Visiting the Queen City in the Heartland

The city of Cincinnati has lost much of its tourism economy in recent decades. Much of that loss is well-deserved. The city has done little to attract good tourists, and many people feel frightened there because of the number of panhandlers and the amount of crime. This loss of tourism may have caused many people to miss out on the wonderful parts of the city, however.

Cincinnati is home to some of the best museums in the nation. The Freedom Center, which opened in 2005, is home to a number of exhibits on the Underground Railroad and other parts of the civil rights movement. For the uninitiated, Cincinnati played a vital role in the movement of slaves in the antebellum era. The Ohio River served as the border between free and slave, and many slaves made Cincinnati their freedom destination. This museum has been hailed as one of the most comprehensive resources on civil rights history.

The Cincinnati Zoo consistently ranks among the best in the nation in league with the San Diego Zoo and other well-known animal habitats around the country. The Cincinnati Zoo has train rides, animal rides, and all of the excitement of a major zoo with some pretty neat animals as well. The Krohn Conservatory is a must-see on the list of Cincinnati attractions. This privately owned botanical garden has rooms representing each of the seven continents. Visitors can go into the rooms and see what plants live in Africa or Asia. The Conservatory curators work to provide interesting plant life that you will not find easily in other botanical gardens. The gardens also are home to rooms of bamboo, roses, and other interesting fauna. The best part about the conservatory is that admission is free! While a donation is suggested (and certainly deserved) a family can visit the conservatory for very little money.

While in Cincinnati, taking in a game is a real possibility. Whether it is a Bengals game, the Reds, or the University of Cincinnati basketball team, the Queen City has sports galore, and they are adding more. Two minor-league hockey teams call Cincinnati home in addition to a female football team and several other minor sports franchise. Getting out to see the games will allow you to spend time on the Cincinnati riverfront. While the Ohio River is not the most impressive you will see, it does cut a nice swatch through the city.

It must be said as well that you should venture over to the Kentucky side of Cincinnati if you are in town for a bit of fun and shopping. Technically called Newport, this little part of Cincinnati is quickly growing into the entertainment district of the city. Newport on the Levee is the massive entertainment complex and features a movie theater, retail stores, and a number of high-end restaurants and bars. During the day, families may enjoy the fun of Newport, but in the evenings, it is the happening spot for fun-loving couples and singles to party. The young professional crowd tends to spend a good bit of time in this part of Cincinnati.

Newport also is home to the Newport Aquarium, which has brought in a number of tourists since opening a few years ago. The aquarium features rooms with small tanks filled with various kinds of fish. When you get into the larger part of the aquarium, you will find yourself walking under shark-infested waters and coming face-to-face with other sea life. The aquarium staff holds various special exhibits and presentations throughout the year.

If you are in the Queen City during the spring or summer weekends, you should stop by Findlay Market. An outdoor market, Findlay offers more fresh produce (and at cheaper prices) than you could imagine. You also can get fresh-cut meats there. Plus you can purchase fine cheeses and ready-to-eat food. Local artisans and crafters also sell their wares, which range from beaded jewelry to paintings of the city.

So, the next time you are considering a place to go, check out Cincinnati. You may find that a jazz festival or another wonderful event is happening at just the right time for you to enjoy this city. Just remember to be careful on your visit.

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