When my wife and I decided to take a fall vacation, there were several items that came up on the list of preferences:
- Walkable upon arrival
- Good music
- Good breweries
- Never been there before
We settled on Cincinnati. I can almost see the look on your face as I write. I saw it on the faces of friends and coworkers when I said it aloud. Cincinnati? One coworker even suggested driving on up to Cleveland!
But humble Cincy was a great fit.
Some of the best parts:
Riverbend Music Center. The venue on the banks of the Ohio River offers an outdoors concert setting that is nice as the sun sets. Traffic in and out is something of a hassle, especially if you use Uber to get to a show. All of that was offset by the performance of country music star Chris Stapleton, who sounded great and enthralled the audience.
Who Dey? That’s the rallying cry of the Cincinnati Bengals, perhaps the most surprising 4-1 team in the NFL. We caught the game against the Miami Dolphins. The fans were friendly and subdued until the team scored 24 points in the fourth quarter to steal a victory after trailing by 17 points. Then the joint got rowdy! Paul Brown Stadium sits on the Ohio River, making it a scenic choice. And I gave extra points for the team’s earnest and slightly goofy team song. No kidding. The people around us sang with gusto. (Fact to know: The only team to beat the Bengals so far is our own Carolina Panthers.)
Taft’s Ale House. Tri-tip steak tacos. So good.
Kitty’s Sports Grill. We ran into a young man from Lincolnton who was in town working. It was great to see a fellow North Carolinian that far from home. But it was the smoked wings that I wanted to send home. Hot and smoky and delicious. And they cook them on three Big Green Eggs grills in front of the bar. How people walk by, breathe in the smell and keep walking is beyond me.
Rhinegeist Brewery. Go here for a variety of tasty beers (and one amazing sour IPA) and one of the best views of old downtown Cincinnati from the rooftop.
Purple People Bridge. This pedestrian-only, half-mile bridge spans the Ohio River and runs from near the Great American Ballpark in Cincy into Newport, Kentucky. No cars, no hassle and great views.
The people. From Deeq, our extremely positive Uber driver by way of Somalia, to the father-and-sons trio from Miami who heartily applauded freedom of the press and good times, Cincy was full of interesting and welcoming people.