20 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Cincinnati

Lovingly referred to as the Queen City by locals, Cincinnati is a study in balance, retaining much of its Old World flavor while welcoming new cultural growth and industry with open arms. The modest cost-of-living, expansive suburban belt and centralized location make Cincinnati much more than just flyover land.

Home to Forbes Fortune 500 powerhouse companies like Procter & Gamble, Kroger, and Macy’s, Cincinnati is also chock-full of tech startups, creative firms and cultural institutions. While the city is a true Midwestern foothold, dripping with politeness and some conservative values, she’s also positioning herself to be a true 21st Century (and beyond) power player.

1. Arts and cultural experiences are everywhere.

From the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Opera performing at historic Music Hall in Over-the-Rhine to the Contemporary Arts Center, Taft Theatre, Cincinnati Art Museum and more, Cincinnati is home to more than 100+ arts and cultural organizations.

2. We’re famous for our three-ways.

Cincinnati is home to a truly unique chili – the secret ingredient is rumored to be cinnamon or chocolate. Try it at Skyline Chili or Gold Star Chili. Oh, and our version of a three-way is spaghetti, chili, onions or beans, and a heap of electric yellow shredded cheese.

3. Say “please”.

Part of Cincinnati’s Midwestern charm is found in our colloquialisms. Instead of saying, “what?”, many will say, “please?” Some say “come again?”, too. It’s that gosh-darn politeness seeping into our everyday speak.

4. East Side vs. West Side is a never-ending debate.

The dividing line is either Interstate 75 or Vine Street, depending on who you ask, but one thing both the East Side and West Side can agree on are their unique, individual dispositions.

5. Kentucky is literally across the river.

You can walk from downtown Cincinnati to Kentucky, across the pedestrian-only bridge nicknamed The Purple People Bridge.

6. Get used to goetta.

Not too long ago, our city’s many German immigrants, in an effort to be thrifty, cobbled together sausage and oats into a delicious, crispy, meaty little treat, pronounced “geh-tta”, that’s most often served at breakfast but equally good any other time.

7. Festivals are our summer ritual

You don’t have to be Catholic to go to a church festival, because nearly every single parish in the city throws one in the summer, and everyone is invited. Other summer festival favorites include the gigantic Taste of Cincinnati, which shuts down multiple blocks downtown over Memorial Day Weekend, the Panegyri Greek Festival, Juneteenth Festival and more.

8. Findlay Market has everything.

Findlay is the oldest continuously-operating public market in Ohio, located in Over-the-Rhine. Swing through and spend a day visiting the meat markets, cheese vendors, gelato corner, Vietnamese restaurant, barbecue joint, specialty tea shop, produce stands, craft vendors and more.

9. Pick sides for the Crosstown Shootout.

Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati have a basketball rivalry that goes back to 1927. The two teams duke it out on the courts every December, and the city goes wild each time.

10. No one knows what the Seven Hills of Cincinnati actually are.

You’ll hear folks refer to them, but with so many neighborhoods named Mt. this or Something Hill, it can be hard to nail down the original gang. Regardless, views are fantastic from many of them, especially Mt. Adams and Price Hill.

11. Creamy whip is a summer dietary staple.

Cincinnatians hold their creamy whip (old-school soft serve ice cream) stands in high regard – from Putz’s Creamy Whip and Zip Dip to Mt. Washington Creamy Whip and Bakery and The Cone, there are options all across town.

12. BLINK lit up Cincinnati.

A much-heralded light festival in fall of 2017 that featured epic projection mapping on iconic Cincinnati buildings, specially-painted murals, and saw more than one million visitors, BLINK offered a brighter glimpse of the city Cincinnati’s positioning itself to be. Fingers crossed this one comes back.

13. Weather is a free-for-all.

In any given season, Cincinnati weather will throw you for a total loop. Summers are hot and humid, winters are cold and gray and occasionally snowy, and spring and fall follow no rules whatsoever. It’s snowed in April, it’s been 90 in October. Basically, always check the forecast.

14. We take baseball very seriously.

And we always have: the Cincinnati Reds are the oldest baseball team in the country. Even if you don’t, you’ll definitely have fun at the Opening Day Parade. Streets shut down and people pour out in the middle of the work day. At this point, it’s basically a Cincinnati-wide holiday.

15. Ride the Delta Queen riverboats.

We have a collection of old-timey riverboats that offer cruises down the Ohio River, the best way to see neighborhoods on both the Ohio and Kentucky side of the river.

16. The city is an architecture enthusiast’s daydream

Over-the-Rhine, just north of the city center, features one of the largest intact concentrations of Italianate architecture. Amble up Vine or Main Street and across Liberty to take in all the historic glory.

17. Procter and Gamble and Kroger are headquartered here.

P&G not only employs roughly 10,000 locals, it’s twin tower buildings add a memorable feature to our beautiful skyline. Kroger is a national grocery retailer, with a new, city-center store currently being constructed.

18. Meet Fiona, the adorable baby hippo.

Born prematurely in early 2017, Fiona, the hippo who’s gained national attention, became the center of our city’s for a fateful few months as the good folks at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens on #TeamFiona fought hard to keep her healthy. She’s doing great now, and public clamor for daily updates means she’s a prominent presence on Cincinnati Zoo social media.

19. Beer is good and plentiful.

Cincinnati’s brewing heritage is long and storied. Originally centered in Over-the-Rhine and shuttered by Prohibition, it’s making a real resurgence, with new breweries popping up across the city, including local favorites Rhinegeist and MadTree.

20. Cincinnati parks are a must-see.

Notably, Mt. Airy boasts nearly 1,500 acres of forest, with gorgeous biking and riding trails. Others include Smale Riverfront Park, Eden Park, Burnet Woods, Washington Park, Mt. Storm Park, and more.

Leyla Shokoohe