What do you think about when you hear Cincinnati? Everyone knows The Reds, The Bengals, and of course, chili dogs. However, that’s only scratching the surface. At one point Cincinnati claimed the title “The Queen of the West”, so it should be no surprise that this city has more than a few hidden gems strewn about. Below are just a few of the things you might have missed the last time you visited ‘Cincy.’
American Sign Museum
This beautiful museum beckons you in with glowing neon nostalgia. The museums archives reach back to the 1800’s and showcase signs made from almost any type of material you can imagine. While there is plenty of lighted advertising to go around some of the most interesting signs are from the turn of the century that once advertised haberdashers, cobblers, and other bygone businesses in the area.
Learn more about The American Sign Museum
Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum
It may seem a bit morbid at first, but this 733-acre cemetery has served as a scenic haven in Cincinnati since 1845. Built during the cholera epidemic, the Cincinnati Horticulture Society had the idea to create a large, non-profit cemetery to house the dead but also serve as a beautiful peaceful park for the living. Landscape architect Adolph Staunch incorporated the area’s lush hillsides and planted trees from all over the world, installed footbridges, and winding paths for pedestrians to amble across. It would eventually feature 12 ponds, numerous chapels and mausoleums and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
Learn more about Spring Grove
Rookwood Ice Cream Parlor
Rookwood Ice Cream Parlor located within the Union Terminal has worn a lot faces throughout the years. Originally a beautiful café and tea room within the terminal, it later served as headquarters for the USO during WWII. The name Rookwood comes from the pastel tiles that the ceramic company Rookwood provided. As railroad travel waned, the need for a terminal ebbed as well. Now it is the location of the Cincinnati Museum. For almost 25 years the parlor has now been serving local favorite Graeter’s ice cream to hungry patrons with a delightful retro art deco style. Rookwood is temporarily closed due to COVID-19 considerations.
Learn more about The Rookwood Ice Cream Parlor
Loveland Castle and Museum
While technically not in Cincinnati, this landmark is the worth the trip because how many chances do you have to visit a castle in Ohio? Built by former WWI army medic and Boy Scout troop leader Harry Delos Andrews, this castle was constructed over the course of 50 years with handmade bricks and stones from the Little Miami River. It was modeled after European castles with towers, a dry moat, and a collection of period appropriate weaponry. The grounds are available for picnics, overnights, and private parties.
Learn more about The Loveland Castle
Cincinnati Yellow Lamps
These historic lights aren’t so much a destination as a scavenger hunt throughout the city. Found only in Cincinnati these distinctive lamps also known as Island Lights and Turtle Lamps are strewn throughout the streets. Originally installed to alert drivers of raised islands on the roadways they now serve as a guiding light to the history of this area. You can even get involved by taking photos for the Cincinnati Yellow Lamps Facebook Group that has compiled a map of over 50 lamps throughout the city.
Learn more about The Cincinnati Yellow Lamps