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New Oxford, Pa.
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Cincys weekend travel advice......

My wife and I are coming to Cincy on the weekend of June 24th.

We have several ideas on attractions, events, lodging, and dining, but I would really like to hear some recomendations from those who have lived or traveled there.

Thanx in advance.

Indianapolis
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1. Re: Cincys weekend travel advice......

I just returned from a weekend in Cincinnati to catch some Cleveland Indians games. I stayed in the Newport, KY area (which is directly across the river from Cincinnati). I was told to stay in this area due to the fact the hotel rooms are much cheaper than downtown. I would recommend staying in the area. You are able to take a water taxi to downtown or visit Newport on the Levee, which has great night life. Also, you can make the 20 minute drive to Argosy Casino...

Cincinnati, OH
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2. Re: Cincys weekend travel advice......

I live in Cincinnati. I'd recommend the Museum Center, particularly the Cincinnati History Museum (http://www.cincymuseum.org/) which is something you'll find only in Cincinnati (i.e. every city has a natural history museum). Also a nice children's museum if you have kids. Each museum has it's own admission but I think there is a combo price if you want more than one. The Omni Max theater is there too.

The Reds are in town June 22 and 30 but not while you're going to be here.

Other things I've heard good things about (but haven't been there myself) are the National Underground Railroad/Freedom Center, and the Contemporary Arts Center (both pretty new buildings and both downtown).

I also really liked the Newport Aquarium and the Zoo(http://www.cincyzoo.org/). If you have kids, you might try Kings Island(http://www.pki.com/), or The Beach Waterpark.

You could also check this for events: cincinnati-events.com/entertainment/events/

For hotels, I don't know how much you are willing to spend. On the high side are the downtown hotels, with the Hilton and the Cincinnatian being the ones with the most old world charm, and the Hyatt and Westin being more modern. All are in downtown.

Again, assuming you'll be downtown, the usual recommendation is to try the Montgomery Inn Boathouse. But there are many fine restaurants along the Kentucky side of the river with a great view of the Cincinnati skyline, and the Celestial in Mt Adams above downtown is great, as well as the restaurants in the Cincinnatian and Hilton hotels. If you want fine french food, there is the 5 star Masionette and Jean Roberts Pigall restaurant (former head chef at Maisonette). Those are all pretty pricey restaurants (except for Montgomery Inn).

Columbus, Ohio
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3. Re: Cincys weekend travel advice......

My wife and I have visted Cincinnati a few times and would like to go back again. We like to hang out in the downtown area. There's a Marriot Hotel that's right on the river on the Kentucky side that is beautiful. It has an excellent restaurant that overlooks the river. Just outside of the hotel you'll walk about 100 feet and run right into a little party pier that has the Yacatan Liquor Stand. We find that to be a great little weekend getaway spot where you can go dining, dancing and back to the hotel without worrying about driving after having a few drinks.

Also on the Kentucky side on the Pete Rose Pier is the Water Front. There is a cool restaurant called South Beach Grill and a few places to dance or listen to Reggae.

One of the most popular clubs in town is Electra. Dance music and light shows keeps the energy up in this place. You may even spot a famous athlete.

One fun place that we like to go is Jillian's, just a few miles into Kentucky. This is an amazing place with restaurants, a dance club, a game room, billiards, and even a bowling alley. If you go there make sure you try out the Hibachi for some entertaining stir fry.

There is also the Main Street District downtown that has lots of places for you to party and have a good time.

If you'd like to try your luck there are a few gambling establishments that will gladly help you spend your money:

www.cincinnati.com/visitorsguide/casino.html

Also I hear the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is great. I haven't been, but my wife has and she said it was worth a visit.

HFPO!

(Have Fun and Party On!)

Cambridge, MA
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4. Re: Cincys weekend travel advice......

The Queen City Tour is a great way to take in a lot of the town's landmarks as well as get a feel for some of the grand old neighborhoods. It's a driving tour marked by square purple signs with a crown logo and "QCT." On a cautionary note, this tour was laid out in the '70s and I don't know how well the signs have been maintained or whether there's even a Website for it. (I'm a native Cincinnatian who no longer lives there.) But if the route is still well-marked, you'll be able to catch good looks at sections like Clifton and Walnut Hills with their castle-like old homes while also happening by great sightseeing opportunities like the Museum Center and Krohn Conservatory.

If you're art fans, the Taft Museum is housed in an elegant early-19th-century house at the edge of downtown and is getting ready to reopen after an "extreme make-over." The Art Museum, in Eden Park not far from the conservatory, has outstanding collections from all over the world including numerous ancient artifacts from Asia and the Middle East. And the brand-new Contemporary Arts Center downtown is worth seeing from the outside alone, not to mention all the great stuff contained within. Also on an artistic "note," Music Hall is one awesome pile of bricks! It's the home of the Symphony Orchestra as well as the Cincinnati Pops, May Festival, etc, and you can take tours on weekdays. Music Hall occupies the 1400 block of Central Parkway and Elm St. While it's definitely worth seeing, you'd want to do so either at mid-day or by buying a concert ticket for the "total experience." The vicinity is a high-crime area which is heavily patrolled during events. Due to that, I don't try steering people to the well-reviewed small inns that have opened nearby.

