Summer Guide: 25 Things to Do in Cincinnati When It's Hot AF Outside

June 01, 2022 1:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Source: Citybeat Cincinnati

Summer Guide: 25 Things to Do in Cincinnati When It's Hot AF Outside

By CityBeat Staff and Maija Zummo on Wed, Jun 1, 2022 at 5:17 am

Summer in Cincinnati can be sweltering, but there’s no lack of cool ways to spend your days — both literally and figuratively. Whether you’re looking to relax poolside, stuff yourself with fried festival food or catch an outdoor concert, there’s an activity for every vibe as the temperatures rise.

This list of 25 things to do when it’s hot AF outside will help you navigate the season, taking you from creamy whips and Kings Island to air-conditioned attractions and everything in between. (Note: This is not a comprehensive list of everything you can do or attend this summer.)

1. Take a dip in a public pool

The good news is that many public pools will be opening in Greater Cincinnati this summer. The bad news is that because of staffing shortages, not all of them can. The Cincinnati Recreation Commission ( is opening eight of its 24 pools, with the goal of hiring additional lifeguards to open more. The pools at Dunham, McKie and Oakley are currently operational and Dempsey, Evanston, Hirsch, Lincoln and Pleasant Ridge open June 6. Daily and season passes are available. Covington’s ( Goebel Park Pool, Randolph Park Pool and the Latonia Water Park/Splash Pad open June 8 and entry is free for residents (with registration). In Newport (, the pool at Veteran’s Memorial Park is open with a $3 entry fee (free for seniors, military and those under age 4). Over-the-Rhine hotspot Ziegler Pool ( is also open for the season and only requires reservations for early-morning lap swimmers. Entry is $4 per day. Check each pool’s website for amenities — slides, climbing walls, concessions, etc. — and full details.

2. Splash through a sprayground

You don’t have to be a kid to revel in the fun of a sprayground. Similar to running through a giant sprinkler, these centrally located public splash pads feature fountains, jets and other water elements to cool you down on a hot day. Bonus? They’re free to enjoy and open daily. The Cincinnati Recreation Commission ( operates nine spraygrounds — Caldwell, College Hill, Dyer, McKie, North Fairmount, Oakley, Oyler, Pleasant Ridge and South Fairmount — featuring fun and colorful sculptural elements. In the heart of the city, there are also spraygrounds at Washington Park (, Smale Riverfront Park ( and Ziegler Park (; the Otto Armleder Memorial Aquatic Spray Ground at Sawyer Point is closed this summer for maintenance.

3. Ride the 11 original attractions at Kings Island

This summer marks Kings Island’s 50th anniversary. The amusement park staked its claim in Mason in 1972 as a replacement for the longtime — and frequently flooded — favorite Coney Island. While Coney only closed from 1971-1973 before reopening its attractions along the banks of the Ohio River, many of its classic rides (and employees) made their way to Kings Island. According to King Island’s area manager, digital marketer and roller coaster-enthusiast Don Helbig, there were only 60 attractions when the new theme park opened; today, there are more than 100. While we have loved and lost many favorites to retirement (RIP Phantom Theater), these 11 attractions have been around since the park opened in 1972, though several have been renamed, multiple times: Eiffel Tower, Dodgem, Grand Carousel, The Racer, K.I. & Miami Valley Railroad, Monster, The Scrambler, Peanuts’ Off-Road Rally (fka Pee Wee Raceway), Linus’ Beetle Bugs (fka Funky Phantom), Race for Your Life Charlie Brown (fka the Kings Mills Log Flume) and Woodstock Express (fka The Beastie).

4. Watch the sunset while sipping a drink at a rooftop bar

During summertime, it doesn’t get dark until late in the evening, which provides a perfect excuse to watch the sun go down and the city lights come up with a cocktail in hand. These are the city’s top 10 rooftop bars, as voted by CityBeat readers in the 2022 Best Of Cincinnati issue.

Rhinegeist (1910 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Braxton Brewing Company (27 W. Seventh St., Covington,

21c Cocktail Terrace (609 Walnut St., Downtown, Still closed for the season; check for updates).

