I've lived in the Tri-State area my entire life and while I've spent a fair amount of time in Columbus these last five years, I've never lived anywhere besides Cincinnati.
What is it like?
The people. Depending on what part of town you're from, the folks here are very different. There is a bit of an East Side/West Side rivalry. From my home town, about 12 miles north of Downtown Cincinnati, there is also a little parochial/public school rivalry. As a city, we've had our share of very unfortunate (and embarrassing) racial tension. Generally, people here are morally, financially and politically conservative. However, I've met some amazingly open-minded people here and most everyone is eventually friendly, if not a little reserved at first.
(Photo from virtualtourist.com)
The sights. We're a river city. The Ohio River runs right along our skyline, dividing Cincinnati from our neighbors in Kentucky. The river atmosphere makes life a little more exciting and definitely more beautiful. You can go right across the river into Newport or Covington and have a great time there, too.
The culture and events. In the downtown area, things are very different from the suburbs. Except for restaurants and bars, shops and businesses roll up their carpets really early and many are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. For a number of years, after the race riots, no one did anything in downtown Cincinnati, some due to fear, and some due to protest. Slowly, as the wounds have begun to heal, this has improved greatly and it makes Cincinnati feel like home again. When we have our big events, like the WEBN Fireworks any Bengals game, Reds game, Opening Day, Taste of Cincinnati or Oktoberfest, you'd never know what a ghost town The Queen City can be. We've got the Aronoff Center, the Taft Theater and The Cincinnati Art Museum to appeal to the artistic. The Cincinnati Zoo is one of the best in the country. And if you like to ride on horrifying metal structures that can make you hurl/fear death/scream, you can't do any better than Kings Island. A few food items that come from Cincinnati have earned cult-like followings - Skyline Chili and Montgomery Inn are probably the two items we're most known for.
(photo from Wikipedia's description of Taste of Cincinnati)
If you ever visit Cincinnati,you've got to... Spend an evening in Mt. Adams. Stay somewhere downtown and take the five dollar cab ride up to to the top of this awesome Cincinnati landmark. It is one of our favorite places to go. It just feels special. Sitting on the back patio at the Blind Lemon in winter time, sipping a hot buttered rum, watching the fire, listening to music, looking up at the big, open sky...you feel small and significant at the same time. Excited and comforted at once. Like you're starring in some very cool movie. Mt. Adams is home to a lot of neat little restaurants and pubs. If you go before the "beautiful people" get there on a Saturday night (come before 9:00 p.m.) you can kind of have the whole place to yourself and you won't have to share the view tables with anyone, or wait in line to get a drink, eat or whatever you might like to do.
What do I love about Cincinnati? The diversity and the art culture. I know that is like the opposite of what anyone would expect considering how conservative this town is. However, the conservatives embrace the artistic community...they fund it, they support it...they just don't want us marrying their sons/daughters! All this squareness actually makes the arts and diversity pop! You know, kind of like how a red throw pillow can add zing to an all grey room? The arts pop against this plain background. I love that there is so much to do...sports, festivals, just a nice buzz of excitement all around.
What I don't like? It's not as friendly as I'd like it to be...at least not at first. When I head north for Columbus on the weekends, I find that everyone there is very relaxed, down to earth and accepting. Here, it takes a little longer. I'd like people to warm up faster!
So, that's my overall take on this town. Why not mosey on over Shannon's blog and read some of the other city features that are being posted right now? If' you've stopped by here as a result of her Around the World in 80 Blogs post, welcome! I hope you'll come back. (I'm not usually so Julie-Your-Cruise-Director, but I really wanted to participate in her cool project!)