Cincinnati is full of superlatives: we have a world-renowned zoo, the oldest children’s theater in the country, a nationally recognized amusement park, several sites of important historic significance, and iconic architectural marvels known across the country. In downtown Cincinnati, the Carew Tower is one such marvel; this massive monolith was once the tallest in the city (a title since eclipsed by the Great American Tower). Still, it remains one of our city’s proudest pieces of architecture, though, at 575 feet tall, it’s not for the faint of heart.
But that doesn’t mean families can’t experience sweeping city views. In humble little Blue Ash, there’s another tower that’s well worth checking out. Standing 153 feet tall (equivalent to the 27th floor of the Great American Building), Summit Park’s Observation Tower is impossible to miss. It overlooks Summit Park’s expansive Great Lawn and offers breathtaking views of Hamilton County. If you didn’t know, Summit Park is the site of the old Cincinnati-Blue Ash Airport, and Blue Ash is one of the highest points in Hamilton County.
The Observation Tower is made of clear and blue glass, so while it stands out, it also blends in with its natural surroundings. Its 153 feet translates into nine flights of stairs, making it an accessible adventure for little (and 30-something) legs. The stairwell is open (with metal and glass barriers), so the ascent is both scenic and safe. (There’s also a glass elevator that will get you up to the top in a fraction of the time!)
Up at the top, it’s a little surreal; the glass gives the feeling of stepping into the sky. From the top Observation Deck, you can see downtown Cincinnati, the Kings Island Eiffel Tower in Mason, and even Mt. Rumpke in Colerain Township. The barriers up here are relatively tall, but I wouldn’t recommend taking any kids up who need to be carried—the Observation Tower is best for slightly older (5 and up) kids who aren’t spooked by heights.
As we stand at the precipice of a new year, so many things remain unknown. All we can do is forge ahead, one step at a time, while keeping an eye on the horizon. This is a good place to start.
The Observation Tower at Summit Park is open daily, with hours varying depending on the day.
Summit Park, 4335 Glendale-Milford Rd., Blue Ash