Nestled in the very southwest corner of Ohio, Cincinnati, home to the country's oldest culinary festival, and its food scene are experiencing something of a resurgence. Whether you know Cincinnati as the city Jerry Springer was once mayor of, birthplace of the Lacheys and 98 Degrees, or home of the Big Red Machine, you probably never considered it a food town.
Cincinnati's recent transformation starts on the Ohio River and goes up through the historic Over-The-Rhine neighborhood. It's partly hinged on the development of a streetcar system which, after much back-and-forth, is officially under construction and set to complete in 2016. The streetcar will run a 3.6 mile loop, through Over-The-Rhine and around downtown. OTR's main strip, Vine Street, has seen the opening of numerous great restaurants in the last few years, as well as some retail shops and upscale residential buildings. One street west, on Race, adjacent to Cincinnati's Music Hall, Washington Park has been completely remodeled and is home to outdoor movie screenings and concerts in the warm months. In the hot Midwestern afternoons, there's no shortage of kids cooling off in the park fountains.
Areas farther south along the Ohio River have also seen some improvements. The Banks, as the area is now known, is home to the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals in Great American Ballpark and Paul Brown Stadium, respectively. Christian Moerlein, the leader in beer brewing in Cincinnati, has opened a lager house on the river, with a patio overlooking the Ohio, northern Kentucky (a neighbor with whom there is a sort of love/hate relationship), and the newest park development below. Get a table on the patio, sip a Moerlein OTR (one of their pale ales), and watch the Segway tours pass below.
It wouldn't be a trip to Cincinnati without some chili, so for those needs look no farther than James Beard Award-winning Camp Washington Chili. They first opened their doors in 1940, and their current patriarch, Johnny Johnson, joined the company in 1951. He's still actively involved in making the chili (made from scratch every day). When you're done, get a scoop of Graeter's ice cream, and you have the classics under your belt. Click through our slideshow to see some new places to go in the Queen City. If that's not enough, check out this cool timelapse video:
Stay: 21c Museum Hotel
The 21c Museum Hotel first opened in Louisville and quickly expanded to Cincinnati. The Cincinnati outpost is located just steps from the Aronoff Center for the Arts and the Contemporary Arts Center.
Museum and Hotel
It's both a boutique hotel and an art museum that's free and open to the public.
Jane Bruce is the Photo Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @janeebruce.