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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.

Getting There

By Car

Cincinnati 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).

Getting Around

Street System

With 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.


Metered 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.

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