As long-time residents of Cincinnati, Mark Hauser, and wife Margie Hauser explore the city’s hidden gems, greatest attractions, and everything in between.
An exploration of Cincinnati, Ohio’s many attractions often includes visits to acclaimed cultural landmarks such as the Cincinnati Art Museum. The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, and the Over-the-Rhine district’s Findlay Market, are also much-visited attractions.
For beer aficionados, the Cincinnati Region’s 50+ breweries are “can’t miss” destinations. Football fans of all ages enjoy the Cincinnati Bengals’ games at Paycor Stadium. Baseball fans flock to Cincinnati Reds’ games at Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati’s 8 Hidden Gems Draw Visitors from Across the USA
Besides these well-known attractions, Cincinnati boasts multiple “hidden gems,” each with its own distinctive appeal. According to long-time residents and Cincinnati aficionados Mark Hauser and Margie Hauser, residents and visitors alike will enjoy discovering these eight unexpected delights.
Cincinnati Museum Center
The multi-museum Cincinnati Museum Center is both a historic landmark and a catalyst for contemporary art and discovery. The Center occupies Union Terminal, an Art Deco-style train station, and National Historic Landmark.
The Cincinnati Museum Center’s major venues include the Cincinnati History Museum, The Children’s Museum, and the Museum of Natural History & Science. The Robert D. Lindner Family OMNIMAX® Theater and the Cincinnati History Library and Archives are also within the complex.
In fact, the award-winning Cincinnati Museum Center is Cincinnati’s largest cultural institution. With over 3 million artifacts, artworks, and archival materials, the Center draws over 1.4 million annual visitors.
The Cincinnati Museum Center also hosts numerous educational programs along with teachers’ professional development programs. Day and overnight camps, historic site tours, public lectures, and community-focused cultural events also take place at the Center.
Like other notable cultural facilities, the Cincinnati Museum Center has a long history within the community. In 1818, Dr. Daniel Drake established the Western Museum Society to foster an understanding of the area’s natural history. In 1820, Dr. Drake followed two years of collections acquisition and fundraising by opening the Western Museum. This landmark institution preceded today’s Museum of Natural History & Science.
The Society’s first employee was John James Audubon, a somewhat unknown artist hired as a background painter and taxidermist. While employed with the Society, Audubon began his Birds of America masterwork, which established him as a premier wildlife artist.
Today, the Cincinnati Museum Center enhances its permanent collection with always-changing exhibitions. Together, these artworks and artifacts introduce Cincinnati residents and visitors to the ever-changing world around them.
Greenacres Arts Center
Events that take place at historic venues have a timeless ambiance, the Hausers report. The Greenacres Arts Center and its surrounding 600 acres, formerly the Fleischmann Estate, lend a memorable flavor to group and corporate events. Located in Indian Hill near downtown Cincinnati, Greenacres frequently hosts weddings, one-of-a-kind holiday corporate parties, and other special occasions.
When guests arrive at Greenacres Arts Center, the property’s historic wrought iron gates will beckon them onward. On the impeccably landscaped grounds, guests will view cascading fountains and formal gardens. They’ll also see the Chauffeur’s Cottage and Tea House, both examples of classic grand European architecture.
Naturally, the completely restored English Norman-style manor is Greenacres’ centerpiece. This distinctive structure has been updated with modern amenities such as a commercial-grade kitchen, a full liquor license, and the latest audio and video systems.
During the warmer months, a Grand Tent, the Terrace, the Formal Gardens, and certain House spaces can accommodate guests. In the spring, summer, and early fall, Greenacres’ natural beauty serves as a fitting backdrop for many memorable events.
During the chillier fall and winter months, events take place in the Formal Gardens, the Terrace, and selected House spaces. Regardless of the venue, Greenacres Arts Center has proven itself an ideal venue for a truly exceptional gathering.
Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse Downtown
For over 20 years, Cincinnati residents and visitors have brought their passion for a good steak to Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse. In 2022, this renowned fine dining eatery opened its downtown Cincinnati location next to Fountain Square. Certainly the largest Ruby’s Steakhouse, this new fine dining venue invites patrons to enjoy their meals while reveling in classic Art Deco design influences and elegant appointments.
At Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse Downtown, the Roaring 20s ambiance includes an elevated stage topped by a stunning gold-plated and mother-of-pearl piano. Guests enjoy lively entertainment that would have beckoned adventurous 1920s flappers to strut their stuff.
The professionally crafted menu includes perfectly cooked U.S.D.A. Prime steaks that have received national praise for their quality. Fresh seafood, a classic raw bar, and an expansive sushi spread cater to seafood fans of varied tastes. And while diners savor their food, they’ll receive legendary Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse service.
Together, the restaurant’s fine-dining menu, luxurious Gilded Age accouterments, and impeccable service make every meal an occasion to remember. And should diners wish to celebrate an important occasion, Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse Downtown offers a selection of beautifully appointed private rooms that accommodate group gatherings.
There’s something very satisfying about classic American pub fare. Zip’s Café, located in Cincinnati’s Mt. Lookout community, has pub cuisine down to a science. In fact, Zip’s has been serving happy residents and visitors for decades.
Approaching from the streetside, Zip’s Café boasts expansive windows and etched glass doors. Together, these elements hint at Zip’s casual dining vibe. Inside, a full-service bar shares the wall with a big-screen TV for watching sporting events.
Now let’s get to the food. Zip’s Café doesn’t offer frou-frou food with fancy names. Instead, this neighborhood pub serves up multiple types of Zip Burgers, most with additional meats between the buns. Diners who prefer beef alternatives will enjoy the turkey burger or black bean burger.
