The Purple People Bridge Epitomizes Everything That’s Special About Cincinnati

Adventures abound on both states’ sides of the iconic Purple People Bridge.

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

Cincinnati is a proud river town, and its bridges are an iconic and quintessential part of the city’s skyline. These bridges are each unique in name and stature: the Daniel Carter Beard (“Big Mac”) Bridge sports two golden arches; the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge was once the longest suspension bridge in the world; and the Purple People Bridge is a one-of-a-kind, pedestrian-only interstate connector that’s, of course, proudly purple. And this bridge, in all its pedestrian-friendly purpleness, is perhaps the most Cincinnati of them all.

Bridging the 2,670 feet between downtown Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, this architectural marvel both literally and symbolically bridges two states with two very different identities. On one side, there’s Ohio, a decidedly northern state in both history and demeanor; on the other, Kentucky, a state that wholly embraces Southern cuisine and culture.

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

At around a mile round-trip, this adventure is accessible for all—strollers and wheelchairs included. When you walk across the Ohio River, you’ll be in good company; it’s a popular route for runners and walkers, and often frequented by families, couples, photographers, and artists.

You’ll get loads of million-dollar views of the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky skylines during your trek, as well as incredible aerial views of the riverboats. The bridge itself is visually stunning; the rafters and beams intricately woven together like a puzzle.

Adventures abound on both states’ sides of this iconic bridge, too. In Kentucky, you can peruse the Levee, visit the Aquarium, and explore historic Newport; the Cincinnati side is home to Smale Riverfront Park, Sawyer Point, and the glorious Ohio River Trail.

Walking across the Purple People Bridge is free; we even found street parking in front of Sawyer Point’s 1,000 Hands Playground (another fun Cincinnati attraction). As the weather warms and spring settles into the tri-state, plan an excursion to this local landmark; you’ll fall in love all over again with Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, and be reminded of everything that makes our hometown such a wonderful place.

Photograph by Sarah McCosham

From Cincinnati, the entrance to the bridge is located at 700 E. Pete Rose Way; in Northern Kentucky, you’ll enter at 1 Levee Way in Newport.

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