The Cincinnati skyline in downtown, one of the best areas when choosing where to stay in Cincinnati

Where to Stay in Cincinnati (Best Neighborhoods & Areas)

Wondering where to stay in Cincinnati? Whether you want to watch a game at Paul Brown Stadium, spend a day wandering Eden Park, or go to the Cincinnati Art Museum, there are plenty of areas and neighborhoods to stay in Cincinnati, OH.

I grew up in Cincinnati, and I’m excited to help you choose where to stay in the Queen City. Most of the best places to stay in Cincinnati are in or around downtown Cincinnati, but your best choices depend on your itinerary.

Let’s dive in!

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Best Places to Stay in Cincinnati

The entrance to Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
The Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, part of the Carew Tower (photo: EQRoy / Shutterstock)

Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Cincinnati? Here are my top picks:

Okay, let’s do a deep dive into the best areas and neighborhoods in Cincinnati!

9 Best Neighborhoods & Places to Stay in Cincinnati

The city of Cincinnati has 52 neighborhoods which are grouped into five districts. Several of these neighborhoods contain smaller communities within their boundaries. In addition, there are communities within the Cincinnati – Northern Kentucky metropolitan area, outside the city and even state limits, that are considered part of Cincinnati.

Essentially, where you decide to stay in Cincinnati will depend on your itinerary and reason for visiting. Here are nine of Cincinnati’s most popular areas to stay in.

Downtown Cincinnati (Central Business District)

Aerial view of skyscrapers and stadium in Downtown Cincinnati
(photo: MeinPhoto / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area for First Time Visitors | ✨ Best Downtown Cincinnati Hotels: 21c Museum Hotel CincinnatiHampton Inn & Suites Cincinnati – DowntownHilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza

Bordering the Ohio River, Downtown Cincinnati is also known as the Central Business District and is a great choice for those wondering where to stay in Cincinnati. In fact, some of the finest hotels in Cincinnati are downtown, including Hampton Inn & Suites and the 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati.

Here, you can enjoy festivals, concerts, and other events in Fountain Square and the Duke Energy Convention Center. Art enthusiasts will want to see a show at the Aronoff Center and visit the Taft Museum of Art and Contemporary Arts Center.

Sports fans will definitely want to see a Bengals game at Paul Brown Stadium or a Reds game at the Great American Ball Park – I recommend taking a walk along Smale Riverfront Park between these two venues.

You can also go to the public observation deck of Carew Tower to gaze over the entire Queen City. This building is home to many restaurants, shops, and a luxury hotel. 

Pros of Staying in Downtown Cincinnati:

  • Central location, walking distance to countless downtown attractions
  • Great hotels
  • Many bar, restaurant, and nightlife options
  • Great for business travelers, as it is Cincinnati’s business district

Cons of Staying in Downtown Cincinnati:

  • Higher prices than other Cincinnati neighborhoods
  • Parking can be a challenge

📚 Downtown Cincinnati Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for First-Time Visitors
Google Map

Over-the-Rhine

View of people outside the Findlay Market in Cincinnati
A trip to Findlay Market is a great way to spend a weekend morning (photo: aceshot1 / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area for Beer Enthusiasts | ✨ Best Over-the-Rhine Hotels: Hyatt Regency CincinnatiTownePlace Suites by Marriott Cincinnati DowntownRenaissance Cincinnati Downtown Hotel

Over-the-Rhine is a historic district and a great option for anyone wondering where to stay in Cincinnati. In recent decades, Over-the-Rhine was considered a run-down area, but it has since been revitalized into a trendy area full of popular attractions, including the Cincinnati Music Hall.

In Over-the-Rhine, beer aficionados can visit the Brewery District to learn about the history of beer brewing in Cincinnati. The Washington Park area is home to many upscale restaurants, bars, and hotels.

Over-the-Rhine also boasts amazing nightlife and is home to Ohio’s oldest public market, Findlay Market. Here, you can buy all sorts of local fresh products and even has a farmers market (with performers!) on the weekends.

