Introduction Cincinnati has worn many hats, including riverboat city, Underground Railroad stop and pork-packing center. Today it nods to its past while striving to become even more diverse. The Ohio River is alive with riverboat tours. Western & Southern/WEBN Fireworks at Riverfest, the city’s largest annual celebration, pays homage to the great waterway with air shows, cruises and fireworks.
On the riverbank, the curving building of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is filled with displays and interactive exhibits chronicling 300 years of slavery in North America, with a focus on the Underground Railroad. And while the city lost its foremost position in the pork industry long ago, it hasn’t given up its devotion to food. More than 4,000 local restaurants serve every kind of cuisine imaginable—including, of course, Cincinnati-style chili and goetta.
Catch the Cincinnati Reds, the first professional baseball team, at the Great American Ball Park. At Kings Island conquer The Beast, the longest wooden roller coaster in the world, then splash around Soak City, the largest water park in the region. And visit Fountain Square, Cincinnati’s entertainment hub, in mid-September for North America’s biggest Oktoberfest, celebrating the city’s vivacious German heritage.
By CarCincinnati straddles I-75, one of the nation's major north-south routes, shuttling traffic from the Canadian border to the north and Florida's Gulf Coast to the south. A shorter artery, I-71, angles through the city, providing a fast route from Louisville, central Ohio and Lake Erie cities.
Both routes join in the Kentucky suburbs to cross the river via the Brent Spence Bridge. From the north they follow separate alignments to the river but are connected across Ohio suburban areas by the Norwood Lateral Expressway (SR 562) and the Ronald Reagan Cross County Highway (SR 126).
I-71 and I-75 provide good access from I-70, a major transcontinental route that bisects Ohio some 55 miles north of the city, and each interchanges with primary city streets.
US 50 and scenic US 52 funnel east-west travelers to the city from the Indiana and Ohio countrysides; these older roads accommodate mostly local traffic. US 52 offers a scenic trip along the Ohio River east of Cincinnati.
I-74 is the principal link from the west, collecting traffic from some of the nation's busiest thoroughfares, I-80 and I-70, as well as highways from the Chicago area. SR 32 (Appalachian Highway) is a good route from rural areas east of the city.
I-275 (Circle Freeway) swings in a full orbit through the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana environs. It provides a complete bypass of the city proper and interchanges with all major intersecting routes for easy access to downtown. I-471 offers an additional spur from the Kentucky portion of this circumferential highway into downtown via the Daniel Carter Beard Bridge (colloquially known as the Big Mac Bridge).
Street SystemWith the aid of a good city map, driving in Cincinnati is relatively easy. The downtown area is laid out in a grid pattern with streets running either north-south or east-west. The numbered streets run east-west beginning with 2nd Street near the Ohio River; named north-south streets intersect them. East-west address numbers start at Vine Street.
Unless otherwise posted, the speed limit on most streets is 25 or 30 mph. Rush-hour traffic, 7-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m., should be avoided. Right turns on red are permitted unless otherwise posted.
ParkingMetered parking is found on many downtown streets; be sure to check signs and meters for restricted times and limits. There are several commercial garages and lots, and most hotels provide parking for guests. Municipal garage rates vary but generally are $2 for the first 2 hours, $1 for each additional hour up to $15 per day.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
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The Cincinnati area has a 7 percent sales tax. A lodging tax of 13.5 percent is applicable in Hamilton County. There is a 12 percent rental car tax with an additional 9 percent recoupment tax. The northern Kentucky lodging tax is 11.24 percent.
Time and Temperature
The Christ Hospital, (513) 585-2000; Good Samaritan Hospital, (513) 862-1400; The Jewish Hospital, (513) 686-3000; Mercy Health Anderson Hospital, (513) 624-4500; Mercy Health West Hospital, (513) 215-5000; UC Health Academic Medical Center, (513) 584-1000.
50 E. Rivercenter Blvd Suite 810 Covington, KY 41011. Phone:(859)581-2260 or (800)543-2613
Major passenger airlines serve the
Hertz offers discounts to AAA members; phone (859) 767-3535 or (800) 654-3080.
The Amtrak station, (800) 872-7245, is at 1301 Western Ave. inside historic Union Terminal.
Greyhound Lines Inc., (800) 231-2222, 1005 Gilbert Ave., is the major company serving the city. Megabus, (877) 462-6342, offers routes to several cities.
Taxis are metered and charge $4 for a pickup and $2 per mile. There is no charge for additional passengers. Taxis can be hailed at downtown hotels or ordered by phone. Companies include Cincinnati Taxi Inc., (513) 666-2184, and Towne Taxi, (513) 761-7700.
Metro operates buses throughout the metropolitan area. The base fare is $1.75. Exact change is required, and zone and transfer charges are additional. Signs at many bus stops list the numbers of the routes that stop there.
As a AAA member, you'll save even more. Your AAA Travel Agent will check to see if AAA Vacations is combinable with other AAA member benefits, plus cruise and tour past passenger discounts and benefits.