My favorite neighborhood in Cincinnati is Over-The-Rhine. It’s an urban historic district in the middle of downtown that was settled by German immigrants in the mid-1800s. It was originally located north of a canal that resembled the Rhine River in Germany, so locals described it as being “over the Rhine”. The streets are lined with beautiful 19th century Italianate architecture which makes it feel very much like Greenwich Village in NYC. The city has invested significant money into restoring (and gentrifying) the neighborhood over the last decade and it’s become real hipster hot spot. We recently spent a perfect morning there.
We started off with a light breakfast at Brown Bear Bakery on E. 13th Street. They had an assortment of mouthwatering muffins, cookies, and scones and we sampled a few varieties. They were also baking focaccia bread and it smelled fantastic. The inside was beautifully restored and the staff were super friendly. The drip coffee was probably the best I’ve ever had in Cincinnati and was on par with the better coffee places in San Francisco.
From the window of the Brown Bear Bakery, we had a nice view of Old St. Mary’s Church across 13th street. This is the oldest church in Cincinnati and was opened by German immigrants in 1842. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. We didn’t get a chance to visit, but I’d really like to go inside one day.
After breakfast, we stopped next door at a cool little plant store called Gia & the Blooms and Molly picked up a small heart-shaped succulent for my mom. We later found that Gia had a second location at Findley Market.
After leaving the plant store, we stumbled across Ziegler Park a few blocks away near Pendleton. Named after Cincinnati’s first mayor, David Ziegler, the park had recently been completely renovated with a new swimming pool, playground, basketball courts, and grass field. I’ve never heard of this park before, but it was gorgeous. It was a hot day and we considered coming back later with our suits so we could try out the new pool.
A trip to Over-The-Rhine wouldn’t be complete without a stop at historic Findley Market for some shopping. Opened in 1852, it’s the oldest public market in Ohio. Inside and around the market, you’ll find dozens of vendors selling all types of food including meat and produce. There are also a lot of cute gift shops and merchants that sell things like home decor, and pottery.