffee Bar, 1215 Vine Street (Over The Rhine), +1-513-429-5745. M-Tu 8AM-10PM, W 8AM-11PM, Th F 8AM-midnight, Su 10AM-11PM. Cosy spot where you can get both fine coffee and fine wine. Good place to hang out while waiting for a table in OTR's Gateway with frequent live music performances.
  • 7 Christian Moerlein Brewery, 1621 Moore St (North of Liberty). F 4PM-9PM, Sa noon-9PM, Su noon-6PM. Greg Hardmann has the goal of becoming Cincinnati's leading contemporary beer baron. In doing this he's revived a lot of dead brands including what was Cincinnati's most famous pre-prohibition beer Christian Moerlein and by reviving the historic Kauffmann Brewery into his own contemporary brewery. Tours and food trucks are also available on site check website for details. Caution, this establishment is a bit north of where most of the revitalization has occurred.
  • 8 Rhinegeist, 1910 Elm St (North of Liberty). Th 4PM-11PM; F 4PM-midnight; Sa noon-midnight; Su noon-7PM. Rhinegeist is a brewery started by two West Coast entrepreneurs who decided to bring the hoppy styles of San Francisco beer to the Cincinnati area. There are more than hoppy beers available here (including some very good cider) but their emphasis is on IPAs and similar. Of note is that this is in the Old pre-prohibition Christian Moerlien Building which was at its peak one of the largest breweries in the United States, even exporting its beer overseas! The building is expansive and airy, and even sports a rooftop with excellent views of OTR, Downtown and the surrounding hills. Even if you don't like IPAs this is a great visit.

Sleep[edit]

  • 1 Bunkhaus (hostel), 1424 Main St (Over the Rhine). This is probably the cheapest place in Cincinnati to stay that's close to downtown. This is a very basic hostel shared-room setup, but generally has received good reviews from the people who stay there. $25 per bunk.
  • 2 Symphony Hotel, 210 W 14th St (Over the Rhine, NW of Washington Park). This bed and breakfast has a music theme to match music hall nearby (and Cincinnati's rich musical tradition). It's a bit on the edge of current revitalization efforts, so be cautious, but the location is perfect for a nice evening at Music Hall or whatever event is going on at Washington Park. Due to increased interest in the area, it has expanded.

Stay safe[edit]

Over-the-Rhine is becoming a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, but it is still in a transition phase. As of 2015, the safest part of Over-the-Rhine is on Vine Street from Central Parkway to just north of 14th Street at the Cincinnati Color Company building (large sign) and Main Street up to Liberty as well as the area immediately surrounding and including Washington Park (which is monitored security cameras) as far north as Taft's Ale House, and Walnut Street up to 14th street just past the 16 bit bar. These areas is well lit at night, and have constant police presence. Use caution wandering off by yourself in Over-the-Rhine at night as the neighborhood is inconsistent in its makeup. A good rule of thumb for OTR is to stay on the major streets (Vine and Main) and stay south of Liberty. Travel in a group if possible, or call/hail a cab.

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