Pros of Staying in Over-the-Rhine:

  • Beautiful outdoor murals
  • Trendy restaurants and bars
  • Great nightlife
  • Many great attractions, including Cincinnati Music Hall
  • Close to downtown Cincinnati, OH

Cons of Staying in Over-the-Rhine:

  • Higher crime rates, especially at night
  • Attractions in this area can be pricey

📚 Over-the-Rhine Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Beer Enthusiasts
Google Map

Eden Park (Mount Adams/Walnut Hills)

The Spring House Gazebo in Eden Park
The Spring House Gazebo in Eden Park

👉 Best Area for Great Views of Downtown | ✨ Best Eden Park Hotels: The Lytle Park Hotel, Autograph CollectionResidence Inn by Marriott Cincinnati Downtown/The PhelpsHoliday Inn Hotel & Suites Cincinnati Downtown, an IHG Hotel

A 186-acre park split between the neighborhoods of Walnut Hills and Mount Adams, Eden Park is a natural sanctuary in the midst of urban surroundings. It’s not technically its own neighborhood, but it’s still a great place to stay in Cincinnati for families.

Here you’ll find the Cincinnati Art Museum, which is connected to the Elsinore Arch at the entrance via wooden steps. Art enthusiasts can peruse 67,000 works created over the span of six millennia. Further into the park is the Krohn Conservatory, a botanical garden with stunning architecture.

The Eden Park area is home to Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (a popular regional theater) and The Lytle Park Hotel, arguably the best luxury hotel in Cincinnati. The Lytle Park Hotel is located in a beautiful historic building with restaurants, a fitness center, and a rooftop deck where you can look over downtown Cincinnati and the Ohio River.

Pros of Staying in Eden Park:

  • Beautiful natural surroundings and views of downtown Cincinnati
  • Many attractions, especially for lovers of the arts
  • Generally a very peaceful and quiet area
  • Home to one of the best hotels in Cincinnati (Lytle Park)

Cons of Staying in Eden Park:

  • Property crime rates are higher in some parts of the park in Walnut Hills

Avondale

View from a walkway in Cincinnati Zoo with Christmas lights
A walkway of Christmas lights at the Cincinnati Zoo in Avondale

👉 Best Area for Budget Travelers | ✨ Best Avondale Hotels: The Summit HotelComfort Suites Cincinnati University – DowntownMainStay Suites Cincinnati University – Uptown

Avondale is a great area for people who are traveling on a budget. Relatively speaking, prices of goods, services, and accommodations are low here. In addition, there are many local attractions that make Avondale a worthwhile place to stay in Cincinnati.

This area is home to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, which is the sixth oldest zoo in the country. It was also named a National Historic Landmark in 1987. Outdoor lovers will also enjoy the Fleischmann Gardens, where they’ll be able to roam around the four acres of public land.

This is also a great area for students who might be taking a vacation, as the University of Cincinnati campus is in the outer regions of this neighborhood. A campus area translates to lower prices and a fairly relaxed and bohemian environment with many restaurants, shops, and bars.

Pros of Staying in Avondale:

  • Very affordable restaurants, bars, and shops
  • Several attractions, particularly for those who like being around animals and nature
  • A very walkable area with a low-key, relaxed atmosphere

Con of Staying in Avondale:

  • Crime rates are relatively high in this area

📚 Avondale Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Budget Travelers
Google Map

Queensgate

The Cincinnati Museum Center from the outside
Union Terminal, home to the Cincinnati Museum Center (photo: Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area for Museum Lovers | ✨ Best Queensgate Hotels: Kinley Cincinnati Downtown, a Tribute Portfolio HotelCurio Collection by Hilton The Cincinnatian HotelThe Westin Cincinnati

Located in the valley of the downtown area, and thus just a short distance from the Cincinnati city center, Queensgate is a great place to stay in Cincinnati for anyone who loves museums. It’s home to Cincinnati Union Terminal, an iconic building that is one of Cincinnati’s most famous attractions and a popular example of the art deco architectural style.

In addition to being an active train station that is serviced by the Cardinal line of Amtrak, Union Terminal is home to multiple museums. This museum complex includes the Cincinnati History Museum, Duke Energy Children’s Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science, Cincinnati History Library and Archives, and Robert D. Lindner Family Omnimax Theater.

Queensgate also used to be home to Crosley Field, where the Cincinnati Reds played for nearly 58 years. The former site of the home plate at this field has been marked with paint in an alley.

Pros of Staying in Queensgate:

  • Many attractions, including the museum complex
  • Easy access to Union Terminal
  • Minutes away from downtown Cincinnati

Cons of Staying in Queensgate:

  • Crime rates are relatively high
  • Can be pricey

Clifton

A gazebo at the Clifton’s Mount Storm Park
An original gazebo in Clifton’s Mount Storm Park

👉 Best Area for Hipsters | ✨ Best Clifton Hotels: Graduate CincinnatiRadisson Hotel Cincinnati RiverfrontFairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Cincinnati Uptown/University Area

Clifton is a great neighborhood for families, young professionals, and college students. It’s surrounded by college campuses, including the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati State. There are many wonderful attractions in Clifton.

