Situated along the Ohio River and the Ohio-Kentucky border, Cincinnati is a place where summer vacations offer an unhurried escape filled with adventure. From the city’s meandering streets and regional cuisine to professional baseball, world-class art and plenty of family fun, this unique destination offers a vacation like none other.
But with belts being tightened and vacation budgets being slashed, can your entire family really take a trip to “Queen City” without overspending? Yes! With a wide array of affordable Cincinnati hotels ranging from extended-stay accommodations to spacious suites – all located near some of the city’s most popular destinations, you can stretch your dollar and make this summer one to remember. A few attractions you won’t want to miss include:
• Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal. One of the top cultural attractions in the Midwest, the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal is a national historic landmark featuring five of the city’s top museums: The Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children’s Museum, the Museum of Natural History & Science, the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX Theater and the Cincinnati Historical Society Library. With hands-on exhibits and an array of special events throughout the year, you can learn something new or indulge your passions at a one-of-a-kind location. An All-Museums Pass + Omnimax Theater ticket is $15 for adults and $10 for children ages 3-12. Other, less expensive, ticket options are also available.
• Cincinnati Chili. After a day of sightseeing, dive into a bowl of “Cincinnati chili” at one of the city’s legendary chili parlors – such as Skyline Chili, Gold Star Chili, Empress Chili, Camp Washington Chili, and Dixie Chili and Deli. What makes this regional dish different than other chilis is the fact that it’s generally served over spaghetti. If you’re not familiar with the flavors of Cincinnati chili, you can expect to find finely ground beef and kidney beans, seasoned with a mixture of spices (including cinnamon), served over a mound of spaghetti, topped with cheddar cheese and diced white onions. Each chili parlor has its own way of presenting the final dish, but the basic ingredients rarely vary too much.
• Cincinnati Reds. Spend an afternoon or evening cheering on the home team at the Great American Ballpark. Just minutes from many Cincinnati hotels, this amazing downtown ball park offers single-game tickets ranging in price from $5 for Outer View Level seats to $67 for Dugout Box seats. And for those who like to indulge in plenty of hot dogs and popcorn, there are even all-you-can-eat seats which give you unlimited access to food and beverage items (excluding alcohol) from the time the gates open until the beginning of the 8th inning. Those tickets go for $30 each.
• King’s Island. If you can afford to splurge once on your trip, King’s Island offers a full day of amusement park fun for kids and grown-ups alike. Just 24 miles north of Cincinnati, King’s Island features thrilling rides, shows and games – all in a Hollywood-style setting. From death-defying roller coasters to water rides, live entertainment to kid-friendly amusements – this seasonal Midwestern theme park has something for everyone! Admission is $32.99 for people ages 3-61; 48 inches tall and taller, and $29.99 for people ages 3 and older who are less than 48 inches tall. The park also offers two-day tickets for people ages 3 and up for $47.99.
• Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens. Ranked by Zagat Survey as the #1 attraction in Cincinnati and one of the top zoos in the nation, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden features more than 500 animals, including primates, otters, birds, mammals and reptiles, plus 3,000 plant species, kid-friendly amusement rides and the fun-filled 4D Special FX Theater. Best of all, the zoo offers an array of self-guided tours which you can use to customize your day based on your interests. Admission, including zoo and botanical gardens admission, unlimited rides and access to the 4D Theater, are $24 for adults ages 13 and older, and $20 for ages 2-11, and 62+. Other less expensive ticketing options are also available.
Whether you’re in town for a week or a weekend, Cincinnati’s endless opportunities for education and entertainment make it a fun and exciting destination the whole family will love. For more great ideas to make your Midwest getaway even better, be sure to talk to your Cincinnati hotel’s concierge staff.