Planning a Trip
By Plane -- Major airlines fly into Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (tel. 859/767-3144; www.cvgairport.com), one of the fastest-growing airports in the world, which also serves as a gateway to northern Kentucky. The airport (its code is CVG) is 13 miles south of downtown in northern Kentucky. Cincinnati taxis cannot pick up passengers in Kentucky, and Kentucky taxi companies cannot pick up passengers in Ohio. However, taxi companies with licenses, including Yellow Community Cab Co. can pick up at the airport. For more information, go to the tax desk in the airport's Terminal 3 baggage claim area or use the courtesy phone near the exit of Terminal 2 (dial 3260) to make arrangements.
Look for the 14 Art Deco murals from Union Station before you leave the airport. Executive Transportation (tel. 859/261-8841; www.executivetransportation.org) provides regular service to downtown hotels for $15 one-way, $25 round-trip. Cab fare is $25 for four people.
By Train -- Amtrak (tel. 800/USA-RAIL [872-7245]; www.amtrak.com) serves Union Station, 1301 Western Ave. There's service 3 days a week to Chicago (trip time: 9 hr.), Indianapolis (3 1/2 hr.), and Washington, D.C. (16 hr.).
By Car -- The major routes into Cincinnati are I-75 from the north (Dayton) and south (Lexington); I-71 from the northeast (Columbus) and southwest (Louisville); and I-74 from the northwest (Indianapolis).
Contact the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitor Bureau, 525 Vine St., Ste. 1500, Cincinnati, OH 45202 (tel. 800/543-2613 or 513/621-2142; www.cincyusa.com).
The Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA), better known as the Metro, provides inexpensive bus service (tel. 513/621-4455; www.sorta.com). Exact change or token is required. Within the city, base fare is $1.50; transfers cost 25¢.
A city ordinance does not allow cabs to cruise downtown for fares; they must park at taxi stands and wait for passengers. Cabs can usually be found on the west end of Fifth Street, where the convention center and many hotels are located. You can also call a cab. Yellow Community Cab (tel. 859/727-2900) charges $3.60 plus $1.60 per mile.
A major local hospital is University Hospital, 234 Goodman St., Clifton (tel. 513/584-1000; www.medcenter.uc.edu). There's a 24-hour CVS pharmacy at 2520 Vine St. (tel. 513/569-4301; www.cvs.com). Sales tax is 6.5% and hotel tax is a whopping 17%.
Special Events & Festivals -- Fans of choral music fill Music Hall for the internationally renowned May Festival (tel. 513/381-3300; www.mayfestival.com), an annual event since 1875. Summer officially kicks off downtown Memorial Day weekend with the Taste of Cincinnati, when dozens of area restaurants sell small but tasty portions of their best dishes. Summer closes with Labor Day weekend's Riverfest, featuring fireworks, entertainment, and food throughout the city's waterfront parks. In mid-September, Fountain Square becomes a German biergarten for Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati, with German music, dancing, food, and lots of beer.