The nearly 50 brewery buildings that make up Cincinnati's Brewery District range from Romanesque works of art to impressive brick industrial spaces. Many have stood on the same spots since long before Prohibition, outlasting neighboring structures that fell to the wrecking ball. If those buildings had faces, they'd use them to thank the Brewery District's redevelopment group. The band of residents, business owners, and developers helps protect and promote the rich history of this former German cultural hub and epicenter of the Cincinnati brewing industry.
As part of a long-term plan to redevelop the area, the organization welcomes visitors into diverse events such as seasonal beer festivals and a pop-up beer garden at the Findlay Market. But the most popular gatherings are the brewery tours that stop at pre-Prohibition breweries and explore the historic, secret barrel-transportation tunnels that run 40 feet below street level and directly into local refrigerators.
Spring Tour Bus offers transportation between New York and Ohio in comfortable, amenity-packed buses. These buses, which service the Chinatown neighborhood in New York City and travel to Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati, are driven by experienced drivers with a minimum of five years experience. The buses feature reclining seats, heating and air conditioning, high-speed WiFi access, outlets, and restrooms in the rear.
Initially designed as a temporary tour and fundraiser for student travel, American Legacy Tours began humbly as the Newport Gangster Tour in 2008. When met with overwhelming success, the friends who had embarked on what they thought was a temporary project decided to take root and expand, creating American Legacy Tours in 2010.
Their first order of business as an official company was to introduce the Queen City Underground Tour, an exploration of the city's underground tunnels and history as a rabbit village. Today, a cadre of educated guides leads 10 different area walking tours, including Civil War in Cincinnati and Newport is Haunted, one of several ghost-themed tours held around Halloween. There are also art-focused excursions, such as the Rookwood Pottery Factory tour.
Founded by a group of friends who created the acclaimed Newport Gangster Tour as a fundraiser in 2008, American Legacy Tours blossomed into a full-fledged tour company two years later. Participants choose from seven distinct tours that traverse cities as guides share fascinating and sometimes seedy history. The Queen City Underground Tour ventures beneath the city’s streets into a hidden burial vault and long-forgotten tunnels, and the Newport Gangster Tour delves into a scandalous past by visiting the sites of former brothels and speakeasies. Elsewhere, on the Haunted Covington Tour, guests feed their thirst for fright and their hunger for candy handouts from amiable apparitions.
The American Sign Museum dazzles peepers with its staggering collection of nearly 3,000 signs and sign-related objects. Admission for two (a $20 value; children under 12 are free) grants curious excursionists, postmodern art-lovers, and knowledge-thirsty bounty hunters a personally guided tour through a century’s worth of clearly labeled exhibits, including spinning Sputnik-like signs, opulent gilded specimens, and the samples used by salespeople. Witness scientific signage with a “changeable” neon sign that runs on radio waves, or surf through a sense-sating sea of sign-making tools, photographs, models, and artwork. Founder Tod Swormstedt leads most tours, doling out generous portions of knowledge on various signs’ histories and contributions to the American landscape.
Imagine standing on the courthouse steps where dozens of Cincinnatians were slain during a riot in 1884. Or looking down an unlit tunnel burrowed to sustain the black-market trade of alcohol during the Prohibition. The guides behind Queen City History & Education Ltd. illuminate both the highs and lows of Over-the-Rhine’s and downtown’s history through walking tours designed by local attorney and real-estate agent Michael Morgan, author of Over-the-Rhine: When Beer Was King. They also host lectures and educational seminars that promote the preservation of Cincinnati’s historical structures. To further strengthen that goal, the company donates a percentage of it proceeds to the Brewery District CURC, a nonprofit that supports the redevelopment of Over-the-Rhine. Additionally, the foundation works to preserve the area’s architectural and cultural brewing heritage by placing a bubbling cauldron on every corner.