Top of the Park (506 E. Fourth St., Downtown,

City View Tavern (403 Oregon St., Mount Adams,

The View at Shires’ Garden (309 Vine St., Downtown,

AC Upper Deck (135 Joe Nuxhall Way, The Banks,

Pins Mechanical Company (1124 Main St., Over-the-Rhine,

Bishop’s Quarter (212 W. Loveland Ave., Loveland,

The Blind Pig (24 W. Third St., Downtown,


Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Ziegler Pool

5. Stuff yourself at a food festival

Go Greek for the day or gorge on goetta at these seven favorite food festivals.

Newport Italianfest: Celebrate local Italian heritage with authentic eats, live music and history displays. June 9-12 at Newport’s Riverboat Row. Free.

Panegyri Greek Festival: Dance, drink and dine like you’re in Santorini. June 24-26 at Holy Trinity-St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Admission is $3.

Rockin’ Taco Festival: This fest promises “a splash of Latino culture on the banks of the Ohio River” and lots of tacos. June 24-26 at Covington Plaza. Free.

Bacon, Bourbon and Brew: Hosted by Braxton Brewing, every menu item has to incorporate bacon, bourbon or beer. July 14-17 at Newport’s Festival Park. Free.

Cincy Soul: The Black Taste: Musicians, vendors and local Black-owned eateries celebrate African American heritage. July 22-24 at Sawyer Point. No admission details as of press time.

Glier’s Goettafest: Enjoy everything from goettawurst and goetta nachos to goetta fudge, plus the world’s only goetta vending machine. July 28-31 and Aug. 4-7 at Newport’s Festival Park. Free.

Great Inland Seafood Festival: Get whole Maine lobsters and tons of other tasty crustaceans and fish. Aug. 11-14 at Newport’s Festival Park. Free.

6. Play some pickleball

Invented in the 1960s by the family of a congressman who used ping-pong paddles and wiffle balls on a badminton court when they couldn’t find their shuttlecock, pickleball seems to be Cincinnati’s new favorite sport. It can be played on tennis courts or regulation pickleball ones. Sawyer Point is in the process of resurfacing its popular pickleball courts through mid-summer, so players will have to find elsewhere to enjoy some friendly competition until then. Locally, the Cincinnati Pickleball Club connects players, has a comprehensive list of places to play, and explains how to sign up to reserve a court.

7. Shop an outdoor pop-up

Warm weather means open-air markets, from maker-friendly pop-ups to outdoor antique fairs. Here are some upcoming summer shopping dates:

Art on Vine: Shop the work of local fine artists and crafters. Noon-6 p.m. June 5 and July 3 at Fountain Square.

Burlington Antique Show: Features more than 200 antique and vintage vendors. Admission fee. 6 a.m.-3 p.m. June 19, July 17 and Aug. 21 at the Boone County Fairgrounds.

Charm at the Farm: A shabby-chic vintage and maker market. Admission fee. June 10-12 and Aug. 19-21 on a former Lebanon horse farm.

The City Flea: A “curated urban flea market.” Free. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 11, July 16 and Aug. 20 (includes a kid market) at Washington Park.

O.F.F. Market: A monthly market featuring local makers, vendors and food artisans. Free. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 11, July 9 and Aug. 13 at Summit Park.

Second Sunday on Main: An Over-the-Rhine street festival with shopping, food, music and a monthly theme. Free. Noon-5 p.m. June 12, July 10 and Aug. 14 on Main Street.

Tri-State Antique Market: Features items guaranteed to be at least 30 years old and/or out of production. Admission fee. 7 a.m.-3 p.m. June 5, July 3 and Aug. 7 at Lawrenceburg Fairgrounds.

WestSide Market: Features more than 100 local vendors, food trucks and activities. Free. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. June 4, July 2 and Aug. 6 at Westwood Town Hall.

