Cool Down in NKY

When the sun is shining and the temperature is rising, you need a place to cool down. Here are some great spots in NKY, perfect for chillin’ on a hot summer day.

Take a Dip

When it’s time to cool off, go to the Florence Aquatic Center, where you can float down a lazy river, splash in the zero-depth pool or zip down the spiral slide. Families love to frolic in the spray grounds and under the sprinkling “funbrellas.” You can drop in with a daily pass or buy a membership. You don’t even have to live in Florence to enjoy this classic summertime experience.

Skating By

Lace up your skates at Northern Kentucky Ice Center in Crescent Springs and spin (or slide) your way across the ice. They offer daily public skating sessions, perfect for everyone, from the wobbly-kneed beginner to the next Olympic figure skating hopeful. 

Penguin Palooza

Be transported to the arctic home of playful penguins at Newport Aquarium. Watch the adorable waddlers as they hop up rocky, snowcapped cliffs and slide down a snowbank into icy water.

Cone by Cone

Northern Kentucky knows ice cream, which is why the options here are so delicious. We’ve got Graeter’s and Cold Stone, of course. You can also indulge in more than a dozen homemade flavors at Schneider’s Sweet Shop in Bellevue or Piper’s Café in MainStrasse offers hundreds of flavors of their creamy soft serve.

Super Slushie

Frosthaus, in Covington’s Roebling Point neighborhood, specializes in boozy (and non-boozy) frozen drinks. Be sure to sip carefully to avoid the dreaded brain freeze!

Cupful of Heaven

For the creamiest frozen treat around, come to Golden Gelato in downtown Covington. They make all their gelato and sorbet from scratch using traditional Italian methods and locally sourced ingredients. You will love the flavor selection and you may even want to try an Affogato, a scoop of vanilla gelato topped with a shot of espresso.

NKY Ice Balls

A summertime favorite that is sure to cool you down is the ice ball, available at Sweet Tooth Candies & Ice Cream on Newport’s West Side. What’s an ice ball? Picture a scoop of ice cream covered in a snow cone, giving you the smooth texture of the ice cream with the syrupy, crunch of the snow cone ice. Get creative with the flavor combinations and you’ll see why this dessert is perfect for hot afternoons.

This summer, let Northern Kentucky cool you down and chill you out.

About the author: Jill Morenz is the Director of Community Initiatives and Communications for the Catalytic Fund and also runs the NKY Public Arts Network. She is an enthusiastic evangelist for all things NKY.

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Top 10 Things to Do and See in Cincinnati

Whether you live in Cincinnati or are traveling through the area there are plenty of awesome things to experience in the Queen City! We have the top 10 things that you’ll have to put on your to-do list, that you’ll want to keep going back too. So get ready to make more memories that you can share with others!

1. Coney Island and Sunlite Pool

This historic theme park has been around since 1867 and it’s the perfect place to get a dose of nostalgia! There are games, shows and more at this fantastic little theme park that has a huge pool and water slides. This destination appeals to the entire family and there’s a lot of options for things to do near the park like the casino/race track located next door, and various restaurants, bars, and breweries to eat and drink at.

2. Findlay Market

You can’t miss out on taking a day trip to this incredible market that has everything you could possibly hope for or want out of a market. The food is absolutely amazing and so are the friendly people there. Findlay Market gives you a real sense of what the community is like in Cincinnati and highlights what we’re known for. The scent of fresh food is in the air, with live music on the street, plenty of places to sit and eat, and lots of different shops to check out that have locally made goods by local artisans.

3. RiverFront and The Banks

Cincinnati is one of the most beautiful river cities in America and you really get to see that when visiting the RiverFront and The Banks. The park along the water is wonderful, with many activities for the entire family to enjoy. There are sculptures and gardens that are very pleasant to encounter with an excellent view of the city. The Banks is one of the most happening places to be and there’s always a party on the weekends to join in on! When the sun goes down this area is just as beautiful with all of the city lights reflecting off the river, take a walk on one of the bridges to get the full spectrum!