TA forum contributors focus mostly on downtown and Newport when talking about places to eat and sleep. As a native, let me throw in a few more suggestions. There's now a Holiday Inn Express that's about 2 years old and is located on Mitchell Ave at the I-75 exit. Staying there would save you some dollars and also put you within a mile of the zoo and the spectacular Spring Grove Cemetery. Driving east on Mitchell from the corner of Vine St will take you into North Avondale, one of the city's "gaslight districts." By making a left turn onto Rose Hill Ave at the towering Art Deco "Belvedere" apartment building, or going left onto Dakota Ave after crossing Reading Rd, you can take a leisurely drive down winding streets lined with upper-middle-class houses and imposing mansions. This area's eastern boundary is marked by Xavier University. By staying on Mitchell as it merges into Clinton Springs Ave and then Dana Ave, you'll wind up at the intersection of Madison Rd once you've passed I-71. From that corner you can continue forward along Observatory Ave into Hyde Park, which along with Mt Lookout is another neighborhood "of choice" for many of Cincy's upwardly mobile. There are many shops and restaurants in Hyde Park Square, while a few blocks up Edwards Rd is the fashionable Rookwood Pavilion. Or, from Madison and Dana/Observatory you can turn south into O'Bryonville. That's a trendy enclave featuring the excellent Bonbonnerie bakery, tea room, and restaurant as well as some neat bars and Bob Roncker's Running Spot.

Another area busy with night life is Corryville, adjacent to UC and centered on what's called "Short Vine" - the stretch of Vine St that was bypassed when traffic was fed into a new street. Its location next to the university made it a no-brainer that plenty of restaurants and clubs would open there. Bogart's in particular is a good live-music spot. For a quieter and more upscale dinner, the obvious choice in Corryville is the century-old Mecklenburg Gardens on East University Ave. In adjacent Clifton, along Calhoun St (which runs one-way westward, paralleled by eastbound one-way McMillan) the standout eating place is the Alpha Restaurant, beloved for its incomparable breakfasts and its "endless" vegetarian selections at all meals.

Farther out from town, to the north, lies Glendale. The founders of Procter and Gamble resided there along with a lot of other "old money" families. It remains a very top-drawer community, with few streets running in a straight line (lol) and lots of estate-sized homes. Village Square, along Sharon Rd beside the railroad tracks, is a "quaint" shopping destination that includes the popular Iron Horse Inn. Glendale's other hot spot for good eating is the Grand Finale at Sharon and Congress, so named because of its piled-high desserts but also a drawer of crowds for its Sunday brunches. Past Oak Hill Cemetery, headed toward I-275, is the sprawling Tri-County shopping complex - anchored by a two-level enclosed mall with JC Penney, Macy's, and Sears at its corners and surrounded by strip malls and big-box stores. Still more shopping can be found a short way west on 275 at the Promenade and Forest Fair malls, while along that part of the expressway and northward on Route 4 into Fairfield are countless chain motels and restaurants. Go far enough toward Hamilton on 4 and you'll encounter the one-of-a-kind Jungle Jim's, a vast food market with whole aisles devoted to specific countries' specialties. Grocery shopping is actually fun there.

Back into town: Mt Adams (as has already been suggested) is another fine locale for dining and entertainment. It clings to a hillside overlooking downtown and Kentucky, with some of its houses on stilts. The streets are as narrow and steep as the streets of San Francisco and the views are awesome. For the best vista yet, go to the Celestial restaurant atop a high-rise apartment house for drinks. Other dining around there can be found most notably at Daveed's or Rookwood Pottery. For jazz at what for many locals is the #1 club for this music style, drop in to the Blind Lemon on Hatch St.

In closing, let me recommend Nicola's - on Sycamore St near Liberty - for the best Italian meal in the city.

New Oxford, Pa.
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5. Re: Cincys weekend travel advice......

Thank You all for your responses!

I guess to furthur describe our interests these are our basic desires for our visit:

Lodging - Just looking for a clean friendly hotel in the NKY area close to all the action, preferebly in the Covington , Newport areas. However we are willing to go a little furthur into NKY if there are any hidden gems that anyone knows of.

I would say we are looking to spend $100 a night or less without a jacuzzi, or $150 an night or less with a jacuzzi in room, if that is even attainable at that rate. We tend to be VERY active when exploring a new city and the jacuzzi would be more for rejuvination than romance so not neccesary and could be substituted with just good shower pressure in the room.

Dining - My wife and I are pretty down to earth and do not care for the very upscale. We like to relax while away and don't necessarily wish to feel the need to dress up for dining.

Ideal restaraunts for us would include great steaks, seafood, and other "posh free fine dining". In other words, fine dining that is acceptent to blue jeans and Khaki shorts.

We love places like the Hard Rock cafes. Places that include musical entertainment, micro brews, great food and a casual but still a step up from the usual. Basically as nice as we can get without spending a fortune or having to dress up. with total dinner costs in the $120 for 2 range or less. Cuisinie types are not limited at all. we love all types and nationalities of cuisine and love to try new things.