8. Catch a movie at a public park

While Cincinnati has two great drive-in theaters nearby for some outdoor cinema — Starlite Drive-In and Holiday Auto Theatre — plenty of parks in Greater Cincinnati also offer screenings of family-friendly (and not-so-family-friendly) movies throughout the summer. Here are three:

NightLight 513: This is a new 21+ movie pop-up and party coming to Sawyer Point this summer. The season kicks off with a screening of The Breakfast Club on June 16 and will feature a pre-show DJ, local food trucks and craft beer. Films begin at dusk, but general admission is at 7:30 p.m. Events are ticketed.

Summer Cinema at Washington Park: Free films will be screened every Wednesday at the park’s bandstand beginning at 8 p.m. Parent Trap kicks off the season on June 8. Food trucks will be parked onsite and concessions — aka the bar — will be open. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket to claim your spot.

Float-In Movie Nights at Great Parks: Swap your car for a rowboat to enjoy a movie at various lakes in Great Parks of Hamilton County this summer. There are three screenings left — Jungle Cruise (June 3), Hairspray (July 8) and Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Aug. 19). Films begin at 9:30 p.m. Register online in advance; boat rental is $40.

Putz's Creamy Whip - PHOTO: SAMI STEWART

Photo: Sami Stewart

Putz's Creamy Whip

9. Go berry picking

Summertime means berry time, and several local farms offer the public u-pick opportunities throughout the season. Crops can ripen at different rates based on weather, so check with each farm before heading out with your basket in tow. Blooms & Berries Farm Market ( in Loveland offers the chance to pick blueberries by the pound, typically in June and July. Indian Springs Berry Farm ( in Fairfield Township lets you harvest your own USDA-certified organic blackberries, generally starting in July. Alpine Berry Farm ( in Batesville, Indiana, opens around Father’s Day for blueberry picking. And Hidden Valley Orchard ( in Lebanon offers multiple u-pick options throughout the summer, including strawberries, blueberries, peaches, grapes and apples. As of press time, Bright Star Acres ( blueberry farm in Kenton County, Kentucky has yet to list its 2022 dates.

10. Take a tour of creamy whips

Is it even summer without a visit to a neighborhood creamy whip? These walk-up ice cream joints sling soft serve, chili dogs and nostalgia with a smile.

Putz’s Creamy Whip: The still-family-run Putz’s Creamy Whip first opened in a trolley car in 1938 before relocating to its current concrete structure just down the hill from Mt. Airy Forest in the 1950s. A cult favorite, not much about this place has changed over the past several decades: they still use the same Electro-Freeze machine and it’s still cash only.

Zip Dip: Westwood’s Zip Dip literally shines like a beacon of light through the dark — the iconic neon lightning bolt adorning the roof is unmistakable. It was added to the building in the 1950s and has been guiding customers through summer heat waves to ice cream salvation ever since. Try an orange and vanilla twist.

Mt. Healthy Dairy Bar: Mt. Healthy Dairy Bar has been serving leaning towers of soft serve for more than 65 years. If you’ve got a giant appetite and love a good challenge, they also have a monster sundae that jams three servings of ice cream and sundae toppings, four brownies and a banana into a ginormous bowl.

Norwood Delite Creamy Whip: This no-frills whip has been in Norwood for more than 65 years, serving everything from footlongs and barbecue to burgers and Cincinnati’s famed blueberry soft serve.

Silver Grove Dari Bar: Open since 1952, the Blitz — their take on a Dairy Queen Blizzard — is a favorite menu item at this little walk-up creamy whip in Northern Kentucky.

Bonus: Surprisingly, the AmeriStop gas station in Bellevue is a favorite creamy whip destination. Owner Meghal Patel is the brains behind the store’s dessert offerings, which draw patrons from across the Tri-State. He has two machines and rotates flavors each week.

11. Have a hot dog

Just like with creamy whips, Cincinnati is home to seasonally open walk-up hot dog stands that harken back to the nostalgia of summers’ past. Sharonville’s cult-favorite Root Beer Stand ( originally opened as an A&W Root Beer Stand in 1957 and still makes its root beer using well water from the property. The eatery is famous for its foot-long Timmy Dog, topped with secret-recipe chili, cheese, onion, mustard, hot sauce, ketchup, relish, slaw and sauerkraut. Mr. Gene’s Doghouse ( in South Cumminsville has been slinging dogs for 60 years. Signature menu items include a classic Chicago Dog, a Rueben Dog and a popular Slaw Dog loaded with chili and coleslaw.

