Cincinnati will host BLINK — one of the largest light, art and projection mapping events in the nation — October 10-13. Yelp Cincy is thrilled to partner with the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network to invite you to our city for the second iteration of this iconic event. Whether you’re enjoying all four days of the festival or just dropping in for a day or two, we have lots to keep you busy!
Explore during the day and stay through the night at one of several unique hotels throughout the Cincinnati region. To help you make the most of a weekend in Cincinnati, Yelp has put together this list of recommendations and insider tips from Yelpers. This will guide you through icons that are “Unmistakably Cincinnati” so that you can experience the region like a local.
It’s true, if you’ve never had Cincinnati-style chili, it should definitely be on your itinerary. “Some people describe it as tasting sweet because of it being seasoned with cocoa powder and allspice,” says Elite Yelper Katie H. Still not sure what you’re getting into? Let us answer a few questions for you: Yes, we put our chili on spaghetti. Yes, there is a mountain of cheese placed on top of the chili spaghetti. Yes, we put it on small hot dogs too (and call it a coney). Yes, there are SO many great jokes you can make about ordering a 3-way at one of our chili parlors (a 3-way is chili + spaghetti + cheese). You may have heard of Skyline and Gold Star, which are both great choices, but there are lots of small locally owned chili parlors that you may not have heard of. Take, for example, Blue Ash Chili which replaces the hot dog on a coney with a pickle spear (dubbed “The Lizard”).
Cincinnati is way more than Chili parlors though. Here’s a small (but by no means comprehensive) list of some great eats in the central Cincinnati/NKY area:
- Mazunte Centro (Downtown) – Mazunte has long been a Cincinnati staple, but only recently opened this downtown location. Take a look at these tacos and margs!
- Maplewood Kitchen & Bar (Downtown) – Recently named one of the most photographed businesses in the midwest.
- Senate (Over-The-Rhine) – Gourmet hot dogs? Poutine? Beignets? We’re here for this. You should be too.
- Boomtown Biscuits & Whiskey (Over-The-Rhine/Pendleton) – Yelpers rave over the gravy flights and delicious biscuits!
- The Baker’s Table (NKY) – Drool-worthy brunch. Nuff said.
- Libby’s Southern Comfort (NKY) – Yelpers love their Cheerwine Bourbon Slushies and all the Southern fixins’.
|PRO-TIP: If you’re visiting for BLINK and want to avoid long-wait times, try clicking the “Waitlist” icon on the Yelp mobile app. This will show you restaurants where you can join the waitlist and arrive just as your table is ready. Also, visit your high-demand choices for lunch and get creative for dinner. Might we suggest picking up burritos/tacos from Gutierrez Deli in Covington and taking them to the overlook at Devou Park and have a picnic with a stunning view?|
With our German history and Northern Kentucky neighbors, craft beer and bourbon run as wide as the bridges that connect us. You may have heard of some of our breweries like Rhinegeist and MadTree, but did you know just how many breweries there are in Cincinnati? (Hint: It’s a few more than you can likely visit in 48 hours). With bourbon and beer throughout downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, it will be easy to sample if you’re walking throughout the area during the BLINK festival. Here’s a few tips we have:
- Want to keep up the artistic vibes while you’re enjoying BLINK? Visit 3 Points Brewery in Pendleton, a brewery that supports and displays vibrant local art.
- Need more beer and art? Head across the river to Bircus to find a combination of great beer and breathtaking performance art.
- Have pipes to show off? Head over to Tokyo Kitty, a Japanese-style karaoke bar, where you can belt out every tune your heart desires while sipping on a cocktail.
- Want a taste of Bourbon Country? Stop by Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar or The Globe in Covington for a manhattan, bourbon on the rocks, or just a great cocktail!
You can’t drive around Cincinnati for too long without seeing the iconic Union Terminal that houses the Cincinnati Museum Center, or gaze upon the beautiful Music Hall in Over-The-Rhine. While you’re in town though we have some tips on some must-sees of the Queen City.
- American Sign Museum – On top of just enjoying the bright colors and incredible history, Yelpers recommend using the free audio guide on your phone (accessible via QR code at the museum).
- Smale Riverfront Park – Giant foot piano, views of the skyline and river, bench swings? This is a perfect spot in the sun for a relaxing afternoon.
- Carew Tower Observation Deck – Grab $6 (cash only) and head to the top of Carew Tower to get the best view of the city!
- American Legacy Tours – Between underground tunnels that once connected breweries, to exploring the gambling & gangster history of Newport, these tours have something for everyone.
Maybe you’re coming into town to stay with friends, maybe you’re just a short drive away, but perhaps… we’re crossing our fingers that some of you will get to step foot into a few of our hotels that are worthy of being their own destination. Take a look at this short list of hotels that are sure to inspire your inner adventurer.
- 21c Museum Hotel – Even if you don’t need a hotel, come visit the free art galleries and have a meal/drink at Metropole.
- Hotel Covington – What was once a department store has become a stunning boutique hotel in Covington. Not staying here? Coppin’s, the restaurant inside, is a great place to stop for a meal or cocktail.
- Symphony Hotel & Restaurant – Want something a little more intimate? This 9-room hotel has tons of character packed behind its walls.
Whether you’re visiting for BLINK or simply coming to dive into Cincinnati, we hope you have an absolute blast. For more information on planning out your experience at BLINK, visit the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network’s guide to the weekend’s festivities. Yelp Cincy is proud to partner with the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network to invite you to join us in exploring the Queen City.