If you’re dreaming of a mini getaway, a novel adventure for your staycation, or just a fun little day trip, we have good news—there are tons of great spots to visit that are within an hour or so of Cincinnati, and many that are right here. You can get outdoors and see everything from waterfalls to art to actual castles. So fire up the GPS, oil up your bike chain, lace up your walking shoes, and hit the roads, trails, and sidewalks to this list of 15 great destinations in and around our hometown.
You don’t have to go all the way to Niagara to see gorgeous waterfalls. The first three destinations on our list are within an hour and a half (or less) of Cincinnati:
10211 Careytown Road
New Vienna, OH (45159)
The name says it all, doesn’t it? The Fallsville Falls waterfall is located within Fallsville Wildlife Area, which is about 60 miles northeast of Downtown Cincinnati in New Vienna, Ohio. The 15-foot falls is nestled in a wooded gorge, and is one of Ohio’s most beautiful destinations.
1501 Green Road
Madison, IN (47250)
Just over an hour away, located above the utterly charming river town of Madison, Indiana (which boasts 133 blocks on the National Historic Register), Clifty Falls State Park is home to multiple waterfalls that, depending upon when you go, range from thunderous and truly impressive to tranquil, delicate mists. Hiking is abundant here, and the surrounding town has plenty to see and do, as well.
405 Corry Street
Yellow Springs, Ohio (45387)
Just up the road in Yellow Springs, Ohio, resides the Glen Helen Nature Preserve. It offers miles of hiking trails and three waterfalls: Yellow Spring Falls, The Cascades at Glen Helen, and Grotto Falls.
Destinations 4, 5, and 6 offer a taste of the royal life. There are multiple castles in our region (who’d have thought?). Here are just three.
1292-1298 Elsinore Avenue
Mt. Adams (45202)
At the corner of Gilbert Avenue and Elsinore Place, at the bottom of Mt. Adams, you’ll find the Elsinore Arch. Built in 1883 as part of Cincinnati Waterworks, it is now a local landmark. Stop by to see it on your way up the hill to the Cincinnati Art Museum.
230 Pisgah Pike
Versailles, KY (40383)
Hop on I-75 and drive down to Lexington to see the impressive Kentucky Castle. Inside this boutique hotel is plenty of contemporary luxury, and outside is a decidedly medieval aesthetic. A tour of these grounds makes for a perfect day’s escape from the modern grind.
2655 S Patterson Boulevard
Kettering, OH (45409)
About 50 minutes or so from Cincinnati in Kettering, Ohio, sits the Patterson Tower, aka “Frankenstein’s Castle,” on the grounds of Hills and Dales MetroPark. Our Dayton neighbors’ Five Rivers MetroParks system is almost as impressive as ours. You’d do well to check out more than one if you make the trip up.
Destinations 7, 8, and 9 offer some of the best views of our gorgeous city (among other fun things to do). Dorothy said it best—"There’s no place like home,” and Cincinnati is truly blessed with a remarkable skyline and some fantastic places to view it from.
7. Devou Park
1201 Park Drive
Covington, KY (41011)
One of the best views of our fair city can actually be found just across the river in Covington, Kentucky, at Devou Park. From its overlook, you get a panoramic view of both Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. The Devou Park trails are excellent for hikers, bikers, and nature lovers of all kinds. Make a day of it by heading across I-71 to take a walk through the nearby MainStrasse Village.
2610 W 8th Street
East Price Hill (45204)
East Price Hill’s Olden View Park, which sits at the top of another historic local gem, the Price Hill Incline, which is home to pubs, restaurants, theaters, and more. Did we say Cincinnati was awesome? It is.
2191 Ohio Avenue
Clifton Heights (45219)
Bellevue Park, located in the CUF neighborhood, features both a fine example of Modern architecture in its small shelter house (the remains of a once much-larger resort) and a knockout view of Over-the-Rhine, City Hall, Music Hall, and Union Terminal.
Destinations 10 and 11 offer great terrain for unforgettable urban hikes.
Near UC’s campus and atop one of Cincinnati’s seven hills sits the Clifton Gaslight neighborhood. Tree-lined streets, scenic (if hilly!) terrain, plenty of parks, two fountains, and a bustling business district that manages to be both hip and quaint at the same time offer the perfect area for a fun urban hike.
11. Mt. Adams
Mt. Adams is truly one of the jewels in the crown of the Queen City. It offers spectacular city views, a world-class art museum and theater, a gorgeous park, beautiful churches, unique streetscapes, and remarkable architecture. It’s also home to some excellent bars and restaurants. It has something for everyone, and a day exploring here on foot is always a day very well spent, whether you've been here once or a hundred times.
Destinations 12 and 13 on our list will be fun for art aficionados.
In the spring of 2020, the Cincinnati Art Museum opened up its Art Climb—located at the corner of Gilbert Avenue and Eden Park Drive. This impressive new pathway to the CAM features 164 steps, spans nine stories, and is just plain beautiful by day and night thanks to thoughtful landscaping and clever lighting. Tucked along the way are benches and picnic tables. And of course, at the top, you’ll find the museum itself, always worthy of a visit.
Cincinnati is host to a plethora of fantastic murals. Spanning the blocks between Over-the-Rhine and Downtown, you will come across dozens of monumental works of public art. Hop on a RedBike or burn some shoe rubber to take a tour of what amounts to one of the best outdoor art galleries anywhere.
Destinations 14 and 15 on our list include just two of the many historic neighborhoods in our area.
Bond Hill is where you’ll discover the Bellavista Historic District, which runs the length of Bellavista Street. This row of Jazz Age, Tudor-revival homes, each with its own distinctive history, provides a glimpse into the Queen City life just a century (or less) ago.
15. Newport East Row
The Commonwealth’s second-largest historic district sits right across the river from Cincinnati. Newport’s East Row combines Newport’s Mansion Hill and Gateway neighborhoods, where blocks and blocks of historic homes, many parks, tree-lined streets, and charming gardens await. The boundaries roughly encompass the area between I-471, Washington Avenue, and 2nd and 6th Streets.