• 50°

Findlay Market is paradise for foodies, chocoholics

If you’re an Ohio foodie looking for a truly incredible experience, you need to visit Findlay Market.

It’s both an indoor and outdoor marketplace with some of the state’s freshest cuisine. From prepared foods to locally-grown produce, there’s something here for everyone.

Findlay Market is Ohio’s oldest continuously operated public market and one of Cincinnati’s most cherished institutions. The market is located just blocks from downtown in Over-the-Rhine, a dense historic neighborhood rich in 19th century architecture.

Open Tuesday through Sunday, Findlay Market is open year-round with three dozen indoor merchants selling meat, fish, poultry, produce, flowers, cheese, deli and ethnic foods plus plenty of dining options.

Each weekend the market hosts a thriving farmers market, dozens of outdoor vendors, street performers and special events including the Findlay Market Biergarten. Experience for yourself this quintessentially urban shopping experience.

Chocoholics, while at the market, you’ll want to stop and sample the goods at Maverick Chocolate Company, the city’s first bean-to-bar chocolate makers, and Macaron Bar, the only local bakery dedicated solely to French macarons. There are food vendors aplenty, so your lunch options are limitless, and during the summer you can lunch at the on-site beer garden, too.

The Findlay Market Biergarten is open daily (except Mondays) May through October and is located at the Elm Street (west) end of Findlay Market. This outdoor biergarten is sponsored by local craft brewer Christian Moerlein and offers Moerlein beers like Hudepohl Pure Lager, Hudy Delight and a different local guest brewery each weekend.

This year-round market and specialty grocery store almost makes you feel like you’re in an Old World town square. You’ll find some of the freshest local produce, quality meats and many delicious home goods at Findlay Market.

Located at 1801 Race St., Cincinnati, this impressive area market has been in operation since 1852. Today, it’s a premier grocery, one-of-a-kind lunch spot and entertainment area. For additional information and to learn what merchants are open visit www.findlaymarket.org.

I first discovered the Over-the-Rhine (OTR for short) in the late 1990s. It has changed a lot, especially in the past five to 10 years.

Back when I first began visiting the area, there were only a handful of bars, but now it’s Cincinnati’s premiere entertainment district, overflowing with fabulous restaurants, hip bars, breweries, fashionable shops, theatres and a gorgeous park. And of course, it’s home to the Cincinnati location of Homage, a retro-inspired store that sells vintage pop culture memorabilia and clothing. But what I especially love about the area is the architecture. OTR has the nation’s largest collection of 19th-century Italianate architecture and is home to a National Historic Landmark, Cincinnati Music Hall, where the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Opera, and Ballet perform. When you explore OTR, you feel like you have one foot in the past and one in the present.

For you history buffs out there: Back in the early 1800s, German immigrants settled in this area and nicknamed the Miami and Erie Canal that ran through it the “Rhine,” so when they would cross from the downtown area over the canal, they would say, “I’m going over the Rhine.”

Cincinnati Music Hall (renovated in 2017) is the crown jewel of OTR and is home to the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestras, the opera, and the ballet.

Next door is Memorial Hall showcasing live musical performances, comedians and feature films. There are four smaller theaters, Ensemble, Know, Emery and Woodward, that explore compelling social issues and produce contemporary shows that tend to be edgy and thought-provoking.

Across the street from gorgeous Music Hall is Washington Park, which is the perfect place to chill out for a day.

I love to just people watch here as locals come to walk their dogs, play sports, like kickball and let their kids run around in the water park.

OTR is by far the place to go for foodies. At last count, there were over 55 places to dine and over 20 bars, and that’s not counting the two breweries. You’ll find Mexican, Japanese, Italian, Argentinean, Belgian, Asian fusion, French, farm-inspired American, Thai, Greek, Mediterranean, classic American and Chinese — and it’s all amazing. Many of the venues have outdoor seating with a European vibe.

OTR is located just one mile north of downtown. You can hop on the streetcar that makes a 3.6-mile loop with stops from the riverfront, through downtown, and up into OTR.

There are four main OTR stops: 12th and Vine (where most of the restaurants/bars are located), Washington Park (for Music Hall and the park), Findlay Market and the Brewery District. It’s only $1 for a two-hour ticket or $2 for all-day.

A day of Reds baseball always includes a stop at Findlay’s Market and OTR! It’s a great place for a pre-game meal or post-game cold one.

Shop local! Dine local! Support your communities locally owned and operated small businesses!

Got travel? Email Steve Call at the travelprofessor@gmail.com or dial 740-550-9540