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I’m so happy to present you the best unique attractions in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA in the series dedicated to unusual attractions and fun facts from across the globe. This unique visit to The Queen City – Cincinnati, Ohio is recommended by a traveler – Addie from Traveling Mrs. I hope you’ll find these places interesting and you’ll include them on your travel itinerary when in Cincinnati 🙂
Cincinnati, Ohio, located right along the Ohio River is full of rich history, and has plenty to see and do. It’s a place that I would recommend to everyone. Cincinnati experienced rapid growth after its founding leading locals to refer to it as ‘The Queen of the West’ or ‘The Queen City’. This nickname from the 1820’s is still how local Cincinnatians refer to their home. One of the best things about The Queen City is the array of unique attractions that you can find all over.
Before it became The Queen City, Cincinnati was referred to as ‘Porkopolis’. That’s because in the 1800’s Cincinnati was the leading place for the meat packing industry. In 2000, ArtWorks led a project to showcase decorated fiberglass pig statues all over downtown. Hundreds of pigs were created. After the exhibit some of the pigs were sold to charity, but many of them can still be found all over the city.
Street Art – Wall Murals
Cincinnati has a thriving arts community. If you spend any time walking through downtown you will find many different walls covered in a variety of scenes. There are just under 150 murals to date, and the number is only growing. You could spend a whole day exploring these walls. Check here for more information on where to find the murals.
The Mushroom House
Over the span of 15 years with the help of students from the University of Cincinnati, a local architect and artist, Terry Brown, transformed his home into the mushroom that it is today. It’s located in Hyde Park.
The Roebling Bridge
The blue suspension bridge connects Cincinnati to Northern Kentucky and when it was completed in 1867 was the longest of its kind in the world. In fact, it served as the model for the Brooklyn Bridge. What makes this bridge so unique is that when you drive over it, it sings to you – earning itself the nickname ‘The Singing Bridge’.
Rookwood Ice Cream Parlor in Union Terminal
Union Terminal, a historic old train station, is a unique sight in itself featuring a magnificent rotunda in what is now a museum. Just inside the doors you will find an old school 1930’s style ice cream parlor. It was originally a tea room, and then became the headquarters for the USO in World War II. In 1972 the room became today’s ice cream parlor boasting the original Rookwood tile throughout.
The Telescope at the Cincinnati Observatory
Did you know that many refer to Cincinnati as the birthplace of American astronomy? Located in the Mt. Lookout neighborhood, the Cincinnati observatory is the oldest professional observatory in the United States. In fact, at one time, the observatory provided time to the city and the railways. The old telescope was funded by the people, and today is still open to the public to catch a view of the night sky.
Spring Grove Cemetery
Have you heard of Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France? It’s a highly regarded cemetery where famous people like Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde are buried. Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery was modeled after it, featuring beautiful grounds, winding roads, huge trees, mausoleums and crypts. It’s especially beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing colors. If you’re there walking around, keep an eye out for two SpongeBob SquarePants tombstones erected for an avid fan after her murder.
The Cincinnati Fire Museum
Cincinnati was the first city to create a professional fire department and fire house in the 1800’s. They also established the first ambulance serves in 1865. These facts make visiting the Fire Museum a little bit special. The history of this museum is unlike any other of its kind.
Duck Creek East Fork Watershed
What used to be a thriving creek is now more of a stream surrounded by concrete. The creek was dwarfed when the highway was built and flood control decreased it even more. Now a stroll down the creek has no other forms of nature, it is all concrete. But the concrete has been taken over by urban artists and you’ll be blown away by the colorful graffiti.
Cincinnatians LOVE their chili – and it is not the chili you might think of. There are no beans (unless specifically ordered on top), it doesn’t have typical chili spices, and no tomato red tint. It comes on top of spaghetti or a hot dog, then is piled high with cheese. More than 2 million pounds of chili is consumed each year, and 850,000 pounds of cheese. The most popular restaurant is Skyline.
Goetta (a dish made of ground meat and steel cut oats) was originally made by German immigrants in Cincinnati in the 1800s. Cincinnatians consume about a million pounds of Goetta year. We love it so much that we even have 2 annual Goetta festivals.
Before prohibition, Cincinnati was the third largest beer producer in the country. In the mid-late 1900s beer making had died out a little bit, but today there are more than 40 craft breweries in the city all with a unique flair. There are also tours you can take of the old underground lager tunnels from the 1890s.
Fun Fact: In 1869, Cincinnati founded the first professional baseball team. It was called the Cincinnati Red Stockings (now the Cincinnati Reds).
About the author
Addie is a wife, mother, and adventure seeker that travels any chance she gets. Her goal is to inspire you to make time for your travel dreams and give you tips and tricks on how to make it easier and more affordable. She is the author of the Traveling Mrs. blog and you can also follow her on instagram and Pinterest.