Step into the captivating world of Cincinnati, a magnificent riverfront city nestled in the heart of Ohio, where adventure awaits at every turn. Whether you’re planning a romantic escape, a thrilling weekend with friends, a memorable family vacation, or a rejuvenating solo journey, this city has it all. From leisurely strolls through enchanting parks to exploring iconic landmarks and unearthing the stories of historical sites, Cincinnati invites you to embrace the great outdoors. But that’s not all – get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of outdoor markets, where treasures and delights await your discovery. And guess what? You don’t need to break the bank for all this excitement! Our guide to the best free things to do in Cincinnati, OH, will show you how to make the most of your adventure without breaking your budget. So, are you ready to embark on an unforgettable and pocket-friendly journey? Let’s dive in!
Free Things To Do In Cincinnati-Spend Less Experience More
From beautiful red bicycles to a majestic purple bridge, Cincinnati offers an abundance of budget-friendly attractions that will surely leave you with colorful travel memories. What’s more, Cincinnati can pleasantly surprise you with its affordability. Explore our curated list of budget-friendly and free activities in Cincinnati to discover why it makes for a delightful and economical weekend getaway. Additionally, take advantage of your trip to Cincinnati by exploring other attractions in Ohio, such as Dublin, which is conveniently located only about 2 hours away. To make the most of your time, consult my guide on the things to do in Dublin, Ohio, and efficiently plan your visit to both Cincinnati and Dublin. Below, you’ll find a compilation of the top 12 free and nearly free things to do in Cincinnati.
Roebling Suspension Bridge
The Roebling Suspension Bridge, which debuted in December 1866, held the esteemed title of the world’s longest suspension bridge, stretching over 1050 feet at the time. This iconic structure stands as a beloved city landmark, linking Cincinnati, Ohio, and Covington, Kentucky. With its remarkable architectural design, it offers awe-inspiring views of the riverfront and features a pedestrian walkway, inviting visitors to indulge in a picturesque stroll. The bridge presents an ideal setting for capturing breathtaking photographs to cherish the memories of your visit to Ohio.
Spring Grove Cemetery And Arboretum
The Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, spreading across 733 acres, holds the rank of the third-largest cemetery in the United States. It was established in 1845 and earned recognition as a National Historic Landmark in March 2007. The cemetery showcases architectural designs inspired by the Gothic Revival style and is surrounded by a beautiful garden filled with lush greenery and sparkling lakes. Notable Ohio natives, including Waite Hoyt, a prominent Major League Baseball player, and Charles Phelps Taft II, a former Cincinnati mayor, find their final resting place within its grounds. Visitors can enjoy the serene ambiance while relaxing on benches and exploring the stunning arboretum, home to a diverse collection of exquisite plants.
Covering 186 acres, Eden Park is an urban hilltop park nestled between the Mt. Adams and East Walnut Hills neighborhoods. Among its offerings are two live entertainment venues, an art museum, a conservatory established in 1933, and an outdoor pavilion. The park’s scenic beauty features green lawns, wooded areas, vibrant flower beds, a charming garden, shimmering lakes, and picturesque overlooks with captivating views. It’s an excellent place for bonding with friends and family, as you can hike along picturesque trails, enjoy a friendly basketball game, and relish a delightful picnic.
Fountain Square, located in the heart of downtown Cincinnati, is a vibrant hub for various activities like live music, salsa dancing, festivals, and markets. Visitors can also indulge in leisurely lunches or savor delicious Graeter’s ice cream under the warm sunshine. Even during colder months, the Square offers attractions such as football tailgating, holiday events, and the Fountain Square Ice Rink (with a fee for ice skating and bumper cars).
Cincinnati Art Museum
Situated in the Eden Park neighborhood, the Cincinnati Art Museum, established in 1881, holds the distinction of being one of the oldest museums in the country. With a collection of over 67,000 artworks and welcoming more than 345,000 visitors annually, it houses various galleries featuring diverse art installations, including historical pieces, European paintings, decorative artwork, and sculptures by renowned artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Matteo di Giovanni, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Sandro Botticelli, and others.
Cincinnati Union Terminal, an impressive Art Deco masterpiece, and National Historic Landmark, serves as both a museum and cultural center. After undergoing a full renovation in 2018, it is once again open to visitors. Originally a bustling train station, Union Terminal, completed in 1933, boasts the largest half-dome in the western hemisphere. It’s a must-visit attraction included in the list of free things to do in Cincinnati, where visitors can explore the old railroad tower (Tower A) and tour the magnificent rotunda.
Founded in 1855, Findlay Market has evolved into a vibrant mix of ethnic food stalls and flea market vendors. On weekends during the spring, summer, and fall, the market streets bustle with vendors selling jewelry, kettle corn, purses, chocolates, fresh fruits, vegetables, and artisan bread. Saturdays offer a particularly exciting experience with various international fare options and fantastic people-watching opportunities.
Loveland Bike Trail
The Loveland Bike Trail is a delightful spot for a leisurely walk and observing the changing seasons. Running through Loveland, Milford, Newtown, Miami Township, and Lebanon, the Little Miami State Park’s 70-mile trail offers numerous stops with free parking, picnic areas, and restrooms. While nearby bike rentals are available, bringing your own bike is cost-free. You might even come across occasional horseback riders while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
The German-style MainStrasse Village is a charming and historically significant neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors can enjoy vibrant events throughout the year, such as Goettafest in June and the World’s Longest Yard Sale in August. The village boasts diverse dining options, including French, Italian, and German cuisines, along with several boutiques and shops. A stroll through the tree-lined cobblestone streets, with attractive bars and eateries, is a delightful experience.
Over-the-Rhine, or OTR, is a historic urban neighborhood spanning 319 acres north of downtown Cincinnati. Preserving well-maintained 19th-century buildings with Greek Revival and Late Victorian architectural designs, OTR is a hub for trendy gastropubs, hip bars, charming parks, bustling markets, boutique hotels, excellent dining choices, live performance venues, and more. Parking at Mercer Garage, a clean and spacious facility located near the heart of the neighborhood, offers convenience and amenities.
Cathedral Basilica Of The Assumption
One of the fantastic free attractions for sightseeing is the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, a minor Roman Catholic basilica located in Covington, just a short drive from Cincinnati. Built-in the 1800s and designated a historic landmark in July 1973, the cathedral draws inspiration from the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, showcasing a beautiful French and Late Gothic Revival architectural design. Visitors can marvel at its stunning murals, a massive stained glass window, and an impressive collection of at least 24 sculptures.
Taft Museum Of Art
The Taft Museum of Art, tucked away in downtown Cincinnati, offers a unique blend of art and history. With free Sunday tickets available (advance reservations required), visitors can explore the National Historic Landmark building, pre-Civil War landscape murals, and an impressive collection featuring works by artists like Rembrandt, Goya, Gainsborough, and Whistler. The museum’s beautiful garden is also worth a visit.
You Can Read More About: 11 INCREDIBLE THINGS TO DO IN DUBLIN, OHIO-ACCOMMODATION CHOICES AND INSIDER TRAVEL TIPS
To Sum up, Cincinnati, the great place in Ohio, proves to be a wonderful site to go to if you are looking for fun without spending a massive fortune. From our guide to the free things to do in Cincinnati, Ohio, you will surely find out the treasure of wallet-friendly activities. From a peaceful walk in the picturesque parks to delving into the beauty of iconic landmarks, this city offers a lot of opportunities. So, pack your bags today and embrace yourself in the beauty of this city and let the adventure begins-all without spending a dime.