Midwestern Living

You know, when I was a 20-something and believed myself to be “cool”, living in Cincinnati was kinda lame. I didn’t go clubbing, I didn’t spend a ton of money on stuff like the Reds or Bengals games, etc. Cincinnati has some issues with the young adult crowd.

I’m not from here, and there’s a strange thing about this town in that people are kinda standoffish to outsiders. The first question you get from people you meet is, “Where did you go to high school?” The expectation being that you would name your fancy Catholic or your dumpy public alma mater and then be judged accordingly. Folks here still go to their old high school football games on Friday nights. As for importing young adults from around the country, we have some big companies headquartered here, but none of them are sexy. Who dreams of working as a corporate paper pusher at Proctor and Gamble or Kroger when they grow up? The manufacturing sector has been dying for years, and I don’t know of any of the under-40 crowd who would get excited about that prospect, either.

Then I had kids and a lot of my views changed. Within a few years, we were buried in work keeping up with stuff for them. School stuff, extracurriculars, and so on. These actually make living here AWESOME.

Have a kid interested in dance? You can take them to the Cincinnati Ballet or to McGing Irish Dance for really great training. Have an ice skater? The little skating rink I take my youngest to has had national championship caliber performers trained there. Sports? We have some of the best athletic programs in the country…I mean, where do you think Ohio State and Michigan get most of their athletes from?

Like the arts? We have a contemporary art musuem and a few more traditional ones. We have a world class zoo. We have the Museum Center with all kinda of stuff to see. Festivals? We have a festival every weekend throughout the summer at churches all around, plus the big ones for Mayfest, Oktoberfest, and the Flying Pig Marathon.

Speaking of the Flying Pig, how about that for an AMAZING event? We have the Heart Mini Marathon in the spring, as well, plus at least half a dozen other 1/2 marathons around the city throughout the year. Downtown at Sawyer Point, from April through November, you can join at least one 5k every weekend, and sometimes they will have one there and one across the river in Newport at the same time. Want a triathlon? The Cinci Tri is an Olympic tri that’s here….no Ironman yet, but I bet it will happen someday.

Oh, and did I mention the Bengals and the Reds? They may not be the best all the time, but they are still here and offer great stuff. I am partial to the Reds, as the tickets are a super deal and it’s just a great place to take the family. Football games have crappy weather and the crowd is a bit drunker….I don’t go to that. We have the inaugural season of FC Cincinnati happening right now, too, that’s setting attendance records for their level. The Cincinnati Cyclones are a great deal for seeing pro hockey in town. We have two pretty good college basketball programs in Xavier and UC with tickets available all the time, too.

DON’T FORGET KING’S ISLAND! Awesome amusement park.

I didn’t mention concerts yet. I’m seeing Guns and Roses this summer, and they’re here the same week Paul McCartney is coming to town. We have 3 pretty awesome concert venues (US Bank Arena, Horseshoe Casino, and Riverbend) that attract big shows all summer. There’s also the Bunberry Music Festival, too.

And the best part of all of this is the affordability of it all. I can take my kids to events that I only dreamed of as a kid in Eastern Kentucky. A trip to see the Reds was a weekend affair back then and we just didn’t do it. My senior class trip was a bus ride to King’s Island for the day, after which we got on the bus and rode home for 5 hours at night. I have season passes now and my kids can go there as much as they want this summer. I have a kid ice skating, one doing ballet, and one doing Irish dance, and while it’s more expensive than playing a sport at school, it’s still something I can cover. I know that wouldn’t happen in Chicago or New York.

The lameness of my youth was well worth it. Stuff is cheap here, there are plenty of things to do, and it’s generally family-friendly. Maybe the locals treat outsiders differently because they are selfish and don’t want to share these things. If you stick it out long enough, though, the investment is worth it.

Written on April 25, 2016