24 hours in Cincinnati

Now that I work two part-time jobs, weekends are not really a “thing” for me anymore.

If I get any days off, they’re probably not going to be on the actual weekend – but somehow, I had a whole Saturday off last week, and wasn’t scheduled to work until the afternoon on Sunday!

So Ben & I jumped at the chance to explore our little corner of Ohio a bit more, and booked a B&B in the cute neighborhood of Clifton in Cincinnati. We had just about 24 hours to spend in Cincinnati, and we were going to make the absolute most out of it.

Of course we got a bit of a late start…

We got to the B&B around 11am to check in, after a lazy morning getting packed up and the cats fed.

We stayed at the Gaslight B&B, in the Swiss Family Robinson room at the tip top of the house! It was a quirky-cute old home on a hilly street, filled with staircases and unexpected rooms that popped up just about everywhere you looked. We chatted a bit with the owner about the history of the home and the amazing/random decor {they used to own a furniture shop} and got on our way to downtown Cincy.

First stop: lunch

Our first destination was the Contemporary Arts Center {the CAC} but we needed lunch first. We found an Irish pub in the area, which was fairly mediocre & touristy {but had a really great Scotch egg!} which warmed us up and kept us full for a looooong time.

We made our way over to the CAC and first stopped at the coffee shop inside the museum, Collective Coffee. I had done some Insta research ahead of time to find good coffee shops to check out, because duh, and was super excited about this place. They feature a bunch of different roasters all over the country and seem to take pride in the quality of their coffee.

I got a pour over a Costa Rican coffee, and Ben got a mocha. Super sadly, the pour over was a little watery and the mocha, while beautiful, didn’t taste like there was any espresso in it. I’ve had a lot of mochas and I know what it should taste like, at all kinds of coffee shops, and this one tasted like super watery hot chocolate. Ben mentioned it to the barista and he insisted there was coffee in there… so I don’t really know what happened there!! But needless to say we were both pretty bummed that it didn’t even come close to meeting our expectations. I’ll chalk it up to a barista having an off day and leave it at that, I guess.

afternoon at the museum

Back to the museum — this place was incredible. The building itself is almost like an art piece. It’s a free contemporary arts museum, with two floors of exhibits and the top floor with a hands-on “unmuseum” with all kinds of fun stuff. Did I mention that it’s FREE??

The second floor housed two exhibitions: one that included textile pieces exploring black male identity in our changing world, and another exhibit that focused on feminism & civil disobedience through a variety of mediums. They were both thought-provoking and full of powerful pieces. I think these exhibits will be around for a little while so I’d highly recommend taking a trip down to Cincinnati to see them.

time to explore…

After a few nice hours at the museum, we decided to go for a {chilly} walk around the city.

Somehow, we found a parking spot on the main street of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, a hip area with lots of history {and a fair share of controversy – it’s super gentrified with lots of city $$ being handed out like candy to people who want to start businesses there}. We checked out lots of shops, like Elm & Iron, and window-shopped our way up the street.

After our noses were thoroughly numb, we stopped at Taste of Belgium for some {much better} coffee & an insanely delicious Belgian waffle. What more could you want?

Dinner in OTR

We ate dessert first – but still needed some solid sustenance, and began our search for dinner.

Our B&B host warned us that OTR can get crazy crowded on weekend evenings, with long waits for a table at dinner, and boy was she right! The area was suddenly flooded with people somewhere between a yuppie and a hipster. And of course, they were all looking for dinner as well.

We struck out with a few restaurants with delicious-sounding menus that ended up having a ~30 minute wait for a table for two. No thank you!! If it was a little warmer and the wind wasn’t so biting, it might have been manageable, but we kept trudging along to find a place that could seat us immediately.

So we walked, and walked, and walked…

… and we stumbled upon a place called Kaze, a Japanese gastropub in OTR.

