5 Must Visit Art Museums in Cincinnati

Looking for an art adventure?

Then you’re in luck, because Cincinnati has some incredible art museums that you absolutely have to check out!

  1. The Cincinnati Art Museum

First on the list is a beautiful art palace in Eden Park that has been around since 1886!  This museum has an amazing collection of art that showcases and celebrates human creativity around the world!  Visiting this museum is truly an inspiring experience, even if you aren’t an artist!  Enter the building from the main entrance and be greeted by a stunning vibrant blue chandelier made by the world-famous glass sculpture Dale Chihuly, take your time viewing this piece then make your way to the Grand Hall. General admission is free with rotating exhibitions for reasonable ticket prices. Any direction you chose you will find yourself transcending time through the art around you.  If you need a moment to reflect on the work head to the lovely courtyard that’s nestled within the museum near the Terrace Café.  This museum also has a library that was formerly home of the Art Academy of Cincinnati and has a large balcony with a spectacular view of the city!  Even on the outside of the building there is plenty to enjoy with their interactive “Art Climb” staircase!

  • The Contemporary Art Center

Next up is the CAC on the Corner of 44 East 6th St. in downtown Cincinnati where you can find some of the most outstanding work created by artist of today! They always have new and innovating shows, while offering educational and outreach programs to the community!  The architecture of this building is an art piece of its own!  Enjoy each level of this museum with wonder as you make your way to the top floor.  Here you will find yourself at the UnMuseum which is an interactive gallery designed for children and parents to enjoy together, however it’s totally fun for people of all ages!  This museum is also free to the public and has a great little restaurant and gift shop that features local artist!  It’s also a wonderful place to work as a gallery attendant, I spent a few semesters working here and absolutely loved it! Some of my favorite exhibitions have been, Chewing Color by Marilyn Minter, Supply and Demand by Shepard Fairey and The Canyon by SWOON.

  • 21c Museum

Just around the corner from the CAC is another contemporary art gallery called the 21c Museum located at 609 Walnut St.  You can’t miss it, it’s the building with the delightful yellow penguin statues out front!  This space is not only an exciting museum to explore but it’s also a fabulous hotel, with an outstanding restaurant and has a breathtaking rooftop terrace and bar!  You’ll find a variety of captivating artworks on multiple levels, so be sure to head to the elevators where you’ll find yourself interacting with a fascinating installation on the floor titled, Healing Tiles by Brian Knep.  Take the elevator up and immerse yourself in each lovely layer of this building and all the art that it has to offer!  And believe it or not this is another free art museum to check out in Cincinnati!

  • American Sign Museum

The American Sign Museum by far is one of the most unique museums to visit and is the largest of its kind! Head to the west side of Cincinnati to Camp Washington to find the museum on 1330 Monmouth Ave.  They have an impressive dedication to the preservation and history of American signs and it really shows as you walk through this massive museum space.  The museum also has a wide range of educational experiences for children to participate in!  You can take an audio tour and even see artists working on signs live and in person!  This place is a fun walk down memory lane and keeps you excited about the craft of sign making at every turn!  The neon work is mesmerizing making this museum an unforgettable experience!  Admission is $10–15 and tickets must be purchased in advance.

  • Taft Museum of Art

Last but not least is the Taft Museum of Art, which is a 200-year-old historic house at 316 Pike Street.  Art and history meet in this gorgeous home that tell stories through generations of artist. They have 11 period- inspired rooms that include work from all around the world.  You can take tours from home with their virtual tours and events or visit in person.  This museum offers an outstanding outreach program that includes Summer Camp for kids of all ages, Studio Talks, Workshops for adults, and Music Concerts!  You can always find something to get involved in at the Taft while appreciating their beautiful collection of art.  My personal favorite paintings to see here are their magnificent floral still life paintings and landscape murals!  Tickets are only $12, so start planning your next trip!

Some hours of operation may vary due to COVID, check in with each site before planning your visit and don’t forget to be safe with social distancing!

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