12. Rent a canoe or kayak

Spend a Sunday floating down one of Greater Cincinnati’s rivers in a canoe or kayak. Loveland Canoe & Kayak ( offers a 2-4 hour paddling party down the Little Miami River and past Historic Loveland Castle. Morgan’s Outdoor Adventures ( has spots in Ft. Ancient on the Little Miami River, in Brookville on the Whitewater River and even in Costa Rica, with trips 3-7 miles long. Green Acres Kayak ( in Harrison is located on the Whitewater River and offers 3-, 5- or 8-mile trips. Check with each business about reservations, boat rental fees and what you can — and can’t — bring with you (We’re looking at you, ca-brewers). Use your new watercraft skills during Ohio River Paddlefest ( on Aug. 6. Thousands will take to the Ohio River in canoes and kayaks in the nation’s largest paddling party.

Loveland Canoe & Kayak - PHOTO: SAVANA WILLHOITE

Photo: Savana Willhoite

Loveland Canoe & Kayak

13. Sunbathe on local beaches

We may not have a coastline here in the Midwest, but several nearby state parks are home to lakeside public beaches. About an hour away, Caesar Creek State Park ( in Waynesville offers a 1,300-foot beach that is open to the public 6 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. After a day of hiking, mountain biking, fishing or boating, hang out on the beach or take a dip in the lake. East Fork State Park ( in Clermont County is one of Ohio’s largest state parks, offering trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking, as well as access to fishing and boating. The 1,200-foot beach is open dawn to dusk and has amenities like changing booths, showers and restrooms.

14. Snack your way through Cincinnati stadiums

The Cincinnati Reds ( may be having one of their worst seasons in recent memory, but they aren’t the only sports team in town. MLS soccer team FC Cincinnati ( and Frontier League baseball team the Florence Y’alls ( are both heating up their respective stadiums. And regardless of whether any of the teams’ performances can entice you, their stadium eats surely can. Great American Ball Park revealed several new menu items this season, from loaded vegetarian hot dogs and a cone stuffed with barbecued meat to the Rookie Cookie Fry Box: french fries smothered in chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, crumbled Oreos, bits of chocolate-chip cookies and miniature marshmallows. TQL Stadium welcomed a new executive chef this season and a bevy of new dining options, including dishes from locals Lucius Q and Fusian. Those with Cincinnatus Club seats can indulge in a Lucho Burger from Blue Ash burger joint Sammy’s. Named for player Lucho Acosta, the sandwich features a special burger grind, cheese, peppers and chimichurri aioli. The Y’alls Thomas More Stadium offers classic ballpark eats and a few fun drinks. The bourbon peach slushie is a popular option.

15. Ride a waterslide

This summer, Coney Island hopes to make history. Between noon on June 17 and noon on June 18, Coney Island will attempt to set a world record for the most people down a water slide in 24 hours. The attempt will take place on The Twister, a 45-foot-high water slide that features four separate chutes twisting and turning over a quarter mile in length before dropping riders into the pool. If you can’t take part in this feat, you can still hit the park’s waterslides anytime this summer, bounce across a floating obstacle course or lounge in the world’s largest recirculating pool, aka Sunlite Pool.

16. Hit a local bike trail

Looking for the best trails to bike this summer? We asked Wade Johnston, director of area bikeway advocacy group Tri-State Trails, for his recommendations. Plan your ride with their “Low-Stress Bike Map” feature.

Whitewater Canal Trail: “What used to be three noncontiguous trail segments has now connected into a cohesive 11-mile trail spanning from the Laurel Fedder Dam almost all the way to downtown Brookville. This scenic corridor traverses through historic downtown Metamora and features memorable locks from the former Whitewater Canal.”

Wasson Way: “The recent extension of Wasson Way through the treetops of Ault Park is a must see. This east-west corridor of the planned CROWN 34-mile urban trail loop now spans roughly 6 miles and connects to downtown Mariemont via the Murray Path.”

