We arrived in Cincinnati, the “Queen City” in the afternoon on September 11, 2016. The room we rented from Airbnb for the night was located on a very hilly street. The multi-level house was very nicely decorated and had a great view of downtown from the kitchen.
Once we got our things settled in the room, we decided to roam the city. DB was able to get hold of a friend she used to work with and we made plans to meet her for drinks later. Meanwhile, it was time for the two of us to eat. We found a cool Asian fusion spot on the “Over the Rhine” neighborhood. Luckily for us, we rolled in to Kaze right in the middle of happy hour. Everything we ordered was yummy and the deals on the food were happy indeed.
Then it was time to walk over to the Eagle to meet DB’s friend. The Eagle is a gastropub that used to be a Post Office. The place has an extensive craft beer list and a southern inspired menu, which included the sweet potato skillet we ordered. Niner was very happy that she was able to get a beer brewed in Ohio as well as Kentucky, as she wasn’t able to spot one when we were in KY before. It was really nice for DB to catch up with Erika. Erika had a very cool co-worker meet us up and we all had a great time enjoying some brews and chatting.
After we left the Eagle, Erika offered to drive the two of us around town to see the views of the city lights. Our first stop was Fountain Square in the heart of downtown. Then we drove to Great American Ball Park home of the Cincinnati Reds. Erika then drove us over the Taylor Southgate Bridge and once again we were in Kentucky. She took us to the parking lot of the Newport Aquarium where the views of the Ohio River and the Queen City are rather impressive. After our tour of the city was over, Erika drove us back to our car and we headed to our room to get some rest. Erika, thanks for showing us a great time in Cinci!
The next morning, we woke up a bit early to get a load of laundry in before we checked out of the Airbnb. Being able to do laundry at a place that is not a laundry mat is always a huge plus.
When we were chatting with the girls the night before at the bar, we asked what signature foods of Cincinnati we needed to try and they both agreed that we had to get some Grippo’s chips and a chess pie from Graeter’s Ice Cream. Challenge accepted. But, first we needed lunch.
DB had been craving pho (Vietnamese soup) and she found a well rated place just down the street from where we were staying. The restaurant was in a cute and funky market place in a literally colorful neighborhood.
Pho Lang Thang is a small place with a small menu. DB got the beef pho, and even though Niner is not a fan of pho, she got herself a bowl of the chicken soup. Just as expected, only one of us was pleased with the meal, and Niner finally learned that she shouldn’t ever order pho again.
After lunch, we started our mission to get the signature Cinci snacks. We went to Graeter’s and had some ice cream. We got the hazlenut ice cream in a cone. It was very tasty, creamy, and reasonably priced. Much to our surprise, getting an entire chess pie was a reasonable deal as well… an entire pie for $6!
Next, we drove around the city and visited the Smale Riverfront Park, drove past the Reds’ ballpark again, and crossed a bit of the Roebling Singing Suspension Bridge.
Now it was time to find those Grippo’s chips. Erika told us to go to a UDF, which is basically an upscale convenience store. We came across one when were on the outskirts of downtown and found an entire row dedicated to the varieties of Grippos. Erika said that the kind in the black and red bag have the most unique seasoning, so we got one of those and Niner also selected a bag of the wavy cheddar and horseradish.
With our signature Cinci snacks in hand, it was time for us to hit the road and head to Cleveland. We arrived in Cleveland in the late afternoon and headed straight to our hotel in the Olmstead suburbs. Our first stop was the Great Northern Mall that is just across the street from where we were staying. Then we drove downtown and spent some time at the Bicentennial Park to check out the waterfront and the views of downtown.
Before we headed back to the hotel, we went to Walmart to grab some groceries and watched some baseball on TV. While we enjoyed chilling in our room we sliced into the chess pie we brought from Cincinnatti – it was amazing!
The next morning, we headed to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Our plan was to stay there for 2 hours – what were we thinking??!!!?! Being big time music fans, we LOVED every inch of that place. The 2 hours passed and we decided to grab lunch and to give ourselves another two hours. Our next destination, Pittsburg, would just have to wait.
We had a nice lunch at a classy modern Mexican place behind the museum on the waterfront, right next to the famous Cleveland sign. Nuevo’s chips and salsa were excellent and we both enjoyed the burrito we shared.
Back to the Museum! We did our best to cover as much ground with the time we had, but it feels like we barely made a dent. There is a very big chance that we will find ourselves in Cleveland again so we can spend more time at the birthplace of rock and roll!
After we left the hall of fame, we made our way to the “A Christmas Story” House. We were able to squeeze our way into one of the last tours for the day. Being able to see the sets and props from that classic movie was really cool. The staff members worked really hard to make the tours special and we were very happy to be able to dress up in the bunny suits and pose with the props.
When we were finished with our tour we were ready to say farewell to Ohio and say hello to Pennsylvania – state 26 of 50!