4. Visit the Parks

The parks here are beyond amazing and there are several of them that offer something for everyone. Eden Park in Mt. Adams is the perfect place to have a leisure day and the best place to see views of the city. There are overlooks at the park that give you an amazing view of the river leading into downtown Cincinnati and of Kentucky, making it a great area for taking pictures. Washington Park in OTR is a major place to go to for events, live music, and pure enjoyment! It’s dog friendly and has a patio with refreshments to enjoy on a hot day.

5. Krohn Conservatory

Art, nature, and science come together at the Krohn Conservatory. Krohn is located in Eden Park in Mt. Adams and is truly an enchanting experience. The butterfly shows that they have there are magnificent and really give you the opportunity to connect with wildlife and nature in a way that’s approachable and exciting. There is a waterfall inside that has a creek with fish and turtles inhabiting it, making it feel like you’re in the rainforest. The building has sections for different species of plants and walking from one room to the next transforms a new environment to discover.

6. Cincinnati Zoo

We have one of the top rated zoo’s in the country! A zoo that is not only beautiful but is also educational and fun. The zoo does a great job to help wildlife and nature through their Saving Species program, animal care, and by going completely green with solar power.  There are different events to check out throughout the year and your trip there will feel like you’re on a real exploration of adventure.

7. Live Performances

Cincinnati has always been a hub for music and live performances! There are several venues to check out that offer a variety of different acts that appeal to every type of style and genre.  Music Hall, Memorial Hall, and The Taft Theater are historic venues that are absolutely stunning that feature talent all over the world. We also have the Aronoff and Playhouse in the park for well known shows and a few concert venues that feature locals and bring in big name performers.

8. Museums

We have some of the best museums around and there are so many to choose from! Union Terminal is one of the most incredible museums that takes you into a different world of fun and education. The building alone is a sight to see and the inside is breathtaking! There are many art museums to choose from like the Contemporary Arts Center and The Cincinnati Art Museum, which are both free to the public. We also have the American Sign Museum that is a real gem and will have you in awe when visiting!

9. Professional Sports

Go to a game! We are lucky to have major sports teams in the city and no matter what your favorite sport is you’ll be sure to have a great time at any of the games! The Cincinnati Reds baseball team and the Cincinnati Bengals football team play and practice in stadiums right next to each other, with our Cyclones Hockey team in Heritage Bank Center just down the street. And now we officially have a soccer stadium for the FC Cincinnati team!

10. Take a Walk Downtown

Take in as much of the city scenery as you possibly can while you’re exploring downtown.  You can take the streetcar, bike, or simply take a walk around to experience some really wonderful things about the city.  You can take a tour or have our own self guided one that focuses on the fascinating architecture, history, and culture of Cincinnati. The food and drinks here are outstanding, so go to as many restaurants and bars as you can. We have tons of events going on and little shops to pop into for all of your shopping needs. OTR and fountain square are places to spend endless amounts of time with everything that the area has to offer.

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Savings & Deals in the City (5/31)

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Metropolitan Club
Free 30-Day Trial Membership
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Does your business offer Savings/Deals? Run Promotions/Discounts? Email us today at to learn how we can help promote your offerings!

Arrowhead Music Festival

This special autumn gathering is a great way to take a few days off for the weekend and enjoy the wonderment of being in nature while listening and dancing to music under the open sky!  The festivities will be held on a breathtaking farm that’s tucked away in the forestland of Northern Kentucky.  Arrowhead Music Festival will feature incredible live music, informative workshops on permaculture, local art, yoga, walking trails, and plenty of space for camping with a bonfire overlooking a gorgeous lake!

Come together to connect with yourself and other like-minded people, experience inspiring music, open your mind up to new things, and embrace delightful free flowing fun all around you!  The lineup is outstanding and you don’t want to miss a second of it!  Some of the musicians include, Siri Imani featuring Jess Lamb and The Factory, Natural Onyx, Sister Stone, and so much more!

One of the coolest things about this event is that its intention is to promote positive, happy, and healthy lifestyles by being a substance free interactive environment.  The festival will be located in Petersburg, KY at Treasure Lake on October 22nd – October 24th.

