If you drive 20 miles north, east, or west of Fountain Square, you’re arguably still in Cincinnati. Sure, folks in Fairfield, Batavia, and Harrison identify with their local towns and schools, but when traveling and asked where they live, they’ll usually say “Cincinnati.” Go less than a mile due south of the square, and that isn’t always the case.
We all know that Northern Kentucky isn’t really part of Cincinnati. State names and telephone area codes aren’t the only things that change at the river—attitudes and lifestyles do, too. Those who grow up in NKY, as well as those who move there, appreciate the differences. They like the “small town inside a big city” vibe and, yes, the slightly Southern touches. The walk along Fairfield Avenue in Bellevue or MainStrasse in Covington might feel a lot like strolling in Loveland or Lebanon, but you can easily catch Cincinnati’s downtown skyline when you look up.
We also all know that Northern Kentucky is part of Cincinnati. We eat the same chili, read the same issues of Cincinnati Magazine, and cheer on the same Bengals, Reds, and FC Cincinnati teams. We easily move back and forth across the river to frequent bars, restaurants, arts venues, and parks. One-third of our office staff lives in NKY.
I grew up in Philadelphia and spent lots of time in St. Louis during my college years, and, like here, different states sit just across the river from those downtowns. But neither city embraces the opposite shore like we do. Nobody parks in Illinois and walks across the Mississippi River to see a Cardinals game. Nobody jogs or pushes strollers across the massive bridges between New Jersey and Philadelphia.
There are fun and interesting differences between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky if you’re willing to look for them, as this month’s “Northern Kentucky Takeover” demonstrates. And there are tons of similarities, too. NKY might not be Cincinnati’s southside, but it is our Southern side. That’s a distinction worth celebrating.