Melissa, er, Lou blogs over at My Loueyville and I just love her. Cincinnati is a wonderful city, but we’ve also got two other wonderful cities – Louisville and Lexington – around or under 2 hours drive south. I have ties to Louisville, I admit, as my brother-in-law just graduated from UofL, I went to school at Kentucky Wesleyan (where I swear everyone was from Louisville), and I don’t know if I’ve ever missed a Kentucky Derby in my life. I’m thrilled that Lou decided to guest post for me here at Wine-Girl!
I’ve been a proud Louisvillager and self-proclaimed cheerleader for the city for almost four years now. And one of the many, many things I love about this city is its proximity to Cincinnati. I relish my quarterly weekend trips to Cincy to avail myself of some of the luxuries that my corner of the midwest doesn’t possess. I’m an IKEA fiend, but I go as much for the meatballs as for the home decor. I’m a recent convert to Trader Joe’s– as a single person, I am bonkers for their frozen food entrees. And if there’s a prettier bar in the entire region than the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, I haven’t seen it.
That being said, I sure hope you Cincinnatians take advantage of your proximity to my fair city. There’s no better time to make your way upriver to our neck of the woods than summer. And some of the best reasons to visit are free or cheap as heck.
I’m a 4th generation Red Sox fan, but now that I’ve moved here, I’ve embraced your Reds as my secondary team. And if you have even a passing love of the Reds, you need to get down here to a Louisville Bats game to see some of your future stars at work. Last year, Homer Bailey was my favorite “boy of summer,” and now he’s pitching down your way almost full time. This year, the star to watch is Aroldis Chapman… you may want to watch him because, at least right now, the Reds’ $30M man seems to be falling apart a bit. But the best reason to hit Slugger Field to see a Bats game is that it is, hands down, the cheapest fun this city has to offer. As little as $7 gets you inside (watch for deals, like a AAA discount) — I rarely ever sit in an actual seat as the park features abundant picnic tables with great views. Beer is about $4.50, but again, keep your eye open for deals — happy hours can reduce that down to $1-$3. And there’s more than hot dogs and nachos for food. The stand under the Jumbotron sells pork chop and ribeye sandwiches as well as really excellent grilled corn on the cob. Slugger Field is also a gorgeous place to watch a sunset over the river.
If you’re lucky like I am and enjoy summers off, the best free fun the city has to offer during the summer is Waterfront Wednesdays, the last Wednesday of every month from April-September. Waterfront Wednesdays is a free concert at Waterfront Park sponsored by public radio station WFPK. Every WW features three acts, most of them nationally known — this month (June 30) features Carney (fronted by Reeve Carney, who will next appear in the Julie Taymor-directed Spiderman musical on Broadway), Sonos, and Joshua James. Feel free to bring a picnic, but no outside alcohol is allowed. That’s no big deal because the WW stands feature great beers and a full bar at reasonable prices. It’s spitting distance from Slugger Field, so in addition to good beer and great music, you’re treated to the same gorgeous riverfront sunset. Waterfront Wednesdays are like my birthday and Christmas rolled into one, six times a year.
Big news recently in the ‘Ville is that our own 21c Hotel has announced intentions to expand to 15 more cities, starting with Bentonville, Arkansas — home of Walmart HQ. (Weird, I know.) Cincinnati is going to get one too. While it isn’t cheap to either stay at or eat at our most beautiful and interesting hotel (but it is so-o-o-o worth it!), it is absolutely free to check out 21c’s contemporary art museum. Conde Nast Traveller’s #1 US hotel is way at the top of the list of things that make me proud to be a Louisvillager. If it’s possible to have a crush on a business, I have a raging crush on 21c. (Check out my blog post about my 21c love.)
We are an art-loving city, and this year we landed the Glass Arts Society annual conference, and so lots of our downtown galleries and museums feature some really beautiful and groundbreaking glass arts. The conference is June 10-12, but most of the exhibits will last all summer long. And the best time to take advantage of all those exhibits is on the first Friday of every month, during our First Friday Gallery Hop. This art show/street fair is totally free, including parking and trolley transportation during the event. The Gallery Hop goes from 5pm-11pm, and most of the participating galleries and museums offer snacks and drinks — some even offer wine and beer tastings.
This just scratches the surface of all the fabulous things that Louisville has to offer this summer. I like to believe that whenever I fill my cooler at Trader Joe’s, another Cincinnatian gets his/her wings to fly to Louisville. Of course for more goings-on in Louisville, you can check out my blog, Loueyville. Other stellar Louisville blogs include, Consuming Louisville, and for music lovers, Backseat Sandbar.
Hope to see y’all downriver soon!
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