“Arrowhead is inspired by the elements- Earth, Air, Wind, and Fire- and our programming is meant to reflect that.  Arrowhead is 100% substance free, meaning no drugs or alcohol are permitted on the festival grounds.  We’re gathering to get high on life, to embrace sobriety as its own type of drug, and to explore the potential of un-influenced human awareness.”

We asked the creator Anthony Schneider to share a little bit about his background and what his pursuit is and this is what he had to say,

“I’m passionate about self-examination, self expression, community organization, and cultural progression.  In 2019 I founded the NVRLND Tribe, a Media Group and Digital Agency that creates content and produces experiences which inspire people to make positive changes in their lives.  Additionally, NVRLND Tribe offers intuitive operations and systems support for transformational events, facilitators, and coaches. This includes web/backend, payment, communication, branding, and on-the-ground operations strategies and implementation.  I’m currently based in Cincinnati, OH where I’m able to facilitate intentional experiences through my community organization Positive Life: Cincinnati.  I also travel frequently to keep up with my tribe.”

“For our launch event we’re getting back to the basics and keeping things small. Good music, good people, good food, positive, health-focused intentions, and communion with our Mother Earth.  Arrowhead is an intimate celebration of life, community and nature.  Join us on 60 beautiful acres as we launch this mini Transformational Music Festival set in the rolling hills of the Ohio River Valley.  If any of these things resonate with you then buy your ticket now!”

Written By: Christen Collins

Ancient Art in Ohio

Ohio is full of Indigenous Culture and you don’t have to travel far to find it!  Take a leisurely drive down a beautiful route of the Midwest’s countryside to Peebes, Ohio to visit the great Serpent Mound made by Indigenous People of Ohio!  Serpent Mound is a Historical Site that features one of the worlds largest Earthworks in the world!  The prehistoric mound is a spiraling snake that is 1,348-foot-long and three-foot-high sitting on a woodland plateau along the Ohio Brush Creek. This Earthwork is an effigy mound which is a raised pile of earth built in the shape of a stylized animal, symbol, or human figure.  The indigenous people that made this breathtaking natural art piece were both the Adena and Fort Ancient Cultures between 381 B.C. and 44 B.C.  This place has a sense of wonderment and it’s still a mystery of why they built it, some say it’s for spiritual purposes and ceremonial celebrations for the Solstice and Equinox.

Walk the trail along the mound and take in the beauty of it while you imagine what it would be like to build this massive earthwork with a team of people by hand. Reflect on the craftsmanship and hard work of the ancient artists that created it over a thousand years ago. Just make sure you stay on the path and don’t walk on top of the sacred mounds.  There are two overlooks that you must stop at to take in the view of the vibrant green treetop canopy that leads to the river, which has another beautiful trail that’s through the forest. This Nature Trail, is the Ohio Brush Creek Hiking Trail, that is an easy 1-mile hike that takes you into the valley, past the river, and brings you back up to the Serpent.  You could even take a swim in the river on a hot day to cool off, or hang a hammock to relax in the shade.

If you aren’t afraid of heights then make sure you check out the spectacular aerial view of the winding mound to see the full form of the serpent on the observation deck that’s there! The steps are a bit steep but the climb to the top is worth it to get the full appreciation of the spectacular mound!  There are plenty of picnic tables to have lunch at and discuss the magical place while enjoying the lovely nature all around you.  I recommend packing a lunch because There are not many additional attractions or restaurants in the area. You can also visit a small museum to stop into for educational facts, diagrams of how the mound was made, artifacts and gifts.

The Ohio State Archaeological Society has helped preserve this great piece of history and they offer volunteer opportunities for people interested in preserving, studying, and caring for ancient sites.  This is the perfect place to put on your Ohio Day Trip Bucket List! It’s also a wonderful place to learn about indigenous culture and history in Ohio. Serpent Mound was purposefully built for a special, sacred purpose and should be treat with respect and care while visiting.

