Getting to Know Cincinnati

The Cincinnati skyline is pictured, with blue skies and the Ohio River visible.

Cincinnati is a city with a lot to offer, but it can be hard to find your way around town for the first few months. This guide is meant to make getting to know the city a little easier. There's something here for everyone, including returning students.

Grocery Stores & Markets

Clifton Natural Foods

North of campus on Ludlow Avenue, Clifton Natural Foods offers healthy and organic selections with a regional focus. Although the store is a bit on the pricey side, it's very convenient.

Findlay Market

Ohio's oldest continuously operated public market and one of Cincinnati's most cherished institutions, Findlay Market hosts over two dozen indoor merchants open year round, a thriving farmers market on Saturdays and Sundays from April to November, and dozens of outdoor vendors, street performers and special events.


The nearest Kroger supermarket is located at Corry and Vine, directly across the street from the West Campus and within easy walking distance of the Medical Campus. In addition to offering the typical grocery selection, this store houses a natural foods section, a walk-in The Little Clinic, and a robust selection of hot, ready-to-eat entrees.

Park + Vine

Park + Vine, located in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine, is an eco-friendly general store with a lunch and brunch counter that caters to vegetarian and vegan needs. The store is pricey, but you can get good, reasonably priced sandwiches from the counter.

Trader Joe's

A less expensive alternative to Whole Foods, Trader Joe's is also slightly farther away, approximately 15 minutes by car in Kenwood.

Whole Foods

The national organic and health food retailer has a location in Rookwood Commons, a shopping center approximately 10 minutes from campus by car.


Here are just a few of the area's affordable restaurants, but the list could go on forever. Remember to pick up your Bearcash coupon book, available on and around campus, for great deals at all of these restaurants and many, many others.



Located in Clifton's historic Gaslight District, Ambar is one of three Indian restaurants within a one-block radius. Try them all.


People tend to either love or hate this little restaurant in Clifton’s Gaslight District. Try its local takes on Mexican fare and decide for yourself.


This nearby Indian takeout joint offers affordable lunch specials and is open late to fuel intense study sessions.

Thai Express

Located on West McMillan, this family-operated Thai restaurant is a real treat. Be warned: it's not joking around about the spiciness levels.  


The Comet

The Comet serves burritos all week long and offers brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. It’s also a great place to catch live music. Every Sunday, the venue features the Comet Bluegrass All-Stars, and every second Saturday is Basement Reggae Night.


Tucked along Hamilton Avenue, Melt is a reasonably priced deli with delicious offerings for vegetarians and carnivores alike.


Alabama Fish Bar

This restaurant is carryout only, doesn't take credit cards and exclusively serves fish and chips—but their fried fish is quite possibly the best in the Tristate.

Arnold's Bar and Grill

Opened in 1861, Arnold’s is a Cincinnati landmark and the oldest bar in the city.


Coffee Emporium

This local chain has several locations in Cincinnnati, but its Over-the-Rhine store has the best ambience of them all, as well as incredible coffee.

Highland Coffee House

This nearby hangout is only open in the evening (5 PM to 2 AM), which makes it perfect for studying among the largest plants and biggest fish of any café in Cincinnati.

Iris Book Cafe

Iris is located on Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. You can buy and enjoy a used book here along with your cappuccino in the café's fantastically cozy atmosphere.

Roh's Street Cafe

In our opinion, Rohs sells the best coffee within walking distance of campus. 

Sidewinder Coffee

Sidewinder is a great place to get coffee in Northside. The owners (and their pet rabbits Patrick and Eppie) often mingle with guests in the shop's quaint courtyard when the weather’s warm enough.

Sitwells Coffee House

The coffee here makes no claims to being gourmet, but Sitwells enjoys a dedicated following nonetheless. If you’re lucky, the owner will offend, annoy and delight you in equal measure.


Burnet Woods

Enjoy a quick break form school life in this forested park, located right across the street from campus. 

Eden Park

As well as offering stunning views of the city, Eden Park is home to the Cincinnati Art Museum and many other attractions. 

Krohn Conservatory 

This Art Deco conservatory, nestled in Eden Park, presents gorgeous flora from around the world, as well as one of Cincinnati's best Christmas displays. 

Mt. Airy Forest

Nearly 1,500 acres of woods offer countless opportunities for hiking and other outdoor recreation at just a 15-minute drive from campus. 


American Legacy Tours

Learn about the history of Greater Cincinnati as you walk around the city with experienced guides; we recommend requesting Ben Dudley.

American Sign Museum

You simply won't find another museum like this one, which is dedicated to the sign industry and its indelible impact on the American landscape.

Cincinnati Art Museum

Admission is always free at Cincinnati's premier exhibitor of art, located in Eden Park.

Cincinnati Museum Center

The center at Union Terminal houses three separate museums—the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children's Museum and Museum of Natural History & Science—and typically hosts a traveling exhibit as well, but the Art Deco rotunda itself is work the trip. If you're lucky, Tower A, a relic of the building's past as a major train depot, will be open to the public when you visit. A repair and restoration project is underway, and while the Museum of Natural History & Science and the Cincinnati History Museum will be closed as of June 30, 2016, other portions of the museum center will remain open.

Contemporary Arts Center

Thanks to the support of Macy's, admission at this downtown showcase of modern art is free on Wednesdays from 5 to 9 PM.

Fire Museum of Greater Cincinnati

This small but fascinating museum honors firefighting and the significant historical contributions Cincinnati has made to firefighting technology.

Movie Theaters

AMC Newport on the Levee 20

This multiplex on the Kentucky side of the river is the area's premier destination for big-budget popcorn flicks.

Esquire Theatre

One of the area's few remaining independent theaters, the Esquire in Clifton's Gaslight district is the place to go for movies that aren’t Hollywood blockbusters.

Mainstreet Cinema

This on-campus movie theater offers $2 movie showings to anyone with a UC ID. Members of the general public pay only $4. 

The Arts

College-Conservatory of Music

UC’s own CCM consistently offers some of the best music, theater, dance, and opera in Cincinnati. Tickets for students are often discounted or free.

Enjoy the Arts

This program offers hundreds of dollars in free tickets with an annual membership. Full-time students aged 35 and under pay only $35 to join.

Other Entertainment

Clifton Cultural Arts Center

One mile north of campus on Clifton Avenue, the CCAC offers classes from African Drumming to Zumba, thought-provoking exhibits and inspiring special events.

Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

The second-oldest zoo in the United States is located only a stone's throw from campus. With one of the largest collections in the country, including over 500 animal and 3,000 plant species, the Cincinnati Zoo continues to set standards for conservation, education and preservation.

FC Cincinnati 

This United Soccer League club plays their home games at UC's Nippert Stadium from February to September. Tickets are only $5 for current students.

Used Books

Duttenhofer’s Books

Duttenhofer’s may be small in size, but you can easily lose a couple hours exploring its impressive selection. And it’s very convenient, located just south of campus on West McMillan.

Half-Priced Books

The discount bookseller chain runs a couple of locations in and around Cincinnati, and the selection at each is slightly different. The location on Montgomery Road tends to be the store of choice for UC students with used books from English classes.

The Ohio Book Store

This store on Main Street downtown is enormous, and you never know what you'll find on each of its five full floors. You'll need at least an afternoon to even skim the store's eclectic offerings.

Did we miss something? Contact if you'd like to make a suggestion for our guide.