Film buffs can go to the Esquire Theater to watch a foreign film or indie feature. You can also enjoy the outdoors at the 57-acre Mount Storm Park, which will give you fantastic views of the city. If you want a real retreat, then take a walk in Burnet Woods. There are many affordable restaurants and bars, which will give you a great chance to sample the local food.

Anyone who enjoys shopping will have a great time at the shops on Ludlow Avenue. You can also go to the Clifton Cultural Arts Center and experience a variety of unique educational activities, such as exhibits, concerts, classes, and other events.

Pros of Staying in Clifton:

  • One of the safer neighborhoods in Cincinnati
  • A relatively peaceful and quiet area
  • Many great restaurants and bars
  • Arguably the best nightlife in Cincinnati

Cons of Staying in Clifton:

  • Finding parking spots can be difficult
  • Longer distance to downtown Cincinnati

West End

👉 Best Area for Pedestrians| ✨ Best West End Hotels: The Guild Downtown – Vine St.Homewood Suites by Hilton Cincinnati-DowntownAC Hotel by Marriott Cincinnati at The Banks

West End is essentially a residential neighborhood and a great area to stay in Cincinnati. Just west of Over-the-Rhine and close to the downtown area, it gives you easy access to the most bustling parts of the city. But at the same time, you’ll have the peace and quiet of an area with a more suburban feel.

Dayton Street provides many sights to see, including many impressive old mansions and popular shops. It gives you a lovely picture of historic Cincinnati.

Alternatively, you can visit the many art galleries in the area. The Carl Solway Gallery is located within a historic warehouse and showcases contemporary art of all sorts. Sports lovers are sure to appreciate the TQL Stadium, home to Major League Soccer’s FC Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Fire Museum is another of the West End tourist attractions, educating visitors about Cincinnati’s impressive contributions to the noble field of firefighting.

Pros of Staying in West End:

  • Pedestrian-friendly
  • Many cool and interesting attractions
  • A relatively peaceful and quiet area
  • Many great shops, restaurants, and bars
  • Short distance to the city center

Cons of Staying in West End:

  • Crime rates are higher than average in this area
  • May not feel like a vacation destination

Covington

View of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge in Cincinnati
The John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, connecting Ohio to Kentucky

👉 Best Area for Foodies | ✨ Best Covington Hotels: Hampton Inn CovingtonHoliday Inn Express & Suites Covington, an IHG HotelThe Twelve Oaks Bed & Breakfast

Technically, Covington is in Northern Kentucky, not Cincinnati. However, it can make for a great base for adventures. Just across the Ohio River, it’s walking distance to downtown Cincinnati. All you need to do is cross the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge!

In Covington, there are many affordable hotels with free WiFi and other great amenities, as well as amazing dining and bar options on Main Street, Roebling Point, and Madison Avenue.

In addition to having easy access to Cincinnati, there is plenty to explore in Covington itself. Take a walk around the 19th-century Mainstrasse Village, taking in the sight of the famous Goose Girl Fountain. The Licking Riverside Historic District also gives you sights of stunning 19th-century architecture. 

Museum lovers will love the Railway Museum of Greater Cincinnati, which is actually located in Covington. Here, you can learn a lot about the history of trains and vintage cars.

Pros of Staying in Covington:

  • Affordable
  • Very close to downtown Cincinnati
  • Great view of downtown Cincinnati and the Ohio River
  • Many restaurants and bars

Cons of Staying in Covington:

  • Crime rates are higher than average in this area
  • Not technically in Ohio, so you may need to do additional research (state laws, etc.)

Newport

A sign on the entrance of Newport on the Levee
Entrance to the many dining, shopping, and entertainment venues of Newport on the Levee (photo: Rosamar / Shutterstock)

👉 Best Area for Families | ✨ Best Newport Hotels: Hampton Inn & Suites Newport/Cincinnati, KYAloft Newport on the LeveeComfort Suites Newport – Cincinnati Riverfront

Located in Northern Kentucky, Newport is also not technically a place to stay in Cincinnati. However, it’s just minutes from the Cincinnati downtown area. It’s also home to Newport on the Levee, a complex containing shops, restaurants, a bowling alley, a movie theater, and more.

Also in this area is the well-known Newport Aquarium. Newport Aquarium is a great place for anyone, including families with kids. Spend the day with exotic underwater creatures, including sharks, jellyfish, and more. With several creative exhibits, it’s a truly memorable experience.

