There’s plenty to see and do in the “Big Little City.” Start planning your adventures now!
“Summer is the best time of the year to visit Cincinnati because of the endless amount of opportunities,” boasts Bill Halusek, National Fraternal Order of Police (NFOP) conference co-chairman. “In short, everything there is to do in Cincinnati is open in August.”
Law enforcement professionals and their families will converge on the city in southwestern Ohio for the 2013 Biennial Conference and Exposition of the NFOP. Every two years, the NFOP holds a national gathering of members to set the organization’s goals and agenda for the coming years. Hosted by Queen City Lodge #69, this year’s event will take place August 11–15 at the Duke Energy Center, situated in the heart of downtown Cincinnati.
Founded in 1788, Cincinnati — named in honor of the Roman soldier Cincinnatus and the Society of Cincinnati, an association of former officers of the American Revolution — has always been a major point of interest. Its prime location on the Ohio River turned the settlement into a strategic outpost to the West and South. In the earliest years, the growing town hosted Fort Washington, a large military camp on the frontier. Over time, it evolved into a thriving hub for numerous industries that needed to distribute goods over land and water. By the late 19th century, more than 15 railroads connected Cincinnati to other parts of the country. While business today no longer relies as heavily on river and rail transportation, the city remains home to many corporations, including Procter & Gamble, Federated Department Stores, and Ashland Inc.
But there’s so much more to the city than its corporate residents. Cincinnati has a rich cultural history, and you can find reminders of it throughout town. The 10-block Betts-Longworth Historic District is just one example. Another is the Over-the-Rhine (OTR) district. During the 1800s, thousands of European immigrants, primarily German, settled into these neighborhoods, where they re-created their brewing traditions. Those endeavors quickly paid off and Cincinnati earned a reputation as a major beer producer. At one point, there were more than a dozen breweries operating in the district.
Today, OTR is enjoying a rejuvenation, and the Christian Moerlein Brewing Company sits as its cornerstone. One of the area’s oldest breweries, Christian Moerlein is recognized as a leader in producing craft beers. In fact, it passed the strict Reinheitsgebot Bavarians Purity Law of 1516. You can taste the hometown lagers for yourself at the Moerlein Lager House. An extensive beer menu includes an Over-the-Rhine Pale Ale, the Moerlein Exposition Vienna Lager, a tribute to Christian Moerlein’s first brews, and even a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. If your stay in Cincinnati includes a Saturday or Sunday, for $10 you can tour the restaurant and get a behind-the-scenes look at the brewery.
If you don’t want to wait for the weekend to experience the city’s brewing history, sign up with Cincinnati’s Original Brewery Tours. You’ll venture into the tunnels that offered the unique environmental conditions required for proper fermentation. You’ll also learn how these same tunnels aided bootleggers during Prohibition. The tour starts and finishes at Findlay Market, the oldest public market in the state, operating continuously since 1855. Shoppers can peruse more than 35 merchants selling everything from ethnic food to wine, beer and spirits or candy and confections. On the weekends, a farmers market offers local produce and other yummy items.
Interested in checking out other shopping venues? Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co. are within walking distance of the convention center. For a shopping experience with a historical twist, check out Carew Tour. Built in 1930, the city’s tallest building hosts dozens of stores, from the mainstream (Radio Shack and Shoe Haus) to blasts from the past. Grab a seat at the counter of Hathaway’s Coffee Shop and order an old-fashioned soda fountain treat, like a banana split or crème sickle (orange juice and milk). If you’d rather have lunch, you’re sure to find something to your liking on the typical diner menu.
While you’re in the Tower, travel up to the 49th floor observation deck for panoramic views of the city.
Smale Riverfront Park
Within Walking Distance
With average daily temperatures for August topping off in the comfortable mid-80s range, there’s no better time of year to take a walk around town. There’s plenty to see in the area surrounding the convention center. Only two blocks to the east, you’ll find Fountain Square, which regularly hosts performances and special events. You can also catch the Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) Southbank Shuttle from the Westin Hotel Fountain Square, which will transport you over the Ohio River into Covington and Newport, Kent. Routes run every 20 minutes.
Be sure to stroll along the riverfront, too. Smale Riverfront Park recently completed its first phase, which showcases the Duke Energy Garden and Women’s Committee Garden. Find some shade in the tree grove or cool off at either the Walnut Street or Main Street Fountains. If you’re up for a challenge, see if you can outsmart the labyrinth.
When it’s time to give your feet a break, hop aboard a Segway, the vehicle you control with your body. Segway of Cincinnati offers tours around town. NFOP attendees get a special rate when using the promo code “FOP13” while making reservations.
