Staycation: Cincinnati

Staycation Cincinnati: Queen City Underground Tour

For as long as I can remember (and especially over the last five years) I’ve taken offense to it when people say Cincinnati is boring or that there’s nothing to do. It just isn’t true! I’ve lived here most of my life and have always been fiercely defensive of the place I call home. Depending on what you’re interested in, there is plenty to do, and sometimes you just have to know where to look.

One of my favorite discoveries has been the walking tours put on by American Legacy Tours in Cincinnati, Covington, and Newport. So far, I’ve done the Queen City Underground tour (twice!), the Newport Gangster Tour, and the Cincinnati is Haunted Tour (at Halloween). They do them frequently on weekends, year-round, and the best part is you can usually find a Groupon to get them half off (two for $20).

I first did the Underground tour a few years back with my mom and enjoyed it so much I jumped at the opportunity to take my boyfriend out on a Sunday morning this past fall after the Groupon offer resurfaced.

Of course, you can’t go to Over-the-Rhine for a visit and not grab something to eat at one of the amazing restaurants, so we made a pit stop at Taste of Belgium for brunch.

Then it was off to the Vine Street storefront for the tour. It starts with a loop around the neighborhood, chock-full of boozy Cincinnati history. I won’t ruin it by telling you any of their awesome history nuggets, you’ll have to join them to find out the good stuff, but their tour guides are absolutely fantastic and know their local history.

There’s a brief pit stop at the St. Francis Seraph church on Liberty Street, which was built in 1859.

I don’t claim to be religious by any means, but there are very few buildings more impressive than a Catholic cathedral. Our lovely tour guide gave us a great history of the building and tour, including the crypt underneath with relocated graves from the 1800s.

The tour then goes underground — literally! The long-abandoned underground storage tunnels date from the pre-prohibition brewing days of Cincinnati. It’s a bit rickety and not the easiest place to get to, but absolutely the coolest part of the tour. It sounds like they’ve uncovered more and their other tours explore more of the underground tunnels. Once you head back above ground, the tour wraps up at the Christian Moerlein tap room … a very convenient place to grab a drink and embrace more of Cincinnati’s history.

Undergound selfie!

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