You can also visit the World Peace Bell Center to see one of the largest swinging bells in the world, a historically significant attraction representing world peace.

Once you’re done, you can take a walk on the Newport Southbank Bridge, popularly known as the Purple People Bridge. Enjoy an amazing view of Cincinnati and the Ohio River.

Pros of Staying in Newport:

  • More affordable than the majority of locations in Cincinnati
  • Very close to the Cincinnati downtown area, with great views from the Purple People Bridge
  • Many great shops and restaurants
  • Wonderful area for families, with attractions like Newport Aquarium

Cons of Staying in Newport:

  • Crime rates are relatively high
  • Not technically in Ohio, meaning additional research may be necessary (state laws, etc.)

📚 Newport Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Families
Google Map

Tips for Staying in Cincinnati

Be prepared for unpredictable weather

View of the Roebling Bridge and the frozen Ohio river in Cincinnati
The frozen Ohio River

There is a very wide spectrum of weather in Cincinnati. It’s often unpredictable, with weather varying drastically from day to day. Pack clothing for cold, hot, wet, and dry weather. Look at the weather forecast before your stay in Cincinnati and be prepared for inclement weather, including storms.

Choose the time of year for your visit carefully

Scenic view from Eden Park during spring season
Springtime in Eden Park

For most people, the best time to stay in Cincinnati, weather-wise and in terms of city events, is during May or September. There are also many events in the summer, but the city’s very hot and humid. Between October and April, the city is cold but Cincinnati hotel rates are cheaper. 

📚 Related Reading: Where to Stay in Chicago, By a Local (Best Areas & Places)

Avoid unfamiliar & potentially dangerous areas of Cincinnati

The crime in Cincinnati is generally concentrated in a few unsafe neighborhoods. Generally, it’s a good idea to stay on the main streets and in areas with many people walking around. Avoid dangerous neighborhoods, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the areas. Some side streets can be dangerous, especially at night.

Before visiting, I recommend reading my article: Is Cincinnati Safe?

If you must visit questionable areas, be vigilant

Avoid talking to strangers, especially in areas that seem unsafe and at night. If someone approaches you with illegal drugs, try not to engage, and tell the authorities if possible. Be vigilant about your belongings, as pickpockets are common in crowded areas. Only bring the minimum when you go out.

Be prepared for bad traffic

A traffic cone on a street in Cincinnati Downtown
One of many traffic cones in the Cincinnati downtown area (photo: Cory Woodruff / Shutterstock)

Recently, Cincinnati has been assigned the status of a city with the fifth-worst traffic congestion in the United States. Traffic is particularly slow during rush hour. Also, be aware that there’s limited parking downtown, so look up parking lots and garages that are accessible to the public before getting there. 

📚 Related Reading: Where to Stay in New York City

Don’t rely on Cincinnati’s public transportation

Cars passing along in Cincinnati Downtwon
Cars driving into the Cincinnati downtown area

Cincinnati doesn’t have the most extensive public transit system (many areas aren’t even serviced), so you should have an alternative means of getting around. Cincinnati is a very walkable city, but if you’re planning on traveling long distances, then it’s better to have a car than to rely on public transit.

👉 Pro Tip: You can search Discover Cars to see all of your car rental options in Cincinnati. Be sure to book as far in advance as possible for the best deals!

FAQs About Where to Stay in Cincinnati, Ohio

What is the best part of Cincinnati to stay in?

For first-time tourists, downtown Cincinnati, the central business district of the city, is the best place to stay. There are many attractions to explore, great nightlife options, and accessible public transportation. There are varied accommodations, whether you’re looking for a chain hotel or a budget option.

Where is it safe to stay in Cincinnati?

Hyde Park and Sayler Park are the safest neighborhoods in Cincinnati to stay in. In both of these neighborhoods, there are only 13 crimes for every 100 people, and the vast majority of these crimes is property crime rather than violent crime.

Is it safe to stay in downtown Cincinnati?

Overall, it is safe to stay in downtown Cincinnati, as long as you stay vigilant. The Riverfront and Central Business District areas are well-known for crime, but it is typically property crime, not violent crime. In fact, violent crime in the Central Business District is 11% under the national average.

***

Thanks for reading my guide to staying in Cincinnati. There are so many great places and areas to stay. Ultimately, you just need to choose the right one for yourself. While you’re here, check out all my Ohio travel guides.

I hope I’ve helped you find where to stay in Cincinnati!

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