Cincinnati, Ohio – For the last part of my trip to the Midwest, I spent two days in Cincinnati. The city has lots of great outdoors parks, historical buildings, and museums to check out. At my time of travel, there was a lot of construction going on so lots of places are currently getting remodeled.
- If you’re flying into Cincinnati note that the airport is NOT in Ohio. The airport is actually in North Kentucky so it’ll be about a 30-minute drive or so to get into the city.
- Construction! Lots of streets may be closed as museums and historic buildings are getting a few touch ups.
- Over-the-Rhine a neighborhood in Cincinnati has become a tourist spot. If you ask locals about this area a few years ago they would say stay away because of the crime but now it’s become popular area for food, breweries, and even festivals.
- If you’re checking out the museums they are a little further out so you’ll need to drive or catch a ride. Everything else in the city should be within walking distance.
- Live like a local! Even though Cincinnati is a large city, it’s still much smaller compared to NY or LA. To fully enjoy it, I wouldn’t recommend looking for tourist spots but small restaurants, shops, or other hidden gems to make your time here fun.
Places to Visit as a Tourist
- Eden Park – Great views. I was able to find an Airbnb by this park. Good for morning jogs too.
- Cincinnati Art Museum – Located next to Eden Park. One of the oldest art museums of the country.
- Washington Park – a good spot by downtown to sit and people watch. There are lots of water fountains here and on a hot day you’ll see tons of families out. You also get a view of the Musical Hall from the park.
- Barnes and Noble – Yup! The bookstore here has amazing views at night of the city according to the locals. I didn’t get a chance to go but might be worth checking out.
- Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal – Lots of construction happening here but you can still go in. At my time here I was able to check out a Star Wars exhibit.
- National Underground Railroad Freedom Center – A great museum where you can learn about the history and importance of the Underground Railroad.
- Coney Island – A vintage amusement park that’s not too large but has great history. Has a huge pool though for those hot summer days.
- John A. Roebling Bridge – This bridge is walkable from downtown and gets you right into Kentucky! You also get a nice view of Cincinnati as a whole and a view of Paul Brown Stadium too.
- Jack Cincinnati Casino – I’m not into gambling but there is a Casino on the East side. The greyhound station is also here which is where I was dropped off after arriving from Louisville, KY.
- Findlay Market – Lots of different foods to choose from that’s all fresh. Closed on Mondays though.
- Taft’s Ale House – Old church converted to a brewery.
- Nada – A popular local Mexican food spot. A little more fancy than your local taqueria from Los Angeles.
- The Eagle OTR – A popular bar in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.
- Eli’s BBQ – Delicious BBQ spot also has a BYOB policy here. Great prices too!
- Tip for “Mat Surfing” is to always call or contact the school ahead of time to see if you are even allowed to take a drop-in class or come by for an open mat session.
For this trip I dropped by Vision MMA to take their Monday No-gi class. I visited on a hot Monday morning so I was glad the glass was no-gi. From my Airbnb by Eden park, I took an Uber and arrived at Vision MMA about 15 minutes before class. Upon entering the first door, you’ll need to knock or ring the doorbell to get into the actual gym area.
As I entered there was a Muay Thai class going on at the time so I sat back and watched. I was surprised at the amount of people that were on the mat for a Monday daytime class. Before the no-gi class started I was able to get a tour of the facilities. Upon entering there is an area with tons of heavy bags, as you make a right you’ll head over into the matted area where BJJ classes take place. To your left of that room there are bathrooms and the large area used for fitness/cross-fit type exercises. I was told that a popular class there is Kombat Fitness that utilizes boxing/kickboxing movement with circuit training.
As the Muay Thai class ended, Jeremy Pender and his wife introduced themselves and showed me the changing room. As people were cooling down from the last class I began stretching out on the mat and introducing myself to some of the students.
The class started with up and down the line warm-ups. These included front rolls, back rolls, hip escapes, etc. After that, Jeremy had us partner up to drill some single leg takedowns. Once we all did our reps, we all gathered around to learn the techniques of the day.
The focus for this class was getting out of side-control. When someone is on top of you (especially someone heavier) it may be hard to escape. The technique he showed involved using your arm and leg together then roll your opponent over so you land into the Judo kesa-gatame position. He then added onto the move by showing us how to submit someone with an Americana from top position and while you’re stuck at the bottom position.
After drilling these techniques for about 20-minutes, we partnered up again to spar. I was able to roll with three people during the sparring session (one of them being Jeremy who was kicking my butt of course). Once class was over we all gathered for a group picture and I was able to exchange my information with some of the students. Drenched in sweat, I was really glad there was a shower in one of the rooms. I then sat for a bit to cool down and thanked Jeremy and his wife for having me. I was then off to explore Cincinnati after that…
Great place to train if you live in the area or are visiting. Wish I had time to try some of the other classes offered as well. Overall great experience here and I’d highly recommend it to anyone. Good people and friendly culture.
Cincinnati was a nice historic city. The outdoor parks were nice but the day I was there was scorching hot. Wish had time to visit Findlay Market since I heard good things but when I decided to go they were closed on Monday. Let me know if there are other spots here that I may have missed. For now, since I started a new job I’m going to take a short break from traveling but the next state coming up is in a month during Labor Day weekend in Miami, Florida!
Cincinnati, Ohio – July 2017
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