They have events like traditional celebrations that honor the solstice and festivals that highlight the ways of the ancient people that came before us.  Some of the events include, retreats, workshops, live music, drum circles, and camping outings. Upcoming events to check out are, the Autumn Equinox at Serpent Mound, September 14th, the Serpent Mound Star Knowledge Peace Summit Festival, September 24th-26th and Light Up the Serpent for the Winter Solstice, December 6th, which is a ceremonial candle lighting outlining the serpent effigy in an effort to reflect upon the history and the importance of this world-renowned earthwork.

Artsy Architecture in Cincinnati

The Queen City is known for its impressive architecture throughout the city and in its surrounding neighborhoods.  Just about everywhere you turn you can find historic buildings and homes that have elaborate characteristics and artistic features that add to Cincinnati’s unique appeal.  Venture to the East Side of Cincinnati to find two of our favorite locations to admire some of the best funky architecture in the area.  First on the list is the famous “Mushroom House” of Hyde Park and second is the colorful “Painted Ladies” houses in Columbia Tusculum.  They aren’t far from each other and you can make a day trip out of viewing them and vising local businesses and parks nearby!

The Mushroom House of Hyde Park

This whimsical house is something right out of a fairytale and is a must see in Cincinnati!  The quirky house has incredible details from the rocks that lay at its foundation to the decorative stain glass windows that make your imagination run wild!  Creativity comes to life through this one-bedroom home that is artistic expression from the floor to the ceiling!  In the front of the house is a mushroom cap balcony that overlooks Erie Avenue and is hard to miss!  The “Mushroom House” is also known as the, “Treehouse” and was built between 1992 and 2006 by architect Terry Brown.  This house was Browns studio where he taught the tools of architecture to students and also served as his secondary residence.  It has beautiful features like its orange spiral staircase, copper roof, and warped shingles that add to the look of fungi.  The inspiration of this home was to create a space that humans could relate to nature with and connect to the adventure of wonderment.  A nice local place to stop in after to think about the structure is Coffee Emporium right across the street!

Columbia-Tusculum’s Victorian Patented Houses

The “Painted Ladies”, are gorgeous historic homes on both sides of Tusculum Ave. and are a sheer delight to see!  Take your time walking down this stunning street to see the colorful homes that complement each other in the most charming ways.  The brightly painted houses are in Cincinnati’s oldest neighborhood that was founded in 1788 and make you feel like you are going back in time with a contemporary twist!  These Victorian homes are so much fun to look at and the purpose of painting them in vibrant colors was to embellish and enhance their architectural details.  Houses like this are historically found in San Francisco, California where the name “Painted Ladies” originated from a book about Victorian houses.  When walking down the hill of Tusculum Ave. you even start to feel like you’re in San Francisco!  You can find these glorious homes throughout the neighborhood and each have their own one of a kind element to them.  The area includes lots of lovely shops, bars with live music, restaurants with local food, and wonderful green spaces like, Alms Park that overlooks the Ohio River.   Be sure to explore every inch of what Columbia-Tusculum has to offer while checking out the “Painted Ladies”!

Written By: Christen Collins

Cincinnati Outdoor Sculpture Art

We took an adventure around Cincinnati to explore some of the many sculptures that are featured outside throughout the area and had a magical time engaging with these works of art!  All of them are free to take a look at and are very pleasant places to visit!  Most of them are interactive experiences and others stand so tall you have to take a step back to view them.  From along the riverside to surrounding neighborhoods, Cincinnati has a lot of sculptures to discover and enjoy!  Here are a few of our favorites!

The Crystal Garden

On the University of Cincinnati’s eastern side of campus, you can find yourself casually coming across a garden of large geometric crystal formations that are shooting out from the ground!  These fragmented structures have tunnels that you can walk through and give a sense of what it’s like being inside of a crystal gemstone.  Look up and around to admire lines, angles, shapes, and colors that collide together in perfect harmony.  These giant crystal sculptures are made out of a variety of materials which are fascinating and fitting for the connection of fine art and architecture.  The enchanting quality they have is mesmerizing to say the least!  Crystal Garden was created by artist Dennis Oppenheim and the university has many other impressive sculptures in different spaces indoor and outdoor on campus.

