7 Free Things To Do In Cincinnati: May Edition

It’s finally happened. After all your hard work, the semester has come to an end. The sun over Cincinnati is getting hotter and the days are getting longer, so what are you going to do with yourself? Although campus life may be slow in the summer months, Cincinnati remains a hub of activity—festivals, yoga classes, salsa dancing, and stand-up comedy, all for zero dollars. Here are some fun (and free) things to do in the Queen city this May:

1. Salsa on the Square, every Thursday night

Beginning in May and running until the very end of summer, Salsa on the Square is one of the biggest parties in the city. Every Thursday night offers free admission, live Latin music, Mazunte tacos, and a guaranteed crowd of people dancing for hours in the middle of Fountain Square. And if you don’t know how to salsa? Bembe Cincinnati salsa instructors line the Square teaching and guiding beginners. This summer marks 10 full years since Salsa on the Square’s creation.

2. Asian Food Festival, May 12-13

The 8th annual Asian Food Fest is returning to Over-the-Rhine on the lawn at Washington Park. Admission is free and includes live music, local craft and Asian beer, and delicious food, of course. Try delightful cuisine from Cambodia, China, Hawaii, India, Japan, Korea, and more.

3. Furry Friends Festival, May 25-26

Finally, a festival solely dedicated to your canine companion! Gather in Washington Park with other Cincinnatians and their dogs for the Furry Friends Festival. Enjoy live music, peruse pet vendors (dog food and toys) and human vendors, too (Rhinegeist, Taft’s Ale House, and delicious food).

4. Taste of Cincinnati, May 26-28

Maybe the most well-known food festival in the city, Taste of Cincinnati takes over 5th Street each year, filling downtown with Cincinnati’s tastiest. There’s no admission fee, and more than 100 original Cincinnati dishes can be purchased at the event, including Taste of Belgium, Eli’s BBQ, Skyline Chili, and many more. Plus, this year’s musical guest is Rick Springfield!

5. Free Yoga Classes at Washington Park, weekly  

Every Wednesday starting at 6 p.m., take free yoga classes from licensed instructors as part of Workout On The Green. All levels of experience are welcome—all you have to do is bring your yoga mat, yourself, and a good attitude to the lawn at Washington Park. Other free classes are offered as well: on Tuesdays, Pilates at 6 p.m. and Total Body Workout at 7:15 p.m.

6. MOTR Pub, live shows 7 nights a week

A staple of Cincinnati night life, MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine is famous for their reliability (live music 7 nights a week, even on most holidays) and their hearty menu (perfectly cooked burgers served until 1 o’clock in the morning). No matter what night you find yourself wandering into MOTR, some sort of performance is guaranteed; small bands, comedy shows, and open mics. Must be 21 or older to walk in—ID’s are promptly checked at the door.

7. Cincinnati Art Museum

Located in gorgeous Eden Park, the Cincinnati Art Museum is a wonderful (and admission free) way to appreciate art and culture. Their latest exhibit, Terracotta Army: Legacy of the First Emperor of China, features Terracotta figures of warriors, arms and armor, works in gold and silver, precious jewelry, and ceramics—all drawn from the collections of art museums and archaeological institutes in Shaanxi province, China. This exhibit runs until August 12th. While the majority of the museum is free, keep in mind that special exhibits charge $16 per adult—but $8 for college students!


Written by Danniah Daher, graduate assistant to the graduate school office.