That said are there any of those ya just gotta try it places that anyone can recommend?

Activities we are pretty good on. We are considering the B&B diner cruise for one evening, exploring Newport on the Levee, the Cincinnati Zoo and Gardens, the National Aquarium, the museum center, Jillians entertainment complex, possibly Kings Island , but the amusement park is not a neccesity if we can find other activities with more diversity and less crowds.

Any suggestions other than those listed above would be greatly appreciated!

Again thank you all! Your advice has my exitement for this trip growing by the day!

Cincinnati, OH
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6. Re: Cincys weekend travel advice......

Given your restaurant descriptions, I'd recommend Montgomery Inn Boathouse (Cincy river side just east of downtown, http://www.montgomeryinn.com/restaurants/boathouse/index.html). They don't take reservations and there is often a long wait, especially on weekends, but there is a nice balcony overlooking the river where you can wait and get drinks and popcorn. It's famous for its barbeque ribs and their signature sauce. I also recommend Mitchells Seafood Restaurant in Newport on the Levee (close to the Newport Aquarium) - very much in line with what you're looking for. Newport on the Levee also has a nice viewpoint for looking at the Cincinnati skyline. Basically Newport on the Levee is an indoor/outdoor shopping mall/plaza with many nice restaurants and other shops, and an aquarium. It's a pretty popular place especially in the evenings.

B&B Riverboat Restaurant will give you a good visual tour as it cruises up and down the river, over I think about 2 hours. If you want more of an overhead view, you might also try the restaurant at the top of the round Radisson Hotel ((http://www.radisson.com/hoteldirectory/hotelbio.jsp?hotelCode=KYCOVING) near the river and I-75. It revolves very slowly so over the course of your dinner, you will get a great view of everything. The dining there is more upscale than the other three.

The National Aquarium in Washington D.C. (http://www.nationalaquarium.com/) is a bit of a hike from here (8 hour drive) and the National Aquarium in Baltimore (http://www.aqua.org/) is even farther, but Newport on the Levee has a fine one (http://www.newportaquarium.com/).

For hotel, you might check out the Comfort Suites on Riverboat Row in Newport Ky. I've stayed at several and they're spacious and offer great breakfasts. Other chains I like are Marriott Fairfield Inn and Hilton's Hampton Inn. They also offer free breakfasts. I don't know if there are any of those close to the Ohio River.

New Oxford, Pa.
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7. Re: Cincys weekend travel advice......

Sorry, I meant to type Newport Aquarium and just typed National. I live an hour and a half from Baltimore and am just used to thinking National.

Thank you once again for all your help! It will come to good use.

Zurich, Switzerland
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8. Re: Cincys weekend travel advice......

Just to add to previous post with information already not covered. NKY has all the usual hotel along the river, but there are some great bed and breakfast scattered around NKY. Check out www.staynky.com for some accomodation and don't leave out the Bellevue area when you are looking. You may find youself staying in a well done B&B build in the mid/late 1800's, quite a different experinece than staying in regular hotel. A little farther out in NKY is the unique Drawbridge Inn, check it out at www.drawbridgeinn.com.

Microbreweries: There is Rock Bottom Brewery on fountain square in Cincinnati, the Hofbrauhaus in NKY both brew their own beer.

Dining: I will have to correct a previous post, the Montgomery Inn Boathouse does take call ahead seating (their form of a reservations). I agree with poster- it is a Cincinnati favorite for ribs and it a fun casual place to dine. It gets very busy and if you do not call ahead you can be waiting for 2-3 hours easily. Other dining places you could try Pompilios for Italian- this is the location where Rain Man was filmed. Also, check out www.newportonthelevee.com for detailed information for that area. The Covington Mainstrasse area is also interesting for dining, check out www.nkyvillage.com for detailed information. Hope this helps and feel free to ask more questions.

Mason, Ohio
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9. Re: Cincys weekend travel advice......

The Radisson riverfront in Covington is my favorite hotel in the area for the money and view.They have a executive 2 bedroom suite with jacuzzi tub that is nice.I would call the hotel directly (859)491-1200 about the room because I do not think they put it on their website.(even though you can see the pictures of it.)They may even have package that includes breakfast or tickets to area attractions for a discount rate.The hotel has a great indoor pool and hot tub.The hotel has a beautiful view of the Cincinnati skyline.They also round and have a 18th floor restaurant that has great food.A great music and comedy show on Newport on the Levee is www.shadowboxcabaret.com I think you would love the BB riverboat cruises as much as I do.They also have Riverdowns for horse racing if you enjoy that type of thing.We enjoy The Bahama Breeze for dinner or the new restaurant Cheeseburger in Paradise.I am not sure of you age group but I am 34 so if you are in that age group you may really enjoy the things I listed.If you have any other questions let me know.I would be glad to help.I hope you have a good trip.

Mason, Ohio
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10. Re: Cincys weekend travel advice......

I also wanted to let you know the Radisson has balconies and is the only one with balconies in the area.If you call the hotel directly you will most likely get a cheaper rate also.