Great Miami River Trail: “Last year, a key gap between Middletown and Franklin was closed, after nearly a decade of effort. You can now ride roughly 65 miles from Middletown through Dayton to Piqua, which is a big deal!”

Riverfront Commons: “Covington’s riverfront got a makeover last year with a new amphitheater and improved trail alignment west of the Roebling Bridge. On top of that, Covington recently extended the trail’s western terminus to Swain Court, which drastically improves biking to West Covington and Ludlow, as well as featuring a spectacular riverfront view of Cincinnati.”

Ohio River Trail: “Cincinnati is doing its part to advance the regional vision for the Ohio River Way between Portsmouth and Louisville by building out new connections in the Ohio River Trail. Last year, a critical link between Lunken Airport and Coney Island was completed. This eastern leg of the CROWN extends roughly 7 miles from Schmidt Field in the East End to Kellogg Park in Anderson Township.”

Little Miami Scenic Trail: “I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Little Miami Scenic Trail, also lovingly referred to as the Loveland Bike Trail. Unfortunately, a key stretch of this trail will be closed through December for the construction of a new bridge at King Ave./Grandin Road near Cartridge Brewing. When complete, the trail will feature an improved trailhead, parking lot and tunnel to bypass the road intersection.”

17. Take a hike

Both Great Parks of Hamilton County and Cincinnati Parks — recently named the fourth best parks system in the nation — have excellent hiking trails. But the Cincinnati Nature Center in Milford offers a fun “Hike for Your Health Challenge” that comes with its own passport. The center’s Rowe Woods spans more than 1,000 acres and features over 14 miles of trails, rated from easy to difficult. Hike all 17 (including those at the associated Long Branch Farm) and get your passport stamped after each one to win a prize. Note: There is a fee to enter the Cincinnati Nature Center and Great Parks locations.


Photo: Provided by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

Shakespeare in the Park

18. Go to an outdoor concert

With the addition of the festival stage at downtown’s newish Andrew J Brady Music Center ( and Newport’s indoor/outdoor PromoWest Pavilion at OVATION ( to the existing Riverbend Music Center (, Cincinnati is now a prime spot to catch a concert under the stars. Some big-name acts heading through town this summer include Maren Morris (June 25) and Glass Animals (Aug. 3) at the Brady; Bon Iver (June 21), Death Cab for Cutie (July 7) and Wilco (Aug. 16) at OVATION; and Dead & Company (June 22), Rod Stewart (July 12), Jimmy Buffett (July 21), Backstreet Boys (July 26), Alica Keys (Aug. 18) and Wiz Khalifa (Aug. 27) at Riverbend.



19. Watch Shakespeare in the park

The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is bringing its super popular, free Shakespeare in the Park series to public spots across the Tri-State, with productions from Over-the-Rhine to West Chester and beyond. This summer’s show is Twelfth Night, which CSC describes as a “lively rom-com on an island where everyone is in love with someone — and the wrong person loves them back.” The season kicks off July 15 at Seasongood Pavilion in Eden Park.

20. Cool off in air-conditioned attractions

Need to beat the heat? Take a break in the air conditioning. Local museums are a great option for a cool retreat, and the Taft Museum of Art ( reopens to the public with Jane Austen: Fashion & Sensibility on June 11, featuring costumes from famous Austen film and TV adaptations. Another big indoor attraction opening this summer is Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience (, a large-scale digital art and virtual reality experience at the former Gidding-Jenny department store downtown. It opens June 1 and there is an entry fee. Escape under the sea at the Newport Aquarium (, which features everything from shark bridges and touch tanks to glowing jellyfish and a new 60,000-gallon coral reef tunnel.

21. Visit the midway at a church festival or county fair

As fish frys are synonymous with the Lenten season in Cincinnati, so too are church fairs with summer. The Catholic Telegraph ( has a full list of Cincinnati-area fests, full of carnival rides, games, live music, funnel cake, beer and even light gambling. One of the first of the season — All Saints Catholic Church Festival in Kenwood (June 3-5) — has it all, from local craft beer and food trucks to blackjack and bourbon tastings. For a similar vibe, the Hamilton County Fair ( is back Aug. 11-14 with a midway full of rides and games, livestock displays, demolition derbies, arts and crafts exhibits, tons of fried food, giant tomatoes and all the rest of the wholesome county antics you’d expect.

