Cincinnati Attractions and Activities
There are many things you can do here in The Queen City!
Professional theatre has operated in Cincinnati since at least as early as the 1800s. Among the professional companies based in the city are Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, the Know Theatre of Cincinnati, Stage First Cincinnati, Cincinnati Public Theatre, Cincinnati Opera, The Performance Gallery and Clear Stage Cincinnati. The city is also home to Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, which hosts regional premieres, and the Aronoff Center, which hosts touring Broadway shows each year via Broadway Across America. The city has community theatres, such as the Cincinnati Young People’s Theatre, the Showboat Majestic (which is the last surviving showboat in the United States and possibly the world), and the Mariemont Players.
Since 2011, Cincinnati Opera and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music have partnered to sponsor the Opera Fusion: New Works project. The Opera Fusion: New Works project acts as a program for composers or librettists to workshop an opera in a 10-day residency. This program is headed by the Director of Artistic Operations at Cincinnati Opera, Marcus Küchle, and the Head of Opera at CCM, Robin Guarino.
Music-related events include the Cincinnati May Festival, Bunbury Music Festival, and Cincinnati Bell/WEBN Riverfest. Cincinnati has hosted the World Choir Games with the catchy mantra “Cincinnati, the City that Sings!”
In 2015, Cincinnati held the USITT 2015 Conference and Stage Expo at the Duke Energy Convention Center, bringing 5,000+ students, university educators, theatrical designers and performers, and other personnel to the city. The USITT Conference is considered the main conference for Theatre, Opera, and Dance in the United States.
A Rage in Harlem was filmed entirely in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Over the Rhine because of its similarity to 1950s Harlem. Movies that were filmed in part in Cincinnati include The Best Years of Our Lives (aerial footage early in the film), Ides of March, Fresh Horses, The Asphalt Jungle (the opening is shot from the Public Landing and takes place in Cincinnati although only Boone County, Kentucky is mentioned), Rain Man, Miles Ahead, Airborne, Grimm Reality, Little Man Tate, City of Hope, An Innocent Man, Tango & Cash, A Mom for Christmas, Lost in Yonkers, Summer Catch, Artworks, Dreamer, Elizabethtown, Jimmy and Judy, Eight Men Out, Milk Money, Traffic, The Pride of Jesse Hallam, The Great Buck Howard, In Too Deep, Seven Below, Carol, Public Eye, The Last Late Night, and The Mighty. In addition, Wild Hogs is set, though not filmed, in Cincinnati.
The Cincinnati skyline was prominently featured in the opening and closing sequences of the CBS daytime drama The Edge of Night from its start in 1956 until 1980, when it was replaced by the Los Angeles skyline; the cityscape was the stand-in for the show’s setting, Monticello. Procter & Gamble, the show’s producer, is based in Cincinnati. The sitcom WKRP in Cincinnati and its sequel/spin-off The New WKRP in Cincinnati featured the city’s skyline and other exterior shots in its credits, although was not filmed in Cincinnati. The city’s skyline has also appeared in an April Fool’s episode of The Drew Carey Show, which was set in Carey’s hometown of Cleveland. 3 Doors Down’s music video “It’s Not My Time” was filmed in Cincinnati, and features the skyline and Fountain Square. Also, Harry’s Law, the NBC legal dramedy created by David E. Kelley and starring Kathy Bates, was set in Cincinnati.
Local folk band Shiny and the Spoon perform at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.
Cincinnati has given rise or been home to popular musicians and singers Kole Black, Lonnie Mack, Doris Day, Odd Nosdam, Dinah Shore, Fats Waller, Rosemary Clooney, Bootsy Collins, The Isley Brothers, Merle Travis, Hank Ballard, Otis Williams, Mood, Midnight Star, Calloway, The Afghan Whigs, Over the Rhine, Blessid Union of Souls, Freddie Meyer, 98 Degrees, The Greenhornes, The Deele, Enduser, Heartless Bastards, The Dopamines, Adrian Belew, The National, Foxy Shazam, Why?, Wussy, H-Bomb Ferguson and Walk the Moon, and alternative hip hop producer Hi-Tek calls the Greater Cincinnati region home. Andy Biersack, the lead vocalist for the rock band Black Veil Brides, was born in Cincinnati.
The Cincinnati May Festival Chorus is an amateur choir that has been in existence since 1880. The city is home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Boychoir and Cincinnati Ballet. The Greater Cincinnati area is also home to several regional orchestras and youth orchestras, including the Starling Chamber Orchestra and the Cincinnati Symphony Youth Orchestra. Music Director James Conlon and Chorus Director Robert Porco lead the Chorus through an extensive repertoire of classical music. The May Festival Chorus is the mainstay of the oldest continuous choral festival in the Western Hemisphere. Cincinnati Music Hall was built to house the May Festival.
The Hollows series of books by Kim Harrison is an urban fantasy that takes place in Cincinnati. American Girl’s Kit Kittredge sub-series also took place in the city, although the film based on it was shot in Toronto.
Cincinnati also has its own chapter (or “Tent”) of The Sons of the Desert (The Laurel and Hardy Appreciation Society), which meets several times per year.
Cincinnati is the subject of a Connie Smith song written by Bill Anderson, called Cincinnati, Ohio.
Cincinnati is the main scenario for the international music production of Italian artist and songwriter Veronica Vitale called “Inside the Outsider”. She embedded the sounds of the trains at Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Downtown Cincinnati, filmed her music single “Mi Sono innamorato di Te” at the American Sign Museum and recorded her heartbeat sound at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital replacing it to the drums for her song “The Pulse of Light” during the broadcasting at Ryan Seacrest’s studio. Furthermore, she released the music single “Nobody is Perfect” featuring legendary Cincinnati’s bass player Bootsy Collins.
Cincinnati was a major early music recording center, and was home to King Records, which helped launch the career of James Brown, who often recorded there, as well as Jewel Records, which helped launch Lonnie Mack’s career, and Fraternity Records.
Cincinnati had a vibrant jazz scene from the 1920s to today. Louis Armstrong’s first recordings were done in the Cincinnati area, at Gennett Records, as were Jelly Roll Morton’s, Hoagy Carmichael’s, and Bix Beiderbecke, who took up residency in Cincinnati for a time. Fats Waller was on staff at WLW in the 1930s.