After I return from a trip, I scurry around my apartment unpacking and reorganizing my life, as if to preserve the order of the familiar, giving new cities and experiences space to sink in. Then, I usually sit in silence, reading or sipping tea; that’s when the new city starts to take root in my mind, when photos, ticket stubs and souvenirs become words and paragraphs.
Cincinnati was two vacations in one, a trip split between tennis oasis and city escape. Since I already wrote about the tennis part of my trip for The Double Bagel, it’s time to give Cincinnati a headline. With two quick mornings and one evening in the city, it was a whirlwind of picture-taking, walking and exploring this ultimate crossroads of a place. Cincinnati was comforting and challenging all at once, a city with Midwestern roots and Southern charm, a city that simultaneously feels homey and intoxicatingly unfamiliar.
Aggressively Art Deco and subtly Victorian, Cincy is a mishmash of my likes: the blocky and dark mixed with the ornate and self-indulgent. Not unlike my wardrobe of all-black ensembles and flashy necklaces, really.
Kentucky and Ohio trade beautiful views, each with its own blend of old and new.
The Cincy side is the Midwest’s own Hollywood Hills upgrade, as modular homes balance the city’s Victorian flair, framed by dramatic steepled churches.
Cincinnati’s river walk is stunning; I simultaneously wanted to pause for a picture every two seconds and sprint to the next kinesthetic interactive. (There is a giant piano with steps for keys, y’all!) Also, there are bench swings along the river. SWINGS. And giant chess if you’re into that. It was a refreshing look at what a well-developed, detail-oriented river walk can be when scenery and recreation are built mindfully into a city.
Contemporary Arts Center Cincinnati provided a modern escape, complete with a thought-provoking “unmuseum” on the facility’s top floor. Like much of Cincinnati, the boxy museum somehow fit perfectly among Art Deco monstrosities and narrow Victorian homes sandwiched together in neat rows.
That’s Cincinnati for you; it fits together in its own hodgepodge way, with eras and fads and paces of living right up next to each other, respecting each other’s existence.