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What Is Cincinnati Ohio Known For?

Cincinnati is a city located in Ohio, U.S.A. It is home to the Hamilton County government seat. Cincinnati is a central and economic hub and has a population of over 300,000. There are a few things that Cincinnati is known for.

Cincinnati is known for its art culture, sports team, and chili. The city hosts theatre, orchestra, and ballet shows. Cincinnati is also home to the first baseball team in America: the Cincinnati Reds. Locals and tourists also go crazy over the city’s iconic chili, which has greek influences.

Perhaps you are planning a trip or are simply curious. Whatever the case, this article will cover what Cincinnati is known for. We will discuss the city’s history, the main attractions, food and dining, and some unique facts, so let’s get started.

 

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History of Cincinnati

Cincinnati was founded in 1788 by Israel Ludlow, Mathias Denman, and Robert Patterson. The city became a central hub of trade during 1811 when steamboats started to appear on the Ohio River. Cincinnati established ties with New Orleans, Missouri, and St. Louis because of this. 

In 1819, the town became a city. Furthermore, the city soon became a center for pork processing. It wasn’t until 1830 that the population skyrocketed to over 24,000. The city experienced another boom of business and opportunities for commercial ties in 1836 when the railroad appeared. 

From 1840 to 1850, Cincinnati experienced the biggest population growth yet. Thousands of Irish and German immigrants moved to the city, pushing the population to 115,000.  

Learn more about the city’s history in Hidden History of Cincinnati by Jeff Suess here on Amazon.

a photo of the Cincinnati skyline at dusk showing all the city lights from buildings and vehicles

 

Main Attractions

Cincinnati is a central hub of art, shopping, dining, and sports. There are so many things to do in the city that anybody can find something they love. This section will review what attractions Cincinnati is known for and will briefly explain each industry. Let’s get into it. 

 

Art

One of the main things that residents and tourists alike know Cincinnati for is its art scene

First of all, Cincinnati is home to the iconic Music Hall. The city recently restored the building and now hosts multiple music events, from classical concerts to modern artists. 

The city has several venues for different kinds of entertainment, such as ballet and theatre shows. You can also visit museums and art galleries. 

Here are a few of the main art attractions in the city:

  • Taft Museum of Art
  • Cincinnati Art Museum
  • Music Hall
  • Cincinnati Ballet
  • Cincinnati Opera
  • MadCap Puppets
  • The Children’s Theatre

As you can see, the city’s art scene is thriving.

Shopping

If your ideal afternoon incorporates a coffee in your hand and a shopping bag in the other, you won’t be disappointed with Cincinnati.

The growing city has a variety of places to shop at:

  • Findlay Market: This market is a farmer’s market that you can find just about anything at. The market sells several delicious and specialty food items and unique trinkets.
  • Rookwood Commons: This area features many restaurants to visit on a Friday night. You will also find a large Joseph-Beth Bookstore there and some popular coffee shops such as Starbucks.
  • Kenwood Towne Centre: Kenwood Towne Centre is an enclosed shopping mall with many department stores and popular stores like Nordstrom and Louis Vuitton.
  • Grand Antique Mall: This mall offers a unique shopping experience. The grand antique mall features many special items that you won’t find anywhere else.
  • EastGate Mall: Eastgate Mall is another large indoor mall that you can find various stores at like Sears and Kohls.

a photo of Cincinnati's famous spaghettis chili.

Dining

Cincinnati has hundreds of delicious restaurants to try. From Mexican cuisine to Vietnamese food, you will find whatever your heart desires in the modern city. 

However, there are a few noteworthy and iconic dishes that Cincinnati is famous for.

  • Chili: Cincinnati has world-famous chili to try. The reason why it is so iconic is that it will not taste like any other chili you have tasted yet. Interestingly enough, it was Greek immigrants who first started the Cincinnati chili industry. The most popular dish is chili spaghetti: a plate of spaghetti topped with chili and cheese.
  • Ice cream: Cincinnati is home to Graeter’s ice cream. The ice cream is famous for being so thick; the company has to hire people, not machines, to scoop the ice cream into each pack. Visit Fountain Square to enjoy a scoop of the mouthwatering ice cream.
  • Goetta: This dish has German roots. While people sometimes call the dish fried mush, it is actually a favorite among the locals. Goetta is a breakfast dish that consists of pork sausage and oats. You won’t be able to find this dish anywhere other than Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati.
  • Gyros: This is another meal that has Greek heritage. The dish consists of roasted lamb and beef on a piece of flat pita bread. While you can find Greek gyros throughout the country, they are quite popular in Cincinnati because of their Greek heritage.
  • Buckeye candy: Buckeye is Ohio’s state tree. The trees produce nuts that have dark shells and a light, almost white inner section. A popular Cincinnati candy, named buckeye candy, has the appearance of a buckeye nut. It is a peanut butter fudge that bakers will dip in chocolate.

Read all about Cincinnati’s tasty history in this book on Amazon here.

Sports

One of the biggest defining characteristics of the city is its sports scene. 

Cincinnati is home to the oldest baseball team in America. In 1869, The Cincinnati Red Stockings became an established professional baseball team. 

The team started as part of the National League. In 1881, the team became a member of the American Association and changed their name to the Cincinnati Reds. 

