Day-Bike the Queen City of Cincinnati, Ohio

Biking is a fantastic way to get an up-close-and-personal view of Cincinnati, Ohio. Take an HGTV curated tour of the Queen City.

By: Carrie Hamblin

Photo By: Randy Evans

Photo By: Cincinnati Park Board

Photo By: Alex Weatherly

Photo By: Cincinnati Park Board

Photo By: Alex Weatherly

Photo By: METRO

Photo By: Cincinnati Park Board

Photo By: Alex Weatherly

Photo By: Alias Imaging

Photo By: Cincinnati USA CVB

Photo By: Alias Imaging

Photo By: Alex Weatherly

Photo By: Alias Imaging

Get Started

Our cyclist created a tour that you can opt in and out of depending on your two-wheel timidity, interest in specific sites and fitness level. See beautiful parks from the safety of a path, bustling downtown with regular traffic and cool Kentucky communities across the river. For each destination, we’ll tell you what you can view from the bike and where to take a break and visit. Ready? Let’s go!

Pick Up the Bike

First things first: Grab some wheels! The bike-sharing system Red Bike is inexpensive and allows you the freedom to drop off the bike at one of its numerous kiosks around town if you get waylaid at a brewery and decide to Lyft home. If you’re finicky about your ride or have kids with you, there are a few Cincinnati bike shops that rent bikes by the day. There is even a Segway rental! Don’t forget to review local laws before you get going.

STOP 1: Smale Riverfront Park

We start our tour in Smale Riverfront Park, the western-most of a chain of parks dividing downtown Cincinnati from the river. Smale is a beautiful city park with gardens, fountains and interactive play areas that are fun for all ages. Its installations pay homage to the culture, history and industry of Cincinnati, making it the perfect entrance to the Queen City. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park are all here, and whether or not you’ve got kids with you, Carol Ann’s Carousel is a highlight of the park.

VIEW: John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, Paul Brown Stadium, Great American Ball Park

VISIT: Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Carol Ann’s Carousel

NEXT STOP: Fountain Square. If you’re confident city riding, let’s head north through downtown or head east along the river and we will pick back up with you at the eastern riverfront parks.

STOP 2: Fountain Square

At the heart of downtown is Fountain Square, a busy city square surrounded by shops, restaurants and offices. Pause here to admire the 19th-century Tyler Davidson Fountain by sculptor August von Kreling. The Square is also a community gathering space with public events happening many days a week. Park the bike and you’ll find the Contemporary Arts Center and Carew Tower mere strolls away.

VIEW: Tyler Davidson Fountain, food fairs or happenings in the Square

VISIT: Contemporary Arts Center, Carew Tower

NEXT STOP: Washington Park

STOP 3: Washington Park

A cornerstone of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, this huge park is a major community attraction. Features include a playground, dog park, kid-friendly water fountains and even a refreshment stand. Locals enjoy the regular calendar of free group fitness, live music and cinema. Washington Park is also the once-a-month home to the City Flea, a fun urban flea market. Cincinnati Music Hall fronts the park.

VIEW: the cool park features, the City Flea and other community events

VISIT: Cincinnati Music Hall

NEXT STOP: Over-the-Rhine neighborhood

STOP 4: Over-the-Rhine

This historic Cincinnati neighborhood has been the subject of intense revitalization efforts over the last decade and these efforts are bearing fruit. Over-the-Rhine has become the cultural core of downtown, populated with artistic and energetic entrepreneurs. The neighborhood includes the newly expanded Washington Park, Findlay Market, numerous bars, restaurants and shops. ArtWorks murals decorate many of the buildings in this area, so print a free map from the website if you want to know exactly where to look. Better yet, take a guided mural tour for behind-the-canvas background. Other themed tours include the neighborhood, breweries, food and local industry.

VIEW: Italianate architecture, ArtWorks murals

VISIT: Holtman’s Donuts, Rhinegeist, Rookwood Pottery Company, area tours

NEXT STOP: Findlay Market

STOP 5: Findlay Market

This Cincinnati staple is the oldest public market in Ohio, with year-round indoor vendors and seasonal offerings outside. Residents come here for socializing but mostly for the food—fresh and prepared. Hope your bike has a basket. Roam around yourself or take one of various market tours, including a tasting tour. Alternatively, treat yourself to a waffle at Taste of Belgium, one of the notable local businesses that got its start as a Findlay merchant. Yum!

NEXT STOP: Eden Park - If you’re ready to work off that waffle, join us for a journey east to Eden Park. It’s seriously picturesque but you have to do some pedaling or head south back through downtown and we will meet you at the eastern Riverfront parks.

