River Walks in Cincinnati

Riverfront parks link Cincinnati history with modern amenities.

Cincinnati’s riverwalk is the crème de la crème of our region’s riverside strolls, stretching from Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park (with its towering sculptures, symbolic earthworks, and majestic upriver views) through Sawyer Point and the Serpentine Wall to the city’s front porch, Smale Riverfront Park. Along the way, cool off on Smale’s river-facing swings or splash pads or at Armleder Memorial Spray Park, and soak up the rich history of a bustling waterfront that first put Cincinnati on the map. You can access all four walkable Ohio River bridges along the way.

PHOTOGRAPH BY CORRIE CARSWELL, CINCINNATI PARKS

But history runs even deeper here. It begins 450 million years earlier, as seen on the quarter-mile-long geologic timeline embedded in the sidewalk running from the ruins of the original water works to the Cincinnatus statue. You’ll find historic markers nearby for the Black Brigade of Cincinnati and the explosion of the Sultana, among others, as well as the new statue dedicated to Marian Spencer. The past is still visible even on Smale Riverfront Park’s sloping lawn, where the foundation of an 1800s edifice, from the days when our riverfront teemed with boat trade, can be seen.

There are plans afoot for the Ohio River Trail to ultimately connect this river walk west to the Indiana border and—via the Oasis Rail Line trail, which the city will develop after acquiring the railroad right of way in the spring—east to Lunken Airfield and on to New Richmond. Until then, Cincinnati’s riverfront will help burn off lots of calories and engage a few brain cells.

PHOTOGRAPH BY CORRIE CARSWELL, CINCINNATI PARKS

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