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Fun things to do in Cincinnati with kids: Downtown Cincinnati

Fun Things to Do in Cincinnati with Kids

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Having grown up in Cincinnati, we make the trek from the East Coast to Cincinnati at least once or twice a year. In addition to visiting family, there are so many places we love, although there’s never enough time to see them all during our short visits. For a beautiful place to stay while in Cincinnati, check out Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza. Opened in 1931, the hotel is a gorgeous property in the French Art Deco style conveniently located in the heart of Cincinnati and is also a National Historic Landmark.

Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

The mezzanine at the historic Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza.

So, without further ado, here’s my list of fun things to do in Cincinnati with kids!

Cincinnati Museum Center

How many amazing places can you combine under one roof? The Cincinnati Museum Center is housed in the historic Union Terminal, which is still a functioning train station, and is home to three museums: the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, the Museum of Natural History and Science, and the Cincinnati History Museum.

The Museum of Natural History has many fantastic displays, but by far our favorite is the Cave, which is a replica of the caves found in the region and includes a waterfall and a bat cave! The Children’s Museum is one of the best I’ve been to, with many different sections. Again, we have a favorite area, the Woods, which is pretty much what it sounds like, with lots of “trees” for the kids to climb through and benches along the side for parents to wait for their kids to finish exploring all the little nooks through the woods.

Eden Park & Krohn Conservatory

The absolutely perfect spot for a picnic, Eden Park is over 150 acres on a hilltop overlooking the Ohio River. There’s plenty of open space for running, a lake where you can feed the ducks, as well as a playground. Eden Park also is home to the Krohn Conservatory and the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Check out the Conservatory’s special programs that kids will love, such as Chocolate Saturday, where they learn about how chocolate is grown and made. The Conservatory also has a special exhibit on the Butterflies of Costa Rica running until June 22, 2014. It’s a wonderful opportunity for kids to see tropical butterflies up close.

Riverfront Parks & the Purple People Bridge

The Ohio River plays a large role in the history and landscape of Cincinnati, so definitely spend some time on the riverfront while in town. Sawyer Point is a great park, with a spray park for the kids, bike rentals, and a playground.

Next to the park is the Purple People Bridge, a large pedestrian bridge over the Ohio River. Hike the bridge for great views of the city from the Kentucky side of the river.

Also, a little further west of Sawyer Point is the evolving Smale Riverfront Park that also has fountains for the kids, a bike path, and a labyrinth, among other features. Future plans include a carousel and expansion of the bike path.

Loveland Castle

Off the beaten path, about a 30 minute drive from downtown, you’ll find Loveland Castle. Built over the course of more than 50 years starting in 1929, Loveland Castle is a replica of a historic medieval castle.

Kids will love exploring the grounds and castle, including the dungeon! Overnight visits are even possible, with advance notice. Located on the banks of the Little Miami River, it’s also a great place to rent bikes nearby and enjoy a quiet day on the bike path that follows the Little Miami River.

Fun Things to do in Cincinnati with Kids: Loveland Castle

Taking a day trip or spending the night at Loveland Castle is one of the fun things to do in Cincinnati with kids.

Cincinnati Restaurants: Chili & Graeter’s Ice Cream

You cannot, absolutely cannot, leave Cincinnati without trying the chili. Cincinnati is known for their unique chili served either on spaghetti or hot dogs. The two largest chain restaurants are Skyline Chili and Goldstar Chili and you’ll find them everywhere.

For kids, start with the kids’ three-way spaghetti, which consists of spaghetti, chili and plenty of cheese. The cheese conies are also a good choice, consisting of a hot dog (smaller than average) on a bun, with mustard, chili, cheese and onions. I’m hungry already.

To top off the meal, stop by the local ice cream store, Graeter’s, started in Cincinnati over 100 years ago. There are several locations around town. Try the black raspberry chocolate chip; you can’t go wrong.

Explore other Midwest cities:

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Andrea is a single mom in Arlington, Virginia with a 15-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter. Her children took their first trips when they were just four…

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