Weekend Family Trip to Cincinnati, Ohio

Travelling with a large family is never easy.  Throw in multi-age kids ranging from teenagers to a preschooler and things can get crazy.  Because of the variety of schedules a spring break trip this year was not in the cards but we still wanted to get away from our daily routine even for just a couple of days. We decided to drive to Cincinnati, Ohio and a great time was had by all.  

Day 1

We arrived late in the afternoon on a Friday and checked into the 21C Museum Hotel located in the heart of downtown.  Not only is it a wonderful hotel but also a contemporary art museum known for the yellow penguins that move around the building.  Art is everywhere and we all found something interesting as we took some time after check-in to walk around the halls and lobby to see it.  

We ate dinner that night just a block away at a Rockbottom Brewery on the Fountain Square Plaza.  There are a number of places within easy walking distance though we recommend on a weekend night to book ahead.  (We used the Open Table app.)  On the way back to our hotel we stopped at the Contemporary Arts Center right next door which is always free and open late. After getting back to our room we found chocolate chip cookies and milk for everyone.  On the way we grabbed a couple of the yellow penguins from the lobby to put in a new spot.  We decided on 2 rooms for the 6 of us which worked out great.  With one of the rooms we purchased a package that included a tent for youngest, 4 tickets to the Newport Aquarium, and the milk and cookies.  They brought additional bedding so he could sleep in the tent which was definitely a highlight for him!


Day 2

We don't usually get room service but wanted to get going in the morning so had everyone order bagels and, of course, coffee for the grownups.  We were fortunate to have good weather so decided to walk the couple of blocks to the riverfront and then down to the Purple People Bridge, a pedestrian walkway that spans the Ohio River and crosses in front of the Newport Aquarium.  We had fun at the aquarium and easily spent the first half of the day there.  

There are a number of restaurants, a bookstore, movie theater, bowling alley, and even outdoor entertainers next to the aquarium.  After a nice lunch at Brother's Bar & Grill with outdoor seating looking out over the Ohio River we decided to play a round of bowling at Axis Alley before getting an Uber ride back to our hotel (cost less than $10).  

Everyone was ready for a little break so we headed back to 21C Hotel and played some card games we brought along before going to the Over-The-Rhine (OTR), a popular working-class neighborhood that in recent years has become a popular shopping and dining destination.  Definitely another time that Open Table comes in handy especially when you have several people in your party.  We found a wonderful wood-fired pizza restaurant that was amazing, A Tavola. The cocktails were good as well.  


The kids had heard about a donut shop, Holtman's Donuts, that has had a long history in the neighborhood so we got in line and everyone tried one of their delicious donuts before heading back for the night. 

Day 3

On our last morning we all slept in and had brunch reservations just across the street from the hotel at Nada, a mexican-inspired restaurant with cool decor. The hotel was kind enough to extend our checkout so that we could come back for our luggage afterwards.  Nada offers big windows to lookout over the downtown and the food was incredible!  

On our way home, about 30 minutes north of Cincinnati we stopped for some karting at Full Throttle Indoor Karting.  This place was great because there really was something for all ages. Our preschooler got to drive in the tot track while our middlers went go-karting on the big track that could go quite a bit faster and our oldest (who has his drivers license) and dad went for the fastest karts they offered with speeds up to 45 MPH.  

We all agreed it was a great way to spend a couple of days and recharge, see new things, have great food and spend time together before we all got back to work and school and busy schedules.