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Downtown Cincinnati: Jon Harmon

Downtown Cincinnati

Rooftop Bar at 21c Museum Hotel


Reds Opening Day Parade

Jon Harmon grew up in Orange County and moved to Cincinnati to attend the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and also earned an MBA. "I pretty quickly fell in love and got involved," he says. He now works a Legislative Director at the Office of Councilmember Seelbach, the city's first openly gay council member.
One thing he repeatedly emphasizes is that Cincinnati is a progressive city that does a lot to support the arts and culture community, and there are also a significant number of local nonprofit organizations. With its location along the Ohio River, Cincinnati is also very scenic with numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation. 
The Great Outdoors
The city's riverfront has two miles of contiguous park with a bike trail that goes through it, connecting to a 15-mile bike trail out of downtown. Downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine are located right next to each other and everyone walks and rides their bikes to both. "They're both really great neighborhoods," Jon says.
The city, and the riverfront specifically, has nearly $2 billion in recent and ongoing development investments which includes the Banks, a $600 million, 18-acre mixed-use development project located between Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park. The completed Banks will include a riverfront park, 1,200 apartment units, trails, green spaces, gardens, water features, boat docks, and more than 500,000 square feet of office, hotel, and street-level retail space with restaurants, shopping, and music venues.
Every year there are half a dozen huge parades downtown, which include the Reds Opening Day when 100,000 people come downtown to watch the game and the parade. 2013 was their 94th annual Findlay Market Opening Day Parade. There is also an annual Pride Parade, a St. Patrick's Day Parade, and several more.
Fountain Square is the heart of downtown, and in the summer there's music every night, including the midpoint indie summer series with indie bands playing every Saturday. There's salsa on the square and a hip-hop night.
Dining & Drinking
There are several great restaurants right on city's riverfront that offer great views. The Rooftop Bar at 21c Museum Hotel is an excellent place for evening cocktails. 21 Seed is brand-new hotel that just got ranked as one of the top 10 best new hotels in America in a list of the hottest new hotels in the world (only 10 were in America) by Conde Nast Traveler.
Sotto is an underground modern Italian restaurant that feels like a crazy underground modern gangster hideout with cool brick archways. "It feels like you're in a really cool, hip Italian spot," Jon says.
Igby's is a brand-new three-story bar with huge exposed beams and a huge multi-level open atrium that's always packed. "It really feels like something that was dropped out of Brooklyn right into downtown Cincinnati."
The Moerlein Lager House is a massive brewpub on the river that's a local beer brewed in Cincinnati. The restaurant fits 800 inside and 600 in beer garden and is located right on the river next to the ballpark.
Arts & Entertainment
The impressive Contemporary Arts Center is the first American museum designed by a female architect. "They really program towards young people with amazing art that's really pushing boundaries," Jon says. Every Monday night is free entry, and they also host big parties with drinks and DJs.
The new $400 million Horseshoe Casino, a joint venture between Dan Gilbert's Rock Gaming and the world's largest gaming company Caesars Entertainment, just opened in spring 2013 with 2,000 slots and 85 table games. It also has a 31-table World Series of Poker room and is walking distance from anywhere downtown. 

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