We sat at the sushi bar because we didn’t have reservations, but I’m one of those people who loves being able to peek into the kitchen and see how my food is being made! The service was prompt and attentive, and we warmed up quickly with a nice cup of Jasmine tea.

I ordered sushi, and Ben ordered pork belly ramen. We were still a little full from lunch & the Belgian waffle, so we didn’t need to get any apps, although just about everything on their menu sounded amazing! The food came quickly, and was then quickly devoured – everything we ordered was delicious and fresh. And the prices were very reasonable as well! I’d highly recommend it and would definitely go back.

can’t forget the donuts!

After dinner, we were full and sleepy and ready to go home. On our way to the car, though, we passed a donut shop called Holtman’s Donuts. It had plenty of signs exclaiming that it was the best donut shop in Cincinnati, and hey, we’re donut people. That’s pretty hard to say no to!

As we got in line, the cashier called out that they were on their last few dozen regular donuts – and that was it for the night. Lucky for us, everyone in front of us only got a few donuts, and we did the same to make sure as many people as possible could revel in donut-deliciousness.

And yeah, the donuts were dang good.

Back to the B&B

As we climbed the many stairs to get to our room at the top of the house, we went through our personal highlights for the day. Mine was definitely the art museum and the dinner at Kaze.

We read through the guest book and filled out our own page, read in bed for a while, and fell asleep in the VERY comfortable bed. Seriously, we slept so well that we didn’t even hear half of our alarms!


One of my fave parts about staying in a B&B is getting to enjoy a warm hearty breakfast – cooked by someone else!!

Maria was a wonderful host and had lots of fresh fruit and hot coffee ready for us. We then were served Mexican mini frittatas with avocado, salsa, sour cream, & maple breakfast sausages. It was so delicious and filling and put us on the right track for the day!

How could I forget the scones?

Warm, fresh scones with chocolate & toffee chips. Oh my oh my. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.

a short walk through clifton

After we got packed up and said goodbye to the large zebra sculpture in our room, we headed down to the main street of the Clifton neighborhood we were staying in.

There are lots of historical plaques on the sidewalk to read about, and cute little shops to pop into! If we had stayed for longer, there were plenty of restaurants that I would want to try.

Since it was Sunday morning, my sights were set on finding the Unitarian Universalist church in the area!

I was raised UU, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, which holds a wonderful community & was a great place to explore my spirituality and learn about what religion means to me. I’m still figuring it out though, like many UU’s! When I travel to new places and I see that they have a UU church, I love to check it out. UU churches are SO DIFFERENT from each other & the buildings are too.

St. John’s Unitarian Universalist Church, located in Clifton, was very welcoming to us. They let us explore the church and told us about the history and its interesting architecture, even though we could stay for the service. It felt very familiar to the church I grew up in, and if we lived closer, I would love to attend services there.

But first, coffee

We were in a bit of a rush, since I had to be back at work at 2pm that day, but how could we leave an area without trying their local coffee shop? That’s crazy talk.

I found the coffee shop, Om Eco Cafe, on Google maps, but it was a little confusing to find – there was no storefront with that name! I’m guessing the ownership changed, or they just changed the name, but the place we ended up at was called Lydia’s on Ludlow – an earthy, hippie restaurant with a coffee bar, books for sale, and live jazz music some mornings.

They were super busy, which is always wonderful to see, but took our coffee order and made the drinks pretty quickly. Ben got a traditional macchiato & I got an iced Americano, with Cubano shots instead of regular, which was deeeeeeelicious.

Fully caffeinated & happy, we got on the road.

back to real life…

I love traveling, even if just for a little bit and even if it’s not very far away. We are so lucky to be able to travel when we get the chance, and see more of the world around us.

Our short 24 hour trip to Cincinnati was just what we needed to fulfill our adventure quota for a little while. I feel like we’ve just barely cracked the surface of what Cincy has to offer & I’m looking forward to planning our next trip.

{Oh, and I made it to work on time!}