Tourists are quick to pick up and travel, eager to see new sights and have new experiences, but the wise wanderer seeks a journey with the goal of better knowing himself. For in the end, the things we have seen fade into memory, and what remains is who we are. As St. Augustine once noted, “People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.”
Go forth, traveler: venture to those tall mountains and lengthy rivers, but allow those sights to bring you to a deeper understanding of your own self. Follow the winding path of the Ohio River to the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, which rests on its banks. This former boomtown forms a fascinating central point to a variety of regional cultures, melding the flavors of Appalachia with those of the South and Midwest, not to mention a healthy helping of German heritage. Set up camp in one of the best places to stay in Cincinnati and explore the Queen City while simultaneously exploring yourself.
A wise wanderer like yourself knows that the exploration of new landscapes often steers the mind toward contemplation of the self as it encounters different kinds of people and customs. The more you explore the nooks and crannies of this vast world, the more opportunities you will find to help you elevate your sense of self. You simply have to be willing to let your mind wander along with your feet.
Once you've settled into your Cincinnati lodging, make your way over to the magnificent Carew Tower, a 49-story building that served as a model for New York City's Empire State Building. Ride up to the observation deck and gaze out over the urban panorama: bridges spanning the Ohio River toward Kentucky, and...is that the Great American Ballpark? Why, that must be stop number two.
Make your way over to this famous ballpark to see the Cincinnati Reds, America's first professional team, in action. Treat yourself to a hot dog and a bowl of five-way chili while you observe the action from up in the nosebleed section among the true local fans. Allow their dedication to inspire you to show more commitment in turn to the things that matter most to you.
Parks and Green Spaces
There is nothing to provoke deep thought and self-discovery like fresh air and lush greenery. Take a break from your room in one of the hotels in Cincinnati and step into one of the oases of green that dot the city. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is a great place to start. The zoo is the second-oldest in the country, and houses over 580 animal species. You'll also find more than 3,000 plant species to catch your eye all along the pathways. Later, stroll the Riverwalk along the banks of the Ohio River and watch boats pass, carrying cargo to distant points elsewhere in the United States.
Arts & Culture
Art represents the very best of a culture, distilled to the core of its beauty and value. By visiting some of the premier cultural destinations of Cincinnati, you'll not only be experiencing the best of the city's culture but inspiring your own mind to seek new depths within itself. For what is art meant to do but inspire?
Step away from Cincinnati hotels and stroll the galleries of the Cincinnati Art Museum and take in the paintings of European masters such as Botticelli, Monet, and Picasso, as well as local offerings and rotating exhibitions. Don't miss the beauty of Eden Park just outside the museum doors. The Cincinnati Museum Center boasts three museums in one, so whether you're fascinated by local history, natural history, or are accompanied by children who would enjoy the kids' museum, there are endless adventures all in the same complex.
For something more unusual, stop by the American Sign Museum to explore a vast collection of unique signs of all sizes, shapes, and styles, collected from across the United States.
History & Heritage
Often, we learn lessons about ourselves by studying the past and making choices about how we can shape our future to be different. Positioned as it is on the banks of the Ohio River, Cincinnati has a somber history of former slaves escaping to freedom across the water, making it a logical site for the fascinating National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Here, learn not only about the past, but the present as well, for sadly, modern-day human trafficking is still a dragon to be slain.
Cincinnati has also been richly influenced by German immigrants and is now home to the second-largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world. Many neighborhoods, such as Over-the-Rhine, are reminiscent of European streets across the ocean and well worth a visit.
Food & Drink
If you are just staying for a short while at one of the hotels near CVG airport and want to experience something local before you leave, there's nothing the locals rave over more than Cincinnati chili, also known as a five-way (for five potential layers of ingredients). This local concoction is comprised of chili served over spaghetti or hot dogs and loaded with shredded cheddar cheese as well as beans and oyster crackers. Later, stop in the German-influenced Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and sink your teeth into a soft, warm Bavarian-style pretzel, accompanying it with a pint of one of the local craft beers. And who could forget goetta, the German-inspired mixture of ground meat, pinhead oats, and spices formed into a loaf and sliced and fried in butter? Bring some back to your Cincinnati hotel room to nosh on in the late hours of the evening.
The experience of a new place brings us endless opportunities for self-discovery, whether it's through conversation with one of the locals in an Over-the-Rhine bar or in examining a particularly moving masterpiece in the Cincinnati Art Museum. Seek out the oldest and the greatest and the highest, and use it as an opportunity to seek the same in yourself. What is deepest and truest for you? Who knows, perhaps the traveling will help you find it. Planning the journey needn't be hard: Travelocity can help you decide where to stay in Cincinnati such as in one of the many hotels in downtown Cincinnati so that you'll have convenient access to all the charms of the Queen City and the experiences that will teach you to know yourself more deeply.