Just over from Clifton Gaslight and just up from Downtown and OTR, you will find "The 45223." Welcome to Northside, home to funky shops, great eats, cool bars, hot real estate, and a close-knit community of young creatives and old hands.
I've lived over here on "The Right Side, the Tight Side, the Northside" for about two years now, and each week I discover more to love. I've previously described this 'hood as "pretty and gritty" and that is truly what it is. From beautifully rehabbed homes to alleyways with incredible street art, this is Northside.
Northside is home to a diverse population of long-time, working-class residents, artists, writers, musicians, and young families. It's the location of a fun Second Saturday art walk, holds one of the best fourth of July parades anywhere, and is an open, welcoming community. The visionary transformation of an old, empty factory building (American Can) into gorgeous lofts a few years back helped spark a property boom that's continuing to gain momentum. More people are moving in, and new businesses are joining them.
EAT & DRINK
When you come to spend a day (do this soon!), you'll find plenty to eat, drink, shop, see, and do along Hamilton Avenue. The 'hood has hosted an ever-growing food renaissance in recent years, with newer restaurants like Bistro Grace, Ruth's Parkside Café, Mayday, Picnic & Pantry, Melt, Django Western Taco, Boswell's, the Kitchen Factory, Happy Chicks Bakery, and the Littlefield joining classic Northside joints like the Comet, Bonomini Bakery, and the Blue Jay. Whether your tastes lean toward classic or trendy, upscale or greasy spoon, vegan or Tex-Mex, you'll find plenty of good grub here. (Caffeine addicts, we have you covered, too: fuel up at Sidewinder Coffee & Tea.)
Plus, Northside is home to some of the best bars in the city. You can catch live music seven nights a week at the Northside Tavern, the Comet, and Mayday. For a drink with friends, hit up craft beer and wine shop the Listing Loon, new bourbon bar the Littlefield, or the Chameleon. My favorite cocktails in Northside? The jalapeno margaritas at Django and the Irish Ass (Jameson and homemade ginger ale) at the Comet. Yum!
SHOP & STYLE
If you love to shop (and who doesn't?) Northside has plenty to warm up the stripe on the back of your credit card. Northside Grange supplies urban farmers and pet lovers. Marketside Mercantile sells unique new, vintage, and repurposed treasures for you and your home (I love shopping for gifts here). Tantrum sells an eclectic mix of fair-trade and sustainable home goods, clothes, toys, and jewelry, along with vegan body-care products and fun gift items. Fabricate sells handmade art and crafts (it's like a live-action Etsy). NVISION, Object by Modology, Casablanca Vintage, and Chicken Lays an Egg are full of fantastic vintage finds in clothing, furniture, and all sorts of random oddities. Shake-It Records and Black Plastic Records stock vinyl, CDs, T-shirts, and just about anything a music lover could ever want or need.
Oh and, top-notch hair salons? You'll find those here, too. Try Taylor Jameson Hair Design, Pinnokios, or the Northside Chop Shop. You can get any 'do here from the classic to the edgy, created by some of the best stylists in the city.
Looking for kid-friendly activities? Stop by Happen, Inc., and their Northside Toy Lab, or WordPlay Cincy.
GET OUT THERE
And when you need a break from the shopping, eating, hairdo-getting, and/or drinking, stop at one of Northside's ample green spaces. My faves: Hoffner Park (at Hamilton and Blue Rock) or Ludlow Monument Park (a little spot tucked away at the corner of Knowlton and Mad Anthony). Northside is super close to Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum as well, so you can scratch that trail-walking/ -riding itch seven days a week. All in all, It's a beautiful place, so quiet and full of wildlife you'd never think you were still within the city limits. (Oh, and Northside is just down the road from Mt. Airy Forest, too. So there's that.)
And don't worry about parking -- there's plenty. (Northside has three lots and plenty of street spots.) I hope to see you in my neighborhood very soon!