Zip’s pub fare wouldn’t be complete without hearty offerings such as a beer-battered fish sandwich, a grilled chicken breast sandwich, and a hot ham and cheese sandwich. Hot dogs and Mettwursts round out the meat-focused options. For cold fall and winter days, the “famous” Zip Café chili can’t be beaten.
And to accompany Zip’s pub fare, this classic eatery pours a good selection of beers, many likely from the Cincinnati Region’s 50+ breweries. Any way diners slice it, a visit to Zip’s comes with a hearty side of Americana.
Grand Valley Preserve
Turning a former gravel excavation depot into a scenic preserve is no easy feat. The Grand Valley Preserve is a stellar example of a successful reclamation (and transformation) project. In 2002, the Village of Indian Hill acquired the 379-acre property and decided to turn it into a magnet for nature and nature lovers.
Working with a master plan, restoration managers combined appropriate meaningful use and site design criteria. The managers sought to create a natural preserve that would attract wildlife while encouraging low-impact recreation activities.
By all accounts, Grand Valley Preserve accomplishes both of these goals. Several miles of scenic walking trails invite hikers to enjoy the region’s peace and quiet. Multiple smaller lakes have morphed into one large one that’s ideal for fishing and canoeing. Whether on land or on water, visitors will likely see diverse species of birds, wildlife, and waterfowl during their trip.
Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail
The 75-mile Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail is the Miami Valley trail network’s longest single trail. Along the route, cyclists can access the John Bryan State Park and Caesar Creek State Park. The Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail also makes up part of three other major trails. Two statewide trails, the Buckeye Trail and the Ohio-to-Erie Trail, join the North Country National Scenic Trail.
Beginning in Newtown, the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail winds toward Springfield. Part of the trail parallels its namesake river, and cyclists will enjoy Southwestern Ohio’s serene countryside during this part of the ride.
South of Spring Valley, the well-shaded trail meanders along the Little Miami River’s banks. Small towns, such as Oregonia and Corwin, serve as welcome pit stops. To Spring Valley’s north, riders will track along historic rail corridors and visit larger cities such as Springfield and Xenia. In fact, Xenia Station is a nicely restored railroad station set at the intersection of four trails.
Nine miles north, the thriving village of Yellow Springs is adjacent to John Bryan State Park and Glen Helen nature preserve. And in Greene County, the bike trails also accommodate horseback riders.
Whichever route Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail riders take, they’ll encounter small-town Ohio flavor along the way. Add some striking natural scenery, and this bike ride is primed to deliver a relaxing yet energizing experience.
The Queen City Club
For over a century, Cincinnati’s Queen City Club (or QCC) has been the business and social venue of choice for the region’s successful businessmen and women, including Mark Hauser and Margie Hauser. The oldest, most respected private club in the region, the QCC was founded in 1874 as a gathering spot for agreeable members with shared interests.
This elegant, well-appointed social club invites members to conduct business and experience regional fine dining with their invited guests. While they meet and dine, they’ll enjoy viewing museum-quality artwork from nationally recognized artists. The Queen City Club’s art collection includes paintings, prints, and sculptures in different styles.
The Queen City Club’s dining facilities include Sopra, a fourth-floor destination that contains dining and entertainment venues. Sopra’s relaxed setting includes a terraced outdoor dining spot, an indoor/outdoor bar, and numerous TVs for viewing sports. Comfortable seating and cooler months’ heaters make Sopra a desirable choice all year-round.
Other dining facilities include the informal Macaroon and Macaroon Bar. This business casual venue is open on weekdays for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Members and invited guests also enjoy Saturday evening dinner onsite. The more upscale GR’s is open similar hours but requires more formal attire. Finally, private dining rooms are available for private meetings, intimate meals, and family get-togethers.
The members-only Cyber Café is an exclusive business lounge appointed with meeting rooms, computer workstations, and business support services. Cable televisions, lounge facilities, and a beverage bar provide QCC members with a true “home away from home.”
Finally, the Queen City Club offers four well-equipped sleeping rooms and a 24-hour Fitness Center. Throughout the year, members and guests enjoy a good selection of distinctive functions. During the holidays, special dinners and brunches draw members and guests who appreciate fine food and striking holiday décor.
Hyde Park Country Club
Finding a country club that combines high standards with genuine warmth is a challenge. In Cincinnati, the Hyde Park Country Club meets both of these requirements with flying colors. In fact, the Club excels at blending its long tradition of excellence and gracious hospitality with new activities that cater to modern country club members’ lifestyles.
Golf-loving members will appreciate Hyde Park Country Club’s diverse golf amenities. The striking Donald Ross-designed 18-hole golf course teams with a newly built indoor Golf Learning Center.
Constructed with the latest technology, the Center features three all-weather hitting bays and an indoor practice green to hone those putts. A private hitting bay, enhanced with the TrackMan system, enables members to work on their swings no matter what the season.
Racquet sports aficionados will appreciate the six newly built tennis courts along with four platform tennis courts. Two pickleball courts cater to this growing sport’s fans. A heated 25-meter pool, a children’s game room, and a bowling alley offer numerous family-friendly activities. A finely appointed Clubhouse, and multiple private banquet rooms for members’ functions, round out Hyde Park Country Club’s superior amenities.
Margie and Mark Hauser’s Picks Offer “Something for Everyone”
Whether Cincinnati residents and visitors enjoy museums, country clubs, or scenic bike rides, they’ll find enjoyable options here. And whether they wrap up the day with a finely cooked steak or a classic American burger, Margie and Mark Hauser note that the flavor of Cincinnati will be infused into their meal.