Not only does Cincinnati have a big baseball fanbase, but there are also several sports activities you can take part in. You can play tennis, hockey, baseball, football, and other sports in the city. There are several sports arenas at universities and recreational centers. 

a photo of the outside of the Great American Ball Park stadium in Cincinnati Ohio

Notable Attractions

There are many different attractions that people know Cincinnati for. Let’s take a look at the main spots.

 

Cincinnati Zoo

Cincinnati Zoo is the sixth oldest zoo in America. The zoo opened in 1873 and is now a National Historic Landmark. Cincinnati Zoo has over 500 animal species. Furthermore, they have run multiple breeding programs and are the first zoo that successfully bred California sea lions. 

 

Fountain Square

Fountain Square is one of the central hubs that tourists and locals alike love to mingle at. The area is home to many different businesses, including restaurants, hotels, shops, and offices. People know Fountain Square as the hub and center of the city where all kinds of people come together. 

 

Coney Island

One of Cincinnati’s top tourist spots, Coney Island, is a water park located near the Ohio River. The park is also near Belterra Park and the Riverbend Music Center, making the area a top spot for tourist crowds. The waterpark features several waterslides, a funhouse, and a wave pool that will make for a fun afternoon.

 

City Hall

Cincinnati City Hall is a top place to visit because of its Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. The hall was built in 1839 and is on the list of the National Register of Historic Places. One of the most iconic features of the hall is the nine-story clock tower. The rest of the building is four and a half stories tall. If desired, anyone can schedule a tour of the City Hall. 

 

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

One of the most visited buildings in Cincinnati is the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. This museum is located downtown and is part of the museum group called “museums of conscience.” 

The building’s main goal is to pay tribute to the attempts and efforts that abolished human enslavement. The museum not only displays artifacts but also challenges people to consider their perspectives. 

Cincinnati, Ohio, is a significant location regarding the role it has played in the Underground Railroad. Thousands of slaves from the southern slave states escaped by traveling across the Ohio River and into Cincinnati. 

 

American Classical Music Hall of Fame

The American Classical Music Hall of Fame is a memorial building that pays tribute to past and present people who have contributed to classical music. 

Mostly, Cincinnati locals will have the chance to view the exhibits since the museum is not open to the public. The exhibits are on display at some private events in conjunction with the School for Creative and Performing Arts. Some exhibits are also available online as virtual experiences. 

a photo of the city of Cincinnati with a dramatic cloudy blue sky

Unique Facts About the City

Cincinnati is a unique city that thousands of people visit every year. Not only does it have great art, shopping, and dining, but there are a few interesting facts about the city that many do not know.

 

Steven Spielberg Was Born in Cincinnati

Steven Spielberg, the famous Hollywood film director, was born in Cincinnati in 1946. Before he moved to Phoenix, he spent a few years in Ohio. While the director did not spend many years in the city, it is still a unique fact that many Cincinnati natives are proud of. 

Other noteworthy people born in the city include Neil Armstrong, George Clooney, and Jerry Springer. 

 

Cincinnati’s Music Hall Is Haunted

While the city has a famous art scene, it is also well-known by multiple paranormal experts because of the music hall. 

Many mediums and experts believe that the Cincinnati Music Hall is haunted. The popular television series Ghost Hunters even featured the hall. The next time you visit the unique city, take a ghost tour through the music hall. 

 

Cincinnati Hosts the Biggest Oktoberfest in America

Over 500,000 people join the biggest festival in Cincinnati: Oktoberfest. The yearly event features live music, food vendors, and games and activities influenced by Ohio’s German heritage. 

The event is the biggest of its kind throughout America. You can find the fun in downtown Cincinnati between Walnut and Elm streets every year in September.

Chili Is a Big Part of Cincinnati’s Culture

One of the main things that people know Cincinnati for is the chili culture. (Yes, you read that right.)

Ever since 1949, chili has been a major staple in the city’s cuisine. There are 180 chili restaurants and counting in the city. The major chili restaurant chain, Skyline Chili, features a wide variety of chili dishes, from chili fries to chili spaghetti. The chain is famous for its thin and sweet chili recipes that include unique ingredients such as cinnamon and chocolate. 

 

Cincinnati Is the Unofficial Capital of Cornhole

Cornhole is a game that involves a wooden board and bean bags. The other well-known name for the game is bean bag toss.

While many other parts of the world only play the game during county fairs and festivals, Cincinnati residents play it all year round. Simply take a drive through the city; you are likely to see friends playing the game with a beer in their hands. The game will always appear at birthday parties and family reunions. 

 

The City Is Also Called “The Queen City”

While some people won’t recognize the city’s real name, others will know it by its popular nickname: “The Queen City” or “The Queen of the West.”

For forty years following 1819, the year that Cincinnati became a city, the city experienced substantial growth as an economical and creative hub. Not only did the city gain new commercial ties and art showcases, thousands of people settled in the growing city. Due to Cincinnati’s fast-paced growth, people started to call it “The Queen City.”

Conclusion

There are several fascinating things that Cincinnati is known for. 

First of all, the city is home to the oldest baseball team in America: the Cincinnati Reds. The city also has a prominent art scene, featuring museums, art exhibits, theatre, orchestra, and ballet shows. 

When it comes to the food culture, chili plays a big role. There are over 180 chili restaurants; you cannot spend more than a few days in the city without trying the chili. 

If you want to take a trip to Cincinnati, check out Walking Cincinnati by Danny Korman and Katie Meyer.

Click here to discover what other cities are known for worldwide!

 

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