When we’re ready for some bench-time in Cincinnati, we head straight to Washington Park. One of the most scenic spots in the city, this eight-acre green-space is bounded by 12th, 14th, Elm and Race Streets and the Over-the-Rhine neighbourhood’s famous Italianate architecture. Here are a few of our favourite things to do in Washington Park.
There’s nearly always something going on in the park, and much of it involves artists, musicians, local entrepreneurs and artisans. There are a variety of fairs like The City Flea - a curated urban flea market, the farmers’ market, the Maker Faire – with booths by everyone from tech enthusiasts and scientists to crafters, homesteaders and garage tinkerers.
There’s a music performance almost every day from spring to fall, and holiday events when it’s not too hot. Everyone heads over to the park for music festivals, dancing, improv, and theatre.
The park is also the lawn for Music Hall – the home of local favourites like the Cincinnati Symphony and the nation’s second oldest opera company. Surrounded by arts venues and the nation’s only K- 12 performing arts public school, there are all sorts of musical performances that take place in the bandstand and programming on the lawn year-round. There’s even the occasional pop-up surprise performance there too.
Washington Park also features water fountains that prove irresistible most of the year, a child-friendly space with permanent musical instruments for practice, a dog park, green space with trees, and the open lawn for running, kite flying, and occasionally a free yoga class.
There are plenty of places to enjoy lunch in the area – from picnicking with a view to delicious food-truck fare, both of which are best-enjoyed al fresco within the beautiful park grounds. You’ll often find the city’s food trucks on the edges of the park, or just head to one of the many and varied eateries on 14th Street nearby. Across Race Street, there’s Zula and if you just keep walking along 14th about a block from the park is Vine Street where it’s pretty much restaurant row for local chefs offering everything from Asian street food to gourmet hot dogs.
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Have you been to Cincinnati’s Washington Park? What’s the most amazing urban park you’ve ever seen? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Written by Margy Waller
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About the author: MargyMargy Waller
Margy is a boomerang Cincinnatian: she returned to promote the city’s arts after living in Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, and loves to show off her hometown, a place where she knows all the indie shopping spots and architectural beauties. She’s a fan of the region’s surprisingly diverse performances of theatre, dance, and music in unusual spots. Follow Margy @margyartgrrl.