Whether you’re a parent eager to get your kids off the couch or a college student home for the summer, chances are you’re looking for a fun, affordable way to get outside. Fortunately, Cincinnati offers a variety of free public parks, each with its own unique amenities. Here are our top five parks to visit during the summer.
Smale Riverfront Park
In 2012, Smale Riverfront Park opened to the public for the first time, connecting the urban setting of downtown Cincinnati with fresh greenery and floral accents. Situated right above the river bank, Smale is the perfect place for a leisurely evening stroll or to watch a fiery sunset from one of the many swings that faces the John A. Roebling bridge. Kids can keep themselves entertained for hours with the park’s jungle gym, a larger-than-life keyboard, multicolored water fountains, and more.
Miami Whitewater Park
Located off Winton Road, Miami Whitewater Park quite literally offers something for everybody. Fitness fanatics can bike the 7.8-mile Shaker Trail or run the 1.4-mile fitness trail, while waterbugs have the opportunity to boat or fish on the 85-acre lake. Even little ones can exhaust their energy by running around the traditional playground or splashing around Parky’s Ark waterpark.
If you’re looking for a serene atmosphere to dive into your current summer read, Eden Park is the place to be. Though the park is best known as the home of the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and Krohn Conservatory, it also offers a picturesque view of the riverside skyline. Cozy up under one of the many luscious trees near one of three lakes (Mirror Lake is our favorite) and embrace the sounds of nature. Before you leave, be sure to wander the footpaths and view the park in its entirety.
Located in Over-the-Rhine, Washington Park is so much more than just a green space in the city. There’s something going on nearly every night of the week: From free workout classes with Workout on the Green on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to live music to recreational sports league games like kickball and nature play on Mondays and Thursdays. The park even offers a free Movie in the Park series every Wednesday (see our top movie picks here).
The fourth largest park in Cincinnati, Ault Park is 224 acres of picnic facilities, nature trails, and play areas near Hyde Park. The Heekin Overlook offers a panoramic view of Lunken Airport and the Little Miami River Valley and is the perfect spot for a midday picnic. With nine different trails, avid hikers can discover something new every time they visit. (Parenting pro-tip: Ault Park offers a kid-friendly hiking trail as well as an updated playground, perfect for little ones to exhaust themselves before their afternoon nap!)