Northside Fourth of July Parade - PHOTO: HAILEY BOLLINGER

Photo: Hailey Bollinger

Northside Fourth of July Parade

22. Get nostalgic at a pop-up roller rink

Get ready to lace up those skates: Frisch’s and 3CDC have partnered to host a special pop-up roller skating rink at Court Street Plaza downtown this summer. The retro experience launched during Memorial Day weekend and has additional dates July 1-4 and Aug. 5-7, with events into October. The rink spans 10,000 square feet and offers rentable skates. There is an admission fee and skate rental fee; guests also can bring their own skates. Event details are searchable on Facebook.

23. Stock up at the farmers market

In need of farm-fresh, seasonal produce? Farmers markets abound in Cincinnati, with one happening most days of the week. Here are three favorites, as voted by CityBeat readers in the 2022 Best Of Cincinnati issue.

Findlay Market: Ohio’s continuously-operated public market is full of independent vendors and a markethouse stocked with meat, veggies, homemade bread and sweets. On weekends, the shed plays host to area farmers selling their fresh-picked goods, including wildflowers.

Hyde Park Farmers’ Market: Held 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays through October on Hyde Park Square, the market features more than 35 food artisans and produce from sustainable farmers. Check the website to see what’s fresh that week.

Northside Farmers Market: This year-round market is held 4-7 p.m. on Wednesdays during the summer at North Church. Browse everything from baked goods and farm-fresh eggs to apothecary items and seasonal produce. Pre-ordering is available online.

24. DORA districts

DORA districts — or Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas — are popping up in neighborhoods across Greater Cincinnati. In these specific spaces, you can grab a beer, wine or cocktail to sip while you stroll, either from shop to shop or in the great outdoors. Westwood ( recently hosted the grand opening of its 14-acre DORA along Harrison Avenue and The Banks ( opened its 85-acre DORA last year. Other neighborhoods including Loveland (, Bellevue (, Milford (, Hamilton ( and Summit Park ( in Blue Ash have their very own designated areas where visitors can have an open beer or cocktail, as long as they follow some simple rules: beverages must be in branded DORA cups, alcohol must remain in the boundaries of the district and drinkers must be 21+. Each neighborhood’s DORA hours and regulations are slightly different, so it’s best to check with each before imbibing.

25. Watch a parade or find some fireworks

Two of the most colorful annual parades take place during summer in Cincinnati. After being limited for two years due to COVID, the Cincinnati Pride ( parade and main celebration takes place on June 25, with floats, dance troupes, drag queens and LGBTQIA+ supporters of all stripes proceeding through downtown and into Sawyer Point. Fest headliners this year are singer/songwriter and transgender rights activist Shea Diamond, pop singer Jordy, Glee’s Alex Newell and Grammy-winner Daya. After a canceled event in 2020 and a house float tour in 2021, the eccentric Northside Fourth of July Parade ( will be back in full swing this year. Thousands line the streets to see creative handmade floats from vintage stores, bars and community organizations; local marching bands; drill teams; every local politician you’ve ever heard of; ladies dancing with lawn chairs; guys dancing with power tools; and other unexpected and delightful displays of pride and spirit. The event is the centerpiece of a weekend of events down at the Northside Rock N’ Roll Carnival ( Blue Ash is bringing live music back to its big Fourth of July party. This year’s Red, White & Blue Ash ( will be headlined by Pop artist Gavin DeGraw, and Cincinnati’s own Blessid Union of Souls will open the show. The day will also be full of rides, wandering entertainment and food and drink vendors, with an Arthur Rozzi Pyrotechnics fireworks show to close out the night. While details are still being determined for Riverfest (, it is the best way to say goodbye to summer in Cincinnati. Launched more than four decades ago to celebrate the 10th anniversary of radio station WEBN, the Labor Day weekend bash features food, music, major traffic jams and one of the largest firework displays in the Midwest.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software