Best of the City: Adventure

Maybe your idea of adventure is a grueling uphill run—or maybe it’s stargazing from a seated position. Either way, we’ve found something for you.
Amateur astronomer Gary Porter (left) offers a closer view of the universe from Stone Lick State Park, October 17, 2015. We took some creative license with the night sky, of course.
Amateur astronomer Gary Porter (left) offers a closer view of the universe from Stone Lick State Park, October 17, 2015. We took some creative license with the night sky, of course.

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Free Yoga
The Yoga Bar at Washington Park
One evening each week from Memorial Day to Labor Day, teachers from The Yoga Bar guide hundreds of yogis through an hour of poses, breathing exercises, and meditation on the civic lawn in Washington Park—free, studio-quality instruction in an unintimidating outdoor setting. They also lead shorter morning classes for kids. They’re informal, so parents need not worry about leaving early or arriving late, and instructor/early-childhood educator Ashley Molloy gives her classes a nature theme or storyline to hold young yogis’ attention. 1230 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine,

Way to Find Your Strong
The Body Project
Many gyms are full of women trying to get skinny; The Body Project is full of women trying to get strong. Owner Brenda Gabbard, a competitive bodybuilder, moves her mostly female clientele through semi-private, individualized workouts using free weights, barbells, floor work, and sprints up Woodburn Avenue. You don’t have to be training for the Kentucky Muscle bodybuilding competition to work with Gabbard, but if you get the itch, she can help with that too. 2540 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills, (859) 814-1411,

Bike Race
Pan American Cyclocross Championships
You can’t beat cyclocross for camaraderie and variety. The CincyCX at Devou Park has it all: dirt, heckling, sweat, brutal climbs, gut-sucking drops—all against the beautiful backdrop of the Cincinnati skyline. It’s part of one of the oldest cyclocross race weekends in the Midwest (the CincyCX Cross Festival), and as a Union Cycliste Internationale race, attracts the best of the best. It also highlights Cincinnati’s strong junior racing community, making it a chance to see young up-and-comers put older riders to the test. 

Winter Parks Activity
Ice Fishing
Turn off the TV, zip up your coveralls, call your father, and have a deep conversation over a hole at an area park, namely Sharon Woods or Lake Isabella. You’ll have to bring your own equipment: fishing license, ice fishing rod, bait, auger to cut a hole in the ice, and chair. Before you suit up, check out the current park conditions at and call (513) 521-7275 to make sure the ice will support your winter body.

Great Parks of Hamilton County ice fishing
Great Parks of Hamilton County ice fishing

Illustration by Danny Hellman

Hiking, Kayaking, and Stargazing

Mt. Airy Forest

Start near the treehouse: Miles of trails loop together, ultimately meeting back along Trail Ridge Road—so go on and get lost. Just watch your feet for old-growth root systems, and your head for disc golfers. Mt. Airy,

Miami Whitewater Forest
Drive past the campground for the Badlands and Oakleaf trailheads, two of our favorites. It feels peacefully secluded quickly—and with some hills and (importantly) well maintained pathways, it’s the place for trail running. Harrison,

Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve and John Bryan State Park
Towering rocks. Crashing waterfalls. Massive falling stones. Diverse flora. Multiple hiking (and mountain biking) trails. The hour drive to these adjoining parks will make you feel a lifetime away. Yellow Springs,,

Loveland Canoe & Kayak
Set right in downtown Loveland, you can choose the five-mile Castle Adventure or 10-mile Seven Bridges Excursion (the names should clue you in to what you’ll be seeing along the way)—and wave to your friends on the bike trail as you paddle past. Loveland,

Morgan’s Canoe Livery at Ft. Ancient
Six different trips, ranging from 3 to 18 miles, mean every level of river rat can have its day. One day on the water is good, but two is better: Morgan’s also runs a riverside campground (cabins or tents) so you can make it more than a daytrip.

Thaxton’s Canoe & Paddler’s Inn
You only come out at night? Paddle the Licking River by the light of the full moon one weekend each month, leaving at dusk with the option of floating along until 2 a.m. (Just don’t trust GPS: They’re on U.S. 27 right past KY 177.) Butler, Kentucky,

Cincinnati Observatory
The historic 1845 telescope you look through will seem young in the context of the skies. Take the kids to astronomy nights every Thursday and Friday and go back without ’em for the monthly “Late Night Date Night.” Mt. Lookout,

Stonelick Star Gazers
Two Saturdays each month, the Observatory goes on-site at Stonelick State Park. Just east of Goshen, the skies have little light pollution, and the amateur astronomers who set up are happy to share the view through their telescopes—as well as their knowledge of what’s on the other end. Pleasant Plain,

Observatory Park
OK, so it’s way up near Cleveland. But it’s one of only 30 parks on the planet certified as an International Dark Sky Park. For this we’ll make an exception. Consult their clear sky chart to find the best time to see stars like you thought you’d only ever see them at the Omnimax. Montville,

Grueling Short Run
The Straight Street Hill Climb
On a fall morning almost every year since 1976 (when it was started by the Clifton Track Club), a motley crew of runners and cyclists do their stretches at the base of Straight Street, which climbs at a nearly 35-degree slope for a third of a mile from West McMicken Avenue up to University Court. This incline tests the grit of even the most seasoned sprinters in what organizers bill as “two minutes of self-inflicted torture.” It’s scrappy. It’s brutal. And yes, there’s beer at the finish line.

The Straight Street Hill Climb
The Straight Street Hill Climb

Illustration by Danny Hellman

Public tennis courts
clay > Lindner Tennis Center at Lunken
Hopefully the airplanes taking off can offer that backhand a little inspiration. The LTC hosts tournaments, classes, and social events throughout the year, but you can hit the clay any day for $14/hour (or become a member for $195 and get unlimited court-time). They have hardcourts too, but their eight clay courts are the only ones in the area open to the public. East End,

hardcourt > Sawyer Point Tennis
Get your court-time riverside. May through October, rent a court for $8/hour (a season pass is $200); come for the twice-weekly cardio tennis classes; or schedule a private lesson with the staff pros. Prefer the drama of playing under bright lights? Courts stay open until 9 p.m. on weeknights. Plus, you can cool down with a walk through the park. Downtown,

Facebook Comments