I’ve been very excited about the streetcar. Having little kids (with little legs) means that, if we want to go to a Reds game, we need to shell out the big bucks to park at the on-site lot. Or, if we are at the Main Library and want to grab a Holtman’s donut, we have to drive. (Then find, and pay for, another parking spot.)
We have a fantastic city with so much to offer — but the whole “getting around” conundrum can be just too much when you factor in a kid or two. Cincinnati is laid out like a big grid — so a streetcar just makes sense. It’s something we’ve been talking about, voting on and debating for years — and it’s so exciting that the Cincinnati
Streetcar Bell Connector finally made its debut last week!
My friend and I took our kids downtown last week to see the streetcar in action. If you want to ride the streetcar, you can basically park anywhere in Downtown Cincinnati and be near a stop. The streetcar travels a 3.6 mile loop from Second Street (at The Banks on the riverfront) to Henry Street (just north of Findlay Market in Over the Rhine). Five streetcars run the loop 18 hours a day, and there are 18 stops on the route. During peak weekday hours (11 a.m.-7 p.m.), you can catch a ride every 12 minutes.
We parked at the Banks and waited at the Second Street stop. At each streetcar stop, there is a ticket vending machine where you can buy a streetcar pass. The fare is $1 for two hours and $2 for a day pass. (Individuals with Metro’s Fare Deal card can buy a $0.50 two-hour ticket.) Children between 35 and 45 inches are eligible for a $0.50 half-fare, two-hour ticket. Children under 35 inches ride free. (Children over 45 inches pay full fare.) We had three kids between us — two 3-year-olds and a two year old. We paid $2 total for all 5 of us to ride for two hours (all our kids rode for free!).
Kids will be enthralled by the streetcar. It’s basically a bus, train and hybrid rolled into one. My kids got a kick out of the computer “driver.” I enjoyed getting to take in the city as a passenger. It’s quick and quiet, and such an enjoyable way to experience Cincinnati. We rode the entire loop, and it took a little over 30 minutes. You certainly couldn’t walk the route that quickly — and with traffic, it’s arguable whether you could drive that efficiently, either.
It would make a great afternoon activity during winter break or summer vacation. Pick a spot you want to visit downtown, park at one of the $1 lots and ride away! My suggestion is that you make an afternoon of it, hitting the following family friendly stops along the way:
Stop 7: Vine Street in OTR
This is Stop 6 on the route. Bring your appetite! Grab a vegan lunch at Park + Vine, then satisfy your sweet tooth at Macaroon Bar and Holtman’s.
Stop 8: Washington Park
This playground is one of the coolest in the city! Swing on the giant disc swing, climb the ark, play the musical instruments.
Stop 10 or 12: Findlay Market
Bring your own bag and grab a loaf of Blue Oven Bread for dinner! Pick up fresh produce, artisan cheese, olive oil or even a pie from one of the vendor at Findlay Market. Bring your own bags for easy transport.
Stop 16: The Main Library
Take the kids to the largest children’s library in the area! Check out some books, listen to audio books, see what’s on display in the atrium.
Stop 18 Fountain Square
Walk the square and grab a Graeter’s cone if you’re still hungry. Take the elevator to the top of the Carew Tower to take in the skyline views.
Stop 1: The Banks
Congratulations! You’re back where you started. Celebrate with a spin around Carol Ann’s Carousel.
Because the streetcar runs so frequently, you’ll be able to get out and enjoy the city without worrying about catching your next ride. The Cincinnati Bell Connector makes exploring Cincy easy, inexpensive and accessible — plus, it’s a super sweet ride your kids will absolutely love!
For more information on the streetcar, visit the Cincinnati Bell Connector website. Download a streetcar map here.