Cincin­nati: The First 'Amer­i­can' Town

Flocks of snow­birds hail from the Queen City


M―Henry Wadsworth Longfel­low

any of us can rat­tle off the at­tributes and land­marks of Amer­ica’s most fa­mous cities, from New York to Chicago to Los An­ge­les. But for some rea­son one great Amer­i­can city― a beau­ti­ful and his­toric river­front des­ti­na­tion― con­sis­tently stays un­der the radar. Cincin­nati de­serves ac­co­lades, tourists and far more at­ten­tion than it gets. Visit once, and you’ll agree. Cincin­nati was set­tled in 1788, the first ma­jor Amer­i­can city founded after the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War and our coun­try’s first ma­jor in­land city. By 1850, the largest city in the west was ship­ping un­told amounts of pork to New Or­leans via the Ohio and Mis­sis­sippi rivers, earn­ing its early nick­name “Porkopo­lis.”

By the early 1950s, Cincin­nati na­tive Julius “Junkie” Fleis­chman Jr. had re­lo­cated to Naples, Florida. Fleis­chmann, whose fam­ily’s Stan­dard Brands merged with Nabisco in 1980, was a hard­work­ing an­thro­pol­o­gist who cre­ated Naples’ Caribbean Gar­dens (now the Naples Zoo) by re­ju­ve­nat­ing the long-for­got­ten gar­den of an em­i­nent nat­u­ral­ist. Junkie and his


“And this Song of the Vine, This greet­ing of mine, The winds and the birds shall de­liver, To the Queen of the West, In her gar­lands dressed, On the banks of the Beau­ti­ful River.”

If you love ar­chi­tec­ture on any level, you’ll love Cincin­nati.

wife, Dorette, were also the cat­a­lysts be­hind Naples’ Third Street South. South­west Florida is, in fact, home to a dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber of Cincin­nati snow­birds and for­mer res­i­dents.


Cincin­nati was set­tled in 1788, the first ma­jor Amer­i­can city founded after the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary War.

You'll find lo­cals en masse at the Sky­line Chili restau­rants through­out Cincin­nati. The chain has clev­erly opened in Florida, in­clud­ing Fort My­ers and Naples, al­low­ing its many home­town fans their “three­way, four-way or five-way” mantra in the Sun­shine State. (Break­fast and lunch haven First Watch also hails from Cincin­nati).

• Graeter’s Ice Cream shops. Founded in Cincin­nati in 1870, this ar­ti­sanal ice-cream maker has a cult fol­low­ing.

• French Ren­dezvous, re­plete with ad­dic­tive pas­tries, French press cof­fee, even fab­rics, ce­ram­ics and other Fran­cophile good­ies. • Arnold’s in down­town Cincin­nati, the city’s old­est tavern.

• Mount Adams Bar & Grill, the first drink­ing es­tab­lish­ment in Ohio to ob­tain a liquor li­cense at Pro­hi­bi­tion’s end.

• Check the Mariemont Inn, where The Na­tional Ex­em­plar pub is tucked in­side. (The inn’s lobby is worth a visit, too.)

Cincin­nati this year opens a Brew­ery Her­itage Trail. Keep an eye out for Sam Adams “513” beer, bear­ing the city’s area code and a fly­ing pig mo­tif, a nod to Cincin­nati’s his­tory by Sam Adams founder and brewer Jim Koch, a na­tive.

The Chris­tian Morelein Lager­house gets high marks for food, beer and un­par­al­leled river views. Chris­tian Morelein Malt

House Tap­room, in the Over-the-Rhine neigh­bor­hood, of­fers brew­ery tours and drinks, in a set­ting that dates to 1860.

Book a ta­ble at 21C Mu­seum Ho­tel’s pricey Metropole, where you can count on to-die-for food, and the quirky pres­ence of pen­guins.


If you love ar­chi­tec­ture on any level, you’ll love Cincin­nati. You could lit­er­ally spend days just driv­ing through beau­ti­ful neigh­bor­hoods, where home styles in­clude ev­ery­thing from Fed­eral to Vic­to­rian. You might even spy roofs that im­i­tate thatch … and then there’s the won­der­fully in­de­scrib­able house in Hyde Park, which re­sem­bles an owl. Must-see visits should in­clude the Cincin­nati Mu­seum Cen­ter at Union Ter­mi­nal (above left), the Great Amer­i­can Ball Park (Cincin­nati Reds) and Find­lay Mar­ket in the trendy Over-the-Rhine neigh­bor­hood.

Down­town’s sky­line is no less di­verse, and the city’s churches and tem­ples will leave you breath­less. Eden Park holds the Krohn Ob­ser­va­tory and the ter­rific Cincin­nati Art Mu­seum.

Down­town’s Taft Mu­seum is in a spec­tac­u­lar home listed with the Na­tional Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places.

The Cincin­nati Con­tem­po­rary Art Cen­ter is at the eye­pop­ping in­ter­sec­tion of East 6th and Wal­nut streets. Col­or­ful mu­rals adorn the en­tire city.

Par­tic­u­larly ap­peal­ing neigh­bor­hoods in­clude Over-the-Rhine (OTR), East Wal­nut Hills, Hyde Park and Oak­ley. Mount Adams has a su­per over­look, sited where a fu­nic­u­lar used to make its way up from below. The new Cincin­nati Con­nec­tor street­car now makes

South­west Florida is, in fact, home to a dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber of Cincin­nati snow­birds.

a 3-mile loop from OTR to down­town, stop­ping at JACK Casino and many of the pre­vi­ously men­tioned at­trac­tions.

Down­town’s Foun­tain Square is the city’s hub; a bevy of ho­tels are within easy walk­ing dis­tance, in­clud­ing the his­toric Cincin­na­tian, the art deco Nether­land Hil­ton, a Westin and the afore­men­tioned 21C Mu­seum Ho­tel. A new AC Mar­riott Ho­tel also just opened in The Banks en­ter­tain­ment dis­trict. Across the river from The Banks, and ac­ces­si­ble by foot via the “The Pur­ple Peo­ple Bridge” lies New­port, Ken­tucky, and its large river­front en­ter­tain­ment dis­trict.

Which­ever fun fact might lure you to Cincin­nati, and no mat­ter how you like to spend your free time, Cincin­nati has some­thing for you.

Cincin­nati will surprise, only be­cause the Queen City can be over­looked by other Mid­west­ern towns. But in­ves­ti­gate this jewel along the Ohio River that boasts a de­light­ful blend­ing of Amer­i­cana, cui­sine, cul­ture and ar­chi­tec­ture.

Cincin­nati's hy­brid of his­toric and oddly de­light­ful ar­chi­tec­ture in­cludes the Mush­room House (bottom), a quirky struc­ture in the city's Hyde Park dis­trict.

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