A Tasting Menu
From fine dining to traditional bar food, Cincinnati restaurants cater to everyone’s palates and wallets. For those nights you want to dress to impress, make reservations at the Orchids at Palm Court in the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. Nationally renowned executive chef Todd Kelly has created a delectable menu featuring seasonal high-end ingredients. Zagat, the restaurant review guide, named Orchids Top Restaurant in Cincinnati for three years running. It also made the Top 100 Restaurants in the USA and OpenTable.com’s Top 100 for Best Service. Before dinner, order a drink at The Bar at Palm Court, known for its crafted-to-order cocktails. If you’re feeling nostalgic, try the PC Manhattan, featuring a hand-selected Four Roses single-barrel bourbon. Want a little heat? Go with the Spicy in the City concoction, which includes a jalapeño-infused La Prima Tequila.
If you find yourself in the mood for surf and turf, try McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks, down the street from the convention center. If you’re more comfortable at a sports bar, go to Holy Grail Banks. Opt for traditional pub grub like wings and nachos, or try a twist on a classic with Goebel’s Reuben Wontons—all the great stuff from a Reuben tucked into a wonton and fried. Because the Holy Grail is within 100 yards of home base at the Great American Ball Park, home of the Cincinnati Reds Major League Baseball team, it’ll sound like you’re practically in the stands while dining al fresco on game day. But don’t worry, you’ll be able to watch the action on one of its many TV screens, too.
The Banks, at the foot of the Roebling Suspension Bridge on the riverfront, includes more than a dozen restaurants, so no matter what you’re craving, there will be an eatery there that’s sure to satisfy.
But if you really want to taste the flavor of Cincinnati, try its hometown favorites: Cincinnati-style chili and goetta. Cincinnati-style chili isn’t your everyday chili. Typically served over spaghetti, it has a unique blend of spices, such as cinnamon, cloves and even sometimes chocolate. “Skyline Chili and Gold Star Chili are certainly the largest and most popular restaurants,” notes Halusek. “However, the neighborhood chili parlors, such as Camp Washington Chili, Price Hill Chili or Delhi Chili, are where you will find the best chili.”
Betts-Longworth Historic District
1306 Main St.
Cincinnati’s Original Brewery Tours
Saks Fifth Avenue
101 W. Fifth St.
Tiffany & Co.
505 Vine St.
441 Vine St.
Hathaway’s Coffee Shop
441 Vine St.
A TASTING MENU
Orchids at Palm Court
35 W. Fifth St.
The Bar at Palm Court
35 W. Fifth St.
McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks
21 E. Fifth St.
Great American Ball Park
100 Joe Nuxhall Way
(513) 381-REDS or (877) 647-REDS
Between Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park
Camp Washington Chili
3005 Colerain Ave.
Price Hill Chili
4920 Glenway Ave.
4875 Delhi Ave.
533 Goetta Plaza
2590 Waterpark Drive
100 Joe Nuxhall Way
(513) 381-REDS or (877) 647-REDS
Cincinnati Bengals, Paul Brown Stadium
6 Paul Brown Stadium
CITY AT NIGHT
O’Malley’s in the Alley
25 Ogden Place
200 E. Third St.
Party in the Park
609 Walnut St.
Arnies on the Levee
120 E. Third St.
Goetta is a regional specialty sausage — handed down from the community’s German immigrants — made from ground meat and steel-cut oats. “You’ll never find it in the chain restaurants,” says Halusek. “Locally made Glier’s Spicy Goetta is by far the best!”
To satisfy a sweet tooth, you have to make a trip to Graeter’s Ice Cream. The family business has been around for more than 140 years and is known for producing a luxuriously creamy treat unlike other ice creams. No more than two and a half gallons are made at a time, still using the French Pot method Louis C. Graeter used back in 1870. Seasonal ingredients often determine the flavors of the day, but the all-time best-seller is black raspberry chip.
Cincinnati Museum Center
Families looking for daytime activities will have plenty to choose from, including museums, parks, water features and more. You could spend an entire day at the Cincinnati Museum Center. The historic Art Deco train station has been converted to house the Cincinnati History Library and Archives, the Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX Theater and three museums.
The Duke Energy Children’s Museum has consistently ranked among the top children’s museums in the country. Kids are invited to be active, exploratory and hands-on with exhibits. At the Cincinnati History Museum, interact with costumed interpreters to find out what life was really like in Cincinnati at different stages of its history. The Museum of Natural History & Science introduces you to prehistoric creatures, the Ice Age and fantastic fossils.
