Midwest Zest: Cincinnati
Cincinnati is one of those places that, in my opinion, gets an undeservedly bad rap. “There’s nothing there,” you might hear; but did you know that it was once commonly referred to as the “Paris of America”? You might also hear: “Who goes to Cincinnati?” Well, apparently, anybody who wants to partake in America’s largest Oktoberfest. That’s who.
Fun Fact: This year, the Oktoberfest Zinzinnati Chicken Dance featured Nick and Drew Lachey. Yup, they’re from Cincinnati. (And if you don’t recall who they are, a Google search will quickly remind you.)
It may not make my list of top cities to relocate to, but I disagree with the often unfavorable picture painted by those from larger metropolitan areas. The downtown riverfront area alone boasts three stadiums, numerous bars and restaurants, and a medical center that consistently ranks within the Top 5 pediatric hospitals in the country. P&G seems to think that’s reason enough to headquarter its empire here.
Fun Fact: The three water fountains below are within a 10-minute walk (at a very leisurely pace) from each other along The Serpentine Wall downtown.
The greater Cincinnati area welcomes you with abundant flora, really friendly folk (keep in mind this is coming from someone often dubbed Ms. Congeniality), and a housing market that blows your mind…. Well, it blows my mind anyway. Why own a little condo in brown San Jose when you can buy a single-family home in green Cincy −complete with double (or triple!) the square footage, a driveway, possibly a pool, and a front yard− for a comparable, often lower, mortgage? Yeah, it’s unlike any of the cities that might usually inspire my blog posts; but today, I’m standing up for The Queen City, a.k.a. The Blue Chip City, a.k.a. The City of Seven Hills. (Hey, you know where else has seven hills? Rome!)
Fun Fact: If you’d prefer to reside in the Covington riverwalk area across downtown Cincy to take an advantage of its skyline, this (see photo on left) could be your view at dusk. You can do an evening stroll across short bridges between Kentucky and Ohio; then, hop onboard a dinner riverboat cruise or watch the riverboats go by while sipping cocktails on the balcony of The Boathouse.
Adding in some unexpected fun, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden −USA’s second oldest zoo− is often ranked among the nation’s favorites. It hosts one of the country’s largest zoological collections, it’s often mentioned in “Best…” lists, and it helps set the standards for wildlife education and preservation. My fave exhibit here? The Red Pandas. (Too cute!) My most memorable moment is probably having a chimpanzee stop to stand and look me in the eyes. What surprised me most, however, was finding a Guam Rail here! They’re so endangered that I’m not even sure you’d find any on Guam anymore. (Does it make me a bad Guamanian that I don’t know for sure?)
Fun Fact: A few years ago, Newsweek dubbed the Cincy Zoo “The Sexiest Zoo in America” because of its successful breeding programs for endangered species.
In the seasonal transition between warm and cool, hot and muggy turns into pleasant; pleasant days roll into cool evenings, and the mornings are fresh and crisp. It will get cold −very cold− during the winter months; everyone warns about the wind and snow. Honestly, it’s a bit daunting. The optimist in me, however, chooses to bear in mind the cold is not year round. I prefer to think of warm summer nights.
Weather aside, let’s revisit the fact that real estate here is so much more affordable than California. Okay, it’s Ohio. Who’d wanna live in Ohio, right? Oddly enough, I think I’m actually willing to do it. For a year or two, anyway. Or maybe part of the year (obviously during the warmer months). Granted, I have a significant motivator in the form of one LDR, but even that wouldn’t get me to move somewhere I truly disliked. I’m not moving tomorrow or anytime soon, so please don’t start sending me your sympathies just yet.
Everyone talks about New York and San Francisco and Miami, but where’s the love for Cincinnati? …Cricket chirping…. So there’s no comparison; even I’d overlook Cincy given those options. But hey, Tommy Emmanuel thinks it’s worth an annual visit from his native Australia, so it can’t be that bad.
Did I ever think, “Gosh, I’d really like to see Cincinnati”? Honestly, no. But do I regret my two-week visit? Honestly, no. I truly do kind of like it here. Would I come back? You know, I just might.