STOP 6: Eden Park

Eden Park welcomes visitors on foot and any variety of wheel to enjoy its grandeur. Roads and paths wind around lakes, through gardens and groves, past statues and public art. Don’t miss the gorgeous, century-old Spring House Gazebo next to Mirror Lake. Enjoy a birds-eye view of Northern Kentucky and the Ohio River from the Twin Lakes Overlook. Both the Cincinnati Art Museum and Krohn Conservatory are home in this urban sanctuary.

VIEW: Mirror Lake and Spring House Gazebo, Elsinore Tower, Twin Lakes Overlook

VISIT: Krohn Conservatory, Cincinnati Art Museum

NEXT STOP: Mt. Adams

STOP 7: Mt. Adams

Mt. Adams is a community with a great perspective, figuratively and literally. Once called Mt. Ida, this historic hilltop neighborhood was first a vineyard, and later the site of the Cincinnati Observatory before it moved to Hyde Park. The hill was renamed Mt. Adams after President John Quincy Adams dedicated the Observatory in 1843. A funicular – the Mt. Adams Incline – once brought residents and visitors from below, but it closed in the 1940s and we’re biking up! Catch your breath while you cruise the quiet streets of this chill community, admire the homes and maybe pop into a local shop or restaurant. The real reward will be experiencing the numerous vantage points offered by the elevation.

VIEW: houses, shops, multiple overlooks

VISIT: Incline Public House, Mt. Adams Bar & Grill or another neighborhood restaurant or bar

NEXT STOP: The Riverfront

STOP 8: The Riverfront

Most of downtown Cincinnati riverfront is parks, and with their award-winning designs and impressive monuments and sculpture, they are well worth exploration. Sawyer Point Park and Yeatman’s Cove connect us to Smale Riverfront Park to the west via the Ohio River Trail. This direction passes the U.S. Bank Arena where the Cyclones play hockey. The Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park to our east celebrates world peace and is named after Cincinnati’s first African-American mayor. Bike and walking paths wind around gardens that feature remarkable art installations. Speaking of art, the Taft Museum of Art is close by. Grab some ribs at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse.

VIEW: Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park, Yeatman’s Cove and Sawyer Point Park

VISIT: the Taft Museum of Art, U.S. Bank Arena, Montgomery Inn Boathouse

NEXT STOP: Purple People Bridge

STOP 9: Purple People Bridge

In 2006, this former L&N Railroad bridge—formally called the Newport Southbank Bridge, but known as the Purple People Bridge by everyone—was restored, renovated, painted purple and purely pedestrianized. (Okay, cyclists and skaters are welcome too.) Not simply a link between the amenities of downtown Cincinnati and the attractions of Newport, Kentucky, the Purple People Bridge is also an entertainment destination—hosting parties, events and festivals. Wednesday nights in the summer feature “Party on the Purple,” with food trucks, booze and free live music on a stage in the middle of the bridge.

NEXT STOP: Newport - We’re going to cross the bridge into Kentucky now, so get out your passport or head back to the shore and west to Smale Park.

STOP 10: Newport

Newport, Kentucky, is home to the hugely popular Newport Aquarium and Newport on the Levee, a vast entertainment complex. Views include the Kentucky riverfront, Cincinnati and the bridges. Reasons to ditch the bike? How about restaurants, shopping, cinemas and games, and tours of local distilleries and breweries. Or trade wheel for keel and hop on a historic riverboat cruise.

VIEW: Cincinnati downtown, Kentucky riverfront attractions

VISIT: Newport Aquarium, Newport on the Levee, distilleries and breweries, riverboat cruises

NEXT STOP: Covington

STOP 11: Covington

Cincinnati favorites like Glier’s Meats and Braxton Brewing Company are located in Covington—another happenin’ Kentucky town across the Ohio River from Cincy and adjacent to Newport. Pedal over to the 19th-century MainStrasse Village for yummy restaurants and lively bars, small shops and galleries. A map is available from the village association website. Check out Goebel Park’s Carroll Chimes Clock Tower—a delightful curiosity with an on-the-hour puppet show. The 700-acre Devou Park features paved trails and panoramic views as well as the regional history Behringer-Crawford Museum. On your way out of town, don’t miss the murals depicting the history of Covington on the riverfront floodwall at the foot of the Roebling Bridge.

VIEW: Carroll Chimes Clock Tower, Devou Park, Roebling murals

VISIT: MainStrasse Village, Braxton Brewing Company, Behringer-Crawford Museum

NEXT STOP: Roebling Bridge

STOP 12: Roebling Bridge

Designed by its namesake, architect John A. Roebling, this iconic suspension bridge is traversed by thousands of motorists a day. Lucky for us, it has a dedicated pathway for pedestrians and bikes! When the blue bridge opened to traffic in 1867, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world—that is, until Roebling beat his own record with his next project, the Brooklyn Bridge. Pause for a moment in the middle of the bridge to admire its design and take in the panorama of where we’ve been today.