As a gateway to the South, Cincinnati played an influential role in the abolitionist movement, including being part of the Underground Railroad. Many escaping slaves called the Ohio River “River Jordan,” because once in Ohio, they took their first steps of freedom. Learn more about the Railroad as well as past and present slavery around the world at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.
Photo by Connie Lemperle.
Amusement and Attractions
Of course, you can’t come to this city without planning a day at the world-famous Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The second-oldest operating zoo and one of the largest in the United States, it cares for more than 500 animals and 3,000 plant species. New this year is the Africa exhibit, featuring lions, cheetahs and vultures. If you’re lucky, you might get to meet Lulu, a giraffe born at the zoo in October. There’s also Gladys, a newborn gorilla. She’ll probably make her debut this summer.
For aquatic animal encounters, cross over the river into Newport, Kent., to watch the antics of the Penguin Parade at the Newport Aquarium. Every day at 10 a.m., the adorable birds waddle out to greet guests. Buy a ticket ($23 for 13 or older; $15 for 2- to12-year-olds; 2 and younger are free) to go inside and see more sea life, including shark rays. If you’re adventurous, learn how to pet a spotted gully shark.
Want to get a little wet yourself? Grab your suit and towel and head to Beachwater Park in Mason, 20 miles north of downtown Cincinnati. With more than 40 pools, slides and other attractions, there’s something for everyone. Little ones can play in cascading fountains and shooting geysers or take aim with water cannons. Older kids (of any age) can take the big plunge on thrill slides like the Watusi, featuring a 450-degree helix curve, or the Twilight Zoom, a darkened tube that simulates the night sky. Catch a wave at the new Kahuna Beach Wavepool, which provides a tropical beach environment complete with palm trees, cabana waiters and ocean-sized waves.
For those who prefer to stay dry but want some speed, there’s always Kings Island amusement park. Ride the world’s longest wooden roller coaster. Thrill-seekers will love Diamondback’s 215-foot drop at a 74-degree angle. For an extra $5, take the family to Dinosaurs Alive!, the world’s largest animatronics dinosaur park.
And you can’t forget the city’s professional sports teams. The Reds will be home playing the San Diego Padres on Sunday, August 11. “Fireworks launch from the ‘Smoke Stacks’ after every home run and winning game, and flames shoot from the tops after every strikeout,” says Halusek.
The Cincinnati Bengals will also be in town for in summer camp. Check the team’s website, www.bengals.com, for details as the date draws near.
City at Night
Adults interested in the nightlife should stop in at O’Malley’s in the Alley to hang out with the locals. It may not be October yet, but you can celebrate Oktoberfest any day at the German biergarten of Hofbräuhaus Newport just across the river. On Wednesday, join Cincinnatians for a Party in the Park at Yeatman’s Cove. This summer marks the 36th season of the city’s weekly block party featuring local performers.
The brand-new Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati on the outskirts of downtown offers nonstop gaming action, great dining opportunities and live entertainment. Are you feeling lucky?
As conference co-chair Halusek commented earlier, August is a great time to visit Cincinnati. “We’re confident our delegates will have plenty to do while staying with us,” he concludes.
FOP Hosted Events
Many attractions and special events are available to FOP Conference attendees and their families. Check out full details, available discounts and ticket info at www.2013fopconvention.com/events.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Cincinnati Reds Game
Great American Ball Park
Discount tickets available, proceeds benefit the National FOP Foundation
Motorcycle Poker Run
12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Begin at the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum, travel along the scenic Ohio River through northern Kentucky, southeast Indiana and southwest Ohio. All proceeds benefit the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum.
Aston Oaks Golf Club
1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Buffet lunch, shotgun start, prizes and complimentary beer tickets. Proceeds benefit the Ohio FOP Critical Incident Response Service.
Front of Convention Center
4:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Free admission and $1 beers. Proceeds benefit the National FOP Foundation.
Monday, August 12, 2013
Comic Night: Mike Armstrong
Duke Energy Center Grand Ballroom, third floor
7:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Jamming in the Jungle
6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Private party for FOP 2013 Delegates, families and friends. All zoo attractions will be open, “Taste of Cincinnati” free food and beverages and live music. Tickets purchased for this event will be valid all day at the zoo.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Irish Night Party
Great American Ball Park
6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Irish festival featuring food, dance, beer and lots of music. Pipes and drums from across the region plus The Young Dubliners.
Don’t miss the full Summer 2013 FOP Journal, click here to see the digital issue.