Cincinnati Art Museum Art Climb

The Cincinnati Art Museum is always our go-to place to experience art in all its glory and now that they have stairs called the Art Climb you can get a little exercise in while seeing some amazing outdoor sculptures!  Starting from the bottom of the stairs is the piece LBD Duty Free by Chakaia Booker, as you make your way up the staircase you see another sculpture called, Cube ’97 by Tony Rosenthal, then when you make it to the top you’re greeted by the stunning piece, Skybound by Barton Rubenstein!  All of this is nestled up the hill of the main entrance to Eden Park and leads you to the Museum.

International Friendship Park

This lovely park has so much to offer for recreation but also features a number of awesome sculptures in a beautiful setting along the Ohio River.  While walking the educational pathway you will see the incredible mirror structure called, Castle of Air by Artist, Architect: Peter Haimerl.  Stand outside of it and take in the reflection of the sky and trees.  Notice the way the sculpture mimics nature then walk inside the structure to look at your own reflection in different positions!  As you walk further down you will find the Seven Vessels Ascending/Descending by David Nash overlooking the river.  Then once you reach the end of the park you will discover the massive Crystalline Tower sculpture by Susan Ewing that is truly out of this world and a sight to see!

CampSITE Sculpture Park

This social sculpture park features a range of different art and artist throughout its indoor and outdoor space.  When visiting this collective and inclusive environment you will be in a state of wonderment by the murals on the walls, sculptures in the grass, and the installations coming off the buildings! One of the most incredible parts about this place is that it is continuing to cultivate opportunities for creative expression in new ways each and every day! CampSITE has many events for everyone to participate in, making it the perfect place to experience creativity coming to life in the community!  They even have live music in the park, on Wednesday nights in June, where you can listen to jazz music and hang out by their cozy campfire! A recurring event they have is their Second Saturday Markets that are every second Saturday from 12-4pm from May – October.  The Art Academy of Cincinnati currently has their playful duct tape sculptures on display there that you can interact with and transcend to a whimsical state of mind.  Another event that they have coming up is a micro creative arts festival called, CampSITE Social Art: An Abstract Junction, that will take place on Sunday, June 6, 5-9pm. This Social Art Event is a grassroots opportunity for creatives to showcase what they do and connect with the community in meaningful and expressive ways! There will be live music, interactive art, a variety of vendors, activities for all ages, a kid’s craft area, live painting, local food, and so much more! 

See you there Cincinnati!

Written By: Christen Collins

Top Eight Burgers in Bellevue & Ft. Thomas

If you’ve read our lists of the Top 10 Burgers in Covington and Top 12 Burgers in Newport and are expecting us to round out a few more Northern Kentucky cities, you’re in luck.  This time, it’s Bellevue and Ft. Thomas’ turn! 

If you haven’t been to Bellevue or Ft. Thomas lately, you’re in for a treat.  Fairfield Avenue is bursting with new restaurants and quaint taverns and bars, a brewery with food truck, and so many unique shops.  It’s close to Newport on the Levee and you could spend an entire day here checking everything out!  Ft. Thomas is equally charming with an ice cream parlor and several quaint eateries to enjoy outdoor dining.  But back to the burgers…

photo of a bison burger with caramelized onions and french fries served open faced on a plate

The Elusive Cow

We were impressed with the selection of burgers at The Elusive Cow!  Their menu states that their meats come from local farmers in Brown and Adams Counties in Ohio and Oldham County in Kentucky.  The fresh ingredients are accompanied by a plethora of delicious breads, cheeses, toppings to add to any burger, which can be ordered as beef, turkey, or bison meat.  Yum! 

exterior of elusive cow restaurant in bellevue ky.

But if you aren’t into burgers, don’t let that deter you.  Elusive Cow has tons of other options including salads, homemade soups, sandwiches, entrees, etc.  I also noticed several vegan and gluten-free options on the menu.  Did I mention that their ketchup is home-made?  Check out my blog of the full experience here.

exterior photo of fessler's legendary pizza and hoagies in bellevue ky

Fessler’s Legendary Pizza & Hoagies

Before you try to challenge us and say that hoagies are not burgers, we know.  And luckily, Fessler’s has both on their menu… and they’re finger-licking good! 

