Downtown :: Overview
First Impression: Downtown is a microcosm of the entire city - and one that reveals Cincinnati's keen business ethic, love for dining and entertainment and passion for the arts. Fortune 500 corporations, attractive urban living, world class arts organizations, exquisite dining, fun shopping and one of the region's best libraries all co-exist within easy walking distance from one another. If Ohio is the heart of it all, Downtown is truly the heart of Cincinnati.
Second Look: Reclining in the broad bowl where the Ohio and Mill Creek valleys meet, the Queen City slopes upward from the Roebling Suspension Bridge (which served as the prototype for the Brooklyn Bridge), expanding abruptly into a bustling, Midwestern metropolis. The Great American Ballpark, U.S. Bank Arena, Paul Brown Stadium and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center stand sentry along a skyline where sleek steel and glass mingle with Art Deco and turn-of-the-century masonry.
In Fountain Square, the center of Downtown, a bronze fountain called "The Genius of Water" rains water from her outstretched hands. As if having sprung from those magic waters, tall buildings cluster around the square, housing businesses of all types, from department stores to delis.
Downtown, home to several Cincinnati-based Fortune 500 companies (most notably Procter and Gamble, Kroger Co and Fifth-Third Bancorp), buzzes with activity during the day. The central Downtown area, roughly spanning Central Parkway to the river, between Plum and Broadway, is easily navigable - you can cross it on foot within twenty minutes. You can also reach Downtown from Newport or Covington via both pedestrian and street bridges, or on I-71, I-75 or Route 50. Almost all of the city's buses pass through Downtown as well, congregating at Government Square.
Cincinnati's German-American work ethic is tempered by an insatiable appetite for fun. Downtown enjoys a year-round parade of festivals, such as Oktoberfest, Taste of Cincinnati, Opening Day, Bockfest, the Flying Pig Marathon, Mid Point Music Festival and the Fringe Festival, to name a few. In winter, an ice rink on Fountain Square sees heavy use by skaters and broom ball teams. While Fountain Square, the Back Stage District, and Tower Place Mall are a flurry of activity, many Downtown cafés offer a quiet respite, as do the vine-covered trellis and green space beneath Procter & Gamble's world headquarters, the tree and bench-lined promenades of Piatt Park and Court Street, where professionals lunch at sidewalk cafes, and the outdoor patio of the Main Public Library, which serves as an urban equivalent of The Secret Garden. Downtown contains numerous well-kept secrets; many seemingly mundane office buildings hide hole-in-the-wall bars and quaint 1950s eateries or eclectic new delis like Deli Seven20.
All in all, Downtown Cincinnati is a microcosm of the rest of the city - brimming with small businesses and big corporations, continuously in flux and constantly seeking a balance between big-city aspirations and comfortable, homey small-town inclinations. It is this mix of opportunity with familiarity, and the resources of a large city with the conveniences of a small one, that make Cincinnati "the most livable city" - all traits which are readily apparent in its epicenter, Downtown.