Top 5 Local Spots to Spend a Quiet Afternoon

Time Out! We think you need some quiet time. Here are five of our favorite local places to catch a calm moment:

1. Essencha Tea House
Tucked into Oakley’s business district is the teeny Essencha Tea House. Decorated like an Asian-style spa, the place oozes relaxation and quiet. Stop in for lunch (we like the Cold-Smoked Salmon Sandwich) or one of the daily afternoon tea services—Essencha offers both Asian and European-style preparations. Then take a little tranquility home with you: They carry more than 100 varieties of loose-leaf teas. Open Mon–Sat 11 am–6 pm; Sun Noon–5 pm. 3212 Madison Rd., Oakley, (513) 533-4832,

2. Rowe Woods Lotus Pond
The lotus garden at Rowe Woods is one of Cincinnati’s best-kept secrets. Part of Milford’s Cincinnati Nature Center, Rowe Woods has more than 16 miles of hiking trails covering acres of old growth forest, prairies, and wetlands. The Lotus Pond is near the center of the park inside the Upland Trail and surrounded by accessible boardwalks. The best time to see the flowers in bloom is July, but you’ll find peace, quiet, and a lovely view there all year round. 4949 Tealtown Rd., Milford,

3. Mercantile Library
This 175 year-old library might just be the quietest spot in the city. Perched at the top of the block-long Mercantile Library Building, its rooms have high ceilings, tons of natural light, and some of the coolest vintage light fixtures around. Take note: Anyone is invited to visit, but you must be a subscriber to use the collection or the reading room. Mon–Fri 9 am–5:30 pm; Sat 10 am–3 pm. 414 Walnut St., downtown, (513) 621-0717,

4. Sharon Woods Lake
Sharon Woods is a bustling little place: A sizeable boathouse, plus playgrounds (one of which is Ice Age-themed) and snack bars (two words: soft serve) make for a very active, kid-oriented park. But you don’t have to go very far for a little down time. The 35-acre Sharon Woods Lake is bordered by a paved trail that winds in and out of the surrounding trees—ideal for a run or a quiet stroll. Hours vary by season. 11450 Lebanon Rd., Sharonville,  

5. The Walnut Street Garden at the Downtown Public Library
This peaceful retreat makes it easy to forget that you’re smack in the middle of a city. High walls, mature trees, a fountain and reflecting pool, and a bronze statue are the perfect setting for lunch or a mid-day breather. The Garden is accessible from the first floor Popular Library and the Reading Garden Lounge. Open daily; times vary. 800 Vine St., downtown, (513) 369-6900,

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