A sign that says Fessler's hanging outside Fessler's restaurant in Bellevue, Kentucky

Burgers on the menu include hamburger, cheeseburger, deluxe versions of either, or a pizza burger, any of which can be substituted for a plant-based beyond burger.  Don’t forget the fries–they’re equally delicious!  Read about my full experience here.

midway cafe burger

Midway Cafe

The burger selection at Midway Cafe is so large that it has a “continued” section on another page of the menu!  All of their burgers are supplied by Eberts Meats in Newport, so you can support two local businesses at the same time.  The burger options span everything from classic to The Fort (onion rings, cheddar, BBQ), to The Cincy Pig (bacon, ham, goetta on a burger and topped with pepper jack cheese and BBQ) and other options in between, including a veggie burger. 

midway cafe ft thomas patio

If someone in your party isn’t interested in a burger, their menu also includes several other options including salads, their locally famous wings, wraps, and great appetizers.  Don’t forget to also check out their excellent bourbon selection!

avenue brew bellevue

Avenue Brew

Don’t let the name of this place fool you.  Avenue Brew is so much more than just brew!  They have four different burgers on their menu, the most notable being the Matt & Bree burger, which is a burger, bacon, over easy egg, cheddar, onion, and spicy mustard. It’s a mouth full!

avenue brew bellevue

Much like the other restaurants on this list, Avenue Brew has a huge menu to accompany the burgers, including hoagies and wraps, paninis, cold cut and chicken salad sandwiches (including a cajun and curry variety), and more.  There’s also a plethora of sides to choose from–cole slaw, cottage cheese, apple sauce, chips, pretzels, pasta salad, chips & salsa, potato wedges, mac & cheese, and a house salad.  If that’s not enough for you, be sure to check out their breakfast menu–it’s served all day!

Hometown Heroes burger

Hometown Heroes

This restaurant is located in Dayton, Ky., right down the road from Bellevue.  The photo above showcases their Hometown Double with Bacon–if your mouth isn’t watering we don’t know what’s wrong with you. 

hometown heroes dayton

It’s quite literally a hole in the wall and if you’re driving too quick you might miss it.  But take our advice, and don’t.  The prices are very reasonable, they have great wings, and a great beer selection.  The menu also has several appetizers (ooey gooey fries anyone?), eight burger options, including a goetta burger, a full page of other sandwiches, and dreamy desserts, such as funnel fries, raspberry vanilla sopapillas, or ice cream sundaes. 

915 Pub & Grill burger

915 Pub & Grill

Located in Ft. Thomas near the aforementioned Midway Cafe, 915 Pub & Grill is a laid back neighborhood sports bar with live music and trivia nights.

915 Pub & Grill

With a menu full of appetizers, salads, and pizza options, there’s truly something for everyone.  So grab your favorite trivia buddy and show up hungry!

darkness brewing

Darkness Brewing

Earlier in the post we mentioned the brewery with food truck located in Bellevue–we were talking about Darkness Brewing.  Such a cool hangout spot!  The food truck menu may change, but right now they have an excellent selection of burgers, plus tacos, cauliflower bites, grilled cheese, and more–including brunch!

darkness brewing burger

And all of this is in addition to their amazing beer selection, which started from an at-home brewing operation.  You’ve got to check it out!

Colonel's Kitchen burger

Colonel’s Kitchen

A USDA prime burger with choice of cheese and served on a house-made roll… the burger at Colonel’s Kitchen melts in your mouth! 

colonel's kitchen

The restaurant focuses on scratch made food and regional favorites, and the passion they have for their cooking is evident in the open-kitchen concept where the chef delivers your food to you when it’s ready.  The restaurant is guided by the legacy of the late Colonel De, and his wife continues to operate as the go-to place for spices, herbs, and special blends.

By: Rebecca Banks, Brand Identity Manager Meet NKY