Think about the last time you were on Fountain Square. What'd you see?
Graeter's and Via Vite, Jekyll and Potbelly, Chipotle and Rock Bottom. An ice rink during winter or a stage during summer. Macy's Jumbotron playing a ballgame or an advertisement. Skyscrapers towering above on every side. And of course, the Tyler-Davidson fountain in the middle of it all. You've been there a hundred times and know that block well because it's the proverbial heart of the city.
But you might be missing something. What's between Chipotle and Rock Bottom? Is something even there?
Yes, there is. You might not know Fountain Square as well as you thought you did. Thankfully, filling that gap in your memory is the foundation of the Cincinnati USA Visitor Center's mission.
It occupies that aforementioned space. The Visitor Center might be a tiny storefront, but it has a tremendous amount to offer. Volunteers staff the desk during open hours and cheerfully engage those who enter with a surplus of great ideas for a day in the Queen City.
Regardless if you've lived here your whole life, the Visitor Center will likely enlighten you about a store, restaurant, amenity, activity, or event you didn't know existed. Case in point: you're a native, but you may not have even known the Visitor Center was on Fountain Square. What else have you been missing?
And if you're visiting Cincinnati from out of town, it should be stop numero uno when you leave CVG airport. With its position on arguably the most popular block of Downtown, it's the logical location for a dealer of details despite its relative demure demeanor.
Pamphlets advertising attractions cover the left wall just beyond a small sitting area with a coffee table bearing carefully-placed magazines. A colossal geocache box sits beneath a table of informational flyers on the right wall. A map of the world hangs above it with hand-drawn circles around the cities travelers have come from to visit Cincinnati. Little notes sometimes accompany the circles, giving them additional personality.
The Visitor Center also doubles as a Cincinnati Police Department substation. Usually, people head to the storefront to figure out what's good, but the location also serves as a way to report anything that's not so good.
It is an asset that anyone, both the clueless newcomers and the savviest of the Queen City savvy, will find useful.
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The Cincinnati USA Visitor Center is